SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — An SEIU member says she was physically forced out of a room after she questioned union leaders about how they were counting ballots, and she recorded the confrontation on her cell phone.

Mariam Nojiam, a state worker for the Department of Motor Vehicles, began recording video as she walked into an SEIU election office while officials were giving instructions on counting procedure.

After one of the officials giving instructions asked if there were any questions, Mariam said she spoke up and began asking about large envelopes she says didn’t have any postmarks on them.

“Some people sent them in today, some people sent them in yesterday and the day before in priority mail, and there’s no postmark on them,” the official responded.

The ballot instructions clearly state that ballots must be received at the election office through the U.S. Postal Service, but when Mariam tried to insist that the envelopes without postmarks shouldn’t be allowed, the official cut her off.

“You need to take that up with your committee, not me,” he said. “I know what the procedures are.”

The confrontation escalated when the official was joined by others who eventually forced her out of the room and locked the door.

“The door was open. Nobody told me not to step in,” Mariam said.

Mariam said the confrontation shows union officials aren’t held to an appropriate level of transparency. “It’s about time that they be responsible and transparent to their memebers,” she said.

Mariam has since filed a complaint in protest of the envelopes that lacked postmarks.

Joe Flores, an SEIU delegate, said he witnessed the confrontation but described it as being “quickly resolved.” Mariam���s complaints may not get very far because of the rules regarding protests, Flores added.

“She’s asking questions, but again, only a candidate can raise that protest and the deadline has since passed,” he said.

The SEIU 1000 responded to CBS13’s request for interview with a statement, saying, “As our election rules dictate Ms. Noujaim was permitted to view the ballot count process along with any other member who wanted to monitor the process. Ms. Noujaim was escorted out when she tried to push her way into a restricted area.”

The statement continued, “Only candidates for office can file an election protest. That election language has been in place for 20+ years and the election procedures have not changed. As for envelopes, the United States Postal Service provides Priority Mail envelopes that do not need a postmark in the same manner to which a first class letter does.”

A copy of the ballot instructions provided to CBS13 states that the protest period began in May 2011 but made no mention of candidates being the only people eligible to file a protest.

Comments (20)
  1. marc sac says:

    Don’t you just love unions, it seems Jimmy Hoffa lives!

    1. yikes says:

      California state union is contra bonos mores. We can just hope Elliot Ness comes back also, SOON.

  2. unioncrooks says:

    The union officials are nothing more than crooks. They can’t even read their own printed ballot material and interpret the meaning in plain old English. They interpret the meaning in their own language. Mr. Flores was right that the incident was quickly resolved – they pushed a single lady out of the room. Shame on you overweight people pushing a skinny lady out of the room.

  3. challengedinformationseeker says:

    Tip of the union ice berg just wait till the state goes completely broke because of the this nefarious union then maybe the citizens of Calif.will wake up.

  4. redneckwriter says:

    Remeber when unions used to be a good thing? They have gotten way out of hand and no longer just protect the workers rights, but have become a political action committee, and they need to be reigned in.

  5. Rhonda Reed says:

    ever since I voted a few years ago, they got us a raise and then stole it from the state workers- I have not voted since…why? so they can continue to steal?

  6. Randy West says:

    Typical union thuggery at it’s finest

    Brown does not care he coddles them like they are his own children. WHy we elected a failure of a mayor from a failure of a city is beyond me.

  7. mark Johnson says:

    I used to be a union steward myself. I was principled and took my responsibilities seriously. As time went by I became alarmed at misuse, favoritism, abuse and down right criminal behavior. For this reason I submitted my resignation, not just from my steward position, but from the union itself. The true colors of my “friends” came to light. I was treated nastily. I learned that the union was not for the little guy, but to protect an existing order, even if it was broken. Morality plays no part in it. These people proved themselves to be selfish, protecting their lofty positions at the expense of the other members.

    1. Mariam Noujaim says:

      Mark, I would like to get in touch with you, can you please call me 916 834 8916 or email @
      I am the lady who video the elections irregularities

  8. Dale Harley says:

    SEIU thugery evidenced by nasty treatment of a little lady who didn’t create an incident but had one imposed on her.

  9. Rick says:

    The obvious question that needs to be asked is why is SEIU counting the ballots in the first place? As a (forced) dues paying member I stopped even bothering with their sham elections when they started counting the ballots instead of a neutral and secure third party. This kinda reminds you of how the Soviets operated, doesn’t it?

  10. mbee!1 says:

    This is typical of the union. They tried to walk over me and a number of others when our supervisor created a new class,. They lied to us up one side and down the other when all we wanted to know was what was happening.

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