In Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar cried out “Et Tu Brute?” – translated “Even you Brutus?” – as he lay dying from the assassin’s sword that had been plunged into his chest by his friend and confidant, Marcus Brutus. These words came to mind as I read an article about a sordid tale of rampant sexual misconduct by SEIU officials. Even them???
Some SEIU officials have been forced out after being charged with sexual harassment, but others reportedly have not. Those interviewed for the article about continuing problems with harassment at SEIU claim that SEIU President, Mary Kay Henry, has not been responsive to their concerns.
This is the same union that, during the period when top SEIU officials apparently were acting as sexual predators without consequences, published a blog post advocating union representation as means to protect female employees from predatory bosses in the #MeToo era!
In the blog post, Anny Gonzalez recounted how she was fired from her job at Logan Airport after complaining about regular sexual harassment by her boss. She offered that,
This is exactly why women need unions. I didn’t have anyone to protect my rights. I was alone. But I saw the power in a union when [the union] showed me I could do something about this type of treatment and helped me file a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. See, without a union, you can be fired for almost anything – or nothing at all. With a union, there’s security and protection.
Ironically, in the article about sexual harassment at the SEIU, female SEIU staffers recounted the same outcome when they came forward to report predatory behavior by one of the many high-level officials cited for such misconduct.
[Martin] Manteca served as Organizing Director of the 95,000 member SEIU Local 721, the Southern California Public Service Workers Union.
Over a several-year period, Manteca has been accused of inappropriate behavior and retaliation by multiple junior staffers who said they felt pressured into sexual relationships with Manteca then banished to an undesirable assignment if they rejected his sexual advances.
The article also lists complaints about outrageous sexual misconduct by other SEIU executives toward female subordinates, and the alleged failures to respond by Mary Kay Henry.
The sad truth is that workplaces where powerful people have unchecked power often attract sociopathic personalities (socio-paths apparently know how to succeed at the top levels of society). This is true for corporations, law firms, legislatures and, apparently, unions too.
So, unless and until the SEIU cleans its own house, I suggest it spare us further #MeToo sanctimony.