Members Leading Members Newsletter Volume 1

Question: Do you know what your Union dues pay for?

Answer: For every dollar you pay in union dues, 40¢ goes to the international union in Washington, D.C.

Mary K. Henry, current president of SEIU International Union.

Mary K. Henry, current president of SEIU International Union.

You probably don’t even know who these people in Washington, D.C. are, but their leader is Mary K. Henry, and she’s making well over $250,000 per year with your dues money! She also has a staff of about 140 people, which are hand-picked cronies by her! And get this: You don’t even get to vote for her to be in office. The individuals that vote for her to be in office are her hand-picked executive board members from around the country. Dian Palmer is one of them! That’s why Mary K. Henry sent organizers and lawyers to Chicago to help Dian steal the Local 73 election, because she knows that Dian would return the favor come May 2019 when Mary K. Henry runs for her third term of presidency. This is NOT what democracy looks like. This is cronyism at its finest and is being perpetrated with your union dues money!


On a local level, please read below how your dues money are spent by Local 73.

Illegitimate Local 73 Leaders waste no time to pad their pockets

Dian Palmer, Joe Richert, Jeff Howard, and Science Meles wasted no time whatsoever padding their pockets with new salary increases, courtesy of you paying your union dues!

Members Leading Members will bring you exact numbers when the LM-2 reports come in, in 2019.

However, independent sources tell us:

  • Dian Palmer increased her salary to approx. $166,000, plus an international union stipend, worth approx. $12,000 per year.

  • Joe Richert went from approx. $95,000 per year to approx. $120,000 per year.

  • Jeff Howard earns approx. $110,000 per year.

  • Science Meles got the biggest increase, moving up from approx. $80,000 per year to approx. $110,000 per year.

  • They were not done yet! They also increased the salaries of various cronies inside the Local, such as Tyson Roan (General Counsel), Sean McGough (Organizing Director), and it appears, anyone else who exhibits blind loyalty to the trustees at the expense of the membership. Once again proving that if you are blindly loyal to the trustees and the International, you will get paid handsomely. However, if you challenge them with the best interest of the membership in mind, you may likely find yourself unjustly fired and demonized.

Legal Update

SEIU Local 73 Election Appeal

Over 106 pages in appeal documents were submitted to the SEIU International Union November 13, 2018. The International Union SEIU has acknowledged that they have received the election appeal, but to date they have not responded with a hearing nor have they begun to investigate the election misconduct.

The SEIU constitution and bylaws calls for the International to internally investigate any alleged election misconduct internally, within thirty days of receiving our appeal, before we file a charge with the U. S. Department of Labor.

Most likely, the International is going to try to drag their feet. However, we have contacted the U.S. Department of Labor and they will intervene after 90 days from the first date we filed the appeal, which means if the International does not hold hearings by January 29th, 2019, we can file the charge with the Department Of Labor and they will investigate immediately. Given all the violations by Dian’s team, most likely the DOL will call for new elections within 60 days. This time the DOL with conduct the election, and not the hand picked yes-men like Joe Iosbaker who allowed them to cheat every chance they got!

Illegal bylaw changes

As many of you have heard, in June 2018, the out-of-town trustees systematically changed the Local 73 bylaws in order to gain an advantage in the election by removing the right of all Local 73 staff, representatives, and organizers to run for office.

A decision on the bylaw changes is pending before federal judge Rebecca Palmeyer. This means that if Palmeyer rules that the bylaws were changed illegally, then she can order a re-do of the election, but this time it will be conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor and not the cronies hand-picked by the trustees!

Eight unjustly terminated representatives

Last week, the discovery phase of our litigation contesting our terminations began.

As you recall, the terminated Local 73 representatives were some of the most experienced representatives Local 73 had, each with over thirty years of experience: Remzi Jaos, Brenda Woodall, Rick Loza, Willie English, Leonard Simpson, Tom Haley, Bashir Nuruddin, and Terri Barnett were mostly terminated in January for exercising their right to run for local union office.

The International Union and trustees have so little respect for their staff that they ignore legal and democratic rights so that they would not be challenged in the election. The hypocrisy of all of this is that union’s such as SEIU are supposed to protect the rights of all workers, and set the standard. Yet here the International Union and out-of-town trustees are violating workers’ rights because it suits the agenda of the International Union to take control at any cost. This is merely an underhanded way to try to get rid of anybody who has the best interests of the membership in mind, instead of blind loyalty to the International leadership.

The International also hurt the membership by taking away some of the most experienced negotiators Local 73 had, leaving a void in both contract negotiations and in representation. Members are calling the union for representation only to get inexperienced representatives who have not been trained and do not know how to properly represent the membership.

The new International rule that is implemented by the out-of-town elected trustees states that each representative will have over 3,000 members to represent. This is an impossible task, given the geographical area that needs to be covered by one person. Thus, members cannot and will not be properly represented with this new plan.

As of January 2018, Local 73 staff attorneys are handling a very small amount of arbitration cases, if any, dropping most of the responsibility to the Union representatives, who are not trained to represent members in arbitration! The philosophy of the International and current elected leadership is that you should process your own grievances and negotiate your own contracts in order to free Local 73 representatives to go out and solicit as much COPE money as possible.

In turn, this COPE money is used in various questionable ways to pad the pockets of politicians who don’t have your best interests in mind. For example, last month, SEIU Joint Council gave Toni Preckwinkle $1,000,000 towards her mayoral campaign, ignoring the complaints from 6,000 Cook County members that Toni Preckwinkle has subcontracted their work and eliminated positions, as well as holding back wages as long as she’s been Cook County President.

In her tenure as Cook County President, Toni Preckwinkle has decimated Oak Forest hospital, cutting down staff and turning the 1,000 acre facility into a ghost town, leaving a medical void for the community and cutting down Local 73 staff by the hundreds. SEIU ignores their members’ cries and backs Preckwinkle for mayor despite all the harm she has done to our members. Should she win, she will likely do the same thing to over 10,000 members that Local 73 has working with the city of Chicago.

Local 73 still not doing their job!

On numerous occasions, members have called the newly-elected representative and secretary treasurer, Joe Richert, on a termination hearings. However, he did not show up to represent the members, and they were terminated. City of Chicago workers and  Chicago Park District workers are in a bitter fight for their contract, but the newly elected leaders (Dian Palmer, Jeff Howards, Science Meles) do not know how to negotiate contracts. Therefore, they have called in for help from New York and have brought in a negotiator to help finish the contracts. This type of issue was unheard of before the unlawful terminations of the eight Local 73 representatives by the trustees.

If the leadership of Local 73 does not know how to negotiate contracts, why are they receiving salaries? How can they teach the rest of their new staff how to do their work and service the membership? The International Union does not care if you are served, just as long as you continue to pay your dues so they can elect and appoint people that are blindly loyal to them and their agenda to raise your COPE contributions for the International Union!

Members Leading Members will continue to fight in federal court to get our jobs back with full back-pay for each and every experienced and dedicated Local 73 representative, in order to restore excellent representation to the whole membership!


Your union cancelled this year’s Christmas party due to lack of funds but gave Toni Preckwinkle $1,000,000 to run for mayor.

Your union’s leaders have yet to announce a membership meeting in January 2019! The only official announcement to date is an executive board meeting January 12, 10AM to 2PM. By the way, you can attend this meeting if you wish as an observer. The last membership meeting was in February 2018!

Be sure to call your union and ask when they are holding their next membership meeting, because they will most likely announce it three days before it happens, in order to have as few participants as possible!

Local 73’s number is (312) 787-5868.

It’s time to hold your union leaders accountable and know what your dues money is paying for! Call your union and demand better service and accountability!

Stay in contact and sign up! Our voices will not be silenced!