After a standoff dispute last week where police were called in, Executive Board President Sandi Ecklund is still working out of the Anaheim office of Local 50. Though Workers United, an affiliate of Service Employees International Union (SEIU), wasn't able to gain access to the facility, the union holds firm that it rightfully represents Disneyland Resort food service workers and that no disaffiliation has been properly made from it.
“The former officers of Local 50 have been removed from office after it was determined that they made decisions that jeopardized your future and that of the local,” Workers United Secretary-Treasurer Edgar Romney says to the contrary in a statement made directly to service employees. He was onsite in Anaheim last week as an appointed Trustee for Local 50.
Following an April 4, 2013 hearing, a hearing officer appointed by the General Executive Board of Workers United decided that a trusteeship over Local 50 was warranted. A resolution, posted online, states that the move was necessary “for the purpose of correcting financial malpractice” and “restoring democratic procedures.”
Romney echoes the sentiment. “We are hear to make sure the basic rights of all WU Local 50 members are respected,” he says in a press release, “that their dues are not being misspent and that members have a say in the future of their union.”
Here's video of Ecklund and Romney explaining both their sides to Anaheim police:
As is seen, Ecklund claims to have disaffiliated from Workers United, reiterating in a flyer elsewhere that a majority of employees have signed a petition to do the same and that a lawsuit is in place.
“The executive board can't disaffiliate itself by its own vote,” counters Renee Asher, SEIU's assistant director of communications. As to the question of the petition? “No one has seen it, but at any rate, that's not how a disaffiliation is carried out,” she adds.
The SEIU representative says that they called Anaheim police to the scene as well. “What we're trying to do is go through this process with the least amount of disruption to the cast members,” Asher tells the Weekly. “At the same time, we are learning and hearing about workplace issues and acting on their behalf.”
Asher doesn't deny that a civil lawsuit has been filed in this mess, but expresses confidence in spite of it. “The law is very much on our side,” she notes. “The trusteeship is presumed valid.” Romney adds that the future over Local 50 is of vital importance. “Times are hard, as companies slash hours and benefits for workers all over the country,” he adds in a public statement.
“That's why it is so important…that the members of Local 50 have a say in their future and a strong union to support them.”
Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @dpalabraz