Rank and File Scientists Demanding our Rights


Sisters and Brothers:
The Caps Fighting Union Caucus continues our fight for reinstatement. On July 27th  Charles Rachlis will argue that CAPS must reinstate the expelled members (both candidates in the last election) or continue to act as scofflaws.  These arguments will be heard  at the PERB hearing in Oakland at 1330 Broadway at 10 a.m.  Trade Unionists, Occupy labor solidarity activists, and other working class advocates are invited to attend this public hearing. 
In preparation for the PERB hearing  our spokesperson will be on Work Week Radio  KPFA  94.1 fm Monday July 23rd during the 8am hour.
It has been eight months since CAPS President David Miller advanced from board member to President. When he ran for office he promised to convene regular membership meetings.  To date there has not been a regular membership meeting for over 12 years(one where members can put items on the agenda, all the meetings held have been informational not the legally mandated regular membership meetings.) 
David Miller promised to fight for pay equity.  Yet last month, without a vote of the membership, he gave back 4.6% accepting his role in enforcing the austerity on the backs of his co-workers. 
We campaigned on a program that stated CAPS has a failed strategy and tactics for defending the membership and today they continue their failed methods.
In order to silence the opposition slate President Miller and Vice President Velez held an illegal kangaroo court to expel candidates Rachlis and Cosentino from the organization. 
They can expel the opposition but they can not resolve the crisis of leadership in CAPS and we continue to expose why and fight for Unit 10 and Unit 9 workers to throw off the yoke of the profit takers of Blanning and Baker LLC who run CAPS and PECG for the purpose of the enrichment of their partners: Bruce Blanning, Matt Austin & Chris Voight (there may be others.)  These partners make profit from the dues base of our memberships.  Ask Austin, Blanning or Voight what is their compensation for taking our dues dollars and pretending to represent us.  Guess what they don’t have to tell you!  
Ask yourself is it right that State workers dues are used for the enrichment of a private corporation which can not deliver a regular COLA to keep our wages abreast of inflation, who can not protect us from furloughs (despite the fact that large portions of our funding comes from outside the State general fund,) who can not win us pay parity with the counties, who can not win us geographic pay differentials, who lost us 2 holidays for two years, who refuse to abide the bylaws, the policy manual and California Corporate Code?
Below is the information we have provided the radio producer and will elaborate on during the interview.
1)    Democratic and Republican, politicians, servants of Wall Street and Finance Capital, have mounted a campaign to impose austerity on the working class.  To do this they attack the last bastion of unionized workers the public workers.  In CA there are 1.5 million of us close to 180,000 of us work for the state of California.  We are organized into unions that operate under the auspices of the Dills Act signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in 1978. The Personal Employees Relations Board (PERB) oversees The enforcement of the Dills Act which grants  public workers unions their right to organize.
2)    In 2009 the state imposed three years of furloughs on state workers resulting in a 15% cut in pay for two years followed by a 4.6% cut in pay for one year including a shift of the pension costs an additional 3% off of the employer and onto the workers and an additional one year of 4.6% furlough starting this July  2012.  State workers wages have not kept up with inflation.  NO COLA means we have lost 18% of our purchasing power over the last 10 years!
3)      Our unions’ leaderships operate on behalf of the 1% lying to the membership: first by telling us that we should be willing to “share the pain”  then by telling us we can win a fair contract and defeat the furloughs by suing the government, then by telling us we can count on and should fund the very same Democratic and Republican politicians who are imposing the austerity on us.  The intention of these labor skates is to prevent independent labor action, the formation of a workers party, the building of labor solidarity and the spreading of a general strike movement.  Their job is to contain the frustrated masses of the labor movement in the safe electoral system; they work to demobilize the energized masses into endless repetition of a failed electoral strategy like they did in Wisconsin and keep labor loyal to the capitalist Democratic Party.  They tell the workers,  “don’t use your strike power, don’t fight Taft-Hartly don’t form your own party, don’t reorganize the economy in your own interest, ignore your class interests, keep giving your money and energy to the capitalist Democrats, count on the “good heartedness” of the “friends of labor.”  These lies keep the workers in the trap and prevent us from using our economic power!
4)    Our union is the worst type of union it is a corporate union.  It was not organized by the workers and the members have no say in the organization.  CAPS like PECGS before it were organized by a private corporation with the intent of using public workers dues dollars to amass their own personal fortunes…all legal of course.  Unlike thousands of other unions in the USA CAPS and PECGS are independent which means workers who find themselves in conflict with the corporation have no recourse higher than the executive board.  In unions with International affiliations workers with issues can take them to the District Council, the State Convention or the International convention.  In CAPS workers have no recourse and quickly find themselves either abandoned by  or sold out by staff.
5)    In real unions there are regular membership meetings.  CAPS has not had a regular membership meeting in 12 years.  This violates both the bylaws of the organization and the California Corporate Code (CCC) under which Mutual Benefit Non Profit Corporations (like CAPS and HOAs) function.  For lack of regular membership meetings alternative strategies and tactics for fighting the austerity can not be discussed by the membership.
6)    For lack of meetings we formed the CAPS Fighting Union Caucus to introduce a class struggle program to the membership.  We did this by running a slate of candidates on our program.
7)    When we ran for office we found out that our electoral statements were both limited in length and censored.  We requested email, phone or address membership lists or mailing labels (as per CCC) but were refused access.  At the union office I was blocked at the door and charged with harassment, a charge ultimately laughed out of SF Superior Court!
8)    We won 25% of the vote and were then charged with harassing the staff, calling for decertification and spamming the membership’s e-mails and two of the three of our slate were expelled from the union. 
9)    We go to the PERB hearing this week July 27th where we will show the class role of the PERB, we will show how they were created by the 1%’s politicians to give limited rights to workers organizations and to funnel our dues dollars to their campaigns coffers.  We will show how the corporation that profits off our dues and  the union leaders are in bed with the very politicians whom they sit across the negotiation table from. We will show the conflict of interest that prevents our union’s agents and leadership from representing the interests of the rank and file!  We are fighting to be reinstated into CAPS, we are mobilizing workers to declared null and void the prior election, to hold a new election, to assure uncensored statements be sent to the membership, to assure that membership lists be provided to candidates, and that the union severs its ties with the profit takers contracted as staff.  This can only be done by a functioning democratic union so we fight first and foremost for regular membership meetings! Only when we achieve basic democracy for Unit 10 and Unit 9 workers can we address the inadequacies of the current class collaborationist strategies and tactics.

July 20, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , ,


  1. Awesome explaination of the deficiencies and questionable practices of CAPS. Wish someone would push for a forensics accountant to investigate their financial house!!! Keep up the good fight, more of us support you than you think!

    Comment by jeff | July 20, 2012 | Reply

  2. My name is Beverly Hill. I am a CAPS member, and a CAPS Worksite Representative. For some reason I was left off your email list the the July 20th; CAPS leadership exposed on radio and at PERB hearing.
    To date there has not been a regular membership meeting for over 12 years(one where members can put items on the agenda, all the meetings held have been informational not the legally mandated regular membership meetings.)

    whenever our immediate scientist members have asked CAPS staff to have a meeting at our worksite; always, the answer is yes.

    CAPS staff are working on 1 grievance and 2 investigations related to cross-crafting. I do not know why this isn’t satisfactory for you..

    “…In order to silence the opposition slate President Miller and Vice President Velez held an illegal kangaroo court to expel candidates Rachlis and Cosentino from the organization…”

    To silence any opposition, you sent your email to a “select few”. I think you are a hypocrite and a troublemaker. And I believe you will probably delete my comments.

    Comment by Bev | July 20, 2012 | Reply

    • Hi Beverly,

      Thank you for your feed back.
      1) The local meetings that you describe are not regular full membership meetings. You may be able to discuss some issues at them but you can not impact the direction of the entire organization without regular membership meetings where the entire membership has the right to put items on the agenda and have them discussed before the entire membership.
      2) You say I left you off the e-mail list. Please send me your e-mail address and I will include you in the future. You may not be aware that the CAPS leadership and Blanning and Baker refused to give us a membership list with access e-mail addresses. So my list was ardously compiled and misses hundreds of members. We appriciate that some other members forwarded to you the e-mail of July 20th.
      3) Of course I would not censor your statement it stands as an example of how uninformed site representatives are as to the right to an annual membership meeting which has been denied to us for 12 years. If you read the 2007 bylaws, the 2012 amended bylaws and the California Corporate Codes referenced in other places on this blog you would know that our rights have been denied, that theft of services is an ongoing practice of Blanning and Baker LLC and you would understand that ours is not a union but a corporate controled profit center for Matt Austin, Chris Voight and Bruce Blanning.

      In Solidarity,

      Charle Rachlis

      Comment by capsfightingunioncaucus | July 23, 2012 | Reply

  3. Meetings that include regular members? I’d love that………………………

    Comment by Tresa | July 23, 2012 | Reply

    • The first step is to have local meetings of rank and file and determine if CAPS as it exists actually serves us. If it no longer serves us the rank and file has a right to remove and replace it with a union which is not a profit center for a corporation.

      Union dues should not be used for profit formation of corporations they should be used for building strike funds, for mobilizing the membership and for uniting our organization with others in labor to create a strong united front with which to confront our employers.

      Many workers at CDPH are seriously considering decertification. Just suggesting decertification can get you expelled or suspended from CAPS. However it is your right under the DILLS ACT to sever your bargining unit from its controling “union” or to decertifiy. A petition of 30% of the membership is required to decertifiy a union. It is best done if we have real union standing by ready for the unit to sign up with.

      If CAPS cannot protect our income, our pension, our medical, or our work conditons and is unwilling to hold regular meetings where the membership has a voice, it is likely that many member’s will opt for decertification. If they do activists will need to be ready to answer this desire of the membership with action.

      It is important to understand the current self perpetuating board is not elected by the majority of the membership. Only 600 of 2300 members voted in the last election. and of those 600 the incumbents only got 75%. They have no real membership mandate. They have no strategy to protect your conditons, they only protect Blanning and Baker’s profits.

      In Solidarity,

      Charles Rachlis

      Comment by capsfightingunioncaucus | July 23, 2012 | Reply

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