Stop sexually abusive managers from being shuffled around SEIU
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In April of 2014, a colleague of mine at SEIU Local 32BJ was sexually assaulted by a manager. Not wanting to face her assailant at work, she gave her two weeks’ notice. On her last day, she came forward and reported the incident to a manager she trusted, and an investigation ensued. In the end, my colleague was informed by 32BJ HR that they found that sexual harassment did occur and that the manager would subsequently be separated from the Local. Despite pushing for more information as to whether the manager who assaulted her was fired or permitted to leave on his own accord, the only information that was disclosed was that he would no longer be employed at 32BJ. After pressing the Local numerous times, it became evident that this information was not going to being placed on his permanent record. (Read more about my former colleague's story HERE).
In less than a year, that same manager regained employment at another SEIU affiliate (Local UHW), again in a management position. Then, within another year, he acquired another management position at SEIU Local USWW, where he worked up until last week. Once the story broke, he was fired by SEIU USWW. A spokesperson from USWW stated that they had no knowledge of his predatory conduct prior to being contacted by the press (Read more about the firing of the sexually abusive manager HERE). If there were 32BJ reference checks, it seems that the circumstances surrounding his separation were never disclosed to other SEIU Locals.
As a social justice institution, SEIU must take a lead in demonstrating a strong commitment to the safety of the women that they employ by taking concrete steps to combat sexual harassment and assault in the workplace. Allowing managers who harass/assault women at one Local to re-gain employment at another local only serves to put the well-being of other female staffers (and members) in jeopardy. If a SEIU manager makes the decision to sexually harass a female staffer, they have already demonstrated a grotesque abuse of power and lack of good judgment. Predatory managers should be disqualified from any further employment at SEIU, rather than placed in continued positions of power where they can abuse again.
Through the Code of Ethics, which governs all SEIU affiliates, the International body of SEIU has demonstrated that they have the authority to disqualify managers and officers from future employment at SEIU affiliates.
Under Part B, Section 3 (c), the Code of Ethics reads:
"No person shall serve as an officer or managerial employee of SEIU or any Affiliate who has been convicted of any felony involving the infliction of grievous bodily injury, or the abuse or misuse of such person’s position or employment in a labor organization to seek or obtain illegal gain at the expense of the members, except for the limited exceptions set forth in applicable federal law."
However, there is NO mention of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct as a disqualifier of employment. This is a glaring omission and it's time for a change.
Sign the Petition to tell Mary Kay Henry to update the Code of Ethics so that managers who have been separated or terminated from SEIU for sexual misconduct are disqualified from working at other SEIU affiliates.
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