Labor Watch

The SEIU: Here We RICO Again


In his James Bond novels, Ian Fleming wrote that “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.” If the Freedom Foundation’s allegations of repeated forgery are true, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) affiliates in the Pacific Northwest have taken enemy action.

Alleged SEIU Forgeries

Earlier this year, the Freedom Foundation announced a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act lawsuit against SEIU Local 503, an SEIU affiliate in Oregon, for forging dues authorizations. Last year, the foundation filed five lawsuits against SEIU affiliates alleging forgery of government workers’ signatures on dues and membership authorization cards.

Now we have notice of the third time. Kristy Jimenez, a home-based care provider in Washington State who is compensated by state Medicaid reimbursements and subject to unionization by SEIU Local 775, alleged in a Freedom Foundation–assisted RICO suit that SEIU forged her electronic authorization of dues deductions. As Freedom Foundation alleges:

Jimenez requested her freedom in 2019, but the union either ignored or stonewalled her repeated messages. She was told she had signed an electronic dues-authorization form, but when shown a copy of the document, Jimenez immediately recognized the forgery because she wasn’t even living at the listed address when she was alleged to have signed it.

“These aren’t even good forgeries,” [Freedom Foundation lawyer Sydney] Phillips said. “They don’t have to be because the union doesn’t expect any of them to be inspected closely.”

Coercion, Coercion, Coercion

If the allegations against SEIU and its affiliates are true, they show a clear pattern and practice of violating the law to force unwilling workers to pay dues. This practice demonstrates the key truth of 21st century American trade unionism: It is all about coercion.

This will to coercion is the common thread throughout the labor unions’ policy agenda, currently before Congress in the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. PRO Act would coerce unwilling workers to fund labor unions by overriding right-to-work laws. PRO Act would coerce independent contractors to join unions and pay dues by reclassifying them as formal employees. PRO Act would also coerce businesses into supporting the unions’ economic and aggressively left-wing social agendas by authorizing secondary boycotts.

Friends in High Places

Perhaps most gallingly, these proposed vast expansions of unions’ power to coerce workers come at the same time unions like SEIU are being exposed for abusing the powers they already have. A sane policy would hold unions accountable for the abuses they are committing. Regrettably, sanity cannot prevail over power purchased through campaign contributions and political infrastructure building, so Congress proposes to further increase Big Labor’s coercive power.

It helps to have friends in high places. Especially if one is a union boss.

Michael Watson

Michael is Research Director for Capital Research Center and serves as the managing editor for InfluenceWatch. A graduate of the College of William and Mary, he previously worked for a…
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