In today’s hysteric environment regarding sexual harassment and abuse charges being bandied about, it seems ironic- not to mention hypocritical- that the feminist/LGBTQ-friendly media empire of Hollywood would be rocked the greatest. The #metoo hashtag has swept up more of the liberal establishment than Republicans or conservatives, and that has to sting the feminist movement. To wit, Harvey Weinstein, Brett Ratner, Charlie Rose and New York Times “journalist” Glenn Thrush- all liberal icons- have been taken down by these allegations. It may be true that the expose of such actions started in the corporate offices of Fox News and the Left had a field day with it. However, one suspects that they never expected the accusations would reach their own since, after all, they had the backs of women nationwide.
Instead, what we are discovering, much to the dismayed surprise of the Left, is that “horndoggery” knows no ideological or political bounds. Lost in the plethora of accusations, suspensions, terminations, apologies and denials is one area near and dear to the Left that has largely been ignored by the media despite some minimal coverage- organized labor. Specifically, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has been rocked by allegations that have led to the suspension of five officers.
The most serious is against Scott Courtney who led the union’s “Fight for $15” campaign nationally. The accusations are not the run-of-the-mill “he groped my butt” type, but he stands accused of sleeping with female staffers who happened to later find themselves on the short list for promotion. No doubt, affirmative action was the reason for these promotions (sarcasm intended). Since those allegations, four other top members of SEIU have been suspended or resigned over similar accusations that crossed the line into outright physical abuse.
While some outlets- mainly Bloomberg, The Christian Science Monitor, and Fox News– have covered the story, those reports occurred in either late October or early November. Since then, despite further allegations, there has been scant coverage. And the reason is simple: a union representing custodians, maids and servers just is not as sexy as a Hollywood mogul, actor, or politician. However, the accusations against SEIU officers, if true, are more insidious than a comedian exposing himself and masturbating in front of someone in a hotel room. They are more far-reaching than an unsubstantiated 30 year old accusation against a Republican running for the Senate from Alabama. They are more subtle, but no less repulsive, than pictures of a sitting Senator from Minnesota “jokingly” grabbing the breasts of a sleeping model.
For years, the SEIU has been campaigning for immigration reform that includes nothing less than amnesty for those illegally here who happen to fill jobs represented by the union. For years, we have heard that the SEIU’s mission is to represent those who perform the menial jobs that the rest of us take for granted. They are, in their minds, the protectors of powerless workers against the excesses of capitalism and greedy employers. Yet, for years they have taken advantage of female workers on their staffs and apparently engaged in behaviors that crossed the lines of decency against their own.
The allegations do not stop with Courtney. The Illinois coordinator for the “Fight for $15” campaign- Caleb Jennings- allegedly pushed a female staffer against a door frame. Mark Raleigh, SEIU’s man in Detroit, was suspended for similar actions.
The irony is not lost on this writer. According to the SEIU’s own words, they are leaders in the fight for worker protections for “working families, immigrants, people of color and LGBTQ people…” The “Fight for $15” has repeatedly vowed to fight “rampant sexual harassment in fast food restaurants.” Perhaps, the leadership of the SEIU should get their own house in order before fighting anything in other houses.
These accusations against the SEIU, which likely occur in other unions, may simply illustrate the depth of the sexual harassment problem in the workplace. Of course, every person is due their day in court and an accusation remains just that until proven. But it is truly hypocritical for an organization like the SEIU to hold itself out as the guardian of worker rights and against sexual harassment in the workplace while apparently being guilty on a systemic basis of the behaviors they allege to be fighting. Courting, sleeping with and then later promoting those who you bed is a classic case of sexual harassment. Pushing a staffer- despite their gender- against a door frame is abusive behavior in the most obvious form.
The SEIU and other unions need to heal themselves before they portray themselves as the protectors of worker rights. Because these accusations prove what we conservatives knew all along about unions: they only care about the worker’s dues that fill their coffers, not the people paying those dues. The proof is in how they treat their own.