State Worker Details SEIU's Shoddy Representation

by on May 15, 2010

What happens to California State Employees when they really need their union’s support?

The following report was given to CPPEA by a California state employee who turned to SEIU for help responding to flimsy charges in an Adverse Action.

When the union sent an attorney to defend him, SEIU’s expert actually undermined his case instead.

CPPEA has removed names and certain details to protect the worker’s confidentiality.


SEIU “represented” me in an Adverse Actions (AA) a few years ago.

This AA was very slim, and everyone who knew the details with was sure that it wouldn’t go anywhere.

The evidence against me was very vague (two emails that contained no inappropriate material, no discriminatory or defamatory content against anyone at all, including management).

Yet management was somehow motivated to dig up these emails by remotely accessing my computer and going into my email archives as far back as six months in order to find two emails that they could spin a thin story around.

SEIU did show up at my Skelly Hearing, but they didn’t question Management’s claims against me, or the timeliness of management’s case (six month old emails), or object to the methods of obtaining the evidence, or the event that precipitated their searching through my email archives. In other words, they never even asked what did I do that required managements investigation?  Many pertinent questions could have (and should have) been raised, but none of them were asked by my representative.

Working people need a good unionI was found “Guilty”, but there was a question as to what punishment I would be dealt.

At this point, SEIU had turned over my case to one of their “Attorneys” …a real Loser! Without exaggeration I could have represented myself much better than he did.

My pay was docked, and there was also the question about how long to keep the record of all this in my Personnel file. Management wanted to keep it for 3 years, and I wanted it out in 1 year. I knew that management wanted me gone, and I told my attorney to tell management that it would be easier for me to leave if I didn’t have the note in my file.

My attorney asked me if I really was planning on leaving. I explained I was not planning on it at that time, but if the opportunity presented itself, I would—but I specifically told him NOT to reveal that to Management!  He turned right around and revealed my plans to management. During further negotiations, when I confided in my less-than-capable attorney, he again revealed my strategy to management—even after I had expressly told him not to do so! How do I know this? Because he told me he did!

SEIU failed me by:

1. Failing to ask obvious questions like:

What happened that would precipitate Management’s remotely accessing, and searching my email archives as far back as 6 months for evidence of a current issue?

How do these emails validate Management’s claims against me?

What accounts for the outdated nature of the charges against me?

Why are you harassing our Union Member?

…And many other obvious questions that would have weakened management’s very thin case against me.

2. By not maintaining the basic “Attorney\Client” privilege.

SEIU’s failed representation was not only inadequate, it was negligent!


If you have had similar problems with SEIU, you’re not alone!

You can Share Your Story with CPPEA today, and join other California state employees who are demanding honest, effective and accountable Union Representation.

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