Big Labor’s Big Problem with Sexual Harassment

By NTK Staff | 11.07.2017 @11:00am
Big Labor’s Big Problem with Sexual Harassment

An explosive new report from Bloomberg News uncovers a startling revelation – America’s biggest labor unions are some of the worst offenders when it comes to sexual harassment and misconduct. Below are the five most shocking stories about that misconduct: 1. Job Protection in Exchange for Sexual Relationship [The AFL-CIO’s chief budget officer, Terry] Stapleton, […]

An explosive new report from Bloomberg News uncovers a startling revelation – America’s biggest labor unions are some of the worst offenders when it comes to sexual harassment and misconduct.

Below are the five most shocking stories about that misconduct:

1. Job Protection in Exchange for Sexual Relationship

[The AFL-CIO’s chief budget officer, Terry] Stapleton, who oversaw employees’ expenses and travel, allegedly sent a secretary lewd messages and urged her to come to his hotel room during a meeting of the executive council. Stapleton also suggested he could protect her job if she had a sexual relationship with him, according to the people.

2. Staffers Demeaned and Called Derogatory Names

The AFL-CIO, a federation of 56 unions that together represent 12.5 million workers, in May settled a grievance brought by its own employees’ union, which accused the group of creating a hostile work environment for employees working on the 2016 election in Pennsylvania. Supervisors there allegedly referred to female staffers as “bitches” and other epithets, according to current and former staff.

3. Dating Subordinates and Years of Inaction by Union Leadership

Scott Courtney, an executive vice president at SEIU and a key architect of the high-profile “Fight for 15” campaign, resigned in October amid an investigation into alleged “sexual misconduct and abusive behavior.” During a career that spanned decades, people who worked for Courtney say he was known for dating his subordinates. Women warned each other and raised concerns about his behavior with higher-ups over the years, former employees said. Seventeen years ago, dozens of employees presented their concerns about Courtney in writing to national leaders, according to people who participated.

4. Verbal Abuse and Intimidation

[F]ormer SEIU employee Melissa Byrne … alleged that when [Fight For 15 leader, Kendall] Fells was her boss, he commented on what she wore, told her she was too awkward to pick up men and said she was lucky to work for him because no one liked her. Byrne, who led the online get-out-the-vote effort for Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign, said she raised concerns about Fells with SEIU officials in 2011.

5. Inappropriate Behavior and Retaliation

Former SEIU Chicago researcher Carrie Sloan said she left her job after working for a supervisor, Chris Schwartz, who repeatedly ogled her and other women and pressured them into spending time with him outside work. When she reported him within the organization — SEIU found conclusive evidence of his inappropriate behavior and suspended him for a week in 2009, according to internal documents reviewed by Bloomberg — he tried to retaliate with a negative performance review, she said.

Sign Up

for NTK updates every week.