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‘Fight for 15’ Leader Suspended While Union Investigates Office Dating

Current and former SEIU staff describe a union leader’s pattern of relationships with subordinates.
Protesters with NYC Fight for $15 gather in front of a McDonalds on Feb. 13, in New York City.

Protesters with NYC Fight for $15 gather in front of a McDonalds on Feb. 13, in New York City.

Photographer: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

An architect of the high-profile union campaign to raise U.S. fast-food wages has been suspended from his duties at the Service Employees International Union this week over a relationship with a subordinate whom he married, and multiple current and former colleagues say his conduct is part of a pattern of previous romantic relationships with women working for him.

Scott Courtney, an executive vice president at SEIU who played a key role in creating and leading the union’s “Fight for 15” campaign, was suspended from his job on Monday by SEIU President Mary Kay Henry. A staff email sent by Henry on Wednesday said that there had been questions about Courtney “relating to a romantic relationship between a staff person and a supervisor.”