Rank and File Scientists Demanding our Rights


AUGUST 24,2011





The fighting union caucus is committed to the following CAPS specific action points and the principles outlined in the Califonia State workers fighting union caucus platform that follows below some logistical notes:

1)    Hold regular membership meetings linked via web-ex, phone bridges etc. to facilitate democratic decision making.  Initiate membership wide discussion of a balance sheet of the efficacy of CAPS failed strategy and tactics. The February 2011 secret bylaws change stole the member’s right to an annual membership meeting!

2)    Create and maintain an e-forum for democratic dialogue of the membership. Post new and old bylaws side by side! Address workers grievances!  Never tell a worker to consider looking for another job as Matt Austin has done.

3)   Get Supervisors out of CAPS.  Grievances are not pressed when supervisors are in the same union as rank and file. The strategy of suing for pay parity for supervisors with a promised trickle down failed.  This strategy tied the worker to his supervisor and was a slap in the face of the bench scientist.  Failed legal strategy lost the parity and the furlough case and we still have not been paid back for our lost holidays!  Blanning and Baker strike out over and again!

4)    Terminate CAPS contract with law firm Blanning and Baker.  Stop wasting money on dead end lawsuits and bootlicking lobbyists. Look at CAPS finances all our money goes to the law firm B&B and lobbyists! Instead organize our membership, fight grievances, build labor solidarity and action committees. Build an action fund and prepare to fight pay parity, annual COLA’s, lost holiday pay, and by all means up to and including job actions.

5)    Build labor solidarity-Join local labor councils-Support labor, black and brown community struggles.  Work with rank and file public workers on forming one big union, start by linking with other organized scientists. The majority of our interests are not so unique to our bargaining units that they justify splintering into multiple unions.

6)    Organize our unorganized co-workers!  Contract workers require the same protection as civil service workers! End long-term contracts at public facilities.  Contracting out weakens our union! End privatization!



 In order to be successful a complete change of the board is required.  To date 50 CAPS members at CDPH and DTSC signed our petition.  Almost all were asked to also run for office, none have come forward yet.  On Monday Aug 22, we expect to hear that one of our co-workers will run with us on the ticket for treasurer.  We need someone to run for secretary, and someone for local district representative.  Without a majority on the board the change that we are fighting for will take much longer.

With a minority on the board we foresee the ability to open investigation into the breaches of the bylaws by the Executive Director and the current and previous boards.  With a minority we will be able to force the discussion down into the ranks of the organization.

But with a majority we can change the organization and prepare for the next contract negotiations from a strengthened position based on an organized, informed and prepared rank and file.

If, after reading this, you are ready to build this struggle help the campaign and build the union email us at Petitions must be submitted to CAPS in Sacramento by Aug 26.  So if you’re ready to participate, notice me immediately  

Why CAPS must change:

1) We are worse off today than 10 years ago.  For lack of COLA we are 18% behind 2001 wages.

2) All our money goes to failed lawsuits.  Lost pay parity, lost furlough, not seen a penny of stolen holiday wages.

3) The Executive Director and current board have no faith in the rank and file so they demobilized us and stole our right to a meeting.

4) By not holding membership meetings for 10 years the Executive Director (and by extension the firm  that  MA, CV and staff work for) are in breach of their fiduciary responsibility to the membership.  In other words they took our money based on a contract (the bylaws) and refused to uphold the basic tenants of the bylaws.  Members must call CAPS and ask for a copy of the old 2007 and new 2011 bylaws, look at them side by side and then ask ourselves, “if the bylaws say we shall have an annual membership meeting how come we have not had one in 10 years?”   The leadership and the Executive Director colluded in denying members their rights. This is a theft of services.

5) CAPS tops think CAPS can go it alone and reject labor solidarity and solidarity action.  This is a losing strategy in this period of a full on onslaught on public workers unions, benefits, pensions and pay.  We need a strategy that links to the entire labor movement.


Charles Rachlis



Declaration of the Rank and File Fighting Union caucus of California State Workers

The Fighting Union Caucus of California State Workers announces its intention to unite California State workers (in particular), public workers in general, and all workers in action to form fighting rank and file caucuses to take our unions back from those who have proven incapable of defending our wages, benefits, and working conditions.  Those who sell concessionary contracts to the membership and tell us to “share the pain” are doing the work of the bosses in the workers’ organizations.  The fighting rank and file caucuses declare for the historic interest of the entire working class against the interest of the labor tops that chain us to the bosses political parties, and their benefactors the top 0.01%.

Those who tell us, “our union” only represents the current dues-payers have abandoned the Knights of Labor’s clarion call: “An injury to one is the concern of all!”  Today’s professional labor misleaders act as agents of the bosses in our organizations.  We must ask: When did the rank and file vote to abandon the pensioners, the unorganized, our future co-workers, the marginalized, and the oppressed? If we don’t unite and fight with and for those, in like conditions, those who came before us, those who will come to work with us in the future and the entire working class we are isolated!

We reject the strategy that ties our unions to the corporate rulers through the political machines of the Democratic and the Republican parties.  We demand an end to funding their campaigns and instead we must fund our strike funds and our own campaigns!  We reject the failed strategy placing labors’ faith in the courts and the lobbyists while abandoning workers’ strongest weapons: the indefinite strike, the general strike, the worksite occupation and unity in action of the entire working class.  Today’s misleaders isolate labor: they divide the 9% of the organized working class from the 91% of unorganized workers.  Notice how quickly they (labor tops and the Democrats) dropped the fight for the Employee Free Choice Act. They do not fight nor have a plan to end unemployment; they are not organizing unemployed leagues or anti-eviction and anti-foreclosure action committees.  THESE ARE DUES COLLECTION AGENCIES NOT UNIONS!

Our task is not to admonish or convince the unions’ leaders or staff, rather our task is to drive them from office, rise up new organizers and leaders from the ranks to organize the rank and file and take back our unions, establish the political independence of labor, defeat anti-labor laws and fight for the historic interests of the entire working class!

The Fighting Union Caucus* of California State Workers

Build a class struggle leadership of the unions!

Unite Labor, Black and Brown to fight for a workers’ economy!

1. Rank and file control via the mechanism of regular meetings and the right to the immediate recall of officers.  Build a strong stewards movement to organize, activate and defend each worker in each unit.  Democratic trade unions where no officer is paid higher than the highest wage of the workers they represent.

2. For picket lines that no one crosses!  Arm the unions with the strike weapon!  Revive the class struggle tactics that built the unions: mass picket lines, sit-down strikes, flying picket squads, hot-cargo goods, general strikes and indefinite general strikes and defiance of the bosses’ courts/laws.  Defy the injunctions!  Smash Taft-Hartley and all other anti-labor laws through militant labor struggle!  “The only illegal strike is the one that loses!”  No to binding arbitration!

3. For a workers’ party to fight for a workers’ government!  Break with the Democrats/Republicans!   Run labor candidates on a fighting labor platform including the transitional demand found in our caucus platform.

4. No layoffs and no furloughs!  For united AFSCME, SEIU 1000,IUOE 39,CDF, CAPS, PECGS,CAPT,CAPD, opposition to state budget cuts!  Separate unions divide us; we need to BUILD ONE STATE WORKERS UNION with multiple units.  For united negotiations, one master contract, and a united expiration date.   Organize contract workers at full union wages and benefits.   End outsourcing, hire existing long term contract workers at the institutions where they work!  Build strike funds!  Build Action committees in every job site!  Meet regularly, publish widely.

5. The right to a job is the right of every worker.  Fight for full employment.  For a 30 hour workweek at 40 hours pay to share existing work!   No contract without annual COLA to keep pace with inflation! For retroactive COLA for the last 10 yrs.  No to two-tier wage and benefit systems or second-class workers!  No concessions, no givebacks and no “shared sacrifice”!  No Lay-offs. No Furloughs. Make the bosses pay! For massive public works programs!

6. Organize the unorganized “wall-to-wall”!  Build unemployed leagues allied with the unions to fight for relief for the unemployed!  Build local union affiliates of all laid off public workers.  Provide union training for the unemployed.

7. Organize undocumented and documented immigrant workers. For immediate full citizenship rights for all immigrants!  Down with I.C.E./employer IMAGE program!  No deportations!  Down with English-only bigotry!  The bosses super exploit undocumented labor and use them to drive down wages. Labor must embrace and organize the undocumented. Across borders we demand same work same contract!   Make the bosses pay immigrant workers the same benefits, the same employment taxes and workers compensation as workers with papers!

8. Defend Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and welfare programs. No “tax the rich” welfare state schemes but open the books of finance capital, nationalize banks and major industry without compensation and run them under workers’ control.  For a system of public works to rebuild the decaying infrastructure.

9. Labor must clean its own house! For full union democracy.  Bosses courts out of the unions. No lawsuits against the unions.

10.  For international labor solidarity!  For joint Canadian, American, Mexican and Central American labor struggle!  Down with “Buy American” anti-Chinese campaigns and other chauvinist protectionism.  Down with U.S. imperialism!  U.S. out of the Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan!  Hands off Libya!

11.  Down with racist cop harassment and brutality!  For labor, Black and Brown self defense guards to stop the KKK/Nazis and racist police terror!

12.  Free quality healthcare for all!   Free reproductive services to include free abortion on demand! For free 24-hour childcare.  Full democratic rights for gays/lesbians/transgender including the right to marriage.

13.  For racially integrated quality public education.  Free public higher education with a student stipend.  Labor ally with students to defend public education!  For teachers, staff, student control of education.

14.  End discrimination in housing and employment.  Housing is a right!  Mobilize labor to stop evictions and foreclosures through rent strikes and blockades! Seize foreclosed housing and abandoned buildings for the homeless and displaced.

15.  “An injury to one is an injury to all!”. Mobilize labor to defend whistleblowers Sean Gillis, Dorian Maxwell!  Defend Bay Area ILWU Local 10!  Unite workers’ community and labor in joint economic and political self defense.

* Fighting Union Caucus composed of members of SEIU Local 1000& 1021, IOUE Local 39, AFSCME & CAPS

September 2, 2011 - Posted by | CAPS election 2011 | , ,

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