Washington, DC (November 10, 2004) – The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation today filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) for unlawful electioneering with workers’ dues during this fall’s elections.
The complaint alleges that SEIU union officials handed over tens of millions of dollars of workers’ forced union dues through a so-called “527” political organization called America Coming Together (ACT). Some of those funds were, in turn, spent illegally to finance political campaigns through the Democrat National Committee (DNC).
Filed by Foundation Vice President Stefan Gleason, the complaint cites numerous statements by SEIU officials about their use of workers’ forced union dues to fund ACT. In fact, SEIU union chief Andrew Stern stated earlier this month “that SEIU is the largest contributor to America Coming Together at $26 million.” ACT spent over $100 million dollars in this fall’s elections on the campaigns of candidates that polls consistently show a large portion of rank-and-file union members do not support.
ACT then used some of those funds to underwrite political fundraisers for the Democrat National Committee. For example, artwork fundraising events held by ACT across America raised more than $750,000 for the DNC where attendees were given expensive artwork prints in exchange for individual donations of at least $1,000. Meanwhile, in statements made to the press earlier this year, Stern openly bragged that SEIU officials intended to give funds paid by “regular dues-paying members” to ACT political activities.
Under federal law, union officials specifically must not contribute to political campaigns using “dues, fees or other moneys required as a condition of membership in a labor organization.” In doing so, states the complaint, SEIU union officials violated the rights of workers who are required, as a condition of employment, to make forced-dues payments to the union who may not agree with the political aims of SEIU officials, ACT or the DNC.
“SEIU officials used the hard-earned wages of rank-and-file workers to bankroll the campaigns of hundreds of political candidates across America,” stated Gleason. “No one should be forced to pay compulsory dues to a union, especially when its officials continually abuse that government granted special privilege.”
The FEC is to investigate the Foundation’s complaint and will decide whether to begin a formal investigation of the SEIU union’s electioneering.
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, assists thousands of employees in more than 250 cases nationwide per year.