U.S. Dep’t of Labor filed suit Jan. 4 to overturn the Jul. 1998 election of Service Employees Int’l Union Local 50 in St. Louis because bosses allegedly rigged the nominations. DOL charges that SEIU violated federal labor laws by failing to provide timely and adequate notice of nominations, using an unreasonable nomination procedure, refusing to provide information to a challenger and failing to assure a fair election. Local 50 president Don Rudd said DOL asked Local 50 to agree to a new election, but Rudd refused because DOL sought to change the nomination process. Rudd said Local 50’s bylaws “were all approved by our international union.” But SEIU said the bylaws weren’t in question; rather their application by Local 50 was.
Ex-Local 50 president Bill Stodghill, a past and possibly future adversary of Rudd, called it “a terrible day for labor when Local 50…would adopt undemocratic procedures. Anytime the government intervenes and takes supervision over a union’s electoral process, it implies they have no faith in the current leadership in terms of running a democratic election.” But Stodghill has a tainted past as well. In 1996, Stodghill was ousted amid allegations of wrongly spending the union’s funds for his personal expenses. Rudd said “Stodghill was found guilty of improperly using members’ money at four separate hearings held by the union.” [St. Louis Post-Dispatch 1/5/99 & 6/4/98]