By Kevin Yamamura, The Sacramento Bee
Mariam Noujaim shook her head at the things her labor union had spent money on, from a $300 meal at Sacramento’s Kru restaurant to the Holiday Inn conference room where she spent four hours Tuesday reading some of the organization’s financial records.
Noujaim, a state worker for 23 years, has emerged as one of the biggest detractors of Service Employees International Union Local 1000, a powerful force in California politics. She believes the union wastes money when it should be looking for ways to cut costs and lower dues that 95,000 members pay.
After two years of legal battles to force SEIU to open its books, Noujaim and fellow activist Lisa Garcia had half a day to riffle through credit card records and expenditure statements from 2009 and 2010. They were not allowed to take photos, make copies or take anyone else to view the documents.