This is the second in a Daily Caller investigative series. Read the first report here.
During the past year, politically aggressive front groups founded by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) have been partnering with regional “Occupy” groups to pressure businesses and politicians, The Daily Caller has learned.
The organizations — including This Is Our DC; Good Jobs, Great Houston; Good Jobs, Better Baltimore; Detroit’s Good Jobs Now; Fight for Philly; One Pittsburgh; Good Jobs LA; and Minnesotans for a Fair Economy — employ “flash demonstrations” and other tactics to deluge their political targets with protesters, sometimes numbering in the hundreds.
TheDC first reported Monday on the secretive ties between these organizations and the SEIU. Their elaborate and sometimes lavish protests, some with expensive-looking production values, advance the giant labor union’s interests without exposing the SEIU directly to criticism from the public.
Since Monday, TheDC has identified another organization in this network: “Working Washington,” whose Seattle-based website mentions nothing about its SEIU ties. That site, however — like those of the other front groups — is hosted on a server that TheDC traced back to the SEIU.
In keeping with the SEIU’s pattern, Working Washington’s corporate registration filed with the state government in Olympia, Wash. lists Secky Fascione as its registered agent. On her LinkedIn profile, Fascione identifies herself as an “Organizing Coordinator at SEIU.”
The union’s connection to its localized network is clear. An SEIU-tied Washington, D.C. law firm incorporated each group. Founding board members are SEIU executives and organizers, and the organizations’ founding addresses match those of SEIU locals in each city.
TheDC’s investigation has also revealed numerous instances of these groups working in concert with local offshoots of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
In November 2011, Good Jobs LA, a Los Angeles-based SEIU front group, joined forces with Occupy LA to demonstrate outside Bank of America locations. The Los Angeles Police Department sent riot police to the scene. Eventually twenty protesters were arrested.
A month earlier, Occupy Pittsburgh joined with the SEIU-linked One Pittsburgh to protest outside the district office of Republican Sen. Pat Toomey. The demonstration was billed as an anti-Wall Street event, but with SEIU’s influence it became a protest against Toomey’s “no” vote on advancing President Obama’s American Jobs Act legislation — a failed bill that would have benefited unions.
The Pittsburgh City Paper reported that Corey Buckner, a 24-year-old member of One Pittsburgh, said that while Occupy Pittsburgh and his organization aren’t formally connected, the two movements — in the reporters’s words – “go hand-in-hand.”
“We’re all here for the same thing,” Buckner told the newspaper.
More recently, on Feb. 3, 2012 Occupy Baltimore partnered with MoveOn.org and the SEIU-connected Good Jobs, Better Baltimore for a protest at a Wells Fargo bank branch.
“Make Wall Street pay — move your money to a credit union,” said MoveOn.org’s Mary Hill at the protest, according to the independent news outlet Baltimore Brew, which noted the presence of representatives from “Good Jobs, Better Baltimore, 1199 SEIU, 32BJ SEIU and Occupy Baltimore.”
Kristerfer Burnett, whom Baltimore Brew described as “a community organizer for Good Jobs Better Baltimore,” said the protest was the beginning of a campaign by what she characterized as a coalition of community organizations.
The SEIU, in general, opposes commercial banks that employ non-union labor and favors credit unions, many of which are operated for the benefit of labor unions themselves. The union maintains extensive negative online profiles of nonunionized banks, including Wells Fargo.