Payday Continues SEIU Sexual Misconduct Investigation – Donate Today

32BJ SEIU President Hector Figueroa has faced criticism for his handling of the dismissal of an SEIU staffer that was found to have assaulted another SEIU staffer.

Following an exclusive Payday Report investigation earlier this month that revealed that SEIU allowed a staffer, who had been forced to leave one Boston-area SEIU local following an internal investigation to then be rehired at two other SEIU locals in California, Payday has received similar reports from other women in SEIU throughout the nation.

We know that officials with SEIU have covered up incidents of sexual assault and that there are currently staffers employed by SEIU that the union leadership knows have committed sexual misconduct. Much like the Catholic Church, SEIU has allowed these staffers to be transferred from one area to another after they know after their sexual misconduct is known.

One of the reasons that there has been rampant sexual harassment throughout SEIU is that there is no independent labor press to hold labor leaders accountable for creating a safe environment. 

So far, the silence from the left press on the SEIU sexual misconduct scandals has been sickening.

Outside of Payday Report, the only other outlets that have covered the SEIU sexual misconduct scandals so far have been corporate outlets: Bloomberg, Politico, and Buzzfeed.

Many have warned me that continuing to cover the cover-ups of SEIU misconduct will likely cost Payday potential union funding that we sorely need to expand our operation.  People have told me that by reporting on sexual misconduct in the labor movement that I am giving ammunition to the enemies of unions.

I disagree.

Left labor reporters need to tell this story so that we can tell the inspiring story of the courage of groups like #MeTooSEIU that are organizing to empower women in the labor movement.

I grew up all in a proud UE union household and it breaks my heart to talk to so many women in recent weeks, who have told me that they have left the labor movement altogether because of the sexual misconduct they experienced within our ranks.

We need an independent labor press to expose this type of sexual misconduct and make our labor movement stronger so that it can be a safe space for everyone.

However, we need your help to do it.  

Reporting on sexual assault in the labor movement is time intensive work.

It involves interviews about incredibly traumatic experiences. It requires hours and hours of getting to know survivors, trust building, explaining the process of how the story will be published, and coaching the survivors through the process of what will occur when it is published.

It’s tough, difficult, emotional work, but vital. 

In addition to the emotional aspect of covering sexual assault within the labor movement, we spend hours checking documents and double checking every detail of the story. We could get sued so everything details need to be triple checked and then checked again.

Finally, the stories have to be edited. On our last story, we spent over $300 on editing alone and even hired a freelancer in New York City to interview a top SEIU official.

The process was an expensive one, but it was worth it. We got the staffer fired, revealed loopholes in SEIU’s hiring practices that allowed him to be rehired, and in the process encouraged more women to come forward with stories of sexual misconduct and assault.  

We wanna do more, we wanna change SEIU’s culture about sexual harassment and in the process change the labor movement.

No one else will fund this kind of reporting certainly not unions so we need you all as rank-and-file labor activists to fund it.  

So please, help us do this type of vital reporting so essential to make the labor movement an inclusive movement for all.

Donate today. 

Payday Report will continue to investigate sexual assault and misconduct within the labor movement. Anyone who wishes to speak out, either on-the-record or confidentially, may contact us at [email protected] or (412) 613-8423.


About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing over 1,800 stories from 46 states, Elk was the only American reporter in the room with Lula on the morning of the election & traveled with him to the Oval Office. Credited by the Washington Post for being the first reporter to track the strike wave systematically, Elk started Payday Report using his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing in 2015. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and works frequently in Rio de Janeiro, where he attended college at PUC-Rio. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburghese fluently. His email is [email protected]

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