The chief budget officer of the largest federation of labor unions in the U.S. resigned Monday amid allegations of sexual harassment, Bloomberg reports.
Terry Stapleton’s ousting at the AFL-CIO is part of an expanding scandal in the labor movement. Prior to Stapleton, four senior officers at the Service Employees International Union, the second largest union in the United States, either resigned or were fired after staff accused them of sexual harassment and misconduct.
“The recent news regarding sexual harassment in numerous industries has shown that no organization, including our own, is immune to a culture that has allowed both women and men to feel unsafe and threatened on the job,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumpka and other federation executives told Bloomberg in a joint statement. “As the premier organization for working people, we recognize that we bear a special responsibility to lead by our actions and example.”
Last month, the Washington Free Beacon reported on the “broad environment of misogyny” in the SEIU. Self-proclaimed male feminists in managerial positions throughout the union use their public image and position to “cover for their personal behavior,” a former SEIU staffer said.
Sexual harassment had become normalized and was even protected through the union’s Human Resources department.
“Most HR processes for investigating sexual harassment [represent] a culture of protecting the organization,” the former SEIU employee told the Free Beacon regarding two separate complaints of sexual harassment she filed against different managers.
SEIU has since formed an external advisory group to investigate sexual harassment and misconduct at the union and attempt to solve the “serious problems related to abusive behavior towards staff,” BuzzFeed News reports.
“Our mission as an organization is to make sure working people make wages on which they can care for their families, that they are treated with respect and dignity, and that they have a voice on the job, so we’re working hard to make sure all staff know they are respected and have a voice in decisions that affect their work environment,” SEIU Executive Vice President Leslie Frane told BuzzFeed.
The AFL-CIO did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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