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Workplace Issues Today: SEIU named in Blagojevich scandal; evidence unclear

The powerful Service Employees International Union (SEIU), in particular president of the union’s janitors’ local in Chicago Tom Balanoff, has been linked to the recent and unfolding scandal surrounding Chicago Governor Rod Blagojevich’s attempt to profit from his duty to fill Obama’s vacant senate seat. Federal investigators suspect that the Governor’s chief of staff John Harris approached Balanoff seeking a high paid position for the Governor in the union’s Change to Win federation in exchange for selecting Obama-pick Valerie Jarrett to the available seat. It is not clear whether Balanoff actually reciprocated in the attempted negotiation, and SEIU maintains that neither the union, nor any of its officials were involved in any misconduct. SEIU has close ties to the Obama camp, and contributed $26 million to his presidential campaign this year.

SeeUnion Linked to Corruption Scandal,” by Steven Greenhouse, The New York Times, Dec 11 2008 (KBT)

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