The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller

Former SEIU organizer: I was ‘required’ to do ‘political work’

In a case that could have wide-ranging implications for the political future of the Service Employees International Union, a former SEIU organizer told a right-to-work group and a best-selling author recently that the union forced him and other workers to volunteer their time for Democratic political campaigns.

On a video segment provided exclusively to The Daily Caller, the organizer says he and other SEIU staff “had to do some political work. We were required as staff to do that.”

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and Mallory Factor, author of “Shadowbosses: Government Unions Control America and Rob Taxpayers Blind,” obtained an hour-long videotaped statement from the organizer, who now works for a different union.

Factor and the right-to-work group protected the former SEIU organizer’s anonymity by distorting his image and his voice because he fears reprisals from the union.

The SEIU did not respond to questions from TheDC about whether it routinely requires its organizers to devote their time to political campaigns.

But the union’s leaders, the organizer said on the video, “would tell us, ‘We need to go canvassing for this candidate, so we need you to sign this sheet to say that you are requesting a personal day today, so that you can go do this. We’ll make it up to you later,’” he said in the interview.

“And I [thought], ‘Is this really legal? Can you require me to volunteer for a candidate that I can’t even vote for?’” he recalled thinking. “I don’t live in that jurisdiction, that district that they are running from.”

“And that happened a lot around election time. The staff was — it was — I called it ‘mandatory volunteerism.’ And that happened to everybody. We were all told that we had to volunteer for this candidate on this day.”

National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation spokesman Patrick Semmens said the interview, which took place less than a month ago, confirmed what his organization has long known.

“I wish it were surprising that the SEIU was coercing this organizer into supporting union boss politics, but these days that’s standard operating procedure for Big Labor,” Semmens said in an email to TheDC.

“Organized labor’s mission has almost completely morphed from representing workers on the shop floor to pushing left-wing politics. The only difference between Big Labor and other political groups is that union officials get to force workers to contribute, instead of relying on voluntary contributions.”