SEIU official blasts her own union

Sue Angeli, the shy and retiring president of BART’s SEIU professional chapter, is furious with her union. (That’s a joke, folks. Angeli is renowned as an outspoken advocate of her views.)

As many folks may know, the Service Employees International Union President Andy Stern orchestrated a merger of California’s 10 SEIU local chapters that went into effect March 2. Members approved the reorganization last fall.

What’s not widely known, Angeli said, is that the union’s new management team has taken a page right out of the books of the employers the union battles.

“It’s hypocritical,” said Angeli, who is also a member of the Pleasant Hill City Council. “How can this organization preach fair treatment of employees and promote the representation of workers and then turn around and screw its own people? I’m ashamed to say that I am a member of SEIU.”

Here’s what Angeli says is happening at SEIU offices:

— All SEIU staff had to reapply for their jobs.
— Those they didn’t want to keep were either offered jobs in far-flung places like Susanville or not re-hired.
— Those that stayed were required to re-negotiate their pay and many saw their paychecks cut.
— All staff members are on probation for a year.
— Every staffer must talk to five union members each day for the first 100 days of the merger about its benefits.

Under the reorganization, representation from the membership on the SEIU executive board has also been cut.

Angeli was a delegate to the executive board but lost her status in the shift. She is not an SEIU staffer, however. BART pays her salary while she serves as the transit agency chapter president.

If BART or any other employer attempted to do to its represented staff what SEIU is doing, Angeli said, “We’d be on strike in a heartbeat.”

Lisa Vorderbrueggen