Long Arm of SEIU
Offices of a politically powerful labor union representing 38,000 Los Angeles public school workers have been raided by investigators from the headquarters of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), who suspended officers amid a probe of the organizations finances and placed the local under emergency trusteeship.
Effectively ousted from the offices of SEIU Local 99 pending the probe and an internal hearing are president Janett Humphries, vice president Tomas Montoya, secretary-treasurer Cecilia Duarte, and about 35 trustees and executive-board members, according to SEIU spokesman Steve Trossman.
SEIU international president Andrew Stern took the emergency action on Friday, May 14, after finding that the local is experiencing an extremely serious breakdown in both its internal governance and the overall conduct of its financial affairs, according to an SEIU statement. Local 99 members were given a question-and-answer sheet that attempted to assure them that their contracts remain in effect and that all grievance and other procedures remain as they were before.
Stern sent trustee Valarie Long to head the SEIU Local 99 office on Eighth Street just west of downtown Los Angeles. Trossman said Long and her staff are looking into questionable expenses, lack of financial controls over various union programs, and concerns about the integrity of the local unions records. He said he could not give further details.
CSUN Womens Basketball vs. Uc Riverside Highlanders Womens Basketball
TicketsSat., Feb. 25, 4:00pm
Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs - Verified Resale Tickets
TicketsSun., Feb. 26, 12:30pm
Los Angeles Clippers v Charlotte Hornets - Verified Resale Tickets
TicketsSun., Feb. 26, 6:30pm
Los Angeles Lakers v Charlotte Hornets - Verified Resale Tickets
TicketsTue., Feb. 28, 7:30pm
Humphries, the locals suspended president, has become well-known on the regional and national political scene. She has served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention and on several boards on issues related to local schools, including a panel that recommended completing the troubled Belmont Learning Complex.
City Council President Alex Padilla appointed Humphries to the citys Central Area Planning Commission last year after Mayor James Hahn failed to make a timely appointment.
Trossman said all members of the Local 99 staff have been interviewed and have been retained in the office. Humphries, Montoya and Duarte who as officers also receive salaries from Local 99 will be paid during the emergency trusteeship, which is to conclude following a hearing in late June or early July. After the hearing the trusteeship can be lifted or can be made permanent, pending elections for new officers.
Humphries said she came to head Local 99 12 years ago after a similar trusteeship was imposed by the SEIU International. She downplayed the severity of the current action. Its just a review by the International, basically, Humphries said. The International always has financial concerns with its locals.
The SEIU had received complaints from local union members, according to a statement issued by the International in Washington. Weve taken this action to safeguard members rights, Long said. Were taking immediate action to ensure that members receive the local union representation they need and expect.
SEIU Local 99 members include teachers assistants and aides, playground workers, cafeteria workers, custodians and grounds attendants in the Los Angeles Unified School District and several smaller districts in Los Angeles County.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Los Angeles, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.