EXCLUSIVE: Top Contender To Take Over Massive Union Has Repeatedly Been Accused Of Union Busting

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Will Kessler Contributor
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The presumptive heir to the position of president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has had employees under her command complain of union-busting tactics and retaliation, according to a report from the Center for Union Facts.

April Verrett, the current secretary treasurer of the SEIU and the former president of SEIU Local 2015, is a top contender to replace the current outgoing president, Mary Kay Henry, according to the report. In both positions, Verrett was reportedly part of the management that faced off with SEIU employees, who had organized separately from the SEIU, about working conditions and contract negotiations. (RELATED: Major Auto Union Announces $40 Million Push To Unionize Industry)

In 2022, union staff members represented by the separate Pacific Northwest Staff Union (PNWSU) staged a strike, with workers complaining that management bred a “culture of toxicity” and engaged in retaliation and union busting tactics, according to the report. The revolt culminated in one of the largest union staff strikes in American history, with SEIU management allegedly placing all jobs of the striking employees on the union’s job board the same day in an attempt to find replacement workers.

Members of SEIU Local 2015, which covers a large area of California and is the second largest local in the country, filed multiple unfair labor practice charges in 2022 amid the strike with the National Labor Relations Board due to actions taken during the labor dispute, accusing Verrett and management of surveillance, assault and intimidation, according to a December 2022 statement from the PNWSU that was cited in the report. Two employees heavily involved in the PNWSU’s actions, Jazmine Reyes and Alex Sanchez, allege that they were victims of retaliation when both were fired just weeks after the strike ended, the report reads.

The complaints of anti-union tactics followed Verrett to her time at the international SEIU, with staff members represented by the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) authorizing a strike in 2023, according to the report. Organizers accused Verrett and Henry of using “corporate tricks and delay tactics” to avoid bargaining on a new labor contract.

Henry announced in early February that she would be stepping down as president of the two million-member SEIU after 14 years, with a successor to be named after a vote at the union’s convention in May, according to the New York Times. Verrett has noted that she intends to be a candidate for the position.

The SEIU and Team April 2024 did not immediately respond to a request to comment.

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