Lisa Garcia on Union Transparency:

“I have been a state employee for more than 30 years, and I am an SEIU member.

I began to question why our union takes in almost $62 million for contract negotiations and why the expenses would be that extreme. It was during a time when employees were forced to take furloughs, while at the same time senior officers were seeking to triple their salaries.

I was given the opportunity to be one of two people allowed to audit SEIU’S books. We were given only four hours to review a $62 million dollar budget for two years. We were denied a CPA, denied the opportunity to make photocopies and forced to take a one-hour lunch break.

All we wanted to know was how our money, as SEIU members, was being spent.
It was obvious we weren’t going to get any real answers.

We looked through three boxes as best we could, finding such expenditures as:

monthly payments of $1.2 million dollars to SEUI International
pages and pages of individual check payments of $600 or less
millions of dollars in traveling expenses, food, hotels, car rentals, with no explanation or itemization of where and when
more than $10 million in legal fees (this is line with horror stories we hear from members who say they’ve been sued into submission)
Out of the three boxes we were given to sift through, 2 1/2 of those boxes contained ledgers that were difficult to interpret. It became exceedingly obvious that SEIU had not only given us boxes of mostly junk, but had failed to give the most critical documents showing the personal expenditures for the representatives.

As a member, I believe the SEIU has an obligation to be transparent with each and every penny given to them by their members. It appalls me that SEIU forces their members to take them to court in order to justify the dues required to be paid by its members. My name is Lisa Garcia, I’m fighting for Union Transparency and this is my story.


A Puzzling Pie