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UHW Trustees File Federal Suit Against Former Officers for Undermining Members

Evidence reveals that Sal Rosselli and ousted officers of UHW engaged in pattern to weaken local union and sabotage bargaining while still serving as officers and employees, despite fiduciary duties

OAKLAND, Calif., March 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Trustees of SEIU United Healthcare West (UHW) today filed suit in US District Court in the Northern District of California against Sal Rosselli and other disgraced former officers of the local union for their attempts to sabotage UHW's representation of its members.

"At a time when our members in California are facing a budget crisis and social service cuts that directly threaten the men and women who rely on our members' care, the former leaders of this local have taken every step imaginable to set up roadblocks and hurdles," said Dave Regan, Trustee of UHW, who assumed responsibility for the day to day affairs of the local after the former leaders were removed for financial malpractice and attempts to subvert democratic practices in the union. "Today the nonsense stops. Today we are filing suit because these individuals will be held accountable to the members whose jobs and livelihoods they worked to undermine."

The suit outlines a series of actions that the former officers of UHW engaged in following--and in many cases, preceding--their removal from office, including among other charges:

  • the theft of UHW property;
  • the wholesale destruction of UHW documents and records;
  • the extended occupation of UHW buildings, which former UHW officers and employees used to further damage UHW property and records;
  • the misappropriation of UHW proprietary membership email lists and other records, which former UHW officers and employees have used to try to raid UHW members for their new organization; and
  • a widespread and coordinated campaign of intimidation against employees who chose to work for UHW after the trusteeship, which some former UHW staff employees or their agents have carried out by threatening UHW staff with physical violence, harassing anonymous phone calls, and vandalism of their automobiles.

Those former leaders named in the suit were removed on January 27 after an independent hearing officer, former Secretary of Labor Ray Marshall, found that Sal Rosselli and other officers had engaged in financial wrongdoing and failure to abide by the democratically-determined mandates of the Union as a whole.

In a follow-up hearing on February 27, it was disclosed that while they were still in office, the former officers of UHW had failed to secure or even bargain contracts for thousands of workers.

"The former officers of this local not only lost their way, they put the members on the path to ruin," said Eliseo Medina, Trustee of UHW. "They won't get away with it. From the very beginning of the trusteeship, we have been working with the membership to put a structure in place that will support UHW members' interests from the bargaining table to Sacramento. And part of our commitment to protect the members' hard-won gains is to hold their former leaders accountable to the hardworking women and men who deserve the full benefits and protections of this union."

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