$1 Million Taken from Canadian Locals

According to the Service Employees Int’l Union, over $1 million was removed from the bank accounts of eight dissident SEIU locals in Canada days before the locals announced plans to terminate their SEIU affiliation and join the Canadian Auto Workers. Of that amount, $710,000 was taken from Local 220 in London, Ontario and hasn’t been returned, SEIU Canadian vice-president Sharleen Stewart said Mar. 7 after disclosing bank statements and certified checks to the media.

This news is the latest fight in a turf battle between the SEIU and the eight locals that voted Mar. 2 to break from the parent union and join CAW.

Stewart said an accounting firm will launch a “full investigation” into why bulk withdrawals of cash from the eight locals were made between Feb. 17 and Feb. 23 — a week before an Ontario court ordered the locals into trusteeship.

CAW president Buzz Hargrove blasted SEIU’s allegations as a smear campaign against the dissident presidents — who’ve since been ousted by SEIU. Hargrove said the money was held in trust and is now being transferred by a Toronto law firm to the SEIU head office in Washington.

Separately, SEIU filed a complaint of union raiding the week of Mar. 6 against Hargrove with the Canadian Labour Congress. A third party will be appointed to handle the raiding charges. [London (Ontario) Free Press 3/8/00]