capsfightingunioncaucus

Rank and File Scientists Demanding our Rights

Radio Interview CAPS a profit center for Blanning and Baker

Radio Interview CAPS a profit center for Blanning and Baker

Interview begins at the 8:15 mark of the MP3

Our radio interview was not aired on July 23rd as originally planned.  It aired last Monday on Work Week radio hosted by Sabrina Jacobs.
http://archives.kpfa.org/data/20120820-Mon0800.mp3
The update on the PERB Unfair Practice Charge: Final arguments have been submitted and the Administrative Law Judge will make a decision in the next few weeks.  Either Rachlis (and by precedent Cosentino) will be ordered back into the organization or PERB will uphold the process by which the kangaroo court was held.
Organizing continues at work sites around the state.  Members and CAPS are talking to members of PECGS and finding the abuses by Blanning and Baker LLC that Unit 9 workers experience are the same or worse than those faced by Unit 10 workers.
Some workers advocate running for office again, as the opposition slate of relative unknowns received 25% of the vote on their first attempt,  and as only 600 members of a 2,300 members voted the current leadership knows they are vulnerable.  To unseat the current leadership in the next election we need only a few hundred more votes.
Some workers advocate using the Superior Court to enforce compliance with California Corporate Code (an issue we have reviewed in detail at the blog linked above).
Some workers advocate getting a new union to represent us.  Some say decertification is the only method which can get rid of the profit takers of Blanning and Baker LLC (B&B) and create an organization based on rank and file democracy.
I for one have always argued that fighting for leadership of the organization is the best way to create rank and file democracy.  I have argued against those who advocated use of the Court against the union and those who favored decertification.
However;  Whereas we have exhausted all internal remedies and; Whereas we have found out that the union was originally organized (the union signature cards were collected) by the profit taking corporation B&B as a profit center for their business and; Whereas we have witnessed members rights to uncensored elections violated and; Whereas we have seen members rights to membership meetings violated, and; Whereas we have seen members rights as guaranteed by California Corporate Code violated and; Whereas we have been physically battered by Matt Austin (profit taking partner at B&B) and; Whereas it has been reported to us from multiple sources that in handling  grievances Matt Austin, CAPS and PECG agents sided with management and abandoned members cases leading to members being dismissed, we are coming to new conclusions as to the nature of CAPS.
It is clear that CAPS is not a workers’ organization.  The only input workers have into the organization is our payment of dues and the ability to participate in fake elections.  If CAPS is not a workers organization what is it?   CAPS negotiates with the state for our contracts like a union but operates like a corporate profit center for B&B.  The partners of B&B have vested interest in keeping the rank and file from being organized and mobilized.  As CAPS is not a workers’ organization I have changed my viewpoint and no longer consider that the principle of not taking ones union to court no longer applies.
When workers are in a workers organization it would be unprincipled to take that organization to the bosses (the 1% ruling classes) courts.  We stand by our caucus position calling for workers to fight inside their unions for democracy not to use the bosses courts.  However as we can  clearly see that CAPS is not a workers organization but a captive corporate run union fleecing the membership for the profits of B&B the working class principle of “labor cleaning its own house” no longer applies.
We also opposed launching a campaign to decertify CAPS without first testing the nature of the organization through assertion of membership rights as guaranteed by the bylaws, the Policy Manual, and the California Corporate Code.  Today we are convinced that CAPS can not be reformed without getting rid of B&B.  We have proved that CAPS makes contact between members a near impossibility thereby ensuring the perpetuation of the insiders incumbency (Ms. Velez has been on the board for 17 years during 23 years as a member,)  puts another weight on the scale of reform vs. decertification.    The combination of a self perpetuating board, the denial of regular membership meetings, and the vested interest of B&B’s partnership ( they take between 800k-and 1.5million from unit 10 CAPS members annually  and closer to 6 million annually from Unit 9 PECG members,) may require the formation of a new union and the decertification of CAPS and PECG.
Ultimately the strategy chosen to build rank and file democracy in unit 10 and unit 9 can only be decided by the development of a network of core activists at all the major departments who find ways to self-organize, network and come together to hammer out a united strategy and tactics to build a union that can mobilize the membership in the fight against the austerity, to defend our pensions, to win our COLA, to protect our members, to oppose outside contracting, to united with all other public workers and build a movement which does not subordinate itself to the bosses politicians in the Democratic and Republican parties (whom our unions give our dues to and who stab us in the chest when they get into office.)
Are you ready to build a core of caucus activists at you job site?  Ready to network with other unit 9 & 10 members around the state?
Ready for union democracy?
If so contact us and we will join forces to put Blanning and Baker out of business, create union democracy and unite all public workers in action to defend our standard of living by fighting the imposition of  austerity with all workers and workers organizations!

August 25, 2012 Posted by | CAPS/PECG lawsuits | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Track Record of Lawsuits Brought by CAPS and PECG

Track Record of Lawsuits Brought by CAPS and PECG

Under Management of Blanning & Baker, 1991-present

Status as of September 1, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lawyer for CAPS: Gerald A. James

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

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

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

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

Lawyer for CAPS/PECG: Gerald A. James

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lawyer for CAPS: Gerald A. James

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

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

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

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

Lawyers for PECG: Dennis F. Moss and Steven Bassoff

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

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

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

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

Lawyer for CAPS: Dennis F. Moss

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lawyer for PECG: Loren E. McMaster

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

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

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

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

Lawyer for PECG: Dennis F. Moss.

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

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

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