capsfightingunioncaucus

Rank and File Scientists Demanding our Rights

CAPS ORDERED BY PERB TO RE-ADMIT RACHLIS! CAPS LEADERSHIP ACTS TO EXPEL RACHLIS AGAIN

Finding the January 2012 expulsion of Rachlis by the CAPS leadership, under the guidance of Blanning and Baker LLC. (B&B), to have been illegal, PERB ordered reinstatement of Rachlis retroactively to the date of his expulsion. On 9/11 CAPS rescinded Rachlis’ termination retroactively to 1/19/2012.

Continuing the practice of harassment and intimidation, executive board member John Budroe has filed a grievance against Rachlis calling for his expulsion again.   Budroe’s grievance falsely accuses Rachlis of:  “Advocating decertification of CAPS, supporting an effort to decertify CAPS as the exclusive bargaining agent for state bargaining Unit 10 or signing any document with the goal of decertifying CAPS.” (Language lifted from the Policy Manual (PM).)

But Rachlis is not the real target.  The real intention is to intimidate the Rank and File, to keep members from speaking out, from challenging B&B’s failures, their  wasting of our money,  their practice of throwing gobs of gold at lawyers and politicians while squirreling the rest into the  retirement coffers of the B&B partnership, which itself produces nothing for us. Rather they act in the interest  of the 1%  by keeping  the workers quiet, without a strike fund, without meetings, demobilized, disorganized and demoralized!

The leadership runs from these facts and does not want you to see that they have no winning strategy to defeat the austerity schemes.  Instead they turn their efforts to what they are good at–denying the membership any union democracy.  They can not produce a COLA (losing 23% to inflation over 12 years,) they can not win pay parity, geographic compensation, or secure funds for travel for conferences, training and intellectual development. They have lost every major lawsuit brought on our behalf: on the furloughs, pay parity and the stolen holidays. They tie hope for rank and file pay parity to the failed strategy of winning raises for our supervisors first (most of those working here when this case started will retire before they ever see a dime, not to mention how soon, if ever, this dream raise will reach the rank and file.) Even in the wake of the Chicago teachers strike which won a three years raise package  above of the rate of inflation, CAPS leadership has no clue how to even get us a catch up, instead they are signing side letters conceding to additional furloughs without membership discussion!  They give our dues money, which should build our strike fund, to the politicians, who after getting elected stab us in the back.  They support the regressive taxes in the Brown Proposition 30 tax hike, they shrug their shoulders when confronted by their failures, smile and say ‘look at what a good job were doing!’

Adherence to the Bylaws and Policy Manual (PM) is not the practice of this leadership.  Had it been, CAPS would have held regular/annual membership meetings for the last twelve years (where members’ agenda points can be put before the entire membership,) Rachlis and Cosentino would not have been thrown out and CAPS would not have lost to Rachlis in the PERB decision # HO-U-1064-S.

Budroe bases his grievances on a ‘damning’ blog post at http://wp.me/p1OGRw-2Y published on August 25th (while Rachlis was still expelled) and claims it violated the PM’s rule against advocating for decertification.

Budroe twists and misrepresents the meaning of the statements made in the ‘damning’ blog post. The following quote is lifted directly from the blog. We have bolded key controversial phrases and will comment on their meaning further below.

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 insider’s 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.”

Budroe and his co-conspirators (Miller/Velez/Austin/Voight/B&B) flummoxed from their defeat at PERB again  overstretch the limits of logic as they try to fit a square peg in a round hole; the above statement is merely a statement of facts.  The facts are: there is no internal democracy in CAPS and that for democracy to be established, for members of units 9 & 10 internal remedy mechanisms may not be adequate.  The recent denial of democratic procedure and other failures of the leadership indeed put new weights on the scale; commenting on this fact is not an indictable violation of the PM.

Notice the use of the word may.  May, according to the American Heritage Dictionary, along with might “are basically alike in meaning, in the senses of possibility and permission….”  May is used while expressing possibility as in “It may rain this afternoon.”  That it may not rain this afternoon is unstated yet implied by the very nature of possibility.  The statement from the blog reprinted above merely states a possibility, something scientists are often known to do, we call it stating a hypothesis.

We’re not lawyer pussyfooters if we wanted to call for decertification there would be no question about the language.  It would be unambiguous and our whole record of the CAPS Fighting Union Caucus (CAPS-FUC) demonstrates this.  The action of the MRDC is nothing other than self-service by the members of the B&B clique.

Budroe makes additional attempts to falsify the content of the blog in his frantic quest to expel Rachlis twice in one year. Indeed the fact that the CAPS-FUC won 25% in the last election has the ruling clique running sacred.  For the CAPS-FUC the principle of not taking a workers organization to the bosses’ courts is inviolate and as such we have, in the past rejected the idea of taking CAPS to superior court to force compliance with California Corporate Code. However, as we explained in the blog, “…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.” In his grievance, Budroe lifts the quote, “no longer applies,” out of context.  Budroe ascribes it to our arguments against decertification rather than to the clearly stated issue of using the courts to force some modicum of democracy (adherence to CCC-regular membership meeting, fair elections, the right to examine and copy the membership list, etc.)

Having experienced the MDRC inquisition once before, we know the process that is about to unfold. We understand that facts, as outlined above, do not matter to the Miller/Velez-Austin/Voight/Blanning clique.  Let’s preview what will transpire during the next expulsion hearing for Rachlis on October 9th, 2012.

The MDRC will convene (collecting their per diems and paying lawyers, like the last time, at the membership’s expense,) they will hear Budroe’s fabricated and false claims outlined above.  They will have read the objections outlined above and they will vote unanimously to recommend the board expel Rachlis again.  The board will then unanimously agree and Rachlis will be driven out of the organization twice in one year, in order to preserve the right of B&B to fleece the dues dollars of members of units 9 & 10, in order to enrich the partners of their corporation.  Only the organized membership can end this tyrannical reign of failure and profiteering.

SAVE CAPS RECLAIM YOUR UNION

Demand that Giorgio Cosentino, also illegally suspended, be immediately reinstated!  Demand that the MDRC reject the Budroe grievance against Rachlis.

The CAPS leadership and Blanning and Baker LLC.  have been exposed for their practices of illegal harassment of rank and file dues-payers, abuse of power, disregard for the rules of the organization  and the interests of the membership. The entire current leadership (which participated in and turned a blind eye to these abuses) must be removed from office and CAPS’ agents (B&B) must have their contract terminated, so that  CAPS can  become a democratic organization that relies upon the  self-organization and mobilization of its membership, rather than the good will of the  bosses’ Democratic or Republican politicians.

HOW TO TRANSFORM CAPS

1)    Ask your co-workers if they are happy with CAPS.  Unite with those who are not satisfied.  Form local committees at each work site.

2)    Contact the CAPS FIGHTING UNION CAUCUS to coordinate with groupings coming together across the state.

3)    Begin the three steps to achieve Workers Control of our union:  Educate Agitate and Organize!

4)    Educate yourself and your co-workers:  Get copies of the Bylaws and Policy Manual.  Ask the CAPS office for the old Bylaws and Policy Manual.  Ask for financial statements for the duration of your membership.  Review the CAPS legal failures  at http://wp.me/p1OGRw-y .

5)     Familiarize yourself with the California Corporate Codes under which Mutual Benefit Non-Profit Corporations like CAPS are obliged to operate.

6)    Educate your self and the membership on the various methods of trade unionism.  Ask yourself and your co-workers. “Is CAPS a workers’ organization?”  Is CAPS  a captive union, what is a business union, what is corporate unionism, what is syndicalism, what is class struggle trade unionism?  Ask what kind of program does CAPS need?  The CAPS Fighting Union Caucus offered its program of class independence and direct action at http://wp.me/p1OGRw-5 .

7)    Agitate: For your rights.  Demand your right to regular membership meetings. Not staged informational top-down meetings where “they” come to tell “us” how its going to be, but rather where workers’ democracy is applied and the agenda is open to the contributions by membership, where the entire membership is convened simultaneously, (by the magic of modern technology and democratic intention.)

8)    Agitate: For your livelihood: Demand CAPS puts its resources to organizing the membership into a fighting organization prepared to unite with all public workers in demanding retroactive COLA, for reimbursement of stolen holidays, for pay parity, for travel pay, for pensions that we can count on, for medical insurance fully funded by the employer, for adequate staffing, for professional development.

9)    Organize: Worksite action committees to prepare for the 2013 CAPS election and the Contract negotiations for the contract that expires just as we go into the CAPS election period.

10) Organize: A statewide petition for a Special meeting of the membership to discuss and decide upon the proposal to remove Blanning and Baker LLC.

11) Organize: A statewide petition for a Special meeting of the membership to discuss and decide upon the proposal to revoke the 2011 changes in the Bylaws and convene an open membership review of the Bylaws and Policy Manual.

12) Organize: a Fighting Union Caucus group at your work site to put up candidates and defeat the incumbents and turn CAPS into a democratic workers organization  which stands for the political independence of labor and for worker mobilizations to defeat the austerity schemes and win workers power.

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September 28, 2012 Posted by | PERB Unfair Practice Charge | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

PERB ORDERS RACHLIS REINSTATED

August 30, 2012 Posted by | PERB Unfair Practice Charge | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

PERB ALLEGES VIOLATION OF CAPS MEMBERS RIGHTS BY CAPS!

 

CAPS will have to answer to the Office of the General Counsel of PERB  for terminating Rachlis and Suspending Cosentino

 To summarize the PERB letter of March 30th 2012, addressed to both Rachlis and CAPS executive director Mr. Voight  regarding Case No. SF-CO-60-S the General Counsel of PERB issues a COMPLAINT on behalf of PERB and ALLEGES Respondent (CAPS) acted contrary to its own policy manual and/or Government Code section 3515.5 in failing to investigate allegations of misconduct at the time they were presented to Respondent’s Membership Discipline Review Committee and failed to convene a hearing within thirty days thus violating Government Code section 3519.5(b) (failure to apply reasonable membership rules).  Violation of 3519.5(b) interfered with members rights guaranteed by the Ralph C Dills Act.  (It appears PERB is guided and informed by this previous decision http://www.perb.ca.gov/decisionbank/pdfs/1479-s.pdf)

 This means that PERB recognizes that CAPS violated its own Policy Manual.  When current President (then treasurer) David Miller filed his grievance against Rachlis & Cosentino with CAPS on September 19th 2011, the clock started ticking. CAPS then had 30 days within which to convene a hearing. That hearing was not held until January 11th 2012.   PERB did not buy the Blanning and Baker explanation that they (CAPS) did not have to abide their own Policy Manual because the organization was in an election period and was thus too busy to conduct both an election and oblige protocol and follow  the law at the same time.  So when the grievances against Rachlis and Cosentino were finally delivered to them on Christmas eve, grievances which would ultimately lead to the  expulsion of Rachlis & Cosentino from CAPS, it was already too late!  Thus as was contended at the hearing the hearings themselves were illegal.  

 The Blanning and Baker lawyers should have known this, hello- they wrote the Policy Manual!  Members are asking if CAPS executive director Chris Voight (informed by Blanning and Baker lawyers) knew the rules why did they skirt them?   

 CAPS and PECGS members concerned with transparency are asking what was Blanning and Baker’s intention?  Either the Blanning and Baker law team is incompetent, as its failure at superior court and the bad advice as per the hearing demonstrates, not to mention their track record of failures in the furlough cases and our back holiday pay, in which case they should be dismissed from serving CAPS for pure incompetence.  Or they were carrying out a campaign to harass and conduct retribution against Rachlis and Cosentino because we exposed Blanning and Baker’s role in denying the memberships its right to annual regular meetings for 10+ years, for draining our bank accounts, for selling us out in negotiations and passing our dues to the same politicians who oppose us in negotiations; in which case they should be dismissed for carrying out retribution against members and possibly opening the organization up to liability for those action!     

 CAPS members want full transparency, members need to see if  the Blanning and Baker staff are acting in our interests or if are they milking the cow to keep the billable hours flowing to Blanning and Baker’s accounts receivables.  Members wonder about this because every time Austin, Voight and the rest of the Blanning and Baker staff carry out these vindictive attacks against CAPS and PECGS members they write up their billable hours which are charge against the membership!   

 It appears that Blanning and Baker collect from CAPS and PECGS while they  neglect our members  grievances and when we call them on it they  and use our own money against us!  Members are allowed the financial records of CAPS but we are denied any information about the corporation (B&B)  which CAPS and PECGS sustain!  CAPS and PECGS members want to know the salaries of the Blanning and Baker partners who have made a career sharing in the profits drawn from PECGS,CAPS and other state workers organizations!  PECGS members want to know why their organization is paying Blanning and Baker a 5% increase this year.  CAPS members want to know if CAPS will also be strong-armed into paying more to be serviced by Blanning and Baker!

 The membership wonders how much of our money did Blanning and Baker waste when they unsuccessfully took Rachlis to court after  Matt Austin hit him in the union office?  The membership wants to know  how much money was  wasted when they convened a hearing, hired an outside contracted lawyer and paid them selves per diem’s to illegally hold the Kangaroo court expelling Cosentino and Rachlis!  The membership wants to know is it the regular practice of Blanning and Baker to intimidate and hound trade unionists out of the organizations they service?

 There is little doubt that Rachlis and Cosentino will be reinstated to membership in CAPS!   There is little doubt the membership of CAPS and PECGS will demand full transparency so we can assess the efficacy of Blanning and Baker LLC as regards our memberships concerns and affairs!

 

April 3, 2012 Posted by | PERB Unfair Practice Charge | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

PERB COMPLAINT: supplemental information to UPC SF-CO-60-S

Supplemental information for the PERB complaint Unfair Practice Charge SF-CO-60-S

1)      We argued previously that the violation of the bylaws as regards annual membership meetings has harmed myself and the membership but we did not elaborate on how this violation harmed the membership in its relationship with our employer.  We assert that denial of the mechanisms of democracy assured in the Bylaws of the organization is not only a theft of services (as the Bylaws are a contract with the member-we pay dues and expect the process in the Bylaws to be adhered to) but results in the organization failing to fairly represent not only this employee but the entire membership for a period extending back over ten years.  We also assert that this organization has disciplined this member for asserting his rights guaranteed under California Corporate Code (CCC), for running a campaign against the entrench self perpetuating board and the corporation which acts as the organizations agent, for filing a PERB complaint and for exposing the crimes against the membership to as many members as he could reach.

To Elaborate:

It is our contention that the denial of the right to the annual membership meeting prevented the membership from discussing, among itself, all the possibilities, the strategies and tactics the union could employ to win a fair contract.  As CCC guaranteed regular membership meetings and the Bylaws guaranteed Annual membership meetings have been denied us for over a decade,  as we have no internal venue for intra-membership communication, as our job sites are spread across the entire state and as Unit 10 and CAPS members work for numerous Branches of the State Government we have no other venue than the annual or regular meetings, to have a democratic discussion of the strategy and tactics we collectively want to utilize in negotiations with our employer.  This denial of our right to participate in the negotiation process is a direct violation of our right to fair representation and makes it impossible for the organizations leading bodies or their agents to fairly represent the employees in dealing with our employer.

CAPS argues that this violation of CCC and the violations of the Bylaws are an internal matter.   We must ask who in CAPS is making this argument?  Are they legally installed officers of the organization or are they a self perpetuating board which has usurped power from the membership by allowing the agents to misrepresent themselves as a law firm and convince members they have no rights in the CCC or the Bylaws to which they are obliged to abide?

Our contention is that without convening regular membership meetings as guaranteed by CCC and without convening the Annual Meetings, as described in the old Bylaws and the current Policy Manual (PM), the cabal of self perpetuating board members, under undue influence of the Blanning and Baker LLC (B&B), operate outside both the letter of the law and the intent of the Bylaws and thus are not legal representatives of our Rank and File and have no right to negotiate on our behalf.  Thus those negotiating for the membership can not fairly represent the employees in dealing with our employer.  Ultimately every contract signed by this team since one year after the last convocation of an Annual membership meeting (over ten years ago) has been signed by officers not installed under the Bylaws of the organization and should be found to be null and void.  The negotiation of Unit 10 contract by a negotiating team which is not legitimately installed as per CAPS Bylaws has harmed my and the memberships conditions of employment by negating our right to input into our negotiations via the Annual Membership meeting or the regular meeting. 

2)      In the response to our UPC it was stated “that CAPS has always elected its Board of Directors by mail ballot, which is the same manner in which it conducts all its business.  In the past, CAPS held an annual meeting of the members in conjunction with its organizational meeting of the Board following each Board’s election. It has discontinued this practice for approximately the past ten years.”

Yet according to the CAPS policy Manual Feb 2011 Page 18 of 31 Section V. B.2. States that “Elections are held in October of each odd numbered year, with new officers being installed at the corresponding Annual Meeting to be held in November (Revised  01/10/04).

Despite the use of the term Annual Meeting in the 2011 PM that term “Annual Meeting” has been written out of, and no longer appears in the 2011 revision of the CAPS bylaws.

At the November 2010 (non-binding) informational meeting held without quorum the charging party informed both the leadership, the agents of CAPS  and the assembled Rank and File that our right to an Annual Membership Meeting had been denied for  ten years and that without this right there is no place (other than a special meeting) in the Bylaws where members can exert their rights according to the 2007 Bylaws Article III Section 1 ( c) and in such a meeting transact business other than installation of officers.  To be more concise the Annual Membership and the Special meeting are the only venue provided by the laws or Bylaws guiding the organization for a member to put items on the agenda before the assembled membership (either in a room or a digitally enhanced meeting or in a letter) in the presence of a quorum thus empowered to make decisions for the organization.   

As CAPS has already told us they ceased to hold the Annual Membership meeting over 10 years ago.  And in following up on my notice, of this violation, both of the Bylaws and California Corporate Code, the board met in February 2011 and wrote any mention of the Annual Membership meeting out of the Bylaws but left its mention in the PM which was revised at the same time (I presume by mistake) practice as they tried to hide the members’ rights from the Rank and File.  They subsequently refused to notice the membership of the changes, not posting or distributing the new Bylaws or PM and not even mentioning the changes in the monthly newsletter.  This change left only one venue open and that venue was the Special Meeting which requires a petition of the membership to convene.  Yet as stated in the  UPC (we submitted on 9/20/2011) the refusal to allow the access to the membership list (with names and addresses as is our right detailed in CCC) CAPS leadership prevents its membership from accessing each other and accumulating the signatures to petition for a Special Meeting.  Thus all means to address the membership on questions of fair representation have been denied or curtailed to the extent that all such attempts are impossible.  As the members have been denied all remedy to the board and our agents denial of our rights to annual, regular and special meetings the organization’s leading bodies  has insulated itself from ever having to abide the democratic discussion and decision making process of the membership and has thus failed to allow itself the exposure necessary to fairly represent the employees in dealing with our employer.

We therefor assert that without a democratic discussion among the membership the negotiating committee and the organizations agents in Blanning and Baker LLC (B&B) were free to conduct negotiations on our behalf, impacting the conditions of our employ without any oversight by the membership because there was never any annual, regular or special meeting to discuss the content of the tentative agreement or the course of the negotiations, rather the vote on the Tentative Agreement (TA) was held by ballot (which would not be a major violation of democracy had a regular meeting been convened to discuss the TA before the membership, prior to the mailing of the ballots).  This failure of process has extended for a decade calling into question every contract signed by CAPS for the duration.

Furthermore the negotiations were held between parties who acted on behalf of a Governor with whom the agents of CAPS have a special relationship.  The agents of CAPS represent a number of other labor organizations.  On behalf of CAPS and these other organizations, B&B have delivered hundreds of thousands of dues payer’s dollars to the campaigns of the legislators and the Governor, who are our employer. 

The cozy relationship, greased with buckets of cash, between the CAPS negotiating team, the agents of CAPS and the politicians to whom the CAPS negotiators faced across the negotiating table, though not technically illegal, can only be held in check by democracy in the organization.  When the negotiators for the membership have just given the employer (the Governors campaign) tens of thousands of dollars one would have to be blind and ignorant not to conclude that these negotiators are not capable of fairly representing the employees in dealing with the employer.

On might say, “well that’s how government works”, but if we look not only at the act but at the result we have to wonder who it works for?  If it were possible to give money to a politician and get your way (as Halliburton does for example) you would expect a quid pro quo, we CAPS members could expect that the politicians would look upon our contract negotiations in light of the fat envelopes we passed on to them, but that would be illegal (even though it worked for Halliburton and they got the Halliburton exemption which protects them from litigation in fracking water contamination cases).  So if  quid pro quo is illegal what is the purpose of the fat envelopes which passed from the CAPS agents to the politicians they would soon sit across the negotiating table from? 

B&B (the CAPS agents’) parade around Sacramento with envelopes full of checks which they dole out to the political campaigns.  It should also be noted that Matt Austin CFO of B&B ran for office in San Francisco in the same political party to which the majority of the checks were doled out to.  And David Miller (currently President of CAPS) received fifteen thousand dollars from CAPS for his failed attempt to win a seat on the CALPERS board.  Thus the insiders in B&B and members on the Board use our dues to further their own personal ends (as was Miller’s case with his run for the CALPERS board) and so B&B can cozy up with the political elite in SF (as was the case with Matt Austin’s run for party representative in his home Marina district in).  When all the politicians are arrayed against state workers interests and our agents have a personal interest in not burning those bridges it is impossible to say they can fairly represent me or the members in negotiations with those they are ultimately playing footsie with!

Again there was nothing illegal (as far as I know or am claiming) about either of their campaigns, nor was the fact that CAPS gave money to Miller’s campaign without being consulted a crime, but it sets up a pattern of behavior where we see the board and the agents of CAPS treating the organization and its resources as their own personal fiefdom which they can draw upon with the votes of a handful of illegally installed officers and do not have to answer to the membership as they pursue their own political careers at our expense (both in dollars and in political influence).  In short the board and B&B can not be an objective negotiator sitting across from the table from those who they hand out checks to every election cycle unless the membership has a democratic venue with which to rein them in.

Who can deny that the corporation B&B gains clout be being able to deliver stacks of checks to politicians?  And again while it is not illegal we must consider that in the real world no one give thousands of dollars to anyone without expecting something in return (except CAPS members who shell it all over to B&B).  As the B&B and CAPS board had no reason to expect anything in return, in the way of better terms, from the incumbents to whom they contributed our dues dollars (in particular because all the candidates ran on a program of austerity and making the workers not the billionaires pay for the crisis), these players acted to assure their clout would be enhanced for their future political aims.  As we all know brushing shoulders with politicians does not win favor, but greasing the palm does.  So as we (CAPS membership) got nothing for all the grease we must ask what is the Quid pro Quo.  What did the $500,000 distributed in the last election cycle buy the likes of Matt Austin, Chris Voight and David Miller?   Because it brought the membership of CAPS nothing but a rotten contract full of give backs and empty coffers.  Ultimately with democracy denied the negotiators and the agents of CAPS signed a TA with the Governor’s representative which was substantially the same as the one rejected by the membership in (non binding) straw polls conducted across the state in the summer of 2010.

We therefore assert that the CAPS leadership (illegally installed for lack of annual membership meetings) and the CAPS agents denied fair representation to the membership and negotiated in bad faith (they gave our money to the boss of the CAPS opponent across the negotiating table).  By putting more value in their relationship with the politicians, than in the rights of the members, whose dollars they liberally distributed to the politicians, we assert that these crooks and illegally seated board members harmed our conditions of employ accepting the conditions of those whom they helped put in office rather than fighting for the wishes of the membership.

Thus due to the theft of the membership’s right to meet annually for 10 years, due to the denial of the right to access the membership and convene a special meeting, and the subsequent censoring of candidates campaign statements the rank and file has been harmed in its relationship with our employer.   As demonstrated we collectively believed and demonstrated, in straw polls in 2010, that we could achieve a better deal than that which was finally agreed upon.   Without the right to internal discussion, without the annual meeting, without a venue to organize, under the pressure of ongoing furloughs (which our co-workers in SEIU had gotten out from under) the membership became demoralized, and accepted the recommendation of the negotiating team six months after the SEIU had signed their contract.

Due to the inability of CAPS members to chart our own course, we were not able to demand and fight for our rights and found ourselves on furlough for six months longer than the SEIU workers.  As has been argued by CAPS since the furloughs commenced much of our work is funded from outside sources and not the General Fund our placement on the furloughs was and remains illegal yet the leadership and B&B refuse to fight; rather they drained the memberships patience, drained by bank books with hopeless lawsuits and refused the members their right to convene a meeting an chart a new course.  And as CAPS did not accept or press to accept the SEIU master contract when it was reached in the summer of 2010 (due to our straw poll) the refusal to reimburse our lost time by the new Governor was both vindictive and grandstanding which did not save the tax payers of CA a single dime.  Thus the membership lost an additional 18 days of pay (beyond what SEIU workers lost) as our furloughs continued during the period we did not have a contract.  And as we ultimately accepted a contract with ongoing Personal Leave Days (in lieu of furlough) we lost another 12 days of pay.  Had we the freedom to hold our negotiating team in check, to conduct business at regular and annual membership meetings we could have organized the membership to take another course which may have lead to another outcome.  With that right denied we will never know if an alternate course would have been chosen or would have had alternate results but we would have had the opportunity to choose and that is what freedom and democracy is about.

3)      As it became apparent to me that the CAPS leadership and the B&B profiteers had locked democracy out of the organization I came to the conclusion that the only mechanism left to assert democracy was to run for office with the hope that the electoral process would allow us to address the membership as regards the strategic, tactical and organizational shortcomings of the organization. In our original UPC we outlined how our statements were censored by the election committee and how we were denied any reasonable access to the membership to explain our viewpoint.

Without free and fair elections the membership is denied its right to choose its own course of action as regards the upcoming negotiations in 2013.  The new board will serve as or pick the negotiating committee for the next round of negotiations and as such the only input the membership has into those negotiations are in choosing those who will serve as their representatives during the interim.  As the next negotiations will effect our terms of employ and as the election (last October) choose the team which will go into those negotiations and as that election was held in an undemocratic manner the members relationship with their employers is effected.  We do not have a team that was chosen democratically, nor do we have any venue to influence that team by asserting the collective voice of the membership.

4)      In an attempt to assert my rights (as outlined in the original UPC) and guaranteed by CCC,  I took action to gain access to the membership by requesting the membership list.  First I asked for it, then I noticed the CAPS staff that I would come to the office for it, then I went to the office only to be hit in the chest by Matt Austin when he unlocked the door to the union office and challenged with the question “what are you doing here”.  To which I stated I am here for the list.  Moments later Austin said oh Mr. Rachlis come in.  At which point I realized Matt Austin had hit at which point I shouted at him “Hey expletive you expletive hit me.”  After a series of back and forth Austin got up in my faces and sneered, “Listen Buster you don’t know who you’re messing with!”  Soon after I was escorted out of the office under threat of arrest still without access to the list.  And within a week I found Austin had placed a restraining order on me preventing me from coming to the union office.  His charge against me was harassment, and when he tried to have the restraining order extended for three years the judge in the superior court rejected his claim and all his assertions and testimony.  But before the ink was dry on the court decision. Candidate for President David Miller (and then board member) drew up charges against me and Giorgio Cosentino (my slate mate in our campaign) which would ultimately see me expelled from CAPS.

In a clear act of retribution, for exposing the current cabal running the organization, Miller used the very same testimony and charges which the San Francisco Superior Court judge rejected, to assert that I had hit Matt Austin and not visa versa.  The CAPS’ Membership Disciplinary Review Committee (MDRC) accepted Austin’s testimony ultimately giving the profit taking CFO of B&B LLC the benefit of a doubt over the testimony of a rank and file dues payer. 

It was further charged that I had undertaken a decertification effort against CAPS; which is, according to the PM against the CAPS rules.  I objected to these charges with six arguments:

 1) First I argued that no Just Cause existed to charge me with anything in the PM because the policy manual is not readily available to the membership and;

 2) that I requested the PM both on phone and in writing prior to and during the election campaign and that I was not given a copy of the PM until the date of the ballot count about a month after the charges against me were drawn up and two months prior to my notification of those charges, and;

3) that the document submitted into evidence (to prove I called for decertification) did not launch a campaign for or advocate decertification it merely asked the rhetorical question, in a general manner, “Is it time to decertify the State public workers unions?” The leaflet asserted that we needed to have one big union to stand strong in our fight for a fair contract.  No where could the accusers point to any statement calling on workers to decertify CAPS, to sign a petition to decertify CAPS, to join a committee to decertify CAPS, and:

4) I objected to the inclusion of the leaflet in the charges as it was over a year old and charges need to be brought within six weeks of the alleged violation as per the Policy Manual Section K. 6.a. and;

5) the charges against me were written and delivered to the MDRC in Mid September (the 19th  I believe) but the charges were not delivered to my address until December 24th a full three months after they were delivered to the committee.  This delaying tactic was in violation of PM K.6.f. which states: “This hearing shall be in person, or by conference call, or a combination of each, to begin within 30 days of the Committees receipt of 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.” When I objected to the delay of three months the MDRC cited the elections as reason for the delay although no statute of the PM points to reasons for such a delay.

6) I demanded that members of the MDRC , who were my opponents in the campaign (the ex-president now vice-president Patty Valez ) and who had been recipients of the April 2010 email from Matt Austin (and who did not admonish him at the time), recuse themselves or be challenged for cause.  Those members of the MDRC refused to recuse themselves and when I challenged them for cause as per PM K.6.e. the rest of the MDRC voted to retain them on the committee thus the die was caste and the accused were terminated.

They further cited a statement made and later withdrawn by another candidate,Mr. Cosentino, which was posted on our campaign blog which did call for decertification and based on its placement on our blog claimed that I was responsible for another person’s statement because we were on a slate together.  When asked why the third candidate on the slate was not charged as well (as his statement was also on the blog) the accusers claimed it was their choice who to expel and who not to expel.

This selective and prejudicial behavior goes directly to the point, made in the UPC  that the minds of the board had been poisoned against me and Mr. Cosentino by Matt Austin, where I cited (and delivered to PERB in the UPC) his e-mail  of April 2010 in which he claimed that I was  in the shadows manipulating Mr. Cosentino.  Members of the CAPS MDRC who adjudicated my expulsion were recipients of the Austin letter which poisoned my reputation and shows a pattern of collusion between the ex-president (now vice president who presided over the MDRC and other on the board) and their lack of objectivity that has been compromised over a long period of time during which they take the guidance of and accept the viewpoint of the profit takers of B&B over the testimony (submitted under penalty of perjury to the superior court)of this dues payers.

As I did not hit Matt Austin, as I did not launch a campaign to decertify CAPS, as the claim that my campaign statement appeared on a blog with the statement of another was prejudicially applied to me and not to our slates Presidential candidate, there can only be one reason why I was expelled from CAPS and why Giorgio Cosentino was suspended and that reason is we polled 25% of the voting membership as two unknowns running against a slate of recycled incumbents after being extremely vocal in exposing their crimes against the membership, their lack of a winning strategy and tactics and their inability to prepare the organization for the upcoming negotiations.

This expulsion puts me and the entire membership at a disadvantage in our relationship with our employer.  1) For me I have no venue for input into the direction of the upcoming negotiations.  2) I can not attend the (totally inadequate) informational meetings (which are rarely if ever held) and which are the only place one can count on meeting the interested Unit 10 members assembled.  I am therefore denied a way to prepare a united strategy and tactics with my co-workers to achieve a fair contract with my employer.  Without this right I am subject to the decisions reached without my input (as my right to speak to the membership and vote on the contract will be denied) and decisions that affect me will continue to be made without my participation.  3) As for the class of all CAPS members my expulsion and the suspension of Mr. Cosentino serves as a warning to all members to shut up, not to step out of line, not to run for office, not to demand ones rights under CCC or the Bylaws, not to oppose their cozy relationship with the politicians whom our dues flow to even while they negotiate against us.  .

If PERB exists to defend workers rights they will nullify the CAPS election, reinstate my membership and the membership of Mr. Cosentino, and assure that a fair election be held where-in the candidate have access to the membership as per CCC and their statements are not censored.

Charles Rachlis 2/27/2012

March 19, 2012 Posted by | PERB Unfair Practice Charge | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment