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 HelpSaveOurState.com 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.”