Q & A
What is happening with the leadership at SEIU Local 1000?
The duly elected Vice Presidents of SEIU Local 1000 — Vice President/Secretary-Treasurer David Jimenez, Vice President for Organizing/Representation, Anica Walls, and Vice President for Bargaining, Irene Green—who together comprise the Executive Committee, have effective Monday, February 28, 2022, suspended Richard Louis Brown from the duties of the office of President.
The SEIU Local 1000 Executive Committee did so after giving thoughtful consideration to their fiduciary obligations to the Union, and act in accordance with policy requirements established for the immediate protection of members and staff of the Union, as Mr. Brown posed an immediate threat to the Union’s social, political, and economic welfare.
Why was this action taken?
Union leadership was gravely concerned with Mr. Brown’s improper and self-interested actions, the most troublesome of which include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Mr. Brown willfully failed to hold Board meetings, thereby
dismantling officer and board oversight over the actions or
expenditures of the Union, which were specifically
established to protect the members’ dues monies.
- Mr. Brown intentionally interfered with the Executive
Committee’s authority to carry out its duties and roles as set
forth in Bylaws, Policy File, and applicable law. Doing so
allowed Mr. Brown to misuse his role and authority in
connection with several lawsuits against the Union in a
manner that benefitted his own self-interest at the expense of
the Union (and without its authority), thereby jeopardizing the
assets of SEIU Local 1000.
- Mr. Brown portrayed himself as the omnipotent leader of SEIU
Local 1000 by deliberately defying a prior Board action in order
to lavish staff with additional paid days off. This time off came
at the expense of hard-working members’ dues.
- Mr. Brown grossly misused the authority of his office to retaliate against other leaders who questioned his actions and fiscal malfeasance by summarily and without just cause attempting to suspend the memberships of the three Vice Presidents in violation of state law (Corp. Code 7341). This action was based on Brown’s own self-interested defiance of express provisions in the Union’s governing documents that allow the other statewide elected officers to serve as a check and balance on the President’s power.
Does that mean Richard Louis Brown is no longer the president?
Richard Louis Brown retains the title of President of SEIU Local 1000. He also remains a member of the Union’s Board of Directors. However, on February 28, the three statewide Vice Presidents of SEIU Local 1000 voted to suspend Brown from his duties as president. The Policy File (9.0.04) allowed the three vice presidents to issue the suspension pending the resolution of charges. They concluded that Brown’s actions posed an immediate threat to the welfare of SEIU Local 1000. While suspended from his duties, Mr. Brown retains his membership in the Union and his title unless and until there is a decision by the Board to revoke those privileges.
We voted for him and he won. Isn’t this undemocratic?
Mr. Brown was elected President in the same election process as the Vice Presidents and other members of the Board of Directors were elected. ALL of our elected representatives have a fiduciary duty to protect our union and all take office under rules that allow other elected representatives to take actions that check and balance one another’s power. Because of the unanimous action of the three statewide Vice Presidents and the subsequent disciplinary charge filed against Mr. Brown for violating the Union’s rules and putting our Union at risk, he remains suspended from the duties of President. The charges against him will be decided in a fair, due process hearing.
The leadership of SEIU Local 1000 is not just the President. It consists of a Board of Directors, headed by a recently elected Board Chair, with an Executive Committee that includes the three statewide vice presidents. The Board also includes DLC Chairs and BUNC Chairs. Our Bylaws and Policy File reflect that. Our Union has always worked as a team and respected diverse viewpoints. While the SEIU Local 1000 President plays a leadership role, our Union is designed to be strong when everyone works together. While the charges are processed, the governing policies call for the duties of the president to be temporarily handled by our duly-elected Vice President/Secretary-Treasurer David Jimenez, who was also elected by the statewide membership.
What is the hearing process? How long will it take? Will he have a lawyer present? Who will decide what happens to Mr. Brown?
The hearing process gives Mr. Brown the opportunity to defend himself against charges that have been filed against him by Vice President Anica Walls and another member via Form HR 1. The process is nothing new. This time the Board has also approved the appointment of an independent, experienced hearing officer who has been selected to hear the charges. Ms. Walls, the charging member, and Mr. Brown will be able to make their case with legal assistance if they so choose. The hearing is expected to be held in the coming weeks. The hearing officer will make a confidential report with recommendations to the Board of Directors. Any disciplinary action requires a two-thirds vote of the Board.
What happened to the suspension of the other officers? Why hasn’t that moved forward?
Mr. Brown’s actions to suspend the memberships of the three elected Vice Presidents (David Jimenez, Irene Green and Anica Walls) were improper and in violation of the union’s governing documents and California Law. Therefore, they were never suspended.
Is Mr. Brown still a member?
Yes, unless the Board approves disciplinary action otherwise.
Does he have the right to run again?
Yes, unless the Board takes disciplinary action that would otherwise prevent him from doing so.
What is Mr. Brown accused of doing?
The Vice President’s stated grounds for the suspension included:
- Brown’s dismantlement of democratic decision making within
the Local, including his failure to hold required Board
- Brown’s hiding from the Executive Committee information about
pending litigation against the SEIU Local 1000 and his failure to
consult the Executive Committee about litigation strategy or
- Brown’s attempt to suspend the three statewide Vice
Presidents from Union membership without a hearing, in direct
violation of California state law, in a move to entrench his
leadership and retaliate against them for challenging his alleged
- Brown’s gross financial malfeasance, including unilaterally granting 12 additional paid vacation days to staff outside of the staff contract, potentially costing the Union more than a half-million dollars.
Following the suspension of Richard Louis Brown, Vice President for Organizing/Representation Anica Walls filed internal Union charges against Brown on the basis of the same allegations. Her charges also included Brown’s improper occupation of the Union headquarters after his suspension. Those charges will be heard at the hearing and must be proven in accordance with hearing procedure.
How do I block any emails from Richard Louis Brown? Is SEIU letting him use my email address?
Any emails coming from Mr. Brown are not authorized by SEIU Local 1000. If you want to stop receiving them, you can unsubscribe using the link provided. You may also want to report the email to firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate that your email was inappropriately used.
How do these actions affect SEIU Local 1000 represented workers?
Despite this major change in leadership, SEIU Local 1000 can assure its represented workers that it will immediately enact a policy of acting through its democratically and legally elected Board of Directors in order to honor its fiduciary responsibility and protect Union assets for the benefit of its members.
The three duly elected Vice Presidents will lead this process by working together to protect members’ dues and ensure that fiscal prudence and democratic procedures are restored.
What does the governance change in the Policy File mean?
On March 5, 2022, SEIU Local 1000’s Board of Directors overwhelmingly voted to reform its governance structure. The new actions means that the Board of Directors retains authority for the operations of the Union and determined to elect one of its Board members to act as a Board Chair to carry out the many responsibilities formerly delegated to the SEIU Local 1000 President. The Chair serves a one year term at the pleasure of the Board.
As part of its new active role overseeing the operations of the Union, the Board will approve management hires, designate Local 1000’s chief negotiator for master contract negotiations, and designate the union’s media spokesperson.
So, is Bill Hall now the president? What is the difference between president and chair of the board?
The Board Chair is not the same as the President, and SEIU Local 1000 still has a President with duties designated by the Board. Under the new governance structure, the Board has decided to retain its power and remain actively involved in the operations of the Union. The Board Chair reports to the full board what is occurring regarding daily operations. The Board Chair will ensure that the union is carrying out the policies and procedures of SEIU Local 1000 and he will call meetings of the Board (at least four per year). Bill Hall was elected Chair at the October 2021 special meeting and this was reaffirmed at the March 5, 2022, Board meeting. He serves at the pleasure of the Board. The President remains on the Executive Committee and has additional limited responsibilities.
Why can’t President Brown and others be present in the office? Aren’t they allowed access as members?
Early in the morning on March 5, 2022, supporters of President Brown improperly occupied SEIU Local 1000 headquarters. That occupation interrupted the vital work of our staff operation which must have access to the building and its contents to perform their jobs — to protect worker rights and ensure the protections of hard-working members’ dues.
Joined by our International Union, SEIU Local 1000 filed an application for a restraining order in Sacramento Superior Court to get immediate legal relief. This action was designed to prevent further harm to the Union’s operations. A judge granted that temporary restraining order on March 10, prohibiting Mr. Brown and his supporters from entering the building. Later, on March 25, 2022, the Court decided to keep this prohibition in place into the future.
The order enjoins and restrains Brown from, among other activities, “exercising any powers of the Local 1000 president,” “holding himself out as the authorized president or as otherwise authorized to speak or act on behalf of Local 1000” and from “obstructing or interfering in any way with the conduct of Local 1000’s operations and affairs.” The court order further prevents Brown from “retaining and/or using Local 1000’s property, destroying Local 1000’s property, failing and/or refusing to return Local 1000’s property,” and from “entering … or refusing to leave” SEIU Local 1000’s premises.