SEIU Ethics Policy

Scott's picture

Breaking News

That's right, Eye On The 503 has a web exclusive for you!. Now you, the membership, can read the new SEIU Ethical Practices And Conflict Of Interest Policy!!!

The policy was approved by the International Executive Board at their June 13th, 2009 meeting. We've mentioned before how it was developed under wraps. Then, some leadership was shown a preliminary copy to provide comments on. Supposedly those comments and the feedback received were incorporated into the final policy.

So now, almost two months after the policy was approved, it still isn't available to the membership. After a long wait, and calling the international, we have acopy for you, the readers, to review before it posts to the SEIU web site.

Remember, this policy is supposed to apply to Officers and Management. Since the International put it together, it affects both them, and all of the affiliates (Locals).

Scott's picture

Re: SEIU Ethics Policy

Wow! I have to say that I am non-plussed by this policy!

With only some union-specific organizational references, this policy reads like just about any sort of similar policy you find in public service or private industry. It's no wonder they didn't publicize the work more. If they did, someone might realize that they probably used a template, or perhaps just copied one they found on the internet. Anyone up to do some Google searches? See how many hits you get for various phrases in the policy.

I think my initial analysis still holds up for the most part. I also think that the policy delivered completely fails in it's goal to ensure that union leadership will be held accountable to the membership. It would be interesting to see what was actually recommended by the Commission versus what the IEB produced.

Possibly the biggest issue I see with this policy is with the Ethics Officer. While it is good that they are an external entity from SEIU, they are chosen by Pope Stern I.

It also appears to be very easy to bypass the Ethics Officer. Everything gets routed to the Ethics Ombudsperson. That is, someone who is part of SEIU. The Ethics Officer is there to "consult" if we need it. Great....

There's also several points where the International President can become involved in the proceedings. Unfortunately, the International Officers are the ones who truly need the most oversight in such matters. There's very little checks-and-balances on them as it currently stands.

So what's left? A policy that, in a good organization, wouldn't mean much of anything. In SEIU, it becomes another tool to use as desired to further the ends of certain persons at the International level. At the very least, it can be used to spread Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) about officers and staff that are not in favor. At the worst, it's possible that investigations could be railroaded through, forcing those same people out of the union, and out of the way of those in power.

Not that they need another tool. Pope Stern I is more-than-willing to place any Local into trusteeship at the drop-of-a-hat if the officers of that Local don't agree with him.

And what was the cost to the membership? We have the time and presumably travel for all of the Committee members. We have the "stipends" paid to some of the Committee members. Whatever the cost, we got ripped off.

Scott's picture

Re: SEIU Ethics Policy

SEIU International has finally posted the Policy to their web site. It's only taken them 2 months since they approved it. After waiting for a month-and-a-half, we contacted them 2 weeks ago, trying to get a copy. It took a week for them to get back to us, and we posted as soon as we got our copy.

I guess they're still ahead of the 503. They only recently posted the updated Constitution and Bylaws. Those were updated last September at General Council. So don't be fooled by the January 2009 date on the documents. They weren't posted until towards the end of July. (If you know better when they showed up, let me know. I first became aware of the change just recently.)