SEIU VP Moves to Sue Payday to Reveal Our Sources in Sexual Misconduct Cover-Up Exposes

SEIU Vice President Dave Regan moved to sue Payday Report to reveal our sources in an effort to reveal our sources.

Yesterday, SEIU Vice President Dave Regan, who also serves as President of its SEIU’s California-based affiliate SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW), had SEIU-UHW General Counsel Bruce Harland send me a letter threatening to sue me for defamation for my expose on cover-ups of sexual misconduct within SEIU. 

SEIU-UHW General Counsel Bruce Harland not only threatened to sue me, but ordered me to preserve all of my text messages, emails, and notes for when they subpoena my records and communications in what appears to me like an effort to identify and intimidate my sources. 

The union’s General Counsel Bruce Harland also asked me to preserve all communications as “relevant evidence” as part of its ongoing defamation lawsuit against SEIU whistleblower Njoki Woods. A lawsuit, which many consider retaliatory as Woods’ statements about sexual misconduct and threats of retaliation were backed up by others in affidavits. 

Today, SEIU-UHW even took the desperate step of taking to Fox News to bash the seven women that came forward to give affidavits about sexual misconduct within SEIU as “disgruntled employees.” 

Instead of cleaning up its act and firing men accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women, SEIU Vice President Dave Regan has instead chosen to attack and take legal action against those who speak out. 

In February of 2019, SEIU-UHW attempted to subpoena Google to get the company to reveal the name of the publisher of a blog published by an anonymous SEIU whistleblower entitled “Stern Burgers with Fries.” Ultimately, the lawsuit was dismissed after exhaustive legal preparations from the defendant.

In March of 2019, SEIU-UHW fired Njoki Woods after she spoke out to Payday Report against sexual misconduct in her union. Now, they are suing her for defamation for an interview she gave to Payday Report in what many see as a warning shot to others thinking about speaking out about what many allege is rampant sexual misconduct within the union.

SEIU-UHW General Bruce Harland has told me they intend to subpoena of all my communications as part of this lawsuit 

In June, another top SEIU leader Martin Manteca threatened to sue the Guardian and me personally if they published my expose. Ultimately, the Guardian folded under SEIU’s combined legal pressure and killed the investigation. 

Now, after Payday has published the expose that laid out how SEIU repeatedly covered up and repeatedly, SEIU is coming after Payday, but I am not going to be scared. 

As a labor reporter, I can’t turn my back on these women, who have risked their careers and who have often been pushed out of the labor movement for calling out sexual misconduct in the labor movement. The First Amendment protects me from giving up the many women, who spoke to me anonymously, under subpoena threat from SEIU. 

The lawsuit is entirely baseless as my expose is backed up with scores of court documents and interviews (Just read it for yourself).

I believe that the lawsuit is intended to intimidate my sources from going on the record as well as to scare other reporters away from covering SEIU’s cover-ups of sexual misconduct.

I will be forced to spend massive amounts of money to defend myself legally and travel out to California to appear in court.

As a freelance journalist, I will be forced to take weeks off of my freelance assignments and lose thousands of dollars as I pour throw documents, interview transcripts, and work with lawyers to prepare for my legal defense. 

Quite simply, the point of this lawsuit is to exhaust me and bankrupt me so that I don’t dig into SEIU’s cover-ups of sexual misconduct anymore. 

Maybe that would work with other publications, but not with Payday Report. 

We aren’t scared of anybody because funded directed by rank-and-file workers, who risk their neck every day fighting for workers’ rights at their own job.

When POLITICO fired me in 2015 and tried to blacklist me from journalism for union organizing, Payday’s readers had a different idea. 

We are a publication funded by workers, who know the courage of how to lead when others run, and we aren’t running from this fight. 

Independent journalists, who have been through this type of lawsuits, say that I will likely need to raise upwards of $10,000 to fight SEIU Vice President Dave Regan’s legal intimidation tactics.

So, I need you to donate so that we can continue to expose and document SEIU’s cover-up of sexual misconduct and retaliation against those who speak out.  

We need to raise money for a Legal Defense Fund to Fight SEIU Vice President Dave Regan’s intimidation tactics and continue reporting on the cover-up of sexual misconduct in SEIU.

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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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