State Worker Takes On Union To Save California

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A local state worker is demanding her union leaders tell her how they’re spending member’s money.  But so far, that union is not releasing details.

Mariam Noujaim is an Egyptian immigrant and she works for the DMV.  She is also a very faithful member of the SEIU local 1000.
Mariam’s nickname is “Mariam the Mighty”.  And while she may be small in stature, she’s taking on a giant.

“We want to see how they spend our money.  If they spend it wisely, good, we do nothing,” explained Noujaim. “They’re becoming a special interest group so we’re trying to go back to the original goal and purpose of the union to work for their members not to be a special interest group and work for politicians.”

Miriam says her gripe is not against the union itself but against practices she believes are continuing to bankrupt the State of California.

Joined by a band of supporters, the well-organized gour has set-up a website  The website explains their plan.

They believe state workers see waste and fraud better than anyone and that the union should be California’s watchdog.

“The only way that we can have them hold accountable the state of their fraud and wasteful spending is if we know that the union themselves aren’t doing it,” said Erica Soule, State Worker.  “Are we scared? Yes, but we are willing to stand up and try.”

The group has repeatedly requested spending disclosures from SEIU.  Soule was even kicked out of the union headquarters

“Right now it’s all written in code. I said ‘What does that mean? What does that money go to? What does that support?’ They couldn’t answer the questions and they kicked us out,” said Soule. “Obviously they’re hiding something.  We want to know what it is, clean it up so we can use you to save California.”
Just this week, Mariam delivered a letter, drafted by her attorney, asking for disclosure of the SEIU budget, her right as a union member.

“Show me that 2 + 2 = 4, I will get out of your way.  But if 2 + 2=10? Then maybe together we can try to fix it to how we can make it 4 and help the state to save the budget,” said Noujaim.

In response to our requests for an interview with the Union’s Chief  Counsel Paul Harris, CBS13 received this statement from SEIU  President Yvonne Walker:

“We don’t hide. Everything is done by the book and nothing is hidden. Local 1000’s financials are audited by independent outside auditors each year. The audit report is made available upon request and has been made available to this individual. The findings in the audit are subject to arbitration at which individuals who question the accuracy can raise questions before a neutral fact finder.”

  • tj

    AWESOME!! You go GIRL!!

    • Beverly Alcorn-Poon

      the only way to have a clean union is to have open budget meetings…voting on all, and I mean all expenditures. locals should always have open budgets but as we all know things get lost in the general fund…..or slush funds…ready money that can be spent on anything….To get clean….vote for open budget meeting.

    • Beverly Alcorn-Poon

      tie it up…the state is saying they can no longer pay union wage….I can see her tie…if the unions are spending as a special interest group they have created hostility towards union interests…

      • Mariam Noujaim

        Because the State cannot pay any longer Union wage; this is why we need to change our spending mentality to a more conservative one.

        Rather then spending our dues funding politicians; let the politicians fund their own campaign. It is time to spend our dues on auditors to stop the waste, fraud, innefficiencies, and what is left spend it on the Members like: emergency fund, lawyers to file our grievances, subsidize parking, daycare center, training, reduce the percentage of the monthly dues, and so on.

    • Mariam Noujaim

      !Need your support
      Pls go to our website: to sign our petition requesting transparecny.

      C U @ the Captiol

      Mariam, The Mighty!

    • Mariam Noujaim

      Need your support
      Pls go to our website: to sign our petition requesting transparecny.

      C U @ the Captiol

      Mariam, The Mighty!

    • Mariam Noujaim

      Need your support
      Pls go to our website: to sign our petition requesting transparecny.

      C U @ the Captiol

      Mariam, The Mighty!

  • Marie

    SEIU’s budget is above-board! If it wasn’t, the local would have been brought down long ago. Like any organization, though, you have to look at it slowly. No one is becoming rich of the members. The officers get their normal state salaries, none claim overtime–which I think they deserve because they work very long hours. By law, our dues money cannot be used for political purposes. So I am not sure what she is after.

    • jayjayjj71

      Really? By what law? Have you seen political ads that were paid for by SEIU? I have, and they dont support the candidates I vote for!

    • terry

      You are soooo naive

    • Mariam Noujaim

      We are not after any Officer, we are after our dues to be well spent. Rather than spending millions funding politicians, spend hundred thusands to watch our budget and State Officials. With the millions left, reduce our dues, hire lawyers to file our grievances, hire auditors to watch dog how the politicians and stae officals are wasting our tax payers money.

      Need your support
      Pls go to our website: to sign our petition requesting transparecny.

      C U @ the Captiol

      Mariam, The Mighty!

  • babytmz

    Good for her! And like she said, if they are spending it wisely, great! but if not, something needs to change.
    Keep trying!

  • Gabriel Vargas

    hey unions show us you books – just as you demand financial info from your employers. seam fair and even to me. only union supporters would object to an open financials from the unions

  • SPinNorcal

    Form LM-30 is required by the US Dept of Labor. It is an accounting of union spending, but naturally, it only includes the financial items required by DOL. It can be an eye-opener. It can also be a bit tricky to find. You have to search the DOL database to find the correct report. You won’t get this form from the union by their choice.

    • Mariam Noujaim

      We have made many unsuccessful attempts to get some visibility on how our dues are spent, If we dont get an answer by the end of this month we go to court to demand an audit.
      Need your support
      go to and sign our petition asking for Transparency.


  • SPinNorcal

    Sorry, that should be been form LM-2 not LM-30. I can provide the link, but I think this comment area obfuscates links.

    Here is the query page:
    Enter file 016-658 for SEIU Leadership Council. The latest report available is for 2009, which appears to report data for the year 2008.

    I am unsure of the the file number for the locals, or if they are even required to submit LM-2.

    • Mariam Noujaim

      Thanks will give it a try

      If we dont get the financial statements requested by the end of the month, will go to court to demand an audit.

      We need your support ,pls go to and sign our petition demanding transparency

      ThanksMariam, The Mighty

  • Sealgaire

    This story is typical BS from the Sack B. How does auditing the union help the State of CA? How and where does the author connect this story to the headline? I totally agree with holding unions accountable to their memberships as it is the members money being spent. But, to create a nexus between the money the union spends and the manner they spend it, to the states fiscal crisis is quite a stretch? I may, and I say may, see it as far as money spent to support certain bills, etc.. But the ultimate decision makers are the Politicians, Governor and voting public. Another anti union story by the Sack B. Come on guys, can you actually write a story with some nuetrality, rather than with an agenda?

    • George R.

      Well said, the Sacramento Bee is well known for its anti-state worker, and its stand against union workers in general, articles.

      As noted the way the union spends its funds are readily available to all members, and must of course be available for auditing purposes.

      The state budget has been in bad shape for several years, blame it on the real culprit, greedy individuals, to many projects and overspending, based on projected real estate inflation, which failed.

      Yes it is a big problem, BUT quit blaming state and other civil workers for all of the worlds woes. We are, and have been doing, our share and more to help get our state on track.

    • Mariam Noujaim

      Rather then spending billions on funding politians campaign and tell me who to vote for; let the politician raise their own money and fund their own campaign. Keep OUR money to watch dog those who miss handle our budget. Hire auditors to give us visibility and accountability about what, who re-thre budget. Rather than spending millions on politicians, reduce our dues especially at time of furlough; hire lawyers to file our grievances, build an emergency fund, subsidize parking fees for your Members, subsidize day care for your Members; help handixapp employees, training to better service the public who pays our salary; and so many other wiser way t spend our dues than basically bribing politiicians

      need your support
      go to and sign our petition for TRANSPARENCY

  • Lucas Hess

    more disinformation simply keeps distorting reality or, as Republicans like to say, everything is an opinion. Some things are not and financial information available through the union and its audit are one of them. There are no hidden items nor undisclosed pockets. One should wonder who’s using this lady and her organization as a foil. Sounds suspiciously like more Nordquist or Rove tactics, proven to be false and misleading over the years. We need more journalists, not just talking heads at Channel 13 and all other news organizations. A pox on all your houses for running this story as if it were a factual presentation

    • Mariam Noujaim

      This lady which is myself is not associated with any party but have a strong group of CALIFORNIANS, who work in public and private sector , who want to roll up their sleeves and help save ourCalifornia.

      We would love to use your energy come and join us and see for yourself mthere no ROVE or NOrdquist tactics. Only people who care and are from all various parties; but we are all Californianas.

      go to our website and give us your support by signing the petition for TRANSPARENCY. The only tactic we have is that we are asking for transparency. Wonder why SEIU is refusing to cooperate?

  • SPinNorcal

    More info on salaries for union staff based on the LM-2 cited above (schedule 12):

    You can go into LM2 and figure out the names, but I’ll leave that to someone else to do. This is all public info posted at US DOL. I have not compiled figures for the report filed Mar 31, 2010, covering the 2009 calendar year. This month, they should be filing the report covering the 2010 calendar year.

    Position/2008 pay
    BOOKKEEPER $59,324

    • Mary Kat

      These positions and salaries are not even from SEIU Local 1000. These are from SEIU’s state council, the body that coordinates political and policy issues for all 700,000 SEIU members in the various locals in California.

      • SPinNorcal

        True. So stated in comment at 12:43 pm.

  • Jeff Wilson

    Nice union protest on people’s lawns and scare the child inside with no parents around!!!
    Here is a speech by Stephen Lerner, “a former” official of Seiu, at the Left Forum 2011 “Towards a Politics of Solidarity” Pace University March 19, 2011.

    Read more:

    It is pretty interesting. Lerner was ousted from SEIU last November, reportedly for spending millions of the union’s dollars trying to pursue a plan like the one he details here. It is not clear what, if any, power and influence he currently wields
    I like his quote “Labor can’t lead this right now so if labor can’t lead but we are a critical part of it we do have money we have millions of members who are furious” Guy has direct ties to Obama also.
    It’s nice to see a union member doing something, but has she agreed to reform their pension plans? That is the real injustice. I can’t afford to pay into mine now, but by god I get to pay for hers and their is no way for me not to without going to jail!!!! Tax evasion! Sounds FAIR to me!!!! I won’t even start on the DMV either, State really wanted to save money get rid of that whole freaking department!!!!!

    • Mariam Noujaim

      WE said everybody gives a little for the sake of Califonia and that includes our pension too.

    • George R.

      Get your facts straight before ranting on a topic that you obviously know nothing about.

      “…..she agreed to reform their pension plans? That is the real injustice. I can’t afford to pay into mine now, but by god I get to pay for hers…”

      Every state employee pays into their retirement, and health-care, full federal and state taxes, etc. So if anything the state employees pay not only directly into their retirement accounts, they also pay indirectly through their state taxes.

      A double hit, even though so many people seem to think that somehow state employees get everything for free. That is just more lies spread by those either ignorant of facts, or deliberately trying to disparage others.

      You cannot pay into a pension? Yes you can, the same way everybody else does; a little at a time. The free ride you that think state workers get is a myth.

  • alfredo

    Union Members know how they spend there Money remember they put about $60 Millions in President Obama’s Campaing also look the Salaries for the union Representatives they Driving nice cars so don’t say you don’t know how they are spending you Money,

  • Albinon

    HelpSaveOurState did not seem to have a recent update on what was found on the records they did receive in 2009. The response from Yvonne Walker about having a nuetral fact-finder look into disputes sounds like an arbitration process, which is pretty standard for disputes.

    As much as I like seeing transparency with in the union’s finances, the whole story is not being told here. Mariam also needs to be upfront and tell us what she was told by the union and what her auditors told her about those financial records she received.

    • Mariam Noujaim

      It has been over a year now tht I am trying to have access to our (seiu) FINANCES UNSUCESSFULLY. wE ARE DETERMINED TO KNOW HOW THEY SPEND OUR DUES. pLEASE STAY IN TOUCH WITH OUR WEB: to be up to date with th elatest developments.

      Mariam , The Mighty

  • Mary Kat

    Every single year the union has to send everyone the details of an independent audit. Non-members can pay a fair-share fee that is lower than full dues because it excludes the percentage of money the union spends on certain political activities. And every single year, non-members (who are funded by the right-wing, anti-union, right to work organization) challenge the unions financial records. And every year, the union has to painstakenly defend every penny spend in front of independent arbitrators. And every single year the union comes up clean. Whoops, I take that back. One year, there was a calculating error and the union had to refund one dollar ($1) to every non-member. This is nothing but a lazy reporter making up a b.s. story so they have something to play on tv. This is exactly why you should NOT watch the news on TV.

    • Mariam Noujaim

      Mary so why is SEIU so reluctant to show me the books that is my right as a Member?
      Did any of the SEIU Employees had a cut in pay like we had for 19months of furlough? And they say they work for us? Did they cut down any of their lavish spending with our money to try to decrease the dues?

      Come and join us Mary Kat to save our State with OUR MNoney

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  • T-bone

    Is Mariam Noujaim a citizen?
    CA and the Feds should focus on putting our citizens to work. It should be illegal for non-citizens to be government workers. Clearly Mariam Noujaim is not aware of the Union’s history and their need. If Mariam Noujaim can show me any other organization that lobbies for the working class I’d be happy to join her and ask for the union to step aside. Sadly there are no other voices for the working class and working poor in this country. Go bakc Mariam Noujaim
    I’m positive there are no unions where you hail from.

    • Fred

      Well, you’re a racist pig aren’t you? And where did you come from? Unless you’re native american you got here via immigration at some point. She is smart enough to see the problem and has the spine to speak up. That’s a heck of a lot more than can be said for you.

      • Mariam Noujaim

        Fred, you sound like the Union Officials. As soon as anyone says anything they dont like, because they cannot answer the truth, they insult the person and attack them personally.
        Ok, if you think I am a racist pig; what does the racist pig have to do with the lack of disclosure and transparency? Calling me a racist pig doesnt answer my question; it just makes you look desperate and afraid of the truth.

        Come annd join our effort Fred. You might feel better about yourself.

    • Mariam Noujaim

      Because you dont know of any organization that lobbies for the working class; it doesnt makei it right, and it doesnt mean we cant create one right now!

      T Bone dont be afread to state your name. I know my Country pretty well, I have the freedom of speech and I dont need to hide behind a bone to give my opinion and help save our State that is California

      Come and join us and I wont ask for your citizenship paper!!!

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