On February 14, 2017 SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry placed SEIU Healthcare Michigan into emergency trusteeship and appointed trustees Tom Balanoff, Inga Skippings and Ed Burke to assume responsibility for the affairs of the local. After someone with knowledge of the local reported potential financial malpractice at Healthcare Michigan, representatives of the International Union conducted a review of the local union’s books and records and found information indicating abuse of the local union’s loan and paid time off/earned vacation policy. Following this review, President Henry concluded that it was necessary to place the local into an emergency trusteeship to protect the interests of members and to allow for a full investigation to determine all the facts.
The International Union has the authority to appoint trustees to assume responsibility for the affairs of a local under limited and serious circumstances under the SEIU Constitution and federal law. Locals may be placed into trusteeship for purposes of correcting corruption or financial malpractice, restoring democratic procedures, assuring that collective bargaining agreements are properly maintained and enforced, carrying out other duties related to representing members in the workplace, and otherwise carrying out the legitimate goals of the International Union.
The trustees are authorized to take full charge of the local’s money, books, accounts, benefit funds and property in place of local union officers. The local union’s officers, executive board members, trust fund representatives and anyone else who the local union has the power to appoint are removed immediately under a trusteeship. Local union staff and stewards are not automatically removed when a trusteeship is imposed, but the trustees have the authority to do so if needed. These measures ensure that the trustees can determine the status of the local’s operations, representation of members and can begin to restore the proper functioning of the local as quickly as possible.
Now that the local has been placed in emergency trusteeship, the SEIU International Executive Board (IEB) will appoint a hearing officer to conduct a hearing, which will be open to members, about whether the trusteeship was properly imposed and should be continued. The IEB will make the final decision about whether to continue the trusteeship, as outlined in the SEIU Constitution.
It’s important for SEIU Healthcare Michigan members to know that the trusteeship does not change anything about their contracts or rights. The trustees and staff will conduct the day-to-day operations of the local and will work with stewards and staff to ensure that employers live up to their obligations.
Together, members, staff and trustees will move forward so that we can continue the important work the local has been doing to raise wages, improve the lives of all working people and ensure that everyone in our country has access to quality healthcare. Everyday in this country we are seeing the rights of the people in our community, the people we love and our core values challenged by our own elected representatives in Lansing and in Washington, DC. The nurses, CNAs, home care and other healthcare providers who have created this union are more important than ever in changing course for our state and country.