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Jan 5, 2008

Who's Who at SEIU?

[The people we believe should be in control of our union are the SMART members listed separately!]

SEIU is a huge organization, with hundreds of staff and officers. With mergers, trusteeships, and the international's greater involvement in locals, Washington DC based staff often make decisions in our organizations (or even run them) without so much as an introduction. International staff are appointed as local officers, local officers go to DC as international officers or staff. There are also some names that seem to come up over and over in the debate over the direction of our union.

Here in alphabetical order is a brief guide to some of SEIU's appointed local leaders and international union staff. While the problems with SEIU are systemic and structural, here are some of the key people we believe are responsible for making and supporting undemocratic decisions and appointments, and for denying members a real voice in their union.

This page is a permanent work in progress, and we will update with as much information as possible. Please let us know if there's something or someone we should include.

Norma Amsterdam
Executive Vice President of 1199's RN division. She was briefly one of SEIU's appointed "monitors" sent to UHW.

   

Joe Buckley (right)
Seen here just before rank and file UHW members expelled him from their bargaining session. Buckley was one of SEIU's appointed "monitors" at UHW. He is a long time SEIU staffer and serial trustee, who was also appointed to trustee of Local 1985. Photo by CSEA member Dik Wood (dillingertoons.dillwood.org).

   

John Barton
Senior SEIU staffer who has been assigned to assist Local 6434 (particularly with relationships with nursing home bosses) for several years. It is hard to believe Barton did not know about corruption at the local. He has also been spotted helping out at the UHW and 6434 trusteeship hearings.

   

Anna Burger
International Secretary - Treasurer, also Chair of Change to Win, Vice Chair of the Democracy Alliance (an organization of liberal millionaires) and a chair or board member of several other political organizations.

Burger is married to Earl F. Gohl, Jr, Director of Legislative Affairs for the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA). Gohl is the commonwealth's top Washington based lobbyist.

Damita Davis Howard (left)
Stern appointed President of Local 1021, previously the Executive Director of Local 535. Reported to be responsible for the "Salsa Team" which worked to deny pro-reform members delegate positions before the 2008 convention.

Tom DeBruin
President of 1199P, International VP, and one of SEIU's appointed "monitors" to UHW. One of the main forces behind the international's campaign to maintain control and suppress member led reform, and reported head of the "Skunk Team".

   

>Amanda Figueroa
Secretary Treasurer of Local 6434, was removed along with the other officers when corruption was uncovered, but is now apparently part of an "advisory committee" running the local with trustee John Ronches.

   

>Sharon Frances Moore
Appointed by Andy Stern to head Local 221 in 2007, reportedly after he met her at a social event. Has no previous experience in the labor movement.

Tyrone Freeman
Former appointed President of Local 6434. Fired by SEIU and under federal investigation on corruption charges. After a series of reports by the LA Times Freeman is being investigated by Congress and the Department of Labor, and Local 6434 is under trusteeship.

Freeman is accused of giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to companies owned by his wife and mother-in-law, living a lavish lifestyle (cigar clubs, steak houses) by spending members' money on top of the more than $200,000 a year he was paid. Stories are also now coming out about the culture of intimidation and harassment within Local 6434.
6434 is the third local Stern appointed Freeman to run; he was previously head of Local 434B, and before that Local 1985 in Atlanta.

Annelle Grajeda
The Stern appointed President of Local 721, Grajeda was forced to step down as corruption reports emerged after members raised concerns. Allegations surround payments by the local and California state council (of which Grajeda is also president) to her partner Alejandro Stephens, and payments to a charity he heads and which has spent only about 9% of its expenditures on charitable programs.

Grajeda had also apparently stepped down from her position as an international executive vice president, but she is still listed on the SEIU website and it's unclear what her role is. She was previously vice president of the international executive board and a public services steering committee member. Before the merger which created Local 721, Grajeda was the General Manager of Local 660, where Stephens was President. She has never been elected to any SEIU office.

Mary Kay Henry
International Executive Vice President. Henry explained her plans for the trusteeship of UHW to SEIU staff before any decision had been made by the hearing officer, and bizarrely described the SEIU staff who would take part as "Warriors" who should be "Honored" by others.

David Holway
The President of top-down business-style SEIU affiliate NAGE (National Association of Government Employees). Holway is paid more than Andy Stern or Tyrone Freeman ($233,000 in 2006) and until two years ago held a second job earning over $100,000 a year as executive director of the Massachusetts Thoroughbred Breeders Association. Local 1985 was recently handed over to NAGE to run, despite member protests. He is married to Susana Segat of Local 888.


Gerry Hudson
International Executive Vice President.

Rickman Jackson
Stern appointed President of Michigan Healthcare who stepped down following reports that linked him to corruption at Local 6434 where he was previously Chief of Staff. Jackson's home address was listed as the address for the dubious LTC Housing Corporation, and he was on the payroll at 6434 until last year, despite moving to MI in 2005. Jackson is also considered to be largely responsible for the violence at the 2008 Labor Notes conference, during which one of the members of his local died. SEIU have now assigned Jackson to work in Canada.

David Kieffer
Former Director of Long Term Care, now heading Healthcare United. A driving force behind SEIU's attempts to move UHW members into Local 6434 without their consent. Kieffer is the leader of the SEIU nursing home alliance and advocates template contracts with poverty wages. He has also led efforts to exclude rank and file members from bargaining.

Eric Lerner
Stephen Lerner's little brother allegedly sent into Local 1021 by Andy Stern to "stabilize" the local because of Damita Davis-Howard's failed leadership. Rumors persist that the younger Lerner will run against Davis-Howard for the presidency of the local.

Steven Lerner (left)
Key Stern assistant and proponent of "restructuring". Central to SEIU leadership attempts to paint our reform movement as "Neo Business-Unionism". Was one of SEIU's failed "monitors" sent to UHW.

Jane McAlevey
Until recently the Executive Director of Local 1107. McAlevey resigned after months of clashes with members and the local's president over the direction and ethos of the local and unfair officer elections.

Members filed complaints with the labor department alleging that McAlevey illegally overturned an election where rank and file members who did not support her were elected to the local's executive board and held a new election in which she and her staff campaigned (successfully) for their preferred slate. In November 2007 members demanded democracy and answers (YouTube) at a local executive board meeting. McAlevey is still on the international union's payroll, and at 1107 as a "consultant".

Andy McDonald (right)
International communications staffer and "Stern spokesman". Responsible for much of the smear campaign against reformers in the run-up to the 2008 convention.

Eliseo Medina
Trustee of UHW as of Jan 2009, International Executive Vice President.

Josie Mooney (center)
Special Assistant to Andy Stern and former Executive Director of Local 790. Reported head of the "Skunk Team", which worked to discredit SEIU reformers in the lead up to the 2008 convention. Seen here in Beijing with AmCham-China (American Chamber of Commerce) Chairman James Zimmerman and the US Embassy's Bruce Levine.

Bill Ragen
Director of the Property Services division. The author of a June 2008 email to Stern and other senior SEIU staff that outlined strategies for destroying UHW. In the email Ragen writes; "Trusteeship would be difficult - it's like Iraq, easy and then to get in and then a slog. Implosion would be better outcome - but what will it take?"

Dave Regan
Trustee of UHW as of Jan 2009, International Executive Vice President since 2008, previously President of 1199 WOK. Central to trying to shut down the debate around SEIU's direction before the 2008 Convention, and to shifting the disagreement toward personal attacks.

Michelle Ringuette
International spokesperson. Often gives SEIU's responses to sticky situations. Called UHW members' charges against Stern and Burger "A Fantasy", and the trustee of Local 6434 "Heroic"!

John Ronches
SEIU staffer, Stern appointed trustee of Local 6434 and author of SEIU's charges against Tyrone Freeman.

Susana Segat
Stern appointed President of Local 888. Many members have complained about a lack of democracy and accountability at merged Local 888, union staff turnover, and disrespect. UMass members' complaints to Anna Burger went essentially unheeded, leading to the transfer of their unit to the MTA. She is married to David Holway of NAGE.

Kristy Sermersheim
Stern appointed President of Local 521. Sought to change the local's bylaws to limit the rights of members to speak out. Also sought to restrict 2008 convention delegate elections in order to promote her slate.

Andy Stern
International President and author of "A Country that Works".

Alejandro Stephens
Former President of Local 660 and partner of 721 president Annelle Grajeda. Has been ordered by SEIU to return tens of thousands of dollars paid to him. In 2007, Stephens was paid nearly $14,000 by 721 "for official business" and $75,000 in "consulting fees" by the state council. As an SEIU executive board member, he also received more than $104,000 last year from the international. He also ran a 721 affiliated non-profit organization which is now under investigation.

Steve Trossman
Former International Communications Director who is alleged to have helped Andy Stern cover up for corruption at Tyrone Freeman's local as early as 2002, but does not remember.

Tom Woodruff
International Executive Vice President.

 

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