SEIU Puts Michigan Health Care Affiliate in Trusteeship, Probes Possible Fraud

Financial malpractice rarely goes out of season among a number of health care affiliates of the Service Employees International Union. On February 14, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry placed SEIU Healthcare Michigan under emergency trusteeship following allegations by an unnamed internal whistleblower that two of its top officials had abused the Detroit-based union’s loan and vacation policies. Henry removed Marge Robinson and Shalaya Bryant, respectively, the union president and secretary-treasurer, and replaced them with three trustees to manage day-to-day affairs. While no dollar figure on the missing funds is available, evidence suggests it is substantial. The union, as it was, had been bleeding membership after the enactment by the Michigan legislature of Right to Work legislation several years ago.

Marge Faville Robinson, a nurse by profession, had done well for herself heading SEIU Healthcare Michigan (HCMI). According to the annual financial data submitted to the U.S. Department of Labor, her …

Top Ten Union Corruption Stories of the Year

Though union membership as a share of  American workers continues its long decline, union officials in 2013 showed they’re not the sort to stand on the sidelines, especially in the legal realm. Organized labor was unusually active last year in using the courts and Congress to press their interests. Their ultimate weapon: immigration amnesty/surge legislation. Eight members of the Senate, four from each party (“the Gang of Eight”), solicited advice exclusively from supporters of open borders in hopes of achieving their idea of “comprehensive reform.” The Senators unveiled the measure in April and passed it by 68-32 in June, Yet the bill, deservedly, has stalled in the House. Drafted in secret, with no hearings or debate, it represents a corruption of the political process. If the since-amended proposal becomes law, the result would be a further undercutting of entry-level wages for U.S. workers. Whether sinister or simply naive, union …

Fallen Southern California SEIU Local President Sentenced

Service Employees logoConsidering how much he stole, Tyrone Freeman should consider himself lucky. This past Monday, on October 7, Freeman, ex-president of Service Employees International Union Local 6434, was sentenced in Los Angeles federal court to two years and nine months in prison for stealing union funds and making false statements in connection with obtaining a mortgage loan. He also was ordered to pay about $150,000 in restitution. Prior to his ouster by SEIU International President Andrew Stern in 2008, Freeman had been considered by many to be Stern’s heir apparent. He was indicted last July on 15 criminal counts and convicted this January on 14 of them. “I am accountable for these bad decisions,” Freeman stated at his sentencing. Unfortunately, his offenses were more than simply bad business decisions. 

Union Corruption Update has covered this case many times. Tyrone Freeman, a rising star in Southern California labor circles by mid-decade, headed …

Former Southern California SEIU Boss Freeman Found Guilty

Despite all evidence to the contrary, Tyrone Freeman (in photo) was convinced he was innocent. It proved less a conviction than a delusion. This past Monday, January 28, a Los Angeles federal jury convicted the once-powerful Southern California Service Employees International Union (SEIU) leader on 14 criminal charges, including embezzlement, mail fraud and tax fraud. It was an ignominious downfall for a man whom many believed one day would succeed his ally and mentor, then-SEIU President Andrew Stern. “This was a case about abuse and betrayal,” said U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. “Freeman abused his position as a leader of the SEIU, and he betrayed the hardworking people whose interests he was supposed to represent.” In one sense, Freeman got off easy: While convicted of thefts in the tens of thousands of dollars, the actual total almost surely was far higher.

Union Corruption Update has covered this case several times, …

Ex-Los Angeles SEIU Boss Indicted for Theft, Tax Evasion

Tyrone Freeman (in photo) was once a rising star within the Service Employees International Union. Now his fall is imminent. Last Tuesday, July 31, Freeman, former president of the powerful Los Angeles-based United Long-Term Care Workers, also known as SEIU Local 6434, was indicted in federal court on 15 counts of embezzlement, tax evasion and other offenses. The action wasn’t unexpected. Freeman’s one-time benefactor, former SEIU President Andrew Stern, had permanently moved him from his post in late 2008 following newspaper accounts of corruption. The stories triggered an internal probe and a nearly four-year joint investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor, FBI and IRS. Freeman’s lawyers say their client is innocent. A jury might not be of a similar cast of mind. His wife already has pleaded guilty. And he’s facing an unresolved state civil suit.

Union Corruption Update covered this story twice in September 2008 and once …

Obama Election, Mob Prosecutions, Tougher Rules Led Way

The year 2008 will be remembered most of all for the $7 trillion in stock market assets that evaporated.  The losses were a consequence of the widespread attitude among Wall Street money managers that debt-fueled growth has no limits or negative consequences.  The equivalent view among union leaders is that institutional growth must come at any cost, whether to the unions themselves, employers or the country as a whole.  Only 7.5 percent of the nation’s private-sector work force now belongs to a union.  Labor officials are convinced that with the right laws and programs in place, that figure could double, even triple.  Everyone supposedly would win, save for certain “greedy” employers and ideologues hostile to the interests of working families.


The unions made a huge down payment on their planned expansion:  helping to elect a Left-progressive Democrat as our nation’s next president and

SEIU Makes Freeman Ouster Permanent; Orders Restitution

There may be few things in organized labor these days as permanent as the temporary suspension of a union officer suspected of massive corruption – at least when the parent union itself is under the watchful eye of authorities.  On November 26, Service Employees International Union President Andrew Stern announced he was imposing a lifetime ban on Tyrone Freeman, until recently the president of the largest SEIU local in California.  Additionally, Stern ordered Freeman to repay the local more than $1.1 million he allegedly misappropriated over the last few years.  Thus ends a promising union career, not to mention a close working relationship with SEIU top brass.


Union Corruption Update in September noted on two separate occasions that Freeman had been accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from his 160,000-member Los Angeles-based union, the United Long-Term Care Workers, also known as SEIU Local 6434, plus a 30,000-member

Los Angeles Boss Removed; Stern Seeks Outside Help in Probe

It’s understandable why Andrew Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, has been nervous lately.  The union’s 160,000-member Los Angeles affiliate, the United Long-Term Care Workers, also known as Local 6434, has been the target of reported investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor and the House of Representatives following revelations that its president, Tyrone Freeman, engaged in a pattern of misconduct.  Freeman had taken a paid leave of absence in order to facilitate an internal SEIU probe.  About the last thing Stern wants is for Congress and the executive branch to come down on his union. 


Now the verdict from headquarters is in:  Freeman indeed misappropriated local funds.  And the Washington, D.C.-based international union, not taking any chances, on September 17 removed him from the local payroll.  It will decide, pending a hearing, whether to permanently dismiss him.  Headquarters also removed Freeman’s top aide, Matthew Maldonado, and three

Los Angeles SEIU Boss Probed for Fundraising, Spending; Resigns

The Service Employees International Union under President Andrew Stern, as this publication has noted more than once, is committed to maximizing membership in its own ranks and in the labor movement as a whole.  Part of this ongoing campaign involves backing union-friendly political office-seekers.  But in Southern California this alliance has produced a downside:  bad publicity and a pair of investigations.  The focus of attention is SEIU Local 6434, also known as the United Long-Term Care Workers, and its embattled president, Tyrone Freeman.  On Thursday, August 21, Bernard Parks, a Democratic candidate for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, demanded that his opponent, Mark Ridley-Thomas, also a Democrat, return more than $4.5 million raised by a union-led alliance whose driving force is Freeman.   


Tyrone Freeman, 38, has been a rising star this decade in the firmament of the Service Employees, now claiming at least two million members.  His local