Rank and File Scientists Demanding our Rights

RACHLIS Response to Grievance against Charles Rachlis brought by Miller & Brown filed on September 19, 2011

We have shown in the previous post that the charges against us are being brought in violation of the Policy Manual pg.7 paragraph f.  As we do not expect the CAPS leadership (which guides and controls the Membership Discipline Review Committee) to abide the Policy Manual we present the following response to the membership for the record.   If the CAPS leadership has its way they will expel Rachlis and Cosentino in violation of the very rules they are sworn to uphold and will have diminished the rights of all CAPS members.



 In considering the charges against Charles Rachlis and Giorgio Cosentino it must be established that Just Cause exists.  The high standards and principles established in the landmark Enterprise Wire arbitration case from 1966, which labor has traditionally applied to conflicts with employers must also guide and be applied to our own organizations. 

 “The basic elements of just cause which different arbitrators have emphasized have been reduced to seven tests. These tests, in the form of questions, represent the most specifically articulated analysis of the just cause standard as an extremely practical approach. A “no” answer to one or more of the questions means that just cause either was not satisfied or at least was seriously weakened.”

“1) NOTICE: Did MCO give the employee forewarning or foreknowledge of the possible or probably disciplinary consequences of the employee’s conduct?

a. Forewarning/foreknowledge: orally by Management, in writing through typed or printed sheets or books of work rules &of penalties for violation thereof….

 Did Rachlis and Cosentino have means to be aware of, were they given the documents, printed sheets, or books of rules which would have made them aware of the policies, to which they are now being held accountable to abide?  The answer is an absolute no!  The allegations in the grievance are predicated upon the CAPS Policy Manual which both Cosentino and Rachlis had been requesting since before the election campaign.  Charles Rachlis did not receive it until the day of the ballot count in Sacramento, from David Miller himself and Giorgio Cosentino did not receive it until mid-October; long after the grievances Miller/Brown had penned against us were submitted.

Indeed the same lack of transparency which keeps the bylaws off of the CAPS website also keeps the policy manual off the web site away from prying eyes of the membership.  Despite repeated requests rank and file members were denied access to this document. Only a kangaroo court could find JUST CAUSE under these conditions therefore all these charges must be dismissed.

The CAPS leadership can not have it both ways.  You can not deny members access to the very book of rules from which you derive charges against them.  Not in any democratic organization.  Such practices are common however in Stalinist and Fascist dictatorships which kind of organization is CAPS?

What follows is the record that shows we have tried to get a copy of the Policy Manual for over a year and have been ignored, patronized and stonewalled by the very staff and leadership which is supposed to treat all members fairly and with respect

Consider the secretive practices of the board.  After we pointed out the failure of the board to adhere to the 2007 Bylaws at the November 2010 informational meetings, the board, without noticing the membership, without submitting the proposed bylaws and Policy Manual changes to the members for discussion, amended both those documents in February of 2011. 

The result was that the board wrote the memberships’ right to an annual membership meeting out of the 2011 revision.  The revised Bylaws & Policy Manual were never posted or universally distributed.  Few members even knew they had been changed or that the Policy Manual even existed at all.  This lack of transparency, denial of membership participation and lack of notification about the changes in the rules of the organization is designed to keep the membership uninformed and in turn has created conditions where members are being charged with violations of rules which they are not allowed to know of in a timely manner. In August of 2011 I had to inquire as to the changes that were enacted.

On 8/8/11 I wrote:

To the CAPS board and executive director,

There is rumor that the executive board has passed a new by-laws for the organization.  Is there truth to this scuttle-but? If so I request that you immediately send me a copy of the new by-laws, the old by-laws and the minutes from the meeting where the changes occurred. 

Thank you,

Charles Rachlis

Associate Industrial Hygienist

This policy document was finally delivered to both Rachlis and Cosentino after the charges crafted by Miller and Brown were submitted on September 19th despite the executive director’s claim that timely distribution of the document was forthcoming on July 5th 2011.


From: Chris Voight []
Sent: Tuesday, July 05, 2011 10:30 AM
To: Cosentino, Giorgio (CDPH-CID-DCDC-VRDL)
Subject: RE: Bylaws and policy file on website?


Feel free to ask any time.  You are a member and have a right to ask any question.  We will try to always respond promptly and on point.  In this case, the leadership has chosen not to post those particular documents on line, but rather to provide them to any member who requests them.  We do so promptly and so far have seen no pressing need to post them.  The concern here is that posting them, even in the minimally secure “member only” section on the web page, will make them accessible to individuals far beyond the membership. I will copy your request and my reply to the leadership in the event they may want to reconsider their position on this issue. 

Christopher J. Voight

Staff Director

“Important Work Deserves Fair Pay”


So for Giorgio Cosentino  to “promptly” receive the policy manual it took  four months, from July 5th  when Chris Voight assured prompt delivery,  until mid October when it was finally mailed after Mr. Cosentino offered to visit the Sacramento office on October 13th.  This is only prompt in geologic terms not in internal union business terms.  This denial of access to the very document upon which the grievances are brought is why no just cause exists.

Consider the following e-mail from Barryett Enge, who has acted as a CAPS shop steward at Richmond campus on and off for years responded to Giorgio’s search for the Policy manual as early as January 27th 2010.

From: Enge, Barryett (CDPH-CID-DCDC-VRDL)
Sent: Wednesday, January 27, 2010 1:57 PM
To: Cosentino, Giorgio (CDPH-CID-DCDC-VRDL)
Subject: message[secure]

Hello Giorgio,

I received your message. There seems to be some discrepancy, I am unaware of any CAPS people who have this document that you are seeking. As mentioned before, such has never been in my possession. In fact, Chris Voight stated that he had not seen it in years. The only document that I have regarding CAPS members is the booklet, our MOU which covers multiple topics.

Since you feel that you have not been well represented by Matt, do proceed with your plan.

Barryett Enge

Public Health Microbiologist II Virology
510 307 8530

This denial of access to the Policy Manual went on for over a year and a half See Giorgio’s requests in September 2011: 

From: Cosentino, Giorgio (CDPH-CID-DCDC-VRDL)
Sent: Thursday, September 08, 2011 12:37 PM
To: ‘’
Subject: Current Policy File?


Is the current Policy File dated 11/3/2007?  Thank you for the clarification.


Giorgio Cosentino, PHM

From: Cosentino, Giorgio (CDPH-CID-DCDC-VRDL)
Sent: Thursday, September 08, 2011 3:28 PM
To: ‘’
Subject: RE: Current Policy File?


Liz just answered my question.  I do have the new bylaws, but not the new policy file dated 2/12/2011.  Any chance of emailing or faxing to me as I could use today if possible?  Thanks.

FAX 510-307-8599


From: Cosentino, Giorgio (CDPH-CID-DCDC-VRDL)
Sent: Thursday, September 08, 2011 4:08 PM
To: Enge, Barryett (CDPH-CID-DCDC-VRDL)
Cc: ‘’
Subject: RE: Current Policy File?

Hi Barryett,

Do you have a copy of this on you that I can stop by and see?  Thanks.


From: Cosentino, Giorgio (CDPH-CID-DCDC-VRDL)
Sent: Friday, September 09, 2011 1:29 PM
To: ‘CAPS’ (
Subject: RE: Current Policy File?

Can I please have a copy of this?  Thank you.


Giorgio Cosentino

From: Cosentino, Giorgio (CDPH-CID-DCDC-VRDL)
Sent: Friday, September 09, 2011 3:12 PM
To: ”CAPS’ (’
Subject: RE: Current Policy File?


I was previously told the following.


We ALWAYS provide bylaws and policy promptly upon request of any member.”

I would like to receive a copy of the new Policy File before I leave work today at 5:00 as I need it for the weekend.  Thank you.


From: Cosentino, Giorgio (CDPH-CID-DCDC-VRDL)
Sent: Friday, September 09, 2011 5:18 PM
To: ”CAPS’ (’
Subject: Policy file not yet received 

Did I use the wrong email address for this request?  


From: Cosentino, Giorgio (CDPH-CID-DCDC-VRDL)
Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 8:44 AM
To: Kristen Haynie (
Subject: Policy File not available to me?

Dear Kristen,

I have been requesting a copy of the new policy file which previously I was told was available “immediately upon request.”  I was told you are one of the contacts for this request, but you have not replied. 

Recently, I sent a communication to PERB, copying our President.  Anyone who viewed my candidate statement would know about my communication with PERB.  I am doing my best to follow the laws outlined by the Dills Act in order to address concerns I have as a member of CAPS and I understand it might not be pleasant for you and for that I apologize.  It is not personal.  To be honest, I do not like being in this situation at all. 

Can you please respond to my query for the policy file.  If you do not, then I will have to wonder if I am now being discriminated against as a result of exercising the rights I have per 3519.5 (b) of the Dills Act (please see below).  I hope that is not the case and that you have just been too busy.  Then please let me know when you can provide me with this document. 

Thanks, Kristen.



Dills Act

3519.5. Unlawful actions by employee organizations

It shall be unlawful for an employee organization to:

(a) Cause or attempt to cause the state to violate Section 3519.

(b) 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.

Giorgio Cosentino, PHM

From: Cosentino, Giorgio (CDPH-CID-DCDC-VRDL) []
Sent: Friday, October 07, 2011 1:23 PM
Cc: Enge, Barryett (CDPH-CID-DCDC-VRDL); Rachlis, Charles (CDPH-ADM-PSB-FMS); Wright, Will (CDPH-ADM-PSB-FMS);
Subject: Requesting confirmation regarding October 13th office visit

Hi Kristen and Chris,

I am requesting confirmation that staff will be available in the Sacramento CAPS office on October 13th, allowing me to copy the current Policy File.  Thank you.


Giorgio Cosentino, PHM

 And when did we finally get the document?

From: Chris Voight []
Sent: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 2:39 PM
To: Cosentino, Giorgio (CDPH-CID-DCDC-VRDL)
Subject: RE: Requesting confirmation regarding October 13th office visit

 A copy of the CAPS Policy and Practice Manual has been mailed to you today, per Patty Velez. 

 Christopher J. Voight

Staff Director

“Important Work Deserves Fair Pay”


 Just prior to the opening of the election campaign period I (Charles Rachlis) called Sacramento and talked to a CAPS/B&B staffer (I think it was)Linda and asked for the current Policy Manual to be sent to me, I was told it would be sent the next day.  I did this because Giorgio insisted that such a document existed and that he had been e-mailing the staff for weeks asking for it to no avail.  As stated, the document upon which the allegations in the grievance were drawn up by President David Miller was not delivered to me until after the charges were penned.  President David Miller knows this as he is the person who delivered the Policy Manual to me, during the ballot count in October.  Hence there is no JUST CAUSE AND THE CHARGES AGAINST RACHLIS AND COSENTINO MUST BE DISMISSED. 

 Charles Rachlis

January 9, 2012

If the grievance committee is non-biased and impartial they can stop reading at this point and dismiss the charges for lack of JUST CAUSE.  However as we will show, and you (the MDRC) will prove to the membership by your pursuit of the case, these charges are a vindictive attempt to purge members from the organization who demanded democratic rights as union members and who have consistently exposed the violations of California Corporate Code and the organizations own by-laws by the incumbents under the direction of the executive director and the profit taking corporation B&B.  Therefore we expect the biased, partial and prejudicial team which makes up this kangaroo court to continue its inquiry, which would be proof enough, under any impartial review, by a reasonable person, that the sitting committee is a partial group of insiders executing a purge against the opposition.  In order to keep the CAPS dues dollars flowing to Blanning and Baker LLC., the lawyers and the Democratic and Republican party and to keep the rank and file from having free, fair and democratic discussion about the type of strategy and tactics needed to defend our working conditions in this period of economic collapse.


 Patty Velez, M. Berbach, J. Budrow, S. Bauer, Y. Addassi, M. Commadoatore, and M. Gordus, must recuse themselves from any role in the MDRC as they have proven through their silent acquiescence to the prejudicial behavior and statements towards  rank and file members Charles Rachlis and Giorgio Cosentino as expressed by Matt Austin in an e-mail on April 5th, 2010 that they are biased toward Matt Austin and Chris Voight or at least that they refuse to defend the membership from slander and denial of members rights by Blanning and Baker staff..  This entire group of board members knew of and allowed prejudicial attitudes to persist and guide the direction of the organization even after the inappropriate nature of this communication was brought to their attention.  If they do not recuse themselves from being seated on the MDRC must be challenged for cause.

 Already by April 5th 2010 a year and  four months  prior to the battery committed by CFO of Blanning and Baker Matt Austin against Rank and File CAPS member Charles Rachlis then President Patty Velez, Chris Rogers (then local CAPS rep for Richmond), the rest of the board, B&B lawyer  Lisa Crvarich and Matt Austin  were all witness to Matt Austin’s prejudicial attitude against Charles Rachlis for his union activities and of Austin’s derogatory, biased, and  prejudice towards Giorgio Cosentino for his disability.  Neither the CAPS officers nor the lawyer for B&B saw anything wrong with Matt Austin’s prejudicial attitude and behavior towards dues paying members.  When this information was brought to the attention of the CAPS board no apology was offered and no admonitions were issued.  Therefore none of those then in positions of responsibility listed as recipients of these e-mails can sit as an impartial jury for those disparaged in the Austin communication of April 5th. See following two emails:

 From: Rachlis, Charles (CDPH-ADM-PSB-FMS)
Sent: Monday, August 29, 2011 8:36 AM
To: ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’
Cc: ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; Enge, Barryett (CDPH-CID-DCDC-VRDL); Cosentino, Giorgio (CDPH-CID-DCDC-VRDL); Wright, Will (CDPH-ADM-PSB-FMS); ‘Charles Rachlis (’; ‘’
Subject: Austin’s record of targeting Rachlis

 Open letter to the CAPS board:

 An e-mail with prejudicial statements about Charles Rachlis and Giorgio Cosentino was left hanging at the end of a thread from Matt Austin to Chris Voight  and President Patty Valdez and copied to the board.   In this e-mail Matt is complaining about the request for assistance by Giorgio Cosentino to understand union and grievance procedures.   Blanning and Baker LCC are shown in their own words to be incapable of representing the membership impartially.  Reproduced below is the e-mail  from the end of the thread  that the membership, Giorgio and I were never meant to see.

 What this indicates is that long before Matt Austin’s violent, threatening and uncivilized outburst at the CAPS office on Friday which resulted in the SFPD calling my home and warning me of arrest if I appear at the CAPS office again, he was interfering in internal CAPS politics by prejudicially influencing the current president and the executive director  against me by labeling me as some  sort of nefarious behind the scenes operator  and that somehow I convinced the hapless Giorgio that great wrongs have been done to him.   

 This behind the scenes interference with the objectivity of the President of our organization  out of the  site of the membership is proof positive that Blanning and Baker are not objective agents serving the interests of the entire membership.  Rather they are political players doing everything they can to maintain control of CAPS and the other unions in which they most likely run the same type of power plays to control a dues base. 

 CAPS has lost its independence and is clearly a captive union under corporate control.  The board is under obligation to the membership to immediately convene a meeting of the membership to address the captive nature of the organization and immediately take action to regain its independence.

 Charles Rachlis

 —–Original Message—–

From: H. Mattson Austin []

Sent: Monday, April 05, 2010 4:28 PM

To: Chris Voight; Cosentino, Giorgio (CDPH-CID-DCDC-VRDL)

Cc: Rogers, Chris (CDPH-FDLB); Velez, Patty@DFG; Lisa Crvarich

Subject: Re: Accessibility of bylaws and policy file?

Ahh, Giorgio again. 

I’m not sure what he’s up to with “meeting with a few colleagues to discuss the representation processs”, but he has insinuated repeatedly that something is amiss and thinks that this general policy document contains the seeds of some great wrong that has been perpetrated upon him, or upon the membership.  I see the shadow of Charles Rachlis back there somewhere, fomenting that because Giorgio, through his disability, needs some special “manual” in order to deal with “his relationship” with CAPS, he is somehow being harmed greatly.

In fact, Giorgio’s constant repetition of wanting to discuss the manual went so far as to have Chris Rogers offer to sit down with him with the manual and go over anything he needed to see.  The manual is that innocent. 

He has, I believe, a deficit in being able to understand what is happening around him. 



That the previous board and the current chair of the MDRC knew of and did nothing about this proves their bias and inability to serve in a fair judicial review of these charges.


In the tradition of Stalin’s Moscow show trials and the Spanish Inquisition the CAPS leadership is running from the truth of its own crimes against the membership, by attacking the candidates who dared to expose them.   Kill the messenger and you can continue to sell out the membership!  For the crime of running for office and demanding democratic procedure be adhered to, candidates who ran on the CAPS Fighting Union Caucus are called to this show trial intended to lead to termination of membership to be judged by the very officers of the organization who they exposed in the last election (in which our caucus received 25% of the vote).  We denounce this kangaroo court and demand this grievance be dismissed.

Despite our appeal to reason, lack of JUST CAUSE and CONFLICT OF INTEREST we expect the purge/ show trial/ inquisition to continue.   So in the interest of informing the membership we record the following responses to the allegations put before us by the vindictive President of CAPS David Miller which are to be heard by his dutiful co-conspirator and Vice President Patty Velez who defeated me in the election for Vice President by 400+ votes to my 153 and who now sits on the committee (MDRC) formed to hear the charges.

Response to charges:

1)    The first charge referred to as conduct at the CAPS office is a total fabrication made up of lies of omission and of commission creating perjured testimony presented by Matt Austin who lied both in court and  in his court documents in order to, protect his fiefdom by  imposing a restraining order on me (Charles Rachlis) after physically battering me upon entry to the CAPS office and assaulting me with the statement “You don’t know who your messing with buster.”

The membership and the MDRC must take into account that the entire submittal and all the attachments on this charge were considered in a court  of law and  were dismissed by a judge who found Matt Austin’s claims  to be insubstantial.  Austin and Crvarich were then laughed out of court by a least a dozen trade-unionists who came to witness the attempt to impose a long-term restraining order on Rachlis.   

The link below is to the Charles Rachlis response to Lisa Crvarich and Matt Austin’s request from the court for a restraining order. After examining the Austin/Crvarich submittal and looking at the Rachlis submittal  the judge concluded that Matt Austin had no case.  The grievance committee should accept the finding of the superior court and reject the Miller/Austin/Cravich submittal. To do otherwise would be to take the word of a person we just showed by his own words to be prejudicial , a person with a track record of stalling and unethical behavior, over that of a rank and file member seeking the memberships democratic rights.

(See link to and attached documents Rachlis submitted to court in response to Austin charges.PDF and attachment #1 to hard copy)  I stand 100% by my statement in the linked documents which were submitted to court and which formed the basis for the dismissal of the harassment charge by Austin against Rachlis.  I therefore demand that this charge be dismissed. 

2)    Advocating decertification.  As stated earlier without a copy of the policy manual being made available to me even after weeks of asking and waiting, and in the case of Mr. Cosentino months of asking and waiting, there is no way either of us  would have known the rules leading to such charges therefore there is no just cause for this charge. 

In any event I never advocated decertification of CAPS.  I asked the rhetorical question:  “Is it time to decertify the public unions and forge fighting unions”.   Those who do no understand the difference between asking a question and a statement should be sent back to school.  Consider the e-mail from Chris Voight to Giorgio  previously reproduced on page 2 of this document, dated July 5th 2011, Voight states: “You are a member and have a right to ask any question.”  Obviously this applies not only to Cosentino but to all members but now Rachlis is being purged for asking a question. You can’t have it both ways!  Either, you can ask questions or you can not!

The conclusion of that leaflet was to state that the separate unions are ineffective that to defend our rights all the unions need to fight as one and that a struggle to unite all the unions into one public workers union would better serve our interests.  This is not the call for a decertification campaign.   It is a suggestion for a strategy which could be carried out in any number of ways.  Uniting all the unions could be done via the convocation of membership meetings and democratic discussion about how to best defend our rights. In such a democratic discussion the question of creating ONE BIG UNION would be a legitimate discussion.  That the current leadership and I disagree on the road forward for labor is a given but calling for labor organizations to reconsider their organizational method and unite as one is not calling for, forming a campaign for, or  signing a document with the goal of decertifying of CAPS.   I demand that this charge be dismissed.

3)    Sending repeated unsolicited emails is listed as a charge.  Again the same objection applies without access to or being given a copy of the policy manual no JUST CAUSE exists. 

In any case we can consider the fallacy of this charge based on its merits in regard to the belatedly delivered policy manual.  Although in the CAPS policy manual this phrase refers to communications which are: “Harassing, abusing, defaming or threatening any other CAPS member for his or her exercise of union activities…”  Indeed our caucus did send a series of campaign bulletins to the membership.   However none of these communications harassed, abused, defamed or threatened any other CAPS member for his or her exercise of union activities.  All these communications were objective analysis, critique and proposals for solutions to the crisis of the illegal functioning of the CAPS organization under the current leadership and controlled by Blanning and Baker. All these communications are posted in the August, September and October archive tab at and are hereby submitted into evidence for the membership to consider.  Furthermore everyone who requested to have their e-mail addresses removed from further communications was removed.  This charge does not conform to the Policy Manual, nor is there JUST CAUSE  and it  is baseless therefore I demand that it be dismissed.

In the grievance against Rachlis an affidavit is presented by Chris Voight regarding my visit to the union offices on August 26th.  Our experience with Chris Voight is therefore relevant.  As we discovered at the November 2010 informational meeting at DTSC, Chris Voight (partner in B&B living off of the dues of Unit 10 dues and fair share payers), is an elitist who perpetuates anti-working class ideology inside of the CAPS organization.  Following that meeting we requested that the CAPS board admonish the contractor for his condescending viewpoints and elitist attitudes.  But the CAPS board did nothing thus again showing prejudicial favor to the Blanning and Baker partner whose testimony the MDRC is asked to consider over the request of a member to end elitism among CAPS agents.  His testimony, dismissed as rubbish in court, has as much place, in this hearing, as his elitist attitudes have in CAPS-NONE!  See our request to the board from that the elitism of staff members be addressed:

November 12, 2010

Please forward to the CAPS board. 

At the DTSC CAPS site meeting last week Chris Voight took time to explain to the assembled that CAPS members are professionals, that many members have advanced degrees and that we are not like those other workers; in particular he referred to janitors and administrative workers.  Presumably we do not act like them and we struggle for our rights in a more refined manner!

This is not the first time I have heard this line of reasoning from of CAPS staffers.  Members should take offense at this attempt by our staff to separate CAPS members from, create an air of rarified elitism over, and there-by prevent solidarity in word and deed with, our co-workers who are janitors, admin staff and the like; most of whom may not have had the opportunity for the elevated level of education that CAPS members had access to. 

Luckily this embarrassing derogatory attitude was not embraced by the CAPS VP (Valarie Brown) who told us that she started as an administrative person herself.  Kudos to Valarie Brown for speaking to the issue of worker equality and not bowing to the elitist viewpoint that Chris has adopted. 

There is no room in the trade union movement for this type class-ism and our board should admonish CAPS staff to change their attitude or keep it to themselves.  Ultimately this type of class-ism prevents us from uniting with our natural allies and puts us in the camp of the elite the very bosses, bankers and speculators who own the politicians we have to negotiate with for our contract.  This attitude, on the part of our staff, indicates that staff has internalized the dominant ideology which drives a wedge separating the middle class and the traditional working class and, in turn use that separation to impose the austerity on us all  with out a fight.

This commentary by Chris Voight was Blanning and Baker’s way of telling us that our options, of how to fight against the attack on our wages and benefits, are limited to reliance on the courts and the politicians (the two failed options they are masters of).  Those may be the only options Blanning and Baker are capable of envisioning but they are not the only options.  Only a few weeks ago the RNs at Children’s Hospital in Oakland (many with advanced degrees and commanding salaries which might make State Scientists feel like janitors and administrative persons) took strike action for three days.  It is not unheard of for workers in similarly “rarified positions” and with advanced degrees to show a little muscle.

Despite CAPS staffers claim that they won the furlough case, it was pointed out from the floor, that in actuality the loss of over 60 days pay so far and ongoing furloughs,  indicates that the abstract paper win in the courts has translated in to concrete hardship for our members.   While parity issues were addressed as the perpetual legal battle they have become, no one mentioned that we have lost close to 18% for lack of COLA’s over the last 10 years.  Of course parity would be nice (if it is ever won) but regular COLA’s are essential!

When one rank and file member suggested that we press Jerry Brown to end the furloughs on his first day in office, Chris and the assembled board members admonished us to not pressure Brown or expect much from him as he is already under the right wing gun and media scrutiny for supposedly being in the pocket of the unions.  Ending the furloughs, we were told, is going to take time, a long time.  And again we were assured the furloughs are, in our legal expert opinion, illegal.  One might then ask, if they are indeed illegal, what’s would be the problem of insisting that the new governor abide the law?

One might also ask why did CAPS give support to a politician who we can’t even ask to take our cause immediately.  But it is clear why.  The CAPS staff and apparently the board have distain for any type of independent economic or political job action by the rank and file  worker members of CAPS which might confront the cozy relation the lobbyists have developed in Sacramento or threaten to by-pass the court based solutions which keep CAPS funds flowing to Blanning and Baker and which just lost us 60 days and counting of pay already.   

There were plenty of opportunities to build joint action with other state workers during the period of the furloughs.  If the State Scientists and Engineers (also under the influence of Blanning and Baker) took to the streets and mobilized their members these highly educated and relatively well paid workers would have inspired others and could have changed the dynamics but when other state workers marched on Sacramento, held pickets at state buildings and highway overpasses, reached out to the communities of public services and education which were being cut the CAPS leadership and staff  did nothing.  This is proof positive that the current staff and leadership has no winning strategy. 

As for the view that professionals don’t take job actions like those other lowly janitors and administration workers, consider the Doctors in Luxembourg :

“Doctors in Luxembourg continue protest against health reforms

Thousands of health workers may strike indefinitely in Luxembourg later this month. They are seeking to pressure the government to abandon its health reform. Members of the Association of Doctors and Dentists in Luxembourg (AMMD) trade union have worked half their normal hours in recent weeks. Their action began on October 22.

Medical workers are concerned that the reform, which gives the state greater control, would mean an end to patients being able to choose which doctor to visit. There is also fear over a proposal to place the personal details of patients into a national database.

On Wednesday, AMMD General Secretary Claude Schummer said that the members of the union would continue to provide reduced services. Representatives of the union had “unanimously decided to carry on with the strike but would not enhance the measures taken so far”, she said.”

 Charles Rachlis Associate Industrial Hygienist/

 For lack of regular or annual membership meetings the membership was disarmed in the fight for a fair contract.  Our struggle for a democratic discussion about the consequences of accepting the proposal of the negotiating team is reflected in this letter sent to the CAPS board on 3/24/11.  Democratic regular membership meetings were never held, alternate strategy and tactics are not allowed to be discussed by the membership.

 Had there been regular or annual membership meetings or an organizational e-forum where members could put issues on the agenda to be discussed before the membership, as is the practice in all democratic unions, then there would have been no need to, run for office in order to address the membership or to communicate with the membership to propose an alternate strategy.  However because of the illegal disregard for CCC on the part of the CAPS leadership and the Executive Director I had no choice but to go directly to the membership via e-mails.  Again the following letter shows that our campaign for democracy and an alternate strategy predate the time of the alleged incidents in the charges.


OPEN LETTER to the CAPS board:

 Please explain what is the venue for membership-wide discussion of the TA among the membership prior to voting for the contract?

 Democracy requires that members have a method of communicating prior to voting on major decisions.

At the informational meetings, conducted a few months ago, the membership rejected the SEIU 1000 deal in straw polls across the Bay Area. Now the negotiating team has signed a TA which is just as bad as the SEIU 1000 deal.

 Under this contract we will work more and our real and relative take home pay will be less than during the furloughs! Contribution to the pension fund is a give back.  This will not increase our retirement pay, this is the worker paying for what was the employers responsibility. Ultimately we end up working for free for close to two days a month.  This is a slave deal!  

The deal does nothing about our COLA’s which are in the arrears to the amount of 18% over the last 10 years;  25% if you count the losses from the furloughs.  Moving directly to a vote without providing a venue for the membership to communicate would be a breach of maintenance of any semblance of democratic protocol. The deal negotiates a two tier retirement system which spits the new members from the old members destroying solidarity. 

 The negotiating team letter indicated that they fought hard to achieve this.  I did not see any fight.  The leadership did not mobilize the membership. The leadership did not build solidarity with other unions during the furloughs.  The leadership refused to take the fight to the streets!  The inter-union organizing committee was reaching out to build broader actions and this leadership stifled it. 

The executive board did not convene emergency membership meetings to develop a fighting strategy.  The strategy of dependence on the courts did not put one dime in our member’s pockets; but it kept the lawyers working while we were on furlough!  All this board has done is give our millions to the lobbyists and  lawyers….year after year and what do we have to show?  With your proposed TA every scientist is worse off than ten years ago.  This board depended on their coziness with the Democrats and support of Brown to help deliver a fair contract.  But when members argued that this was a decision the membership should discuss, because it is based on a failed strategy, the leadership refused to provide a democratic forum.  Indeed our membership is denied access to each other.  Ask yourself how many of the 3,000 CAPS members do you know and have access to?  This is not a democratic union this is a isolation ward run by pickpockets feeding the law firm.

 How do you evaluate a strategy after 10 years if you don’t even allow a discussion?  How do you keep paying a law firm that fails at its task for 10 years if the employers of that law firm (the membership) are never convened into the By-Laws mandated annual meeting!  This organization has been run in violation of the by-laws for 10 years taking our money and dispensing it illegally by a treasurer who has not been duly installed, as required by the by-laws, at an annual membership meeting.  Members rights and due process are being violated-that is how we end up with a rotten sell-out concessionary TA,

 I demand the by-laws be followed!

  • That an annual meeting be convened where the entire membership can communicate prior to voting on this TA. 
  • With modern technology the entire membership can be linked up in a democratic conference format.  If we do not have staff that accomplish can this then we don’t have the right people working for us.

 Charles Rachlis  March 24, 2011

Associate Industrial Hygienist

Charles.Rachlis@CDPH.CA.GOV  (415) 205-0359

On 3/29/11, long before we were made aware of the February 2011 changes in the bylaws affected by the leadership in a pathetic attempt to hide their long term criminal negligence and theft of the membership’s rights and funds, we wrote:



At the informational meetings, conducted a few months ago, the membership rejected the SEIU 1000 deal in straw polls across the Bay Area. Now the negotiating team has signed a TA just as bad as the SEIU 1000 deal.  While bankers get bonuses our leaders capitulate.


Under this contract we will work more and our real and relative take home pay will be less than before the furloughs! Contribution to the pension fund is a give back.  This will not increase our retirement pay; this forces us to pay for what was the employer’s responsibility. The deal negotiates a two tier retirement system splitting future members from current members hindering potential solidarity.  Ultimately, between the give back on the pension and increasing medical premiums we end up working for free for close to two days a month.  This is a slave deal!  


The deal does nothing about our COLA’s which are in the arrears to the amount of 18% over the last 10 years; 25% if you count our losses from the furloughs.  Moving directly to a vote without providing a venue for the membership to discuss is be a breach of any semblance of democratic protocol.  Real unions hold mass membership meetings to discuss and debate contracts!


The negotiating team letter indicated that they fought hard to achieve this.  I did not see any fight.  The leadership did not mobilize the membership. The leadership did not build solidarity with other unions during the furloughs.  The leadership accepts the politicians lie that “there is no money” and has not organized to take the fight beyond the courts!  The inter-union organizing committee reached out building solidarity actions against the furloughs and this leadership stifled it. 


The executive board did not convene emergency membership meetings to develop a fighting strategy.  The strategy of dependence on the courts did not put one dime in our member’s pockets; but it kept the lawyers working while we were on furlough!   The board has given our millions to the lobbyists and lawyers….year after year and what do we have to show?   With this TA every scientist is worse off than ten years ago.   This board depended on coziness with the Democrats and support of Brown to help deliver a fair contract.   But when members argued that this is a failed strategy and that the membership needs a venue to discuss strategy, the board refused to provide a democratic forum.   Indeed our membership is denied access to itself.  Ask yourself how many of the 3,000 CAPS members do you know and have access to?   This is not a democratic union this is an isolation ward run by pickpockets feeding the law firm. A leadership incapable of defending previous gains is incapable of winning back from losses!


How do you evaluate a strategy after 10 years if you are not allowed a discussion?  How do you keep paying a law firm that fails at its task for 10 years, if the employers of that law firm (the membership) are never convened into the By-Laws mandated annual meeting!  By admission CAPS general counsel this organization has been run in violation of the bylaws for 10 years.  They have been taking our money, dispensing it illegally, by a treasurer who has not been duly installed, as required by the by-laws, at an annual membership meeting.  Members rights and due process are being violated-that is how we end up with a rotten sell-out concessionary TA. 

  • I demand the by-laws be followed!
  • That an annual meeting be convened where the entire membership can communicate prior to voting on this TA.  Demand only duly sworn officers run the election!
  • With modern technology the entire membership can be linked up in a democratic conference format.  If we do not have staff that can accomplish this then we don’t have the right people working for us.


Charles Rachlis (415)205-0359

After I brought it to the attention of the Board that that the Executive Director and the Board have been criminally negligent for over a decade by ignoring the bylaws during the November 2010 informational meetings they raced into the February 2011 board meeting to do a mop up operation and wrote the right to an annual membership meeting out of the bylaws.  In place they put in the right to regular meetings at a time and place specified by the board.  To date the organization has yet to convene a regular or an annual meeting in over ten years placing the organization in violation of CCC.  Such meetings, if they are held, are they only place besides running for office  that a member can put their concerns in front of the assembled membership but the electoral avenues are closed due to censorship of the election statements.  And  by never convening the regular or annual meetings the membership is effectively denied the right and ability to ever confer with itself.  The entire legal foundation and citations for these arguments were presented to PERB and are hereby submitted to the membership to consider.  The MDRC (if it is possible to convene an impartial MDRC) must consider the content of this PERB  complaint at the following link. this document submitted as a complaint to PERB stands  as a record for the membership to consider the illegal fashion business has been conducted by CAPS over the years. 

The following e-mails display our long term concern and inquiry into the functioning of the CAPS organization.   It was in the process of asking these types of questions, attending the informational meetings that we discovered the illegal and undemocratic practices of the current leadership.

From: Rachlis, Charles (CDPH-ADM-PSBPH)
Sent: Thursday, December 30, 2010 12:16 PM
To: ‘CAPS’; Rogers, Chris (CDPH-FDLB)
Cc: Cosentino, Giorgio (CDPH-CID-DCDC-VRDL); Enge, Barryett (CDPH-CID-DCDC-VRDL); Hodgkinson, Christina (CDPH-CFH-GDSP-PDEB); Ni, Frank (CDPH-CID-DCDC-MDL)
Subject: Request for information

To the CAPS board:

Please provide me with the following information:

1)    Treasurers report and budget for the duration of my membership. (about three years).

2)    Current membership list.

3)    Minutes of the last three Annual Meetings (2010,2009, 2008).

Thank you,

Charles Rachlis

Associate Industrial Hygienist/


From: Rachlis, Charles (CDPH-ADM-PSBPH)
Sent: Tuesday, December 07, 2010 11:07 AM
To: ‘CAPS’
Cc: Enge, Barryett (CDPH-CID-DCDC-VRDL); Rogers, Chris (CDPH-FDLB)
Subject: CAPS Board

Please forward to the CAPS board.

Please answer the following questions and provide the requested information.

1)    When will the member’s annual meeting for 2010, as mandated in the By-laws, be held?

2)    Please answer how can an officer who has not been duly installed as per the By-laws dispense organizations funds?

3)    Please provide a copy of the organizations Budget and Treasurers report for the three years during which I have been a member of CAPS.

4)    Please explain how are members expected to call for a special meeting of the organization which requires 30% of the organization to sign a petition for such a meeting, if the members are not given access to each other?

5)    Has the board addressed the issue of democratizing communications in the organization?

6)    Has the board addressed the elitist remarks of Chris Voight at the DTSC site meeting last month?

Charles Rachlis

Associate Industrial Hygienist/


Following the recent election we concluded on 8/22/11 that:

CAPS is clearly a criminal outfit stealing members funds and neglecting members rights


It appears, from the lack of response to our inquires (scroll down), that CAPS legal team and board has dug itself into a hole from which they are afraid to emerge. 


They know that the by-laws are a covenant with the membership and that PERB’s allows CAPS to take money from all unit 10 members based on adherence to those by-laws.  They also know that they have not adhered to the by-laws requirement to hold an annual membership meeting (in at least 2008,  2009, or 2010) nor have they adhered to the requirement for a 20 day notice (which they did not do for the informational meetings because the board members and lawyers  claim those “informational meetings”  held in November were not covered in the by-laws).  They know as well as I do that for at least the three years I have been a member there has been no annual membership meeting, that is why they can not forward the minutes we have requested on more than one occasion.


They also know that regular board meetings are not membership meetings and that it would take a change of the by-laws to subsume the duties of the annual meeting into the board’s duties.  They also know that the by-laws calls for the annual membership meeting to have a quorum, which they cannot produce without holding united or electronically linked meetings.


They also know that the officers must be duly installed at the annual membership meeting.  They also know that without duly installed officers no one is authorized by the membership to distribute funds,  which means all fund distributions to our legal team and staff and what ever else they spend funds on have all been illegal since the last time an annual meeting was held and the union staff and leadership have knowingly neglected their fiduciary responsibility and furthermore  have exposed our organization to the potentiality of a law suit by any class of members who may choose to seek legal resolve to the ongoing theft and misuse of funds.  Indeed if this case went to court as a class action suit it may result in all funds distributed illegally being returned to the organization by those, who without being duly installed as officers of the organization, dispersed them.  It is a simple case of taking funds under false pretenses in other words if there are no duly installed officers no one can dispense funds, the board can not produce minutes of the annual membership meeting where the officers were installed because they did not happen, ergo illegal distribution of funds is an ongoing practice of this board. 


It is clear to me, as it should be to you, that taking our dues monthly out of our paychecks and ignoring the members rights as outlined in the by-laws is highly irregular and illegal.  I called the California AFL-CIO and asked them if they ever heard of such a thing and they were shocked.  It is no doubt this illegal operation known as CAPS has a rotten reputation in the labor community. A Sacramento Labor Council leader denounced CAPS as a SCAB union at the United Public Workers for Action conference I attended in Sacramento two years ago.  So not only does CAPS have a rotten reputation in the labor movement but they are operating as a criminal outfit with disregard for the rights of the members to annual meetings and distribution of our funds by persons who have not been installed as officers as per the by-laws.  This is indeed a criminal outfit. 


Scientists may not have much need or interest in their union but even a home-owner association must abide its by-laws under threat of legal consequences.  I for one am sick of paying $600.00 a year to an organization that denies me my rights. If members want their union to be run democratically we will need to take action or continue to be robbed by a useless bunch of lawyers who have no idea how to fight the furloughs or the austerity the Brown administration has promised will come.  We should hold a CAPS members meeting next week to discuss how to get our union back.


Charles Rachlis

The grievance claims Charles Rachlis harassed members by sending unwanted emails. 

As outlined in many of our statements we have shown that the CAPS leadership and Blanning and Baker denied members the legally required and bylaws mandated forum to address the business of the organization.  By replacing the mandated annual membership meeting (2007 Bylaws) with informational meetings and refusing to convene the regular membership meetings (violation of CCC) Blanning and Baker acting as agents for CAPS neglected their fiduciary responsibility toward the membership by not protecting our legal rights and neglecting to inform the board of the legal requirements which the organization was in violation of.  Because of these violations rank and file members who wanted to address the membership about the business of the organization had no recourse other than to run for office and reach out to the membership via a campaign.  Because the CAPS election committee limited and censored the statements of the opposition candidates they gave the candidates no choice but to seek alternate methods of reaching the membership to assure a democratic discussion.  The CAPS staff refused to produce a phone list, and address list as required by California Corporate Code (CCC) we had no choice but to construct our own e-mail list.  The list staff provided was not sufficient to meet the requirements of CCC .  The list was used to send campaign materials dedicated to reinvigorating CAPS with democratic practices and a fighting spirit.  These were in no way harassment all recipients who requested that their addresses be removed or used an opt out request were removed from subsequent communications (although a few requesters took a few days to remove from all the lists, ultimately, all who so requested, were removed).  Due to the censorship and violations of CCC and bylaws members and candidates have no way to initiate an open democratic discussion other than  to write to each other (via e-mail) about issues such as those outlined below and sent to our membership list on 09/12/11:

Thus as no harassment against members for engaging in union activities existed, as the policy manual from which this charge was derived was not made available, as the action of sending e-mails to the members is a protected union activity of a legitimate candidate this charge is baseless and must be dismissed.

I would like to take the time to thank President Miller and Valarie Chenoweth-Brown for timing their grievance procedure so accurately.  The grievance submitted was filed with the MDRC on September 19th 2011.  It then took three months for the MDRC to release which appears to have been intended to make for a Christmas tiding as the date of release was December 22nd, in turn, arriving in my mail on December 24th.   And a ho-ho-ho to you too!

And it further appears that a Christmas tiding it was indeed, as the three months the MDRC deliberated rather than calling the hearing within the mandated 30 days requires that the entire charge be commended to the circular file. 

This MDRC must dismiss all charges based on consideration of the Policy Manual page 7 Section K. 6.f.:

“Investigation and Decision.  The Committee shall conduct an investigation.  If the facts are not in dispute as determined by at least three of the five members of the Committee, and the recommendation is to reject the charges, no hearing is necessary.  Otherwise, the Committee shall hold a hearing.   This hearing shall be in person, or by conference call, or a combination of each, to begin within 30 days of the Committee’s receipt of the charge(s).  The Committee, after hearing, shall make a determination whether the charges are valid and if so, whether the charged party should be issued a written admonition, suspended from membership for a finite period of time or dismissed from membership.”

Pursuant to Policy Manual page 7 Section K. 6.f As the grievance was submitted to the MDRC on September 19th, 2011 and the hearing was mandated to be convened within 30 days but was not scheduled until January 12th 2012.   The MDRC had a thirty day window which opened on September 16th hence this hearing is out of order, is being convened in violation of the policy manual and the entire proceeding is a deliberate harassment of my winter holiday and a form of retribution against the opposition candidates and must be dismissed.  Oh yes and one wonders why they held out on giving us the policy manual for over a year!  Because they can’t abide it themselves! 

Last point…can I have the membership list now I want to petition the membership to hold a special meeting!


January 12, 2012 - Posted by | CAPS MILLER vs. RACHLIS/COSENTINO | , , , , , , , , , ,

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