Thursday, October 02, 2008

Who really controls the SEIU trusteeship hearings?

The SEIU retained Ray Marshall, former secretary of labor, to preside over the hearings on President Stern’s proposal to place the UHW-W under trusteeship. Marshall is assigned to the job so that the proceedings will presumably be impartial. But who really calls the shots? We ask this question because the OLMS office of the U.S. Labor Department wrote a request to Marshall (note: to Marshall not to the SEIU) in which it wrote:” As you are aware, we requested that an OLMS investigator be present to observe the hearings. It is our understanding that after consultation with the SEIU International Union, you will not honor our request."

If Marshall is really running the hearings, why did he have to consult with the SEIU before denying the request? Odd.

But that is not the end of the story. The SEIU seems to have changed its mind (perhaps after the media got on to the story.) Two days later, the DOL was informed, “SEIU would be willing to accommodate a request by DOL to attend the upcoming hearing….” But the letter came not from Marshall but from Judy Scott, SEIU general counsel. Marshall had dropped out of the loop. That’s why the question is appropriate: who is really in charge?

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