Tyrone Freeman, the rising star who had led the United Long Term Care Workers local of SEIU, has stepped down from his post in order to allow an investigation into his spending habits.
Tyrone Freeman, president of the Service Employees International Union chapter, said in a written statement that he was taking a leave of absence and that the local would be placed in a temporary trusteeship.
“In order to ensure that any investigation of the allegations is fair and free from any question of interference or influence, I am taking a leave of absence effective immediately for the duration of the investigation,” the statement said. “I believe these steps will allow our union to continue to serve the best interests of our membership during this time.” (LA Times 8/20/08)
Freeman had been a star protege of SEIU International President Andy Stern, and had frequently clashed with United Heathcare Workers West president Sal Rosselli. Joe Matthews had an interesting post about this last week at Blockbuster Democracy:
Why does the action need to be so clear-cut? Because the labor movement is on the rise in Los Angeles. To attend a city council meeting or a mayoral press conference is to watch the labor movement governing the city. As the journalist Harold Meyerson has written, the rise of the LA unions as a labor force has been aided by the widespread perception that our unions are not old-style, corrupt empires. This is supposed to be new labor. The public needs to see transparency and accountability in the response to this.
As for Freeman, I hope he can make amends for this conduct and have a future in the labor movement. But it can’t be as president of this local.
While the move isn’t permanent, it would be hard to imagine Freeman back at ULTCW. My guess is that he finds a job elsewhere within SEIU, but likely outside of California.