capsfightingunioncaucus

Rank and File Scientists Demanding our Rights

CAPS PRESIDENT DAVID MILLERS DECLARES MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS RIDICULOUS

CAPS PRESIDENT DAVID MILLERS DECLARES MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS RIDICULOUS

On January 9th, 2014,  during the hearing at PERB in case # SACO 4645, CAPS President David Miller was asked why the organization’s Bylaws and Policy Manual were changed in 2011 and why they had been disregarded for over a decade.  President Miller explained the changes were made to make the document clearer.  When pressed on what clarity the board was trying to arrive at, Miller explained that it was “ridiculous” to hold regular annual membership meetings.  He explained that member’s concerns could be freely addressed to the board at the quarterly executive board meetings in person, in writing, or via a district representative.

What Miller was not able to escape from is the fact that, ridiculous or not, the current leadership of CAPS in collusion with and under the advice of the executive director (Blanning and Baker LLC) and legal counsel (Gerald James) have, for years, denied the membership regular and annual meetings, which have been required by the CAPS Bylaw, the CAPS Policy Manual and the California Corporate Code (CCC).  In fact, a careful reading of the revised 2011 bylaws and policy manual reveals that regular membership meetings  are still required (which conforms with the CCC, although annual meetings were erased from the Bylaws and Policy Manual in February 2011.)   The requirement for regular membership meetings in the CCC indicates 15 months as the first of regular intervals for “regular membership meetings.”

Were it not for the long term inability of the CAPS leadership and CAPS agents to protect Unit 10 members’ salaries from the consequences of compounded inflation vs. years with no cost of living adjustments, members would hardly be concerned with how CAPS is run.  But today, two weeks before negotiations open, Unit 10 rank and file members are expressing their lack of confidence in the CAPS leadership and the CAPS agents and legal team. Workers, long denied regular membership meetings, are booking rooms and meeting on their own without the leadership.  Workers have initiated letter writing and petition campaigns: workers have openly discussed decertification, rescission, and severance as options.  Workers are no longer waiting for CAPS to act; they are beginning to act on their own.  This is a promising sign.  It will take the democratic participation of the rank and file to sweep away the dead wood and build an organization that can win the workers’ demands in negotiations.   If that organization will be CAPS or a new formation is truly in the hands of the current leadership.  As of now workers do not see CAPS as a worker’s organization.  Indeed, one 28-year CAPS member wrote us saying, “we need a union to protect us from the union!”

If the leadership continues to play footsie with the Democratic Party (and in cases with the Republicans), giving gobs of our dues dollars to the candidates, the lobbyists and the lawyers while neglecting to build rank and file organization and democracy, the consequent  defeat (in the upcoming negotiations) will drive Unit 10 members to seek alternatives and other organizational  affiliations.

To turn the situation around, CAPS must convene immediate emergency membership meetings at all campuses, form up action committees at each  section and unit where Unit 10 members work and prepare united job actions to impress on HR how serious our members are.   Without the serious threat of job actions by the membership our negotiators look like beggars with their hands out, rather than our true advocates convinced of the resolve of the membership and prepared to exert our collective strength.

January 9th the Governor released his proposed budget and there were no raises for the Unit 10 rank and file indicated.  Supervisors, on the other hand, found some indication that their pay parity concerns would be met.   For the rank and file to win it requires that we act now to assure that the CAPS negotiators do not come back to us with a Tentative Agreement equivalent to the SEIU 1000 concessionary contract that gained only 1.6% per year, and which does not cover the losses to pension and medical insurance premium increases, and will leave many workers with smaller checks than before the furloughs started 4 years ago.

Membership meetings are not ridiculous!  Membership meetings are where members chart their course, develop strategy and organize the membership for action.  What is ridiculous is the long-term failed strategy of the CAPS leadership, which has resulted in most Unit 10 members being 30% behind their peers in municipal employment and private industries.  What is ridiculous is to think that a board that sequesters itself out of sight of the membership for decades, which demobilizes the membership, denies the members their rights, and is oblivious to the fact that most members hate the organization, can win us our long overdue pay parity.

Rachlis went to PERB not only to get the second illegal expulsion expunged, but to learn from CAPS President David Miller the true belief of the current leadership-that worker’s democracy-that holding regular membership meetings is “ridiculous”!

But if history is a guide playing footsie with the politicians will not win our demands; it will take a rank and file upsurge to win!  Time is working against us but if CAPS acts now it could convene membership meetings at every job site next week and have informational pickets and press conferences across the state immediately in preparation for the negotiations.    For Unit 10 to win pay parity the rank and file must run the organization themselves!

January 11, 2014 Posted by | CAPS 2013 Contract negotiations | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CAPS DOG AND PONY SHOW COMES TO CDPH: OLD SONG AND DANCE DOES NOT CUT IT WITH THE MEMBERS!

In a sadly comic rendition of “We’ve got plenty of nothing” sung in three part harmony by the CAPS leadership, President David Miller sang back up for  Blanning and Baker LLC. Partners (and CAPS Agents) Chris Voight and Matt Austin.  They put on the old song and dance for a weakly attended (less than 10% of membership) pre-contract negotiations informational meeting in Richmond at the CDPH auditorium on June 4th.

We will ponder the reasons for the weak attendance and offer a strategy for how State Scientists can gain pay parity, advancement opportunity, stable pensions and regular COLA’s after considering the strategy and tactics the President and the highly experienced Blanning and Baker team had to offer.

After telling us what we already know: our pay and benefits are 30% behind both local county and city benchmarks, that the 3% “won” in the last contract barely offset the pension give back, they acknowledged that this years’ negotiations are all about the money; that we’ve been waiting for a long time, that we “shared the pain”, that we’ve done more than our share for this governor and then Voight lamented that we have a stingy governor .

The following refrain was played over and again to a dwindling audience: You can help!  Yes you can! Go to your managers, tell them to write the need for salary pay parity into the strategic plan, that is the only way it will go up through the chain of command of the state executive across to the legislative and create receptivity at the negotiating table.

They then referred to sympathetic Branch Chiefs like Barbara Materna who favor pay parity, admonishing the membership to be proactive and shoot this concept up the chain of command.  This ignores the fact that many at the level above the Rank and File are Unit 10 supervisors*, many of whom are voluntary CAPS dues payers and should have been pushing this up the chain of command, according to the Blanning and Baker theory, for over a decade now.  Additionally, if this is the strategy of the CAPS leadership they wouldn’t just drop it haphazardly at an informational meeting.  They are not serious about this kind of campaign because if they were, they would be writing and calling the membership about it, they would provide informational packages to create template letters and petitions and provide a structure to run the campaign, either on paper or online, creating a record of the struggle for pay parity.  But they are not serious.  They threw this sop out because they have nothing else to offer.  With this game plan the blame for the failure is assigned to the membership.

Their big negotiating ploy is to bring a young new employee to tell HR that he cannot afford to work for the State and if they do not fix the pay structure they will not be able to retain him.  Blanning and Baker base this strategy on the false premise that HR cares if the departments fall apart.  HR does not care; HR already knows.  The Governor has drawn the line.  Unions and programs that serve the people are on the chopping block.  He is committed to imposing austerity at the expense of the state workers and the public who depend on state services.  He will not be swayed by logic, mutual benefit schemes, or pleas from the underpaid.  There is only one tool workers have which can win back what we lost and that is the All Public Workers Strike.  To win, labor must also strike out independently of the bosses’ politicians and political parties, be they Democrats or Republicans and only run our own candidates in a workers party.

CAPS members were solicited to send any relevant Pay Parity information (ads for comparable jobs) to the negotiating team.

As benchmarks have been established for years, and considering that Blanning and Baker have staff already doing nothing for us, why don’t they run the Google searches for new employment and benchmark information?  All this was a poorly presented song and dance obligatorily delivered without any pretense that CAPS (as organized today) can win!

What they did not mention was:  that they choose to give “this stingy governor” $53K in his election campaign, that CAPS supported prop. 30 and No on prop.32 with the highest per capita contribution of any state workers, that we dropped our fight for reimbursement for the illegal furloughs, that they forgot to say anything about when we would get the money for the 2 stolen holidays that we worked, or that lack of COLAS have impacted our  purchasing power >20% over the past decade, or that by accepting a two tier medical retirement benefit a wedge is driven between the various tiered workers, or that they have been denying the membership democracy for over a decade,  or that Blanning and Baker partners took no cuts during the furloughs, or that the membership is purposefully demobilized to keep the  strategy of partnership with management in place, and to keep subsidizing politicians, lawyers and lobbyists, which ultimately gets us nothing but keeps the dues dollars flowing to the coffers of the Blanning and Baker LLC. partnership.

Why then did this pathetic trio play to an empty opera house?  Because the members have been alienated from their organization by design.  We know their record, we know how they have done it, we know how they violated the bylaws and the promises to hold meetings and when the last real meeting was.  We know and can show that their installation of officers has been illegal under the CCC.  So who would want to go down the block to see these guys?  What have they ever done for us?  We know that our final pay it tied more to the SEIU 1000 contract than to anything Blanning and Baker and the CAPS leadership negotiating team will supplicate for at the table.

Because all their strategies fail the workers, because they are never going to mobilize the membership and because they are in bed with management, the politicians and lobbyists, it is time for us to turn out the current leadership, fire Blanning and Baker LLC., and form a democratic union politically independent of the Democrats and Republicans.

*For over a decade the plan for pay parity has ridden a one trick pony,  to win parity first for the supervisors by forcing the executives hand in court which presumably would result in corresponding Rank and File raises although the logic of this assumption would escape anyone who has ever worked for wages.  The failure and future of this strategy was not even addressed at the meeting.  Without this plan Blanning and Baker alongside Miller were grasping at straws telling us to beg management to fight for us in the strategic plan!  Is this a joke or what?

June 6, 2013 Posted by | CAPS 2013 Contract negotiations | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

RANK AND FILE SCIENTISTS: UNIT 10 SET UP CONTRACT ACTION COMMITTEES NOW!

SET UP CONTRACT ACTION COMMITTEES AT EACH JOB SITE NOW! CAPS LEADERSHIP AND BLANNING AND BAKER HAS NO STRATEGY TO WIN!

As our contract period comes to a close the Miller/Valez leadership has done nothing to prepare the membership for the contract fight. They continue to believe that their “Chump change” contributions to the Democrats ($1,000 per head to assemblymen and senators) and $53K to the Brown Campaign will buy the influence needed to navigate the upcoming contract negotiations.

Indeed it will, if you don’t put COLA’s on the agenda, if you don’t demand make up pay for additional contributions to medical and pension, if your not serious enough to really fight for pay parity then the current conciliatory leadership will skate through just fine! They will say the negotiations were tough but they did the best they could and come out with something similar to if not less than what SEIU gets!

The membership will fall further and further behind. BUT THIS DOES NOT HAVE TO HAPPEN!

These leaders gave up three years of furloughs without a fight despite happily funding their lawyers and agents payroll! The current leadership does not prepare scientists doing the states work for this contract and in so doing they prepare for defeat.

To win we must set up contract action committees at each job site develop our demands by democratic discussion among all rank and file scientists both locally and coordinated state-wide then we must vote down anything short of what is develop in democratic rank and file meetings.

CAPS LEADERS HAD THEIR CHANCE TO HOLD REGULAR AND LEGALLY MANDATED MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS BUT THEY HAVE REFUSED FOR OVER A DECADE! THEY ONLY HOLD IRREGULAR AND INFORMATIONAL MEETINGS NOT TRUE MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS! THIS IS A VIOLATION OF THE BYLAWS AND CALIFORNIA CORPORATE CODE.

Since this statement (see post above) was sent to a small list of Unit 10 workers, the room was booked and the leaflets were posted. Since then the profit takers of Blanning and Baker have been working overtime to protect their profit center (CAPS) from cutting them loose and running their own affairs.

To prevent democracy from breaking out in unit 10 they have gone to management to force facilities to prevent the rank and file scientists from holding their own meetings in a facility room despite the fact that Blue Shield, Scientific equipment vendors, Toast-Masters, SEIU, Weight-Watchers etc all use facilites with no charge and no objection. THE ONLY PEOPLE NOT ALLOWED TO USE FACILITES ROOMS ARE THE RANK AND FILE WORKERS IN THE FACILITY!

THIS ATTEMPT TO CONTROL THE WORKERS BY BLANNING AND BAKER AND THE MILLER/VALEZ TEAM IN COLUSION WITH MANAGEMENT IS A VIOLATION OF WORKERS DEMOCRACY. This behavior shows exactly how the CAPS leadership is working hand in hand with management to prevent the membership from meeting and charting a democratic course forward into the contract negotiations.

Rank and File Scientists will hold our meeting on Tuesday May 7th. It may not be in C-140 as originally planned, it may be in a Cafeteria, in the hallway, on the lawn directly outside the Auditorium at C building, in the picnic area waterfall of building P or another place of our choosing. For information come to C-140 or check the break room near your work area.

May 4, 2013 Posted by | CAPS 2013 Contract negotiations | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ORGANIZING MEETING FOR UNIT 10 RANK & FILE , CAPS RANK AND FILE AND CONTRACT SCIENTISTS TO ORGANIZE ACTION COMMITTEES TO FIGHT FOR A FAIR CONTRACT! MAY 7th Noon Richmond Laboratory Campus room TBD check posting in break room

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Union members met on May 1st 2012 before marching down Broadway to City Hall.

For Matt Austin this is a no…no!

On April, 30th Matt Austin, Blanning and Baker partner and agent for CAPS scabbed against the rank and file by demanding that management stop Unit 10 Rank and Filers, CAPS members, expelled CAPS members and contract scientists at CDPH from holding an organizing meeting. But the workers of CDPH prevailed, WE WILL HOLD OUR MEETING! We will  discuss how to win  a fair contract and build a democratic union. 

As ever Matt Austin is responsible for attempting to prevent CAPS members meeting.  Not that he is the only one to prevent CAPS members from meeting, but he is always one of those who do!  Each and every time he is always one of those who do.

CAPS president David Miller promised in his election campaign literature that he would hold regular membership meetings. But the real power controlling CAPS, Blanning and Baker LLC., will put up with none of that!  CAPS has not had a legally mandated regular membership meeting in over 12 years!  And we’ve seen neither hide nor hair of David Miller or Matt Austin at the CDPH laboratories since long before the election.

Labor organizations, or any organization that is not a fiction holds regular meetings.  Does CAPS hold regular membership meetings?  NO! Well we are going to hold a meeting. We call on state scientists to initiate job site meeting across the state!  Organize the contract workers make a state service union wall to wall!

President Miller plays footsie  and  poses regularly for photos with Democratic Party politicians (see back page pictures in the CAPSULE.)   But he runs from convening regular annual CAPS membership meetings because the leadership is afraid the membership will build a democratic union a throw out the parasitic labor leaches those corporate profiteers Blanning and Baker LLC.

BREAK WITH THE NO GOOD-FAITH, NO WIN DEMOCRATIC PARTY STRATEGY!

CAPS gave Brown’s Campaign 53K then he prolonged the illegal furloughs then imposed Schwarzenegger’s concessionary contract on us!  CAPS leadership caved in without a fight!

STOP FUNDING THE BOSSES POLITICIANS!  BREAK WITH BROWN AND HIS AGENTS!

 

Meeting initiated by the  CAPS FIGHTING UNION CAUCUS  open to all Rank and File working Scientists                                                                                               (415) 205-0359

May 4, 2013 Posted by | CAPS 2013 Contract negotiations | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment