Top Union Executive in Fight for $15 Resigns After Complaints of Misconduct With Staff

Scott Courtney of the "Fight for $15" campaign addresses delegates on the second day of the Labour Party conference on September 26, 2016 in Liverpool, England / Getty Images
Scott Courtney of the "Fight for $15" campaign / Getty
October 23, 2017

One of the top labor figures in the Fight for $15 minimum wage campaign on Monday resigned from his senior position at the Service Employees International Union amid complaints about his sexual conduct toward staffers.

Scott Courtney's resignation as executive vice president of the SEIU and a member of the union comes a week after SEIU President Mary Kay Henry suspended him based on preliminary information from an internal investigation.

SEIU spokesperson Sahar Wali issued a statement on the resignation, quoting Henry's previous comments on the matter.

"There is no place in our organization for conduct that violates our Code of Ethics," Henry said. "Such conduct does not reflect who we are or represent the values that guide the important work we do every day for working people, our families, and communities."

"The internal investigation will continue and President Henry has taken additional steps to ensure that, across our union, all staff are respected, their contributions are valued, and their voices are heard," Wali said.

Seven people who worked with Courtney told BuzzFeed News last week that he has a history of sexual relationships with younger women within SEIU who were subsequently promoted. Two of those sources said there was no significant action after staffers reported abuse and sexual harassment by supervisors who reported to Courtney.

A former Fight for $15 organizer also told the Washington Free Beacon last week that sexual harassment was pervasive at the SEIU. She added that two supervisors at the union sexually harassed her, including a man directly affiliated with Fight for $15 movement, but said little action was taken to address the situation.

Both supervisors were later laid off from their positions, though the former organizer said she feels this was due to budgetary cuts, rather than their behavior.