[For background, read: SEIU’s Civil War.]
The following is a press release from the SEIU-UHW and is the latest in the nearly-four year long union fight for control of California’s healthcare industry between the SEIU and the former leaders of one of its largest locals.
Oakland, Calif. – Officials of the National Union of Healthcare Workers NUHW, who were removed from union office nearly three years ago for financial improprieties, now face new financial scrutiny after agreeing to amend a financial report filed with the U.S. Department of Labor to reveal the true source of $1.05 million in donations they received in 2010.
The union, run by President Sal Rosselli and Vice President John Borsos, now says the donations that were listed in the March 31, 2010 report as being from Sacramento Attorney Barry Broad were actually donations from another union, UNITE HERE, that was laundered through Broad’s account to hide the source of the money.
“The leaders of NUHW continue to play fast and loose with union money, hiding financial information from members,” said Jerome Scott, a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist at Kaiser Corona Medical Offices whose is represented at Kaiser by NUHW.
“This is a pattern going back to when they were the officials in charge of SEIU-UHW and moved $3 million out of the union’s treasury to a sham not-for-profit organization for their own use.”
In a December 8, 2011 email to Garry Brooks, a member of NUHW who openly opposes the union’s leadership, Phylliss Willett, NUHW’s operations manager, wrote: “UNITE HERE was the donor of the $1,050,000 donation that we received from Barry Broad.”
The admission came less than three weeks after NUHW spokesman Leighton Woodhouse defiantly told the Daily Journal, a legal industry newspaper, that NUHW would not reveal the true source of the contribution. NUHW took that position despite a requirement to reveal its sources of funding under the federal Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 LMRDA, a law designed to make union finances transparent through the annual filing of LM-2 reports with the Department of Labor.
“If they don’t want to be listed, then I’m not going to violate their wish for anonymity,” Woodhouse told Daily Journal reporter Brian Sumers. Sumers also quoted a labor law expert as saying the effort to hide the donations appeared to violate the LMDRA.
NUHW officials also committed an apparent violation of the LMRDA and their union’s constitution and bylaws when they refused a request by Brooks, a dues-paying NUHW member, to inspect the union’s books.
The LMRDA specifically allows members to look at their union’s finances so they can hold their leaders fiscally responsible.NUHW’s 2010 LM-2 also raises questions about a $50,000 donation in the name of Mark Dimondstein of Greensboro, NC., a particularly large donation that the union claims came from a single individual.
“If Rosselli, Borsos and the other NUHW officials hid the source of a million dollars in donations, why should we take at face value what they are now saying is really the true source of the donation, or other donations they received in 2010 for that matter,” said Scott. “Were they from employers or other illegal sources? We don’t know, and that’s why Mr. Brooks and other NUHW members need to inspect the books to make sure everything is now on the up and up, especially in a union that has now shown its willingness to conceal its activities from its own members.”
Before starting NUHW, Rosselli, Borsos and others were removed from office in SEIU-UHW in 2009 after they were caught moving $3 million in members’ dues money to an outside organization they controlled for their own purposes. In April 2010, a federal jury in San Francisco found them liable for financial improprieties while running SEIU-UHW and ordered them and NUHW to pay a judgment of more than $1.5 million to SEIU-UHW members.