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Open Letter to Andy Stern: San Diego SEIU 221 Expels Steward Wally Gutierrez?
Date 08/09/09/19:02

Dear Brother Stern,

On September 5, 2008, the Los Angeles Times reported:

"In a statement Thursday [September 4, 2008], SEIU President Andy Stern said: "Any acts of intimidation or retaliation against our members, staff or leaders are deeply offensive to our core values as a union, and we will move immediately and aggressively to bring disciplinary action, including termination if necessary, against any responsible parties."

-- Los Angeles Times, September 5, 2008

Really? Well then Brother Stern, please tell us what you are going to do about your corrupt appointees who have now decided to expel Wally Gutierrez from SEIU Local 221? They are blatantly trying to intimidate and retaliate against members and leaders who demand elections of new local union officers and executive board members. We have suffered your incompetent, arrogant, appointed officers and executive board members at Local 221 for more than a year and a half now.

And tell us Brother Stern, what are you going to do about the internal union charges filed a whole year ago against your appointed Local 221 President Sharon-Frances Moore? Sister Moore also blatantly retaliated and attempted to intimidate a member and leader (me). Eight members, including myself, filed those charges, and we have not received even a letter of receipt from your appointed Local 221 Secretary Omar Lopez, let alone the required internal union trial. And, you, Brother Stern, even declined to take original jurisdiction over the case, despite the obvious problem of getting a fair trial against the president of our own local union. What are you going to do about it now?

As you surely know, acts of intimidation and retaliation for legally protected union activity is not only a violation of the SEIU constitution and bylaws. Such acts are also against the law. Accordingly, Brother Gutierrez has filed an unfair labor practice charge against SEIU Local 221. (Text of the ULP charge is online at ). I also have filed a ULP against Local 221 (see attached). Both ULP charges are pending action by the California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB ).

Are you going to force Sharon-Frances Moore and Omar Lopez to step down, like the presidents of 2 locals in California and 1 local in Michigan: Tyrone Freeman, Annelle Grajeda, and Rickman Jackson? Are you going to ignore the serious situation at Local 221?

In addition to action by you to provide truly fair internal union trial and appeals procedures at Local 221 (which we sorely lack) there is another thing you could do.

You could convene a constitutional convention of provisional Local 221, open to all members, and empowered to immediately elect new temporary officers and executive board members. Will you? Such temporary, ELECTED leaders could remain in office pending adoption of a new constitution by the membership and new elections under the new constitution. Your personal representative, Marc Earls, promised us a constitutional convention and new elections within 6 months, back in February of 2007!

We have waited too long for restoration of democracy in our local union. We should not have to wait months more for the secretive, unelected committee that is drafting a new constitution to unveil some draconian nightmare constitution, and pep talk the membership into ratifying it (only to learn the hard way that it was written to stifle real democracy in our local). We need a constitutional convention, NOW !

Solidarity is built upon union democracy and trust,

Monty Kroopkin,
Local 221 steward,
and member of S.M.A.R.T.

cc: Local 221 Executive Board, members of SEIU, friends in the labor movement, and members of the press

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