The Service Employees International union ran up a bill of nearly $2 million with an international security firm specializing in industrial espionage, hired to assist the January takeover of dissident Oakland-based affiliate United Healthcare Workers-West, according to a complaint filed in San Francisco federal court May 1.
The SEIU contracted the OSO Group through Bullock Associates, a security consulting firm hired by SEIU that specializes in executive protection and forensic accounting. The SEIU ran up a bill of $1,834,414 with the OSO Group, of which the union only paid part, the suit alleges. The complaint does not reveal how much the SEIU was billed by Bullock Associates, which the complaint notes was also doing work for the union.
The SEIU feared the takeover would provoke "possible violence and retaliation" from UHW members, the complaint said.
leaders claimed that UHW officials told members to "take possession of
the Oakland headquarters and other UHW facilities; withhold, destroy,
damage or transfer UHW documents, records and other property' and to
commit acts constituting harassment, threats and violence toward UHW
employees and staff members who choose to continue to work for UHW
and/or cooperate with" SEIU leadership, the complaint states.
The takeover was eventually successful, and dissident members of the UHW affiliate formed a new organization called National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW).
At the time of publication, representatives of the SEIU and of the NUHW had not returned calls requesting comment.
H/T | CourthouseNews.com