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Randall Benton / The Sacramento Bee

DMV employee Mariam Noujaim

Email campaign aims to cut money flowing to SEIU Local 1000

Published: Thursday, Jun. 12, 2014 - 12:44 pm
Last Modified: Friday, Jun. 13, 2014 - 9:52 am

SEIU Local 1000 dissidents have mounted an Internet campaign aimed at cutting into money the union receives from members.

DMV employees Mariam Noujaim and Lisa Garcia said they have been rolling out emails to Local 1000 members this month urging them to file as “non-germane objectors” who contribute nothing to the union’s politically – or ideologically-motivated – activities. About one-third of the $59.8 million the local spent on operations last year went to such efforts, according to the union’s 2013 financial statement.

Local 1000 spokesman Jim Zamora declined to comment, but the 95,000-employee local’s leaders have faced similar tactics over the years intended to chip away at membership and dues.

Noujaim, who is a part-time real estate agent, gained some notoriety for staging a public ambush campaign, Occupy SEIU, that used paid protesters to crash a union rally at Caesar Chavez Park. She also spent nearly $20,000 on litigation to force Local 1000 show her its financial records.

Noujaim’s latest SEIU tweaking cost about $1,450, she said. The money launched the www.seiuNGO.com website and paid a programmer to merge employee names culled from state pay data with contact information in the state’s employee directory. That list was used to send out 83,799 emails to employees covered by Local 1000. The emails, which were sent out in small batches to avoid triggering the state’s Internet firewalls, contained a link to a website with information about becoming a non-germane objector.

As of Wednesday, according to data Noujaim forwarded from the firm that handled the mass email, 36,803 recipients, or 43 percent, opened the non-germane letter. Of those, 14,518, about 40 percent, clicked the link to the website.

The annual deadline for filing non-germane objector letters is July 1.

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Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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