SEIU may be linked to ultimatum on withholding stimulus funds - Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Sacramento -- Officials in the governor's office say a politically powerful union may have had inappropriate influence over the Obama administration's decision to withhold billions of dollars in federal stimulus money from California if the state does not reverse a scheduled wage cut for the labor group's workers.
The officials say they are particularly troubled that the Service Employees International Union, which lobbied the federal government to step in, was included in a conference call in which state and federal officials reviewed the wage cut and the terms of the stimulus package."The involvement of a stakeholder in this kind of state-federal deliberative process is unusual at best," she said. "This was really atypical and outside any norm I am familiar with."
In addition to several state and federal officials, participants in the April 15 conference call included an SEIU associate general counsel in Washington, a lobbyist for SEIU in California and a representative from SEIU's policy staff in California, according to a list provided by the Schwarzenegger administration.
SEIU spokeswoman Michelle Ringuette called suggestions that the union's involvement was inappropriate "absurd."The Federal Government is blackmailing the state of California.White House representatives did not respond to requests for comment.
During the conference call, state officials say, they were asked to defend the $74-million cut scheduled to take effect July 1. The cut lowers the state's maximum contribution to home health workers' pay from $12.10 per hour to $10.10.
The California officials on the call, who requested anonymity for fear of antagonizing the Obama administration, said they needed the savings to help balance the state budget.
The garbage never ends with this group (The Feds).