Business Journal: NUHW files charges against SEIU, BofA

NewsJune 18, 2009

by Marc Lutz

The National Union of Healthcare Workers filed charges against rival union, Service Employees International Union and Bank of America on Tuesday, alleging violations of federal labor laws.

In the charges filed with the National Labor Relations board, Lawyers for the NUHW allege that Bank of America has opened a line of credit to SEIU totaling $88 million as reported in SEIU’s Labor-Management report.

According to the filings, SEIU has taken steps to organize tellers employed by Bank of America. A press release issued by the NUHW states that federal law prohibits “loans, gifts and other financial ties between employers and unions attempting to organize their employees.”

“The laws against the type of financial arrangement SEIU appears to have engaged in are very clear,” said Sal Rosselli, NUHW interim president. “Unions are supposed to be focused on the needs of workers, and the law is intended to keep employers from using money to gain undue influence with union officials.”

SEIU has claimed no wrong-doing, stating that all their transactions are legitimate.

“These are arm’s-length transactions run through a rigorous internal screening process,” said Michelle Ringuette, a spokesperson with SEIU. “This is just another stunt by the disgruntled former officers removed from SEIU-UHW for financial misconduct.”

Ringuette went on to say that the loans were legitimately made by Bank of America to SEIU. “We will always make financial decisions that are absolutely transparent and within the law, and in the best interests of our members,” Ringuette said.

Meanwhile, home care workers in Fresno County recently submitted ballots on whether to remain members of SEIU or to join NUHW. The vote has been highly publicized and closely watched. The results will be tabulated and issued by Friday.

NUHW has blasted SEIU for using scare tactics and violence to keep workers from voting to leave SEIU.

Meanwhile, SEIU has filed a class action lawsuit to keep the state and Fresno County from reducing home care workers’ wages and hours, which could go into effect July 1.

Source: Fresno Business Journal