SEIU Local 1000 Board of Directors Approve Independent Hearing Officer’s Recommendations to Remove Richard Louis Brown from Union Presidency

Press release

SACRAMENTO (January 7, 2023) – The Board of Directors of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1000 voted today to ratify an independent hearing officer’s recommendation to remove Richard Louis Brown as the union’s president for the remainder of his term, which ends in 2024.  They also formally reprimanded him for his misconduct, removed him from the office of Union steward, and banned him from holding the office of Union steward until December 31, 2024. The discipline removes Brown from his position on the Board of Directors.

Brown, who earlier had been suspended from his duties by the Board, was found to have violated multiple union policies in two complaints filed by SEIU 1000 Vice President for Organizing and Representation Anica Walls and in another by District Labor Council 794 member Michael Guss that was reviewed by a nationally-recognized independent hearing officer, Homer La Rue. 

The violations included: multiple acts of misconduct and misuse of union resources such as the failure to hold Board meetings; retaliatory suspension of Vice Presidents and abuse of Board members; improperly seizing control of the union’s headquarters building and removing documents from the building; abusive treatment of staff; “gross financial malfeasance;” and that he “grossly abused the authority of his office.”

“The Board’s action serves the best interests of our membership,” said Board of Directors Chairman Bill Hall, Vice President for Bargaining Irene Green, and Secretary/Treasurer David Jimenez.  “We remain focused on the need to effectively represent our members’ interests at the bargaining table and at the worksite.  Now we can move forward, and direct all of our energies towards achieving the best contract for our members.”  Local 1000 will be negotiating their contract with the State of California in 2023.

The votes were 40-6 to approve La Rue’s findings in the Walls matter; 41-2 to approve the penalties he recommended in that matter; 43-3 motion to approve his findings in the Guss matter; and 46-4 to approve the penalties he recommended in that matter, all of which exceeded the required two-third threshold in the union’s policies. The Board’s decision is final.

This hearing process on the charges, outlined in the union’s Policy File, is foundational to a sound governance process, protects the hard-earned dues of members, and ensures due process to those involved; it has been utilized multiple times in our union’s past when disputes have arisen. To ensure fairness, this process allowed each side to make their case to a professional neutral hearing officer.

Homer La Rue, the hearing officer, is a full-time professor at Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C. He has over 35 years of experience in resolving disputes in the private and public sectors, and has his own firm specializing in dispute resolution. Under the Union’s policy, the position of president will remain vacant through the end of the current term. Officer elections are held every 3 years.  The next officer election will be in 2024.  A President will be elected then.  

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