The stream of wasteful and exorbitant expenditures coming out of UFCW Locals in Southern California is long and winding. Imperfect Union has uncovered millions of dollars in legal expenditures that raise serious questions about what exactly has been occurring.
Since 2005, John Grant and UFCW 770 have been using union dues to fund millions of dollars in legal fees paid to a downtown Los Angeles labor law firm, Schwartz, Steinsapir, Dohrmann & Sommers.
According to publicly available financial documents, Local 770 spent nearly $14 million in member dues solely on legal fees and representation by Schwartz, Steinsapir, Dohrmann & Sommers between 2005 and 2020. That’s almost $450 per member, a number equal to about 26.5 hours of work for an average retail worker, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
It’s unclear what caused those large legal bills for Local 770.
We do know that San Diego-based UFCW Local 135, which is similar in size, has been represented by Schwartz, Steinsapir, Dohrmann & Sommers. In 2017, Local 135’s legal expenses reportedly defended against lawsuits and allegations of sexual misconduct by its president, Mickey Kasparian.
The nearly $14 million paid by UFCW Local 770, charted below, raises questions about what legal matters have required Local 770 to spend so much of its members’ dues on legal representation.
Does John Grant or any of the other UFCW 770 executives and employees – who earned a combined $6 million in 2020 – care to explain?