Rank and File Scientists Demanding our Rights


September 20, 2011



  1. Failure of California Association of Professional Scientist’s (CAPS) leadership to fairly represent the class of UNIT 10 employee in dealings with our employer, the State of California is the basis for this complaint .  Fair representation must be based on rigorous adherence to mechanisms which provide for the union membership to guide and inform the leadership and negotiating committee so that their actions truly reflect the memberships’ preferences.  Bylaws are enacted to guide organizations and in part to assure that the intention of the membership is reflected in the decisions of the leadership, particularity in negotiations and in pursing grievances.  Democracy is therefore a guiding principle of union bylaws and policies and should therefore assure the membership’s right to put items of concern to the membership on the agenda of regular membership meetings in order to set the strategy and tactics the union will take in its dealing with the employer.  Without a mechanism for democratic discussions and due to long term disregard for bylaws mandated annual membership meetings the membership of CAPS has no mechanism to ensure the leadership fairly represents the membership in all matters from contract negotiations though the filing of grievances .  In the case of CAPS a long term disregard of the bylaws mandated annual membership meeting and disregard for the California Corporate Codes which provide the legal framework for Mutual Benefit Non-Profit Corporations has left the membership with out a mechanism to assure fair representation in dealings with our employer.  All mechanisms for internal review of this issue are shut down as members have not had the bylaws mandated annual membership meeting for ten years.  It is therefore incumbent upon PERB to consider the laws and bylaws which are being violated. Even assuming PERB accepts the argument that such violations are not addressed by the Dills act directly, they certainly violate the spirit and intent of the Dills Act, which is to ensure fairness for all parties in matters relating to collective bargaining by State employees.  Having seen that many of the PERB complaints by workers against their unions have been rejected by PERB with the admonition that they are internal issues, that should be addressed through internal mechanisms, does not apply in this case as that the CAPS leadership, under the direction of its agent Blanning and Baker LLC, has for years disregarded and has thus made null and void all internal mechanisms for workers to have democratic recourse, as outlined in this complaint.
  2. Violation of CCC 8330-8338(e).  In attempt to reach the membership of our union for the upcoming (October 3rd 2011) election, both myself and another candidate initiated a series of requests to examine and copy or obtain the membership list (as defined at CCC 8338(e)) so that we could mail or e-mail the membership with our campaign materials.  In a letter from CAPS counsel Gerald James dated August 31st   (Exhibit #1a & 1b) in which he quoted the California Association of Professional Scientists (CAPS) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the State of California which “requires CAPS to maintain address confidentiality of home addresses…”.  I was told that I would not receive a membership mailing list but that I would have the same opportunity as all other candidates to reach the membership with campaign material.  I was told: “The existing process by which candidates can communicate with members regarding their candidacy very reasonably balances candidates’ interest in communication, members’ interest in receiving information related to the election, members’ interest in maintaining the privacy of their personal information, and the CAPS obligations under the MOU with the State.”  I was subsequently sent a list of members’ names which included the department but not the site at which members work and their job title.  However I was not provided home addresses or phone numbers as required in CCC 8330-8338.  Subsequently I noticed CAPS president of their violation of CCC 8338 and suggested a compromise which would protect the members privacy rights.  I suggested that I be provided the members work e-mail addresses or their work mail stop.  This request has, to date been ignored.  The Dills Act section 3509 (g) does not countenance violation of CCC 8330-8338, as was done by CAPS consul Gerald James’ reference to the MOU between CAPS and the State.  This denial of access to the membership has further implications than just the elections.  As there has not been a membership meeting in ten years we would like to petition the membership, as is our right (see attached 2011 CAPS bylaws  Article III Section 2 (a) Exhibit  #  2) in order to convene a regular membership meeting.  However the Executive director denies emphatically that this provision of the bylaws was ever intended to be operational as evidenced in attached emails from Chris Voight to Giorgio Cosentino (Exhibit # 3a&3b read oldest e-mail at bottom of exhibit 3b first as e-mail threads are in reverse chronological order).
  3. Suppression of freedom of speech and a pattern of denial of membership access to our fellow union members to carry out union business.  As was explained in point #2 above, candidates are to be afforded access to the membership by the organizations distribution of one 8.5”x11” sheet of campaign material.  I submitted my campaign statement to the election committee which then returned it in redacted form claiming that the election committee had determined that portions of my statements were defamatory and do not comply with CAPS election rules.  In examination of the CAPS election rules we observe that justification given for the practice of campaign censorship is based a bogus interpretation of  Corporation Code Section 7525.  The bylaws states, “…Pursuant to Corporations Code Section 7525, CAPS will not publish or distribute any campaign statement which may expose CAPS, its agents, officers, or directors to liability for material contained in said statement.  Also CAPS will not publish or distribute any campaign statement that is, in the opinion of its legal counsel defamatory, obscene, or profane.”  However CCC 7525(b) states that “…(b)Neither the corporation, nor its agents, officers, directors, or employees, may be held criminally liable, liable for any negligence (active or passive) or otherwise liable for damages to any person on account of any material which is supplied by a nominee for director and which it mails or publishes in procedures intended to comply with Section 7520 or pursuant to Section 7523 or 7524 but the nominee on whose behalf such material was published or mailed shall be liable and shall indemnify and hold the corporation, its agents, officers, directors, and employees and each of them harmless from all demands, costs, including reasonable legal fees and expenses, claims, damages and causes of action arising out of such material or any such mailing or publication.”  This indicates that CAPS cannot be held liable for distribution of candidates statements.  CAPS censored my and my two co-candidates statements claiming we made defamatory statements but that claim is only the opinion of the ostensibly independent election committee counsel.  I responded to the notice of censorship by explaining that according to the 2009 Black’s Law dictionary, which defines defamation, that none of my redacted statements meet those definitions.   See attached letter to Ms. Mason (exhibit # 4a -4e) in which I showed that the election committee had not proved that my campaign statement defamed our organization or any CAPS members or staff.  In the spirit of compromise  in this exhibit I suggested minor revisions I could make and live with.  This compromise was rejected by the election committee.  The censored statement which does not fully convey my message is now scheduled to be sent to the membership on October 3rd.  This censorship hides significant information from the membership under a phony guise of defamation and is a violation of the memberships freedom of speech.
  4. I sugget the following reference to the decision of the PERB in Case No. LA-DP-333-E to be germane to our current situation.

  • “The campaign flyer on CSEA letterhead which urges employees to vote for CSEA “to ensure that the Tentative Agreement will be implemented” does not rise to the level of a misrepresentation under the Pasadena standard. (See also Santa Clara Unified School District(1993) PERB Order No. Ad-244.) There is no evidence of fraud but rather an opinion as to what might happen if CSEA does not win the election. This election flyer does render an employee unable to ascertain the truth.” P.12
  • Violation of members’ rights as per Dills Act Section 3519.5(b).  It is unlawful to, “Impose or threaten to impose reprisals on employees, to discriminate or threaten to discriminate against employees, or otherwise to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees because of their exercise of rights guaranteed by this chapter” In an e-mail exchange between Blanning and Baker CFO Matt Austin (agent for CAPS) and Chris Voight, executive director of CAPS, Lisa Crvarich counsel for Blanning and Baker and CAPS president Patty Valdez, dated April 5th 2010 prejudicial statement was made about Charles Rachlis which create a discriminatory attitude toward myself by defaming my person and negating the fiduciary responsibility of staff to maintain objectivity toward the members.  Without objectivity a member can not be represented fairly by their agent.  (See Exhibit # 5)
  • Violation of CCC 7510-7517: Failure to hold regular meeting of the members for ten years.  This violation discriminates against memberships’ right to the annual membership meeting and suppresses members freedom of speech.

The old 2007 bylaws (see attached exhibit # 6) in ARTICLE III  Section 1 Annual Meeting of Members paragraph (a) An annual meeting of members shall be held. (b) The purpose of the annual meeting of the members shall be to install Officers and Directors.  (c) Association business other than the installation of Officers and Directors may be transacted.

When I found out that there has not been an annual membership meeting in ten years and brought it to the attention of the board that all their actions, including distribution of funds, signing of contracts etc. have been done by persons not duly installed as officers, and that denial of the members right to the bylaws mandated meeting was a breach of contract by the organization to the members and a breach of fiduciary responsibility of the agent (Blanning and Baker LLC) to the members, the board decided to do something about it.  They decided to bury it.  At the board meeting in February 2011, they amended the bylaws and as yet have not noticed the membership of the change nor have they posted the bylaws at the web site.

The 2011 amendment to the bylaws wrote the right to an annual membership meeting out of the bylaws altogether in an attempt to codify their long term undemocratic and illegal denial of the memberships right to membership meetings.

The new bylaws passed by the current board reads:

ARTICLE III MEETINGS OF MEMBERS.  Section 1-Regular Meetings of Members  (Exhibit # 2)

(a)           Regular meetings of the members may be held at times determined by the Board. (Revised 02/12/2011)

(b)           The purpose of the regular meeting of the members shall be to transact any business which may be brought before the meeting. (Revised 02/12/11)

So what they did here was make the regular membership meeting the prerogative of the board and they displaced the installation of the Officers and Directors to another section of the bylaws to make a fait accompli of a ten year reign of uninstalled Officers and Directors conducting the members business.  The only other place in the bylaws where the task of installation of officers could possibly be construed as legitimate  is ARITICLE 6 POWERS OF THE BOARD  Section 2-General Authority of the Board paragraph (a) All Association powers shall be exercised by, or under the authority of the Board. The business and affairs of the Association shall be controlled by the board.

But Corporation Code 7510(b) states: “A regular meeting of members shall be held on a date 
and time, and with the frequency stated in or fixed in accordance with the bylaws, but 
in any event in each year in which directors are to be elected at that meeting for the 
purpose of conducting such election, and to transact any other proper business which may 
be brought before the meeting.”

This new 2011 bylaws amendments is in contradiction to 7510(b)) is that a regular meeting shall be held, not as the  bylaws amended clause states,  “may be held   upon statement of time and place by the board.”  Rather a regular meeting must be held as per CCC 7510, with a stated frequency stated in or fixed in accordance with the bylaws.


1)    Require that CAPS publish candidates statements as they are written as there is no liability to CAPS for the statements of candidates.

2)    Provide a mechanism to abide CCC 8330-8338 so that candidates can send as much informational and campaign material to members as they may desire and so that members can petition the membership. Either by distribution of mailing list, mailing labels, restricted privacy protected application of mailing labels to candidates material as is done by other organizations concerned with privacy, or distribute work e-mail addresses in an Exel/spread sheet format.

3)    Direct CAPS to hold Annual membership meetings in order to convene the body of the whole and to provide members a mechanism to address concerns of the organization.

4)    Stay the current election (scheduled for October 3rd 2011) until mechanisms put in place to assure distribution of candidates entire statements a access to membership addresses (as stated before with respect to privacy) has been administered.

Submitted Respectfully,

Charles Rachlis

CAPS member  Candidate for Vice President


September 22, 2011 Posted by | CAPS BYLAWS ISSUES | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CAPS Rank and File Fighting Union Caucus Election Bulletin #5

August 30, 2011

CAPS Rank and File Fighting Union Caucus Election  Bulletin #5



How CAPS leadership and Blanning and Baker LLC  have colluded to deprive members of their rights.

CAPS members rights are outlined in the organizations bylaws.  But even those bylaws do not exist in a vacuum they must conform to the Government Code which governs Non-Profit Mutual Benefit Corporations.

Violation #1.

Failure to hold regular meeting of the members for 10 years California Codes Corporation Code Section  7510-7517 :

The old 2007 bylaws stated in ARTICLE III             Section 1 Annual Meeting of Members paragraph (a) An annual meeting of members shall be held. (b) The purpose of the annual meeting of the members shall be to install Officers and Directors.  (c) Association business other than the installation of Officers and Directors may be transacted.

When candidate for Vice President of CAPS, Charles Rachlis found out that there has not been a meeting in 10 years and brought it to the attention of the board that all their actions, including distribution of funds, signing of contracts etc. have been done by persons not duly installed as officers, and that denial of the members right to the bylaws mandated meeting was a breach of contract by the organization to the members and a breach of fiduciary responsibility of the agent (Blanning and Baker) to the members, the board decided to do something about it.  They decided to bury it.  So at the next board meeting in February 2011, after  I brought this to their attention, they amended the bylaws and as yet have not noticed the membership of the change nor have they  posted the bylaws at the web site.

The 2011 amendment to the bylaws wrote the right to an annual membership meeting out of the bylaws altogether in an attempt to codify their long term undemocratic and illegal denial of the memberships right to membership meetings.

The new bylaws passed by the current board reads:

ARTICLE III MEETINGS OF MEMBERS.  Section 1-Regular Meetings of Members

(a)   Regular meetings of the members may be held at times determined by the Board. (Revised 02/12/2011)

(b)  The purpose of the regular meeting of the members shall be to transact any business which may be brought before the meeting. (Revised  02/12/11)

So what they did here was make the regular membership meeting the prerogative of the board and they displaced the installation of the Officers and Directors to another section of the bylaws to end a ten year reign of uninstalled Officers and Directors conducting the members business. The only other place in the bylaws where the  task of installation of officers could possibly be construed as legitimate  is ARITICLE 6 POWERS OF THE BOARD  Section 2-General Authority of the Board paragraph (a) All Association powers shall be exercised by, or under the authority of the Board. The business and affairs of the Association shall be controlled by the board….

But what does the State of California have to say about this?   Corporation Code 7510(b) states: A regular meeting of members shall be held on a date and time, and with the frequency stated in or fixed in accordance with the bylaws, but in any event in each year in which directors are to be elected at that meeting for the purpose of conducting such election, and to transact any other proper business which may be brought before the meeting.

This clearly is in contradiction to the 2011 amendments.  The clearly stated intention of this clause is that a regular meeting shall be held, not as the amended clause states may be held  upon statement of time and place by the  of the board. No that meeting must be held with a stated frequency stated in or fixed in accordance with the bylaws.


Violation #2  Failure to notice members of their right to convene a special meeting with demand by 5% or more of the members. Corp.Code. Section 7510(e)

which states: “In addition, special meetings of members for any lawful purpose may be called by 5 percent or more of the members.” 

However in the old bylaws 2007 and prior, it states in ARTICLE III Section 2 paragraph(b) “Special meetings of the members for any purposes, may be called by the Board, or shall be held upon petition of thirty percent (30%) of the members.   So for decades as scientists looked at their bylaws and if they had considered petitioning for a special meeting they would have been dissuaded by the monumental nature of the task.  Considering the size and shape of CAPS collecting 30% of the members signatures is impossible without access to the membership list, a quorum membership meeting attended by a quorum, or the membership newsletter.  All of these venues have been denied to the members.   So now with the boards actions under scrutiny, during the February  2011 board meeting they amend this paragraph bylaws to conform with the law.  Better late than never but that change does nothing to address the damages incurred by decades of denial of membership meetings.



Will Wright President, Charles Rachlis Vice President, Giorgio Cosentino Treasurer



September 16, 2011 Posted by | CAPS election 2011 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Twenty little known facts about CAPS relations with Blanning and Baker LLc

Twenty little known facts about CAPS relations with Blanning and Baker LLc

  1.     Per the original CAPS Policy File, CAPS contracts with the labor consulting firm, Blanning and Baker (B & B).

2.     The Chief Financial Officer of B & B is Mr. Matt Austin.  The approximately 2500 members of CAPS pays approximately $800,000.00 dollars per year to B & B.

3.     Blanning and Baker are also the labor consultants for Professional Engineers of California Government (PECG), which has 13,000 members.  Assuming dues of $50 per month, B & B receives $7,800,000.00 from PECG.  The founder of Blanning and Baker, Bruce Blanning, was previously a state engineer.  He is the Executive Director of PECG.

4.     All CAPS office employees are Blanning and Baker employees.  Their names can be found on the Blanning and Baker webpage.

5.     The rights of representation of CAPS members are conferred by the Ralph Dills Act.  The agency responsible for enforcement of provisions of the Dills Act is the Public Employees Relations Board (PERB).

6.     CAPS is also a Non-profit Mutual Benefit Corporation governed by the California Corporations Code.  The agency responsible for enforcement of this code includes the Office of the Attorney General and the Superior Court (county of primary corporation office).

7.     Chain-of-command:  Blanning and Baker report to the CAPS elected president.  The contract CAPS has with Blanning and Baker is reviewed-approved by the CAPS elected board.  CAPS can terminate Blanning and Baker if they so choose.

8.     The CAPS bylaws are intentionally hidden:  CAPS intentionally hides their bylaws and policy file documents while other unions post them on the union webpage.  These documents are the rights the members have with their union.  These documents were previously posted on the password-protected part of the CAPS webpage, but have since gone missing after members began scrutinizing them.  The explanation given by a Blanning and Baker employee for not displaying them is that “the union business is competitive.” The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) document that is posted on the CAPS webpage does not address the rights members have with CAPS/Blanning and Baker, only the rights members have with their employer.

9.     CAPS site reps are appointed, not elected:  Per the bylaws, site reps are handpicked by the CAPS board, not elected.

10.  Failure to hold member meetings (previous bylaws requirement):  The previously required (prior to 2011 revision of bylaws) annual meeting of the members never occurred.  These would have been formal meetings, with set agenda, and documented minutes.  Instead, the only meetings CAPS members have participated in have been “informational meetings”, no minutes documenting your voice-concerns for other members across the state to hear or read.  The revised (March, 2011) bylaws have removed the requirement of a yearly meeting for the members.  Blanning and Baker staff cite logistical challenges of an annual meetings as CAPS members are distributed throughout the state.

11.  Circulating petitions not possible:  CAPS has no petition procedure and the CAPS board and B & B staff have made it clear they do not support one.  In a recent email communication, Treasurer David Miller stated, “If you want a petition circulated, it is YOUR job to do it, not CAPS staff. In fact, if I find that our staff is assisting anyone to circulate petitions, I would find THAT to be a serious error.”  It should be noted that SEIU has a procedure for circulating petitions.  In the words of the B & B Staff Director “CAPS has that language (petition option) in its bylaws as a requirement of the California Corporations Code, on advice of counsel.  Every Mutual Benefit Non Profit Corporation (MBNPC), as CAPS is organized, should have it.  But that doesn’t mean the process is practical or that it would ever be used in an organization the size and shape of CAPS.”

12.  The holding of special meetings not possible:  The bylaws state that members can use a petition to call for a special meeting. To do so, members need 5% of the membership.  CAPS has no petition procedure.  CAPS will not help circulate a petition.  CAPS will not provide members with a membership list (not even work addresses).  The option to call a special meeting is non-existent.

13.  No recall elections:  The bylaws say members can recall elected officers by conducting a special meeting or petition.  As neither is possible, the option to hold a recall election is non-existent.

14.  Decertification not possible:  In violation of state law (enforced by PERB), CAPS members cannot decertify CAPS.  The state collective bargaining laws include a provision for members to decertify their union, and thus seeking representation from another union.  The state procedure requires a petition containing signatures of 30% of the membership.  The CAPS membership is divided into 5 districts throughout the state, each containing approximately 500 members, the locations of these members unknown.  The option to decertify is non-existent.

15.  Severance not possible:  CAPS members cannot seek severance from their union.  In violation of state law, a specific group of CAPS members cannot seek severance from CAPS as this can only be done via the circulation of a petition. The option to seek severance from CAPS is non-existent.

16.  Censoring of candidate statements:  CAPS censor’s election candidate statements by adding additional “censoring” language to the bylaws that EXCEEDS the candidate statement requirements of the governing California Corporations Code.  CAPS has added their own additional verbiage stating that a candidate statement cannot contain any information that could bring harm to CAPS.  This includes damaging facts regarding the conduct and performance of Blanning and Baker staff.   Unlike other CAPS bylaws provisions, this one item is STRICTLY ENFORCED as evidenced by recent sanitizing of statements of current candidates.  CAPS candidate statements were required to first be submitted to Blanning and Baker staff, instead of the CAPS election committee.  The election committee then reviews the statements.  Presumably, a lawyer is included in the review of these statements.  Presumably, the lawyer is an employee of Blanning and Baker.  Presumably, that lawyer would not be able to impartially review a candidate statement that calls for the termination of Blanning and Baker.

17.  Communication Blackout:  CAPS has ignored previous requests from members to add a mechanism of communication, such as an E-forum or list serve.

18.  CAPS funding of PACs:  In 2010, $530,600.00 (1/3 of CAPS dues) was paid to political campaigns by CAPS.  CAPS also gave $7,800.00 to Treasurer David Miller for his pursuit of a seat on the PERS board.

19.  “Independent” Financial audits:  The bylaws require these.  The treasurer, two weeks after being asked, now states they are being performed.  It is known that yearly audits are being performed by the “non-independent” Blanning and Baker bookkeeper.  Audits are also being performed by the “non-independent” CPAs, Kumpf and Leippe.  It is not known who is performing the “independent” audits.

20.  CAPS Lawsuit strategy:  Review of lawsuits filed by CAPS in past 20 years reveals a losing record.

September 12, 2011 Posted by | CAPS HISTORY | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Campaign Statement Charles Rachlis for Vice President of CAPS

CAPS Fighting Rank and File Union Caucus endorses the slate of Will Wright for President, Charles Rachlis for Vice President and Giorgio Cosentino for Treasurer

Charles Rachlis is the Associate Industrial Hygienist assigned to Richmond Campus laboratories; he serves as Richmond Campus     Health and Safety Officer, served at CDPH Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch for five years auditing for regulatory compliance, following a twenty year career in private industry and makes up for stolen furlough days as an adult educator. 

Based on their record alone the CAPS/Blanning & Baker LLC (B&B) leadership team has proven incapable of meeting the membership’s needs and expectations.  Consider the record: furlough case-lost, pay parity case-lost, stolen holidays-show me the money, lack of COLAs we are18% behind from 10 years ago, pension and medical insurance increases are proof the current strategy and tactics are not adequate to address the current economic crisis  of the hording of capital by the top 0.01%.  There are 84 billionaires in the state of California and their holdings of socially created wealth have increased as our wages, benefits and 401K’s tumble.  The wealth gap widens while workers are silent!  By organizing, social needs of working people can prevail over the dictates of private profits!

Without union democracy we all lose!  In violation of both the CAPS 2007 bylaws and California Corporate Code, CAPS with guidance from B&B has denied members our bylaws which is mandated each year and denied legally mandated regular membership meeting for over ten years!   Officers have not been legally installed and therefore all business conducted by the organization is in violation of corporate code and the bylaws.  And we’ve got lawyers watching our backs!

Ask any 100 CAPS members what B&B is and 80 will tell you it’s a law firm.  A founding member of CAPS told me. just last month. that when CAPS was founded we hired a law firm to run it.  Well surprise despite the airs put on by B&B staff they are not a law firm.  How it is so many scientists are confused on this point?  The truth is B&B is a labor consultation firm they farm out our law suits to real law firms to conduct. They won’t offer the information, as far as I know they do not lie directly but lead you to believe they are lawyers and they’ve got your back.  Rather, they are school trained labor negotiators and not very good ones at that! They are posers not lawyers and certainly not labor leaders!  B&B gets $850k from CAPS a year, CAPS gives $200k to the politicians, $117K to lobbyists and the current and perpetually recycled leadership team still can’t win! Check the CAPS/B&B legal record here:

Two concepts of trade unionism stand opposed in this election.  Current vogue is a modern business unionism turned corporate, acting in the interest of corporate control, holding workers back from self organization and independent political action.  In CAPS corporate hucksters posing as labor leaders tell us, “your not workers-you’re middle class professionals” , “trust us we’re professionals too” ,“trust our lobbyists to pay off (I mean influence) politicians”, “our lawyers are fighting night and day for you”, “bylaws are just a formality”, “no one pays attention to them anyway”, “go back to sleep”, “forget your missing COLA & your dwindling paycheck” , “you don’t need to build solidarity unionism”, “keep paying your dues and by the way:  Thank you very much for your continued support!”

In opposition to the failed strategy of the current CAPS leadership, our slate promotes rank and file class struggle trade unionism, our method won the 8 hr. day, the week-end, sick pay, vacations, pensions, ended child labor, and forced the passage of social security, Medicare and OSHA.  This method of trade unionism organizes and mobilizes the membership, launches and promotes democratic debate in the organization, acts transparently, unites all workers organized and unorganized, employed and unemployed, it organizes the unorganized.  A real union would fight the lies that “there is no money” that “fat and lazy workers need a hair cut and belt tightening” that overcrowded classrooms, dilapidated infrastructure, failing medical resources, irresponsible use of resources and endless wars are acceptable as the norm need to be exposed. Organizing real solidarity through independent united front labor actions, to defend the rights of the entire labor movement is the only way forward for labor.  Our method of trade unionism identifies the class divide in society- states clearly our interests and those of the top 2% are diametrically opposed, we say it loudly the wealth of the top 0.01% multiplied, during the economic crisis, at our expense!  Only this type of trade unionism, unafraid of job actions, with no faith in the twin corporate sponsored political party’s politicians, media pundits, fake pollsters or lobbyists can chart a course forward for labor in general and CAPS in particular.

If elected, our slate will fight along these principles for CAPS specific changes and for the broader issues facing the labor movement and entire working class.  Due to the limitations of space (in this booklet) our program can not fit in the CAPS Ballot information booklet.  For that reason we are issuing CAPS Fighting Union Caucus Election Bulletins.  In Bulletin #1, we outline our CAPS specific program as well as the program of the Fighting Union Caucus of California State Workers  There you can view all of our Election Bulletins.  Review the corporate code, the bylaws and judge the violations the CAPS/B&B leadership has been perpetrating for yourself. Read the record of our participation at CAPS meetings during the last two years, read the statement of former CAPS board members on their experience with this leadership and B&B, read our proposed bylaws changes, join in on our longstanding demand to hold the bylaws mandated regular membership meetings!

Our campaign is predicated on the objective necessity for change, to deal with the unending series of attacks on public workers in particular and all workers in general.  We know we cannot make this change alone. Real change will come when members step forward and take action. Visit our blog which outlines the nature of the crisis in CAPS and explain how to organize to defend our historic gains and the interest of the entire working class.  Then join in, roll up your sleeves and become active because elections alone will never change structural problems.  Do nothing and watch the second shoe fall this crisis is far from over and CAPS is captive in the hands of Blanning and Baker LLC!





September 9, 2011 Posted by | CAPS election 2011 | , , , | Leave a comment

Campaign Statement Will Wright for President of CAPS

October 5, 2011


 I thank you and appreciate the time you are taking to read my candidacy statements for the President of CAPS.  I believe by now you have received information about me from a number of sources; however just a couple more elements on my background. I had a brief stent at the Revlon Bio Labs cancer research section, then a Cystic Fibrosis research fellow at Harvard Med Depart of microbiology and Molecular Genetics followed by an NIH genetics research scholar at UC La Jolla.  When you look at the bio for me as well as David you can see that we have both been here for some time, so for what or why are we in this election process. Well on our ways out may be we are just trying to leave some legacy of having contributed to the well being of our fellow scientist many of whom are beginners or not yet at the top of their class. I know David is trying to launch a career in politics and board siting since he ran for a PERS seat at the expense of CAPS and lost; needless to say he is back trying to dress up his resume for another run at something he can go  to after here, the PERS training activity cost CAPS $15,000.

Here is what we perceive from the membership perspective.   CAPS has effectively accomplished nothing but ineffectiveness over the past decade or so. Much of the membership has simply gone to the mandatory minimum dues in frustration and disappointment in the leadership. First and foremost on the minds of the average state scientist over that period has been the issue of comparable pay for comparable work. Like I tell my students when they ask for extra credit, how bout just doing the regular credit  Well how about pay for what state scientist really already do, not compared to an engineer nor to our corporate “counterparts” ,etc. and then isolate aspects of those to say we are deficient.  Here’s why.  First of all we do not do the same job as the others the personnel board wants to compare state scientists to.  The science products that we turn out are unique.

For instance we have to make decisions on science where the impact of the decision is many fold greater than that of a “comparable” other sector scientist.  We have a responsibility to see that the advances in research and industry are imposed on society in the most effective and efficient way to advance the causes of society and the quality of life.  So if someone believes we flip coins to get work done, take a second look.  it is clear that we produce orders of magnitude more science products than do our other sector associates and in many cases with a great deal more complexity.

The evidences of our science products are all around us.  This is in every element of health, safety and environment where basic scientists have a lead and or implementing and sustaining role, from the numbers of endangered species saved to the reductions in morbidity and mortality associated with stressors in the environment or products from industry or other health impacts. Our products reduce the looming potential costs to society through compliance programs that we maintain and compared to the other sector regulatory scientists who generally impact one or a few entities, and in every case earning more than we, our decisions and ongoing responsibilities are several fold greater.
When a chemist tests foods for chemical agents such as lead or a microbiologist tests a food item for the presence of E. coli O157H7 these are not just another routine test or run of the mill routine analysis, these are every bit as much science products as are similar activities in the other  sector. They save lives and generate fees.  When a research scientist develops a policy statement on a public health issue or conducts a study of a particular environment or public health concern, when an environmental scientist or wildlife scientist conducts an investigation, makes an assessment and determines the path forward, these are every bit as much science products as they would be considered so when conducted  by a state contractor or private company.  That is on the science side.
Look at all the revenues state science products bring in. Fees due to CDPH, DTSC, DFG or OEHHA etc. may appear to be simply invoices for doing business. These revenues are based on sound science products. I know because i was there during the early days of DTSC, OEHHA etc. I got the TTU program up and running state wide and wrote some of the first regulations, I got the med waste program for LA region up and running then our committee wrote the statewide emergency regulations. These are science products that bring in revenues. We produce plenty of science products and just because we support 2 to 4 positions with those products administration should not pretend they are collecting fees and we are simply their support.

Recently CAPS announced a success by the current board for what they call a pay adjustment for out of class work. Firstly there should be solid rules in place when the administration decides to shift duties as required to such an extent they agree to pay. Secondly the worst thing about that just in time decision is the change in class. Sounds good but it is not good in that the exact opposite can occur by removal or decrease or level of complexity changes to create or move staff to a lower class. The appropriate solution would have been to incorporate, I assume,  those few additional duties into the original class.  We must take science based approaches to constructing our grievances related to duty statements, pay and classification issues.

The personnel experts are fixated on classifying as much of the natural sciences as possible as physical sciences and in particular chemistry.  This is simply a carryover from the days when government essentially dealt in chemistry, engineering and clinical care.  Since that time the fields of molecular, microbiology and biology have literally exploded into something called biotechnology as a specific example yet the classification scheme and duty statements that i have seen do not adequately reflect this change in staff preparation knowledge, skills and abilities and yes pay status.
When these mis-staffing activities occur the programs suffer from a lack of depth. The synergy that is apparent in the evolution of the collaborations of modern sciences is lost. I will work to change this approach to staffing rather than continue with allowing many of the more interesting as well as important aspects of societies scientific questions be researched by business and academics.

The third and perhaps related to the first issue more so than it has in the past is retirement. I am referring to the latest change in the contributions to PERS for our retirement benefits. I like many of us who began our Wall Street careers in the mid to late 90’s are well aware of the forces of the financial and stock markets and it is precisely those forces that resulted in virtually a 100% increase in our monthly contributions to our retirement plans. Briefly this is what has transpired.  Twice during the 90’s/2000’s there were no matching contributions to the fund. I contacted personnel and was stated that there was no requirement to match contributions just to guarantee a defined benefit. Circa 2000 personnel announced a raise but only if the employee were in tier 1.  This requirement would bring in additional contributions from the tier 2 converters and there were gobs of them due to closure of tier 1 during the 80’s/90’s. Then came the lows of the dot com crash and 911.  Then in 2008 articles began to appear regarding PERS’ forays into the world of commodities and in particular gold. The articles spoke of their efforts to get agents trained in commodities and shortly there after this sector of the market crashed severely. Recently PERS was quoted in an article expressing the glee associated with finally becoming a member of the 20% club which would average to a meager 3% annual return over the past 5 years. That translates to some very negative years.  These negative years along with the lack of contributions during the boom days of the 90’s have lead to this latest request. We must become more involved in the activities of PERS and always resist the notion that traders and brokers can always come to us when the trading accounts have gotten so reduced that substantial gains or recovery can be achieved in a timely manner only by increasing contributions; but 100%, that’s like deja vu all over again.   In that article PERS spoke of it’s severe over staffing and the need to reduce substantially.  May be PERS is to big to succeed, may be we should think about working for the right to select our retirement system manager as a union group or some larger organization. This type of aggressive attachment of wages for PERS leaves many with no 401K or other avenue of meaningful investment. Making money is relatively easy, managing the money and the risk is where the skill and professionalism lay in successful investment and asset management firms and for individuals as well.

On Health and Safety David has the same stance as Patty has; AED’s in everybody’s pockets.  This is a glaring example of a lack of understanding of the science at hand and how to provide a health and safety service program.  This and other such related activities should be used to initiate a State Facilities Act to establish the program. This will cause administration to keep staff in a work environment that provides appropriate and adequate risk reduction and risk management programs. This and a few other workplace health and safety issues are currently for use by managers for pat on the back activities when they need one.

I also believe that there are enough talented and motivated scientists for the institution of term controls.  Presidents nor Vice Presidents should be allowed to run for any board seat until at least one election cycle has passed.  We do not need x-presidents and x-vice presidents pushing their agendas as board members. Nor should x-presidents be allowed to run for vice president until at least one election cycle has passes. Vice Presidents should be allowed to run for president only until at least one election cycle passes.

In the words of Churchill. Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.
Sincerely, Will Wright,III Ph.D.
Staff Toxicologist

Fighting Rank and File Union Caucus endorses the slate of Will Wright for President, Charles Rachlis for Vice President and Giorgio Cosentino for Treasurer

FIRST CAMPAIGN STATEMENT BY WILL WRIGHT III PhD for PRESIDENT OF CAPS  This is the uncensored version.  The censored version can be read in your ballot package.

Will Wright Ph.D. Is currently Staff Toxicologist and Health and Safety Officer located at the CDPH Richmond Campus Laboratories and currently teaching microbiology since 1994 at Chabot College and Merritt College . Background and qualifications include:
●    BS and MS microbiology Howard University; Ph.D. Purdue University Molecular and Microbiology

●    Los Angeles County Public Health as Disease Intervention Specialists; DTSC as Hazardous Material Specialists followed up at OEHHA as Associate Toxicologist and three years later, 1994, I took the Staff Toxicologist position with the Department of Health Services to establish statewide Environment and Occupational Toxicology, Health and Safety program for laboratories. As is evident I have broad experiences and I understand the issues confronting state scientists but more importantly I have a clear and thorough understanding of regulatory sciences, public health and environment programs.

I am a candidate for change. My agenda has several parts to it. First , to have a realistic opportunity for changing what amounts to a political culture that CAPS and the administration have covalently instituted we must remove all pertinent aspects of the current CAPS/Blanning and Baker LLC administration. There should be no recycling of any parts of this group.

So my first order of business as President instituting my change agenda. means policies need to be reworked, the carte blanch authorities the executive director and CAPS staff have must be reconsidered and reestablished in such a manner that they clearly reflect the views and position of the board and above all timely input from the membership perspectives through the holding of regular membership meetings. That means everything from salary and classification issues, to accommodations commensurate with work product expectations of management from staff, to adverse actions and upward mobility. Here to fore such issues have almost exclusively been handled by and from CAPS’ perspective. I can assure you Staff will work for our board and our board will work for state scientists. The current collaboration appears to be self-indulging and politically aspiring in its approach to the issues that concern state scientists most, with pay and quality science programs at the front of the list. They are learning the political process not negotiating.

My second change objective is directed at reclaiming the CAPS membership professional status. Among other actions, this would involve abolishing the lobbying program and the PAC as they currently exist. Those activities could be reworked to make more meaningful contributions to society, perhaps in the form of assistance at the local level to support grassroots efforts to implement our scientific mandates for public health and environment or even supporting staffing or pilot programs to advance the science agenda. This engenders good legislature awareness and a more meaningful influence on the legislative process.    Here are some of the latest examples of the lack of ability of this administration to handle science based activities appropriately. The AED issue at DTSC is a health sciences issue that is just hanging out there instead of part of a science based organized program to assess the need and institute a standardized statewide program for workplace safety involving a designated safety professional class. This administration appears to want to address this as a special consideration for a particular demographic. Another is this lack of staffing scientific questions appropriately, which is the hiring of chemists when the question clearly requires a biologist or any mismatch management so chooses. Appropriate interdisciplinary staffing is critical to professional development and program development and the advancement of the science products that state scientist generate. What has happened with the LPLW initiative for state scientists; well…”DPA administrative ruling that says certain state supervisors are entitled to salary increases that restore historic salary relationships with state engineers”. WHAT? Don’t state scientist supervisors have competencies of their own? This is a case of mixing and matching to our detriment. How can any self-respecting scientist believe, not to mention say it is progress towards competency based compensation which is the crux of the Human Resources Modernization Project….this should be a legislative mandate. Scientists and engineers do possess similar skill sets but professional skills applications are totally different and not substitutable. Equivocating them is an example of curriculum based duty classification. Virtually every negotiation this administration initiated failed and we got more bad news late and at a price.
My third change objective is to work to change the structure for contributions and benefits programs to reflect the realities of the investment markets. Californians for Fiscal Responsibility want to revise this yet again in the interest of reducing taxpayer contributions. Those contributions are still coming in in the form of taxes and simply end up being spent in other ways that don’t necessarily contribute to the states well being in future ways so to speak. Pension benefits are typically spent in the sate where earned. There must be a grater focus on the investment activities that PERS engages in, even though they “did not lose money in ENRON”, they just simply turned around and lost in in gold.    CAPS brought over a candidate it was pushing for the PERS board and he had the nerve to say “they” are trying to decide if during any market and particularly bad markets if relative or absolute performance is the standard. As I stated during the session, we need absolute performance because PERS has to pay people out of that.
MY fourth change objective is directed at supporting and enhancing the long standing effort to have supervisory and managerial positions clearly defined and substantiated with regard to their program objectives. Some of those are as follows:
●    Clearly defined plans to develop and enhance the science of the programs to involve state scientists more along the lines of federal programs with classes and specification that do more than describe a curriculum.
●    Prohibit farming out the larger portion of the real science to universities and others nongovernmental entities and reducing state activities in many programs to monitoring, supplying data and assessment. We could enhance these activities with collaborative programs that involve state scientist participation in a meaningful way. More involvement in federal grant opportunities; this would allow for greater opportunity to express competencies, serve as a source of revenues for pilot and other program support.

●    There would be a stop to cross boundary activities and a mandate to concentration on building the publicly mandated programs along the lines of federal and corporate models as wholly sufficient in their technical and operational necessities still forging cross- discipline collaborations.

●    Budget and power grab initiatives should not be addressed by always combining or eliminating or contracting.

●    Managers should exploit the science of the programs they manage maintaining its integrity instead of selling off parts to the
highest bidder for their upward mobility aspirations.

●    Institute committees that regularly meet with management, the private sector and academia to represent staff involvement
in the evolution of the role of state scientists. State scientists are key to regulatory science programs generated primarily by federal and state initiatives and interpretation of regulations and implemented by local agencies and we need a seat at the table!


September 9, 2011 Posted by | CAPS election 2011 | , , , | Leave a comment

CAPS Fighting Union Caucus Rank and File Election Bulletin #6

September 6, 2011


On labor day at 10 am CAPS Vice President Candidate Charles Rachlis was served with a temporary restraining order which will prevent him from attending to business at the CAPS office, from attending meetings where Blanning and Baker LLC (B&B) staffer Matt Austin and other named  individuals are present.  Matt Austin is seeking to make this restraining order permanent at a hearing this Friday September 9th at 9:00am  at San Francisco Superior Court 400 McAllister St  Rm 514.  Working class and union activists, members and nonmembers of CAPS are invited to come and show support for our struggle against the corporate control of our union and for union democracy.

Rachlis went to the union office August 29th in order to examine the membership list as per California law, only to be physically blocked/assaulted at the door by B&B staffer Matt Austin, despite having noticed CAPS  of my intent to on August 28th.  For years every attempt to reach the membership to explain the conditions of our union and pass on the material we have accumulated has been blocked.  Our struggle for our legal right to examine and copy  the membership list has now turned into an attack on my personal integrity and  rights in the guise of a restraining order.

This is part of an on going attempt to prevent our caucus from brining the violations of bylaws to the memberships attention.

The defense will address three issues. 1) Factual-the story concocted by Matt Austin has little to do with the reality of the situation and does not put the incident in a contextual setting.  2) Legal grounds-Under Code of Civil Procedure section 527.3, the court has no authority to issue injunctive relief against lawful free speech activity in connection with a labor dispute.  This includes a dispute between the members and the staff of the union.

3) Political grounds: the role of B&B is playing has included prejudicing the president of the organization against myself in e-mails we have entered into the public record. The violations of bylaws and California Corporate code by  Blanning and Baker’s staff as they are the executive director,  have deprived the membership of an opportunity to discuss the strategy and tactics of the organization as it faced the worse attacks in its history over the course of the current and deepening economic crisis.  Thus B&B act in the interest of the ruling 0.01% against the interests of state workers.

The CAPS union has been held captive by B&B, our membership has been denied our right to annual membership meetings for a decade, prevented  from finding our co-workers across the state and engaging in democratic discussion, while our funds are funneled into the coffers of B&B, its favored law firms, lobbyists and politicians.

Our slate asks for support from workers both inside and outside our union because of the long term denial of our rights has prevented us from knowing our other members, who they are, where they work or how to talk with them.

Elect Will Wright President, Charles Rachlis Vice President Giorgio Cosentino Treasurer

Please pass this information on to other members.

September 7, 2011 Posted by | CAPS election 2011 | , , , | Leave a comment

Track Record of Lawsuits Brought by CAPS and PECG

Track Record of Lawsuits Brought by CAPS and PECG

Under Management of Blanning & Baker, 1991-present

Status as of September 1, 2011

NOTE: Gerald A. James is listed as counsel for CAPS and/or PECG in some of the more recent cases outlined below. Mr. James was admitted to the California State Bar in 1995. His address of record with the State Bar is at the Blanning & Baker office in Sacramento. Blanning & Baker’s website states that he is general counsel to Blanning & Baker’s clients. The website does not reveal whether Mr. James’s legal services are included in the fees Blanning & Baker’s clients pay for general management, or are charged to clients separately, or some combination of the two.

Case Title and Court Docket Number: PECG v. Department of Transportation, A131449

Court, Date of Decision, and Legal Citation: First District Court of Appeal, 8/8/11, 198 Cal.App.4th 17

Lawyers for PECG: Jennifer T. Buckman of Somach Simmons & Dunn, and Gerald A. James

Result and Current Status: PECG loses; PECG could still seek review by California Supreme Court, but has not yet done so.

Description: PECG contended that the engineering work on the replacement of Doyle Drive in San Francisco was supposed to be handled by state employee engineers. The court rejected this position and held that the engineering work could be contracted out because the project qualified as a public-private partnership under the changes to section 143 of the Streets and Highway Code made by the Legislature in 2009.

Case Title and Court Docket Number: CAPS v. Department of Finance, C063118

Court, Date of Decision, and Legal Citation: Third District Court of Appeal, 5/25/11, 195 Cal.App.4th 1228

Lawyer for CAPS: Gerald A. James

Result and Current Status: CAPS loses; California Supreme Court denied review on 8/10/11; decision is final.

Description: CAPS contended that the Department of Finance was required to seek funding from the Legislature for salary increases that the Department of Personnel Administration found were needed in order to give CAPS members salary parity with comparable positions in other agencies. The court rejected this position, and held that neither the Department of Finance nor the governor were required to ask the Legislature to appropriate enough money to pay the increases, and that the increases do not have to be paid if they are not included in the budget. (Note that even if CAPS had won this case, this would only have required the Department of Finance to tell the Legislature that it should appropriate money to fund the increases; it would not have required the Legislature to actually provide the money.)

Case Title and Court Docket Number: PECG [and CAPS] v. Schwarzenegger, S183411

Court, Date of Decision, and Legal Citation: California Supreme Court, 10/4/10, 50 Cal.4th 989

Lawyer for CAPS/PECG: Gerald A. James

Result and Current Status: State employee unions (including CAPS and PECG) lose; California Supreme Court decision is final

Description: The California Supreme Court upheld the legality of mandatory furloughs based on implied approval of them by the Legislature in the 2008 state budget.

Case Title and Court Docket Number: PECG v. Kempton, S139917

Court, Date of Decision, and Legal Citation: California Supreme Court, 4/12/07, 40 Cal.4th 1016

Lawyers for PECG: Kelley Stimpel Martinez and James E. McGlamery

Result and Current Status: PECG loses; California Supreme Court decision is final

Description: PECG challenged DOT’s procedures for contracting out engineering work after the passage of Proposition 35 in the 2000 election. The California Supreme Court held that DOT’s contracting out procedures were valid.

Case Title and Court Docket Number: CAPS v. Schwarzenegger, C049928

Court, Date of Decision, and Legal Citation: Third District Court of Appeal, 3/6/06, 137 Cal.App.4th 371

Lawyer for CAPS: Gerald A. James

Result and Current Status: CAPS loses; California Supreme Court denied review; decision is final.

Description: CAPS challenged the adoption of a two-tier retirement system excluding new hires from PERS for the first two years of their employment. The court rejected CAPS’s claims that the new law was unconstitutional and/or violated the CAPS MOU.

Case Title and Court Docket Number: PECG v. State Personnel Board, C028402

Court, Date of Decision, and Legal Citation: Third District Court of Appeal, 7/11/01 (modified 8/10/01), 90 Cal.App.4th 678

Lawyers for PECG: Dennis F. Moss and Steven Bassoff

Result and Current Status: PECG loses in part; California Supreme Court denied review; decision is final.

Description: PECG (and other state employee unions not listed by name in the opinion, which may or may not have included CAPS) challenged the legality of the Career Executive Assignment program for filling high-level executive positions. The court rejected the claim that the program as a whole violated civil service law, but held that competitive (ranked) examinations must be held for transfers into CEA positions by non-CEA personnel, and the appointing authority must consider the results of those examinations.

Case Title and Court Docket Number: CAPS v. Department of Fish & Game, C023075 & C023184

Court, Date of Decision, and Legal Citation: Third District Court of Appeal, 4/10/00, 79 Cal.App.4th 935

Lawyer for CAPS: Dennis F. Moss

Result and Current Status: CAPS wins; California Supreme Court denied review; decision is final.

Description: An individual challenged a statute imposing a flat fee for environmental impact reviews of proposed projects, and setting a higher fee for reviews of projects that are claimed not to have any significant environmental impact. The individual settled with the Department of Fish & Game, and CAPS intervened, seeking to require the Department to continue collecting the fees. The court sided with CAPS, rejecting the individual’s claim that the fee was a tax that had to be adopted by a two-thirds vote in the Legislature. (Note that this case had no direct effect on the salaries, benefits, or rights of CAPS members. It may have had an indirect effect by maintaining Fish & Game’s ability to collect the fees, thereby adding to the budget. It is not clear from the court opinion, however, why CAPS felt it necessary to take on the burden of defending the employer’s right to charge money for its services.)

Case Title and Court Docket Number: PECG v. Wilson, C023360 & C023368

Court, Date of Decision, and Legal Citation: Third District Court of Appeal, 2/25/98 (modified 3/19/98), 61 Cal.App.4th 1013

Lawyers for PECG: Loren E. McMaster (and Harry J. Gibbons for CSEA)

Result and Current Status: PECG loses (mostly). Decision is final.

Description: PECG (joined by CSEA) claimed that funds in the State Highway Account (SHA) could not be transferred to the general fund in order to repay bonds issued for the development of passenger railways and public transit. (The transfers had contribute to budget shortfalls at the Department of Transportation (DOT), resulting in layoffs of some PECG and CSEA members who worked at DOT.) The court rejected PECG’s arguments for the most part, ruling that SHA funds not derived from gasoline taxes could properly be used to pay the bonds. As to SHA funds derived from gasoline taxes, the court agreed with PECG that these could not be used to pay the bonds. However, the court also held that PECG had only proved that a relatively small portion of the funds used to make payments on the bonds actually came from gasoline taxes. The court only ruled in PECG’s favor as to that portion of the funds ($12.3 million out of $77 million). (Note that this case had no direct effect on the salaries, benefits, or rights of PECG members. At best, it helped avoid a few layoffs by requiring the gasoline taxes to be returned to DOT’s budget.)

Case Title and Court Docket Number: PECG v. Department of Transportation, S042591

Court, Date of Decision, and Legal Citation: California Supreme Court, 5/15/97, 15 Cal.4th 543

Lawyer for PECG: Loren E. McMaster

Result and Current Status: PECG wins, but the effect of the court decision was later overturned by Proposition 35, passed in 2000.

Description: After the Legislature passed a statute allowing the Department of Transportation (DOT) to contract out work when necessary to get it done on time, DOT asked the court to set aside an earlier order prohibiting DOT from contracting out certain highway construction functions. The Supreme Court agreed with PECG that under the civil service laws, DOT was not allowed to contract out the work, and held that the new statute did not change that.

Case Title and Court Docket Number: PECG v. Department of Transportation, A057897

Court, Date of Decision, and Legal Citation: First District Court of Appeal, 2/17/93, 13 Cal.App.4th 585

Lawyer for PECG: Dennis F. Moss.

Result and Current Status: PEGC loses. California Supreme Court denied review; decision is final.

Description: PECG challenged DOT’s authority to lease rights-of-way to private companies to construct and operate toll roads. The court held that the law permitting DOT to enter into contracts for private toll roads was not unconstitutional and did not violate the civil service laws.

September 4, 2011 Posted by | CAPS HISTORY, CAPS/PECG lawsuits | , , , , | Leave a comment

CAPS Rank and File fighting union caucus bulletin #4

(Following this exchange the list was finally delivered to Charles Rachlis via USPS on September 1st within the 5 days of demand.

August 28, 2011

Brother and Sister CAPS members,

Below find attached an open letter to President Patty Valdez in which I reported on my unsuccessful, yet not uneventful, visit to the CAPS office to inspect and copy the membership list.  Members will recall that we want the membership list because we have been denied the right to the bylaws mandated annual membership meeting for 10 years.  This practice prevents the membership from accessing each other and making democratic decisions.

While pursuing our democratic right to address the membership we have come to conclude that  Blanning and Baker LLC (B&B) have denied the membership their rights for 10 years as part of their business plan. Basically B&B have made CAPS into a profit center for their LLC to the detriment of the CAPS membership.  Yes, CAPS, though formally independent and owned by its membership is actually a captive union under corporate control and Blanning and Baker do not want the members to understand the real relationship so they have told the S.F. Police Dept. to arrest Charles Rachlis (candidate for CAPS VP) if he comes back to the #1 Sutter St CAPS office!

What we have discovered, in our attempt to democratically access the membership, is that B&B staff know well the laws under which they operate and in blatant disregard for those laws they have violated our rights and in so doing have fleeced the membership of millions of dollars which they have controled over the years.

On August 16th 2011 Chris Voight wrote to Giorgio Cosentino who was inquiring about how utilize the bylaws change of 2011 allowing the  membership to  petition the board to hold a membership meeting.  Chris stated: “CAPS has that language in its bylaws as a requirement of the California Corporations Code, on advice of counsel.  Every Mutual Benefit Non Profit Corporation (MBNPC), as CAPS is organized, should have it.  But that doesn’t mean the process is practical or that it would ever be used in an organization the size and shape of CAPS.”  This means that Chris fully understands that CAPS as an MBNPC must follow the corporate codes which govern them. So let us look at the Attorney Generals web site.  There we find that Non Profit Mutual Benefit Corporations are governed by laws which B&B  have violated year after year.

On that page you will find a list of links to corporate codes and the violations they are ascribed to.

The first one listed is failure to hold a regular meeting of the members. Corp.Code.Section 7510(b)

Other violations of members rights are outlined on this page.  For example: Failure to send member list of names and addresses of members upon written request. Corporate Code, Seciton 8330(2)

There are more violations which we have discovered and will outline in future communications.  We have also discovered that because of the lack of information given the members and the attitude and presentation given by Matt Austin and Chris Voight we were under the misperception that B&B is a law firm.  Rather we learned they are a contract outfit which acts as CAPS agent.  Does this change anything? Not really they are still in violation of the law and have violated their responsibility to the membership as our agent. At least when it all collapses around them they won’t have to answer ethics charges at the bar.

What can you do?  Call CAPS.  Ask for your copy of 2007 and 2011 bylaws. Ask when was the last bylaws mandated membership meeting held.  Ask for the right to access the membership via inspection and copying of the membership list. Demand that Charles Rachlis not be arrested for visiting the CAPS office.  Ask why your check is smaller, why your COLA has not kept your pay up with inflation, why they think you should continue to give B&B control of our 1.5 million a year in dues.

Now our struggle with CAPS began as a fight for a change of strategy and tactics because the existing direction has produced cuts in pay and benefits and promises more concessions.  B&B method links the union to the corporate political power structures, players and ultimately to a system which benefits the top 0.01% at the expense of the rest of us.

What we found was that CAPS is a captive union, its memberships power has been usurped by corporate raiders and their job is to keep workers from acting outside the corporate method which today means hold our hands and whisper sweet nothings while they conduct concessionary bargaining.

Below find the complaint I sent to the board following being assaulted and threatened with arrest by Matt Austin on Friday August 26th while attempting to examine the membership list.

Elect Will Wright PhD President, Charles Rachlis Vice President, Giorgio Cosentino Treasure


Charles Rachlis.


 Sent: Friday, August 26, 2011 4:58 PM

Subject: Matt Austin struck me today at the CAPS* Sutter street office. office

Hi Patty Valdez**,

Today I went to the SF CAPS office to inspect the membership list.  Based on the communication we received (in an e-mail to caucus member and CAPS candidate for Treasurer Giorgio Cosentino) from Chris Voight stating that members could go to either the San Francisco or the Sacramento office to inspect the records.  I (Charles Rachlis caucus member and candidate for Vice President of CAPS) took a few vacation hours to visit the CAPS office in SF and inspect the membership list, as is our right.

To prepare the office staff for my visit, I sent two emails to the CAPS staff  on August 25th and asked for information by COB on how to inspect the list.  In the second e-mail I noticed that I planned to go to the office and inspect the list.  Not getting a response from CAPS staff by 9:30 am today (in fact still none by now) I traveled to the city for the visit.

When I got to the office at #1 Sutter Street Suite 800 I found the door locked.  On the door there were plaques for Blanning and Baker, then CAPS, then PECGS, and one more organization.  I knocked on the door and after a few moments Matt Austin opened the door.  I stepped across the threshold with my left foot and much to my surprise Matt Austin struck me across the chest with his forearm in an attempt to block my entry and demanded in a belligerent tone “what are you doing here?”   I responded, I am here to inspect the list.  I referenced the emails with Chris Voight and my two unanswered emails and proceeded to enter.  Matt pointed to the chairs and I waited there.

Matt threatened me with security and I explained again that Chris already Okayed our right to see the list.  He then called Chris but could not get through.  Then obviously frustrated and not wanting to show me the list he came over to me and got right up in my face (about 2.5 inches from me) and said with a twisted up face, “listen buster you don’t know who your messing with.”   “You can see the list but you have to be civil.”   I responded, “what is the definition of civil? Is there a definition in the bylaws of civil?”  Of course I was thinking how can someone who hits you on the way into the room then gets up in your face complain that you’re not being civil?   Then the phone rang and Chris called back.   Matt answers and tells Chris that Charles is here and he is being a jerk.  Now that got my goat and so I over spoke Matt loudly just  so Chris could hear me and understand that members rights were being trampled.

Moments later Matt hangs up with Chris and calls security to run me out of the building.  I challenged his authority to kick me out of the CAPS office.  I noted that as a CAPS member I pay for the office and have a right to come there.  He then told me CAPS pays no rent here  and that I was not a tenant of the building and he would call the cops which he promptly did.   I demanded to know whose office it is because it says CAPS on the door.  Matt said it is his office,  and continued his call to the cops to have me arrested.  At which point I called my lawyer and asked what to do and we decided to leave under duress when the building security asked me to leave.

So CAPS has to answer:

1)      Is it CAPS policy to allow staffers to hit members?

2)      Is the office at Sutter Street a CAPS office or is it Matt Austin’s office?

3)      What is the proper procedure for inspecting the membership list?

4)      Who is Matt Austin I do not see him listed on the CAPS web site?

5)      Why is the Sutter Street address listed on the web site if it is not a CAPS office as Matt stated?

6)      Why is the plaque for CAPS on the door of Suite 800 if this is Matt Austin’s office and not a CAPS office?

7)      Why are CAPS materials and information stored in Matt Austin’s office which he claims is not a CAPS office?

8)      Why did Chris Voight tell us we could inspect the list at the CAPS office on Sutter Street if that is not the case?

9)      When, where and how can CAPS members inspect the membership list?

How long has this type of intimidation been going on?  Now I understand why members have been hesitant to stand up for their rights.  Blanning and Baker which holds CAPS captive will do everything it can to prevent members from looking into how they loot our organization.

Charles Rachlis

Associate Industrial Hygienist

Richmond Campus Health and Safety Officer

September 2, 2011 Posted by | CAPS election 2011 | , , , , , | Leave a comment



I just attended the CAPS meeting at DTSC. I distributed the attached document to the members and got one “thank you” for speaking up as I left the building.


1)       We won the holidays that were stolen…it sounded like we are supposed to get 20 hours per day stolen but we were not told if that would come as cash, CTO or what other format. This case was won in front of  Judge Tim Folly of superior court.

2)       The room was polled after a presentation of the SEIU agreement to ask if we will agree to a similar agreement. The room was unanimous in their rejection of the SEIU agreement as a basis for our negotiation.

3)       Regarding continuing furlough we are going back to court arguing that as they are applied now they are unequal, unfair and possibly illegal.  This case will be heard by Judge Brick who was favorable before.

4)       Salary parity case progressing to final oral arguments this is only for supervisors and a similar case could not be made for the rank and file, we are told, because the law is written that way.

The meeting commenced Matt Austin introduced the board members and Chris Voight.  In attendance were John Budroe (at large rep), Valarie Brown (VP) , David Miller  and Chris Rodgers .

Valarie Brown started speaking and asked if there were site representatives in the room.  None were identified.

She then said she was going to review the SEIU contract to ask for our opinion.

At this point I intervened calling for the orders of the day.  Which is how, according to Robert’s Rule of Order, you ask for the agenda.  She said this was the agenda. I said I had not been provided an agenda and she said she would read the agenda after presenting the SEIU contract….I was dismissed after noting that the By Laws calls for meetings to run under Robert’s Rules and that we need an agenda and a chairperson otherwise the membership does not know how and when to raise issues and participate.  I was dismissed without objection.

The membership as noted rejected the SEIU contract as a basis for our negotiations.  Then one member (Marty) asked that we ask the new governor to make the rescission of the furlough his first act. The leadership then explained all the reasons Jerry can’t do that because he is accused of being in the pockets of the unions etc…and then they went on and explained this will probably take months.

Based on Marty opening a discussion of strategy and tactics I entered the discussion with the first motion on the leaflet.  After explaining that we needed to consider other strategy I made the motion: “Whereas a one hour annual meeting is not sufficient to address the strategy and tactics of our union in the fight for a fair contract; therefore, be it resolved that it is the decision of this meeting that the board convene a state wide convention of CAPS in mid January.”

As there was no real chairperson and no procedure and the membership was not responding I explained that a motion was on the floor and that it needed to be seconded or it would be dropped…  Marty seconded the motion but said the meeting should did not have to be in January and made the point that a convention could get us press.

Then the leadership all explained how we didn’t need a demonstration to get press and that we had plenty of opportunity to meet and discuss and that the board meetings are open and no one ever shows up and that it is expensive to have meetings all over the state and the members are complaining about how many doughnuts the board buys already.    Then the discussion got tangential and the motion got covered by other inquiry,  I mentioned again that there was a motion on the floor, but did not press for a vote.  Mat Austin tried to assuage Marty saying, “Marty if you feel you need another meeting just call me and we will set up a meeting you… can do that any time.”

I stood for a point of inquiry and asked if this was the Annual meeting. I  had presumed from the notice of the meeting that it was the annual meeting which was proscribed by the By-Laws Article III Section I.  Much to my amusement I was told by David Miller that the annual meeting is a board meeting to install officers and directors.

After a few moments I spoke to a point of clarification  during which I read the actual section of By-Laws to the meeting David Miller told-us that no one wants to know what’s in the by laws.

They clearly state:  Article III Meetings of Members  Section 1- Annual Meetings of members  (a) An annual meeting of the members shall be held. (b) The purpose of the annual meeting of the members shall be to install Officers and Directors. (c) Association business other than the installation of Officers and Directors may be transacted.

Based on point (c) I was hoping we could transact other business such as calling for a State wide convention to discuss strategy and tactics etc.  But it turns out that this set of meetings are called site meetings and are not the Annual meeting which are called for in the By-laws.

My next point of inquiry was if this was not the annual meeting when is the annual meeting.  When was the last annual meeting?  None of these questions could be answered because they are not following the By-Laws.   There have not been annual meetings of the membership as described in the By Laws and board member (David Miller) actually thinks that their meetings replace the right of the membership to have its meetings to “transact other business”.  There is no mechanism for the membership to fully participate in and make this a democratic union in the By-Laws other than the Annual Meeting provision and that is not sufficient.

Bottom line according to the board these site meetings are not any more than informational meetings and you the members have no input into the day to day, week by week direction of the organization other than to vote for the board and answer when a straw poll is floated (such as was done at the beginning of the meeting).

The board presented no minutes of the last meeting or of the meeting of the board from this week end, no financial report  was presented to the review of the membership, none of the normal organizational information that is part of tens of thousands of union meetings across the country every month were presented.  This is how Blanning and Baker with an obsequious board control the union and keep our membership quiet, demoralized and stuck on the dead end strategy of depending on the courts and politicians instead of building a strong fighting union based on solidarity, unity and action.

As we approach the next site meetings, next week,  members should consider:

Do we want a mechanism to participate and make decisions in our union?  Do we even think that we had to have a real democratic union meeting where the membership can advance its viewpoints and reach decisions or do we think the board and Blanning and Baker should be the decision makers?  Presently there is no mechanism for the membership to seriously discuss strategy and tactics and through democratic discussion make decisions about the direction of the organization.  Only you can change this!

Charles Rachlis

Associate Industrial Hygienist/

September 2, 2011 Posted by | CAPS BYLAWS ISSUES | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ex-CAPS Board member Lauren Wold view on Blanning & Baker

—–Original Message—–
From: Wold, Lauren
Sent: Thursday, November 04, 2010 10:26 AM
To: Cosentino, Giorgio (CDPH-CID-DCDC-VRDL)
Subject: FW: Regarding CAPS

Hi Giorgio,

My experience with CAPS lead me to believe that it was a money making venture on the part of Blanning and Baker for Blanning and Baker rather
than a true representative organization working on behalf of the State Scientists. I came to this conclusion when it became evident to me that
Chris Voit and Matt Austin (I forget the correct spelling of their names) held a tight reign on the communications between the Board Members and the Board Members’ constituents. With the exception of my PHM co-workers at the State Lab, I was prevented from directly contacting the people whom I was representing. Many of the CAPS members I represented were employed somewhere other than 850 Marina Bay Parkway. Blanning and Baker had CAPS Members’ contact information but would not share this with me. I was told that if there was something I wanted to ask or say to the people in the district I represented I needed to go through the CAPS office or discuss it with the “Inner Circle” (my term for Matt A. and Chris V.). When I did bring up issues at the Board Meetings I was told condescendingly and in no uncertain terms “you are new here” and “we will deal with this”. But these issues that I knew and thought to be issues of concern, at least with PHMs at the State Lab were subsequently ignored and dropped. Also, when I brought up issues such as pay parity, safety at the workplace, reinstating the shuttle bus from the State Lab to BART there was never any discussion at the Board Meetings. All the other Board Members would simultaneously turn to look at Chris V. to hear what he would say which would usually be a vague response and dismissive . Needless to say, I was a bit disappointed with the other Board Members for not wanting to discuss what might be serious options or impediments to moving ahead with issues on concern. Pay and safety are everybody’s concern. The shuttle bus may have been unique to the State Lab employees but the employees elsewhere may benefit in the future with a similar situation. (We did get the shuttle back but it was not because of Blanning and Baker’s input. There were State employees, not even CAPS members, who were very hard working and effective in reinstating the shuttle.)

In my opinion Blanning and Baker ran CAPS in the manner of an oligarchy rather than a democracy where the Board Members and the monthly board  meetings gave the impression of a dynamic, interactive participatory organization. But, again, in my opinion, the “Inner Circle” called the shots and the Board Members were mere impotent figureheads either because they were satisfied enough just to be “in the club” or they were
intimidated by the “Inner Circle”.

Another thing that bothered me was how Blanning and Baker used our lobbyist. Lobbyist get paid big money. Our lobbyist got paid big money.  The amount is voted on by the Board Members “guided” by guess who… I felt that the general membership should be in on understanding what the lobbyist did, does and can do.  The few times the lobbyist came to speak to the Board Members he spent most of the time essentially gossiping about who in Sacramento eats at which restaurant, who is vacationing with whom, who has what kind of boat! I’m not joking! We need to hold him accountable and show us what he is doing on our behalf and prove that he is effective in the job we hired him to do.

Good luck, Giorgio.


September 2, 2011 Posted by | CAPS HISTORY | , , , , | Leave a comment