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Ethics Training

Ethics Training

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Ethics Training

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  1. Ethics Training

  2. What is the Code of Ethics? • Enables SEIU to meet our ethical challenges • Give SEIU members, leaders and staff belief in SEIU’s commitment to achieve the highest ethical standards • Hold officers and managers accountable • Promote the mission of justice for all • Adopted by the delegates of the 2008 SEIU International Convention

  3. What Does the Code Do? • Promotes a culture that supports the highest ethical standards • Establishes a system of accountability • Provides appropriate checks and balances • Minimizes the opportunity for misuse or abuse in union spending and decision-making authority • Supports transparency • Safeguards our members’ trust 3

  4. Who is Subject to the Code? • Local officers on policy making boards (or councils) • International board members • Local management staff • International management staff

  5. 1) An employer at a SEIU worksite is pleased with the way the recent contract was negotiated and sends the chairperson of the Union Bargaining Committee $300 worth of Starbucks cards to thank her. What should the Union Representative do with the gift cards? • Since they are minimal value, the organizer can keep them. • The organizer should put them towards some coffee for the next members’ meeting. • The chairperson must return the Starbucks cards. • The organizer is free to do what she/he likes, provided that they report the receipt of the gift to the Ethics Liaison.

  6. 1) An employer at a SEIU worksite is pleased with the way the recent contract was negotiated and sends the chairperson of the Union Bargaining Committee $300 worth of Starbucks cards to thank her. What should the Union Representative do with the gift cards? • Since they are minimal value, the organizer can keep them. • The organizer should put them towards some coffee for the next members’ meeting. • The chairperson must return the Starbucks cards. • The organizer is free to do what she/he likes, provided that they report the receipt of the gift to the Ethics Liaison.

  7. Feedback • Members must have absolute trust in the honesty of all SEIU dealings with vendors and employers. • To avoid such breaches of trust or the appearances of impropriety (that is, giving the impression of acting improperly without necessarily acting improperly), officers and managerial employees of SEIU are prohibited from accepting personal payments or gifts from any employer that engages in collective bargaining with SEIU or its Affiliates (unless the value of the gifts is minimal). • A gift worth $300 is not of minimal value and should be declined.

  8. 2) What kind of work-related decisions can officers, managers, and supervisors make that involve a relative or employee with whom he or she has a personal relationship? • Wages and benefits • Hours of work and assignments • Evaluations and training • None of the above

  9. 2) What kind of work-related decisions can officers, managers, and supervisors make that involve a relative or employee with whom he or she has a personal relationship? • Wages and benefits • Hours of work and assignments • Evaluations and training • None of the above

  10. Feedback • SEIU does not prohibit the employment of qualified relatives of current officers and employees, or of individuals with whom an employee is having a romantic or intimate personal relationship. • However, the existence of such relationships may lead to problems including favoritism or the appearance of favoritism. • Officers, managers and supervisors may not make work-related decisions involving their relative or employee with whom they have a personal relationship even if they do not directly supervise that person. • This prohibition includes decisions about hiring, wages, hours, benefits, assignments, evaluations, training, discipline, promotions and transfers.

  11. 3) Can a manager and staff member in the same department have a romantic relationship? • So long as the manager is not supervising the employee. • So long as the manager doesn’t try to influence the employee’s rate of pay. • So long as the manager doesn’t become involved in any of the employee’s work related issues. • All are correct.

  12. 3) Can a manager and staff member in the same department have a romantic relationship? • So long as the manager is not supervising the employee. • So long as the manager doesn’t try to influence the employee’s rate of pay. • So long as the manager doesn’t become involved in any of the employee’s work related issues. • All are correct.

  13. Feedback • Relatives and employees who have personal relationships may work in the same department as long as they do not have a direct reporting or supervisor-to-subordinate relationship. • Officers, managers and supervisors may not make work-related decisions involving their relative or employee with whom they have a personal relationship even if they do not directly supervise that person. • This prohibition includes decisions about hiring, wages, hours, benefits, assignments, evaluations, training, discipline, promotions and transfers.

  14. 4) Doug, a manager in SEIU Local 622, has an exciting opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a business that sells Union tee-shirts, mugs, and buttons. Doug provides over half of the start-up capital for the business. One of the main clients that the business expects is SEIU Local 622. Is Doug allowed to invest in this business, and if so, is he under any restrictions? • Yes, and he doesn’t need to disclose it as long as he isn’t the sales rep to the Union. • Yes, but the Local must give him permission first. • Yes, he can invest so long as he does not participate in any decision by the Local to purchase items from the business. • No.

  15. 4) Doug, a manager in SEIU Local 622, has an exciting opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a business that sells Union tee-shirts, mugs, and buttons. Doug provides over half of the start-up capital for the business. One of the main clients that the business expects is SEIU Local 622. Is Doug allowed to invest in this business, and if so, is he under any restrictions? • Yes, and he doesn’t need to disclose it as long as he isn’t the sales rep to the Union. • Yes, but the Local must give him permission first. • Yes, he can invest so long as he does not participate in any decision by the Local to purchase items from the business. • No.

  16. Feedback • The assets and funds of SEIU are held in trust for the benefit of the membership. • The membership needs to have confidence that those assets and funds are spent properly. • Officers and managerial employees are prohibited from participating in or trying to influence any decisions between SEIU and a firm that they own or in which they hold a substantial financial interest. • A substantial ownership refers to any interest that is (a) a significant part of their financial well-being or (b) large enough to influence the business decisions. • In this case, Doug’s investment is large enough to enable him to influence the decisions of the business. • Therefore, he should not participate in or try to influence the Local’s decisions to purchase items from the business.

  17. 5) Kris, a member of Local 333’s accounting staff, notices that $10,000 is being transferred monthly by her supervisor to an account she does not recognize. She does not see the transfers showing up on reports to the Secretary-Treasurer. Kris is concerned that these payments have not been approved but is afraid to raise it with her supervisor because she’s worried about losing her job. What should she do: • Contact the Ethics Liaison or the Ethics Ombudsperson to raise her concerns. • Nothing, because there is no guarantee that she won’t lose her job. • Nothing, because her supervisor can retaliate with bad performance evaluations and there is no protection against that. • Begin an investigation because she can’t go to the Ombudsperson unless she knows, without a doubt, that there is illegal activity.

  18. 5) Kris, a member of Local 333’s accounting staff, notices that $10,000 is being transferred monthly by her supervisor to an account she does not recognize. She does not see the transfers showing up on reports to the Secretary-Treasurer. Kris is concerned that these payments have not been approved but is afraid to raise it with her supervisor because she’s worried about losing her job. What should she do: • Contact the Ethics Liaison or the Ethics Ombudsperson to raise her concerns. • Nothing, because there is no guarantee that she won’t lose her job. • Nothing, because her supervisor can retaliate with bad performance evaluations and there is no protection against that. • Begin an investigation because she can’t go to the Ombudsperson unless she knows, without a doubt, that there is illegal activity.

  19. Feedback • SEIU encourages all employees to bring to the attention of the Union any questions or concerns that the Ethics Code may have been violated. • The Code expressly prohibits retaliation against employees for making good faith complaints, reports or inquiries. • Kris should raise her concerns with the Ethics Liaison for her local or with the Ethics Ombudsperson and include her fear of retaliation.

  20. 6) Under the Code of Ethics, there are rules about hiring, supervising, and work-related decisions involving those having an ongoing romantic or intimate personal relationship. In the Code, what is the definition of a “personal relationship?” • A personal relationship includes dating, living together, or being a significant other, and applies to heterosexual, gay, and lesbian relationships. • A personal relationship is only defined as a heterosexual, gay or lesbian relationship that has the legal status of marriage or civil union. • The definition of “personal relationship” only applies to those heterosexual, gay, or lesbian couples who are living together. • The definition of “personal relationship” does not apply to couples who have just been dating.

  21. 6) Under the Code of Ethics, there are rules about hiring, supervising, and work-related decisions involving those having an ongoing romantic or intimate personal relationship. In the Code, what is the definition of a “personal relationship?” • A personal relationship includes dating, living together, or being a significant other, and applies to heterosexual, gay, and lesbian relationships. • A personal relationship is only defined as a heterosexual, gay or lesbian relationship that has the legal status of marriage or civil union. • The definition of “personal relationship” only applies to those heterosexual, gay, or lesbian couples who are living together. • The definition of “personal relationship” does not apply to couples who have just been dating.

  22. Feedback • “Personal relationship” means an ongoing romantic or intimate personal relationship that may include dating, living together, or being a significant other. • This applies to heterosexual, gay and lesbian relationships. • Giving relatives or personal relations special treatment, and even creating the impression of special treatment, conflicts with our principles and our duty to conduct the business of SEIU without favoritism.

  23. 7) How should a gift of minimal financial value to an officer or manager from a business or professional firm that does business with the Union be handled? • It should be returned, or if perishable, placed in a common area for staff. • It should be shared with members. • It must be returned; if that is not an option, it must be discarded. • Officers and managers are free to keep gifts of minimal financial value.

  24. 7) How should a gift of minimal financial value to an officer or manager from a business or professional firm that does business with the Union be handled? • It should be returned, or if perishable, placed in a common area for staff. • It should be shared with members. • It must be returned; if that is not an option, it must be discarded. • Officers and managers are free to keep gifts of minimal financial value.

  25. Feedback • Members must have absolute trust in the honesty of all SEIU dealings with vendors and employers. • To avoid such breaches of trust or the appearances of impropriety (that is, giving the impression of acting improperly without necessarily acting improperly), officers and managerial employees of SEIU are prohibited from accepting personal payments or gifts from any employer that engages in collective bargaining with SEIU or its Affiliates (unless the value of the gifts is minimal). • In this case, the gift is of minimal value, so this rule is not triggered.

  26. 7) SEIU International is looking for bids on new office furniture. Matt, the Purchasing Manager, would like to give his sister’s new company a chance to bid on the contract. To help her come up with a bid, he tells his sister how much has been budgeted for the furniture. His sister submits a bid lower than the budget. If it is the lowest bid, can Matt accept the bid? • Yes, because letting her know what the budget was didn’t give his sister an advantage because she still had to submit a bid. • No, because Matt may not participate in decisions involving the Union’s relations with a firm in which his sister has a substantial ownership or financial interest. • Yes, because the bid was the lowest. • No, because his sister owns the company and the Local can’t do business with a company owned by a relative.

  27. 7) SEIU International is looking for bids on new office furniture. Matt, the Purchasing Manager, would like to give his sister’s new company a chance to bid on the contract. To help her come up with a bid, he tells his sister how much has been budgeted for the furniture. His sister submits a bid lower than the budget. If it is the lowest bid, can Matt accept the bid? • Yes, because letting her know what the budget was didn’t give his sister an advantage because she still had to submit a bid. • No, because Matt may not participate in decisions involving the Union’s relations with a firm in which his sister has a substantial ownership or financial interest. • Yes, because the bid was the lowest. • No, because his sister owns the company and the Local can’t do business with a company owned by a relative.

  28. Feedback • SEIU does not prohibit the hiring of qualified vendors that are owned by or employ relatives of SEIU employees, or those with whom an employee is having a personal relationship. • However, employees may not enable family and personal relationships to influence professional interactions with vendors or potential vendors. The existence of such relationships may lead to problems, including favoritism or the appearance of favoritism. • Giving relatives of personal relations special treatment, or even giving the appearance of special treatment, is not acceptable. • Therefore, Matt should not participate in any decisions involving SEIU’s relations with his sister’s firm.

  29. 8) Brenda is the Purchasing Manager for Local 622. She starts to have a relationship with a sales representative for the travel company that the Local uses. At what point does she have to report the relationship to the Ethics Liaison? • When she thinks it is becoming serious. • If it is going on over a month. • If it ends badly. • As soon as they begin dating.

  30. 8) Brenda is the Purchasing Manager for Local 622. She starts to have a relationship with a sales representative for the travel company that the Local uses. At what point does she have to report the relationship to the Ethics Liaison? • When she thinks it is becoming serious. • If it is going on over a month. • If it ends badly. • As soon as they begin dating.

  31. Feedback To ensure that she is in compliance with the Code, Brenda must disclose any relationship that may give rise to a conflict of interest to her Local’s Ethics Liaison (who serves as the Local’s resource for ethics questions or concerns) or to the Ethics Ombudsperson (who is part of SEIU Legal Department) as soon as the relationship begins.

  32. 9) Jason, Local 333’s attorney, is having problems with his personal computer hooking up to the sound system at his house. He convinces Claire, one of the IT managers at the Union, to leave work a couple hours early and stop at his house on the way home to look at his computer. Claire’s department relies on Jason for resolving many of their issues around contracts and she doesn’t want to alienate him, so she agrees to do so. Have Claire and Jason violated the Code? • Neither one has violated the Code since Claire is doing Jason a favor. • Claire has violated the Code because she agreed to do the job, but Jason did not since he only requested it. • Yes. Jason is not allowed to make use of Claire’s time for personal use, and Claire must conduct herself in manner consistent with her fiduciary responsibility to SEIU members. • Jason violated the Code because he is not allowed to use Claire’s time for personal use, but Claire has not since she needs Jason’s goodwill to get her job done.

  33. 9) Jason, Local 333’s attorney, is having problems with his personal computer hooking up to the sound system at his house. He convinces Claire, one of the IT managers at the Union, to leave work a couple hours early and stop at his house on the way home to look at his computer. Claire’s department relies on Jason for resolving many of their issues around contracts and she doesn’t want to alienate him, so she agrees to do so. Have Claire and Jason violated the Code? • Neither one has violated the Code since Claire is doing Jason a favor. • Claire has violated the Code because she agreed to do the job, but Jason did not since he only requested it. • Yes. Jason is not allowed to make use of Claire’s time for personal use, and Claire must conduct herself in manner consistent with her fiduciary responsibility to SEIU members. • Jason violated the Code because he is not allowed to use Claire’s time for personal use, but Claire has not since she needs Jason’s goodwill to get her job done.

  34. Feedback • Officers and managerial employees may not take any funds or other property belonging to SEIU or divert any union funds or property to the individual’s personal use or advantage. • A “couple of hours” of Claire’s time , paid for by the Union, is the property of the Union that should be used for the benefit of the Union and its members. • Both Jason and Claire violated the Code by diverting Claire’s work time to Jason’s personal advantage.

  35. 10) Joe, an Internal Organizing Supervisor, is invited to weekly lunches in the hospital cafeteria by Bob, the Labor Relations Manager at the SEIU represented hospital. Joe’s lunch selections always come to less than $20. If the hospital pays, can Joe accept the lunches under the Code? • No, the hospital is an employer of the SEIU members and the value of the meals over the year is more than minimal. • Yes, the value of the meals is minimal. • Yes, because the hospital is not a vendor of the Union. • No, because Joe can never accept any meals from an SEIU employer.

  36. 10) Joe, an Internal Organizing Supervisor, is invited to weekly lunches in the hospital cafeteria by Bob, the Labor Relations Manager at the SEIU represented hospital. Joe’s lunch selections always come to less than $20. If the hospital pays, can Joe accept the lunches under the Code? • No, the hospital is an employer of the SEIU members and the value of the meals over the year is more than minimal. • Yes, the value of the meals is minimal. • Yes, because the hospital is not a vendor of the Union. • No, because Joe can never accept any meals from an SEIU employer.

  37. Feedback • Members must have absolute trust in the honesty of all SEIU dealings with vendors and employers. • To avoid such breaches of trust or the appearances of impropriety (that is, giving the impression of acting improperly without necessarily acting improperly), officers and managerial employees of SEIU are prohibited from accepting personal payments or gifts from any employer that engages in collective bargaining with SEIU or its Affiliates (unless the value of the gifts is minimal). • The value of Joe’s meals over the year is not minimal; thus he should decline the lunches.

  38. 11) Sarah is a supervisor of field representatives at Local 622. Her sister-in- law, Elaine, applies for a posted position that reports to Sarah. Elaine goes through the same process as other applicants. Can Sarah hire her sister-in-law if she feels that, after the process, Elaine is the most qualified applicant? • No, the Code prohibits supervisors from making hiring decisions about in-laws. • Yes, hiring a sister-in-law is not prohibited. • Yes, as long as she discloses the relationship to the Ethics Liaison. • No, under the Code relatives cannot be hired by any department of the Local.

  39. 11) Sarah is a supervisor of field representatives at Local 622. Her sister-in- law, Elaine, applies for a posted position that reports to Sarah. Elaine goes through the same process as other applicants. Can Sarah hire her sister-in-law if she feels that, after the process, Elaine is the most qualified applicant? • No, the Code prohibits supervisors from making hiring decisions about in-laws. • Yes, hiring a sister-in-law is not prohibited. • Yes, as long as she discloses the relationship to the Ethics Liaison. • No, under the Code relatives cannot be hired by any department of the Local.

  40. Feedback • SEIU does not prohibit the employment of qualified relatives of current officers and employees, or of individuals with whom an employee is having a romantic or intimate personal relationship. • However, officers, managers may not make any hiring decisions about their relatives or attempt to influence hiring decisions made by others. • Relatives falling under this prohibition include in-laws, as well as foster or step relations, or any member of the employee’s household. • The only exception to this rule requires the head of a department or program and the Director of Human Resources to approve the hiring in writing. • Since Sarah presumably has not gone through this process, she may not hire Elaine.

  41. 12) John is accused of violating the Code of Ethics. He knows he did nothing wrong, but an investigation is launched. John is very busy and decides he does not have time to cooperate with the investigation. What happens now? • He may not have a hearing. • The police will be called. • John can be charged with another Code violation because failure to cooperate with an investigation is in itself a violation. • All are correct.

  42. 12) John is accused of violating the Code of Ethics. He knows he did nothing wrong, but an investigation is launched. John is very busy and decides he does not have time to cooperate with the investigation. What happens now? • He may not have a hearing. • The police will be called. • John can be charged with another Code violation because failure to cooperate with an investigation is in itself a violation. • All are correct.

  43. Feedback Because SEIU must maintain the highest ethical standards, failure to fully cooperate with an investigation of an alleged violation of the Code is a separate violation of the Code in itself.

  44. 13) The Ethics Liaison is: • A person at the International who is responsible for Union-wide ethics training. • A person who decides on discipline for Code violators. • A person who is responsible for holding hearings. • A person at the Local who provides ethics advice and training.

  45. 13) The Ethics Liaison is: • A person at the International who is responsible for Union-wide ethics training. • A person who decides on discipline for Code violators. • A person who is responsible for holding hearings. • A person at the Local who provides ethics advice and training.

  46. Feedback • The Ethics Liaison of the Local or Affiliate plays a critical role in SEIU’s ethics program. • Each SEIU Local and Affiliate will have an Ethics Liaison who serves as a primary point of contact for ethics inquiries, advice and training. • Local leaders and staff are encouraged to speak with their Liaison if they have ethical questions, concerns or suggestions for strengthening and promoting ethical practices in their Local.

  47. Ethics Training