capsfightingunioncaucus

Rank and File Scientists Demanding our Rights

PERB ORDERS RACHLIS REINSTATED

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

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

CAPS AGENTS BLANNING AND BAKER LLC. EXPOSED ON RADIO AND AT PERB HEARING

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. www.capsfightingunioncaucus.wordpress.com
 
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 | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

HOW TO DEFEAT THE BROWN FURLOUGH & WHY CAN’T THE CAPS LEADERSHIP DELIVER?

 President David Miller promised, to convene regular worksite meetings (not regular membership meetings), to win pay equity, to fight hard for the working scientist but instead he and his team of self perpetuating incumbents, just like Unit 9’s PECG leadership are merely pawns on some one else’s chess board.   While scientists and engineers are finding their middle class expectations evaporating as quickly as the mirage that was the “American Dream,” the Blanning and Baker (B&B) team and the Miller regime have nothing to offer the membership except the heads of the rank and file oppositionists on a platter.  Meanwhile SEIU 1021 representing the SF City workers just won a no concessions contract after a strong strike authorization vote, blockading traffic and temporarily occupying city hall.  In the UK the IWW  defeated an attack on the wages and hours of janitors at St. Georges University of London.  Today the bosses and their two bit politicians are vulnerable and can be defeated by militant rank and file mobilizations and job actions but the CAPS/PECG leadership bound and gagged by B&B have nothing to offer our members but cuts in wages!  DO NOTHING AND WATCH YOUR WAGES GET CUT!  ORGANIZE FOR STRIKES NOT FURLOUGHS AND WE WIN!

 You may wonder why for years we have heard about CAPS bold legal strategies but  never that our lawsuits nearly always lose.  You may wonder what stroke of genius led to the failed strategy of relying on the courts and politicians rather than on the organized strength of the rank and file.  The CAPS/PECG strategy to rely on the courts, profits the lawyers whom B&B engages but does nothing for the membership as we outlined at our blog tracing their history of failure.  Their strategy is to give hundreds of thousands in each election cycle to the very politicians who represent the interests of the 1% has won us nothing but concessionary contracts, with more give backs to come.

Look at these two failing organizations (CAPS & PECG) and ask qui bono? Who has made a career of misrepresenting the Unit 10 scientists and Unit 9 engineers? Who ends up with all our dues money? Who is so afraid of the membership that they refused to hold a regular membership meeting for over ten years, who is so afraid of transparency that they refuse to inform the members when they revise the bylaws and policy manual?  That would be Blanning and Baker LLC (B&B). 

 This firm has taken our unions (CAPS & PECG), which are organized as Mutual Benefit Non-Profit Corporations, has held them captive and turned them into profit centers for their partners.  B&B have little interest in putting up a real fight for our interests, their goal is to funnel your dues dollars into their partners’ 401K’s not to assure your wages and conditions!   So far they have been successful accomplishing their goal at our expense!

 Hence we will not see President David Miller prepare the membership to win us pay equity, he will not organize the membership to win ten years back COLA, he will not win back pay from the stolen holidays, he will not prevent or even try to fight the impending Brown furlough.  Rather he will negotiate with Brown about how we are to be robbed, either via the brutally long 9.5 hour day or the re-imposition of the floating furlough day. THE BOSSES SAY CUT HOURS AND PAY CAPS SHOULD SAY SHARE THE WORK THIRTY HOURS WORK FOR FOURTY HOURS PAY-CREATE JOBS FOR ALL!

 Why won’t Miller organize a broad coalition with PECG, AFSCME, Local 39,  & SEIU 1000 to show some muscle and stand up to Gov. Brown (Arnie 2 or Meg in trousers)?  Not because he has no faith in the power of the rank and file; but rather, like the majority of the trade union leadership in this nation, Miller has rejected the strategy and tactics that built the unions in the first place.  While the 1% has declared war on working people and in particular public workers unions, B&B and the Miller regime scoff at class struggle methods and instead contain the membership by keeping them from meeting and organizing together. 

 The Miller/Velez regime, held their kangaroo court to get rid of Rachlis/Cosentino not only because they fought for democracy in CAPS but because the caucus offered a more appropriate method of struggle with which to respond to the class war launched by the 1%-the ruling class to impose the austerity on working and poor people.  But Miller/Velez are subservient to both the profit takers of B&B and the capitalists’ bought and paid for politicians in Sacramento (see April’s issue of the Capsule for the snapshots of CAPS leaders embracing the banksters’ political stooges.) They will help to impose the next phase of the bosses austerity on the membership by offering more concessions rather than organizing a united front of public workers to take collective job actions! 

 Not directly in word but definitively by deed, B&B and the CAPS Miller/Velez regime push the bosses’ lie, that there is no money in the state of California and that we, must help pay for the crisis that the failing structures of capitalism has created.  They ignore the fact that there are over 80 billionaires in the state of California and these hoarders of capital rely on the delusion that it is the political stalemate in Sacramento which prevents the people from liberating the funds from the billionaires and the mega corporations. 

 The fact is if Californians waits until tax reform is voted on in Sacramento or for proposition 13 to be revised we will all be dead and in our graves.  The electoral system has failed the working people, the elderly, the students, the unemployed, and specially oppressed.  The electoral system is controlled lock stock and barrel by the 1%.  This leaves workers with only one weapon with which we can exert our economic and social weight on the political stalemate.  To respond to their class war we need to stop the wheels of production.  We need to unite all public workers, students, and recipients of state services to launch an indefinite general strike.  After about a week shutting down the state the billionaires will be throwing money at the problem because they can not sustain their profit making without the state workers keeping the state functioning!  WE ARE THE POWER THAT ALLOWS CAPITAL TO PROFIT!  

 CAPS leadership and B&B’s inability to fight for our interests should come as no surprise to anyone who has had to fight a grievance with management.  In case after case CAPS and PECG members have reported that B&B (which is supposed to provide advocates on our behalf) have sent their partners Matt Austin or Chris Voight and these characters sided with management against the workers or arrived at hearings unprepared, or gave the member the impression that they were lawyers only to revel at the last moment that they are not lawyers.  In other cases they told rank and file they could not represent them or strung them out for so long that the members retained other counsel; only to find out that once you retain outside counsel CAPS or PECG are no longer obliged to represent you, thus letting B&B off the hook.

 CAPS leadership incapable of keeping its promises to the membership has instead expelled members who advocated alternate tactics of organizing to defend our interests.

After censoring the opposition’s campaign statements, denying candidates their right to access the membership and denying the membership the right to annual membership meetings, the leadership under the direction of the dues sucking leaches at Blanning and Baker chose to sell the membership out in order to keep their friendly relations with the politicians they cozy up to. 

 For the membership to defeat the Brown furlough and win what we deserve we need to take our union back.  Demand no concessions!  Demand and emergency statewide membership meeting! Demand a united front of all public workers to prepare for job actions now!  DON’T WAIT FOR THE UNION LEADERS ORGANIZE INTER-UNION ORGANIZING COMMITTEES IN EVERY WORK PLACE, PREPARE FOR GENERAL STRIKE!

June 4, 2012 Posted by | Brown's Furlough | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

CAPS LEADERS EXPOSED FOR UNDEMOCRATIC PRACTICES

California Association of Professional Scientists (CAPS) Fighting Union Caucus

Contact: Charles Rachlis FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Cell Phone: 415-205-0359
Email: crachlis@yahoo.com

Press Conference to expose CAPS and Blanning and Baker:
Expose corporate control of the state scientists’ union. Members of CAPS have been expelled for trying to democratize their union.

CAPS’ leadership ordered to respond to charges. On May 15th 2012, the leadership of CAPS will be required to respond to the following charges at a hearing overseen by the Public Employees Relations Board (PERB):

1. Violation of 3515.5: Failing and/or refusing to apply reasonable membership rules
2. Violation of 3519.5 (d): Interference of employees’ rights per the dills act

CAPS is also ordered to answer to PERB for using unreasonable methods to expel members Charles Rachlis and Giorgio Cosentino for attempting to democratize and communicate with the membership during a recent CAPS election. Rachlis will be demanding, at the hearing, that both Cosentino and he be reinstated, that regular meetings be convened with web link up around the state, and that the last election be declared null and void and that a new election be held based on the rights in the CCC. Hearing date May 15, 2012, 10:00 a.m. Press conference immediately before at 9:15. San Francisco Regional PERB office, 1330 Broadway, Suite 1532, Oakland, CA. Working class and union activists, members and nonmembers of CAPS are invited to come and show support for our struggle against the corporate control of our union and for union democracy.

The CAPS Fighting Union Caucus members are angry at Blanning and Baker for taking CAPS money for years, all the while violating their rights, bylaws and corporation code sections 7510 (b), 7510 (e), 7512, and 8330. After two years of failed efforts to get Blanning and Baker to call a meeting of CAPS union members to discuss furloughs, pay cuts and other pertinent union business, disgruntled employees formed the CAPS Fighting Union Caucus to oust current CAPS board members and to cancel the union’s long term contract with Blanning and Baker. In response to this, Blanning and Baker changed the bylaws and have refused to convene meetings or give membership information to CAPS members who would like to call for a meeting via petition. Every attempt to reach the membership to explain the conditions of the Union relationship with Blanning and Baker has been blocked or prevented.

David Miller, current CAPS board member and President, stated in November 2010 at a DTSC CAPS informational meeting, “no one cares about the bylaws”. Charles Rachlis responded to this, “The 2500 members of CAPS care. We are paying our money to Blanning and Baker to follow the bylaws and respond to our needs. Not to hold our hands and whisper sweet nothings while secretly making concessionary deals behind our backs”.

The CAPS Fighting Union Caucus was formed in July 2011, when CAPS members discovered that Blanning and Baker had changed the bylaws related to member meetings and rights. If you would like more information about this topic or to schedule an interview Charles Rachlis, email c.rachlis@yahoo.com or phone (415) 205-0359. For more details: http://www.capsfightingunioncaucus.wordpress.com

-END-

May 15, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a 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

CAPS expells opposition candidates!

The check is truly in the mail! I have received my CAPS dues returned for half of January and all of February. I am now so unwanted they will refuse to even take my “fair share” dues.

It appears the kangaroo court has accepted Matt Austin’s lies and used them to expel me. I was expelled for two reasons. 1) Harassment of Matt Austin by supposedly pushing my way into the CAPS office and yelling at him. 2) For advocating decertification of CAPS. And for my advocacy of ONE STATE WORKERS UNION in a leaflet entitled “Is it time to decertify the public union and forge fighting unions?” served as the coup de grace. Never mind that the Policy Manual which presumably makes such statements a crime against the organization was not made available to me until long after the purported indiscretions.

As everyone who followed the case knows Matt Austin’s accusation against me was thrown out of superior court when he tried to secure a restraining order against me. I claimed then and claim now that Matt Austin struck me in the chest with his forearm when I entered the CAPS office declaring to me “What are your doing here”, he later got up in my face and said.,”listen buster you don’t know who your dealing with”. This was all in an effort to prevent the opposition candidates from securing a mailing list to send campaign material to the membership.

As for the second charge. I never started a campaign to decertify CAPS, I never formed a committee calling for the decertification of CAPS, rather I advocated transforming our unions, currently run by labor hacks and tied to the Democratic and Republican politicians, into vehicles for workers’ power. I offered a number of scenarios as an answer to the rhetorical question “is it time to decertify the public workers unions and forge fighting unions?”. I suggested rank and file members need to remove, replace or rebuild our unions. The call for one State Workers Union does not necessarily indicate a decertification campaign. Rather, if we had a democratic union with real meetings and a forum for regular membership discussion that idea could be discussed among the membership. But alas CAPS does not have regular membership meetings in violation of its old bylaws and of the California Corporate Code, so no real discussion is possible in CAPS.

CAPS was organized by the corporation Blanning and Baker for the express purpose of making CAPS into a profit center for Blanning and Baker LLC. Today Blanning and Baker has manipulated the truth for the purpose of putting the opposition candidates (who received 25% in the last election) out of the organization because we exposed their inability to deliver. NO COLA, NO FIGHT AGAINST THE FURLOUGH, GIVE BACK ON PENSIONS, INCREASE IN MEDICAL INSURANCE, LOST HOLIDAYS, FAILED LEGAL STRATEGY, FAILED POLITICAL STRATEGY AND NO DEMOCRACY IN THE ORGANIZATION.

By exposing Blanning and Baker in front of the membership we have proved that this organization is not a workers’ organization. I invite members to try to attain their rights in this organization and they will find out for themselves that this organization exists not for your rights and welfare but for the partners of Blanning and Baker.
1) Request the old and new bylaws and compare the issue of membership meetings and you will find this organization has a 10 years history of violating members right to a regular annual meeting.
2) Request the Policy Manual.
3) Request a forum to speak to the rest of the membership.

Solidarity For a fighting workers union movement!

Charles Rachlis

January 22, 2012 Posted by | CAPS election 2011, CAPS MILLER vs. RACHLIS/COSENTINO | , , , | Leave a comment

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.

 

NO JUST CAUSE IN CHARGES AGAINST RACHLIS AND COSENTINO

 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.  http://www.utoledo.edu/depts/hr/hsc/pdf/just_cause.pdf 

 “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.

CONSIDER THE STONEWALLING:

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

Giorgio,

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”

www.capsscientists.org

916-441-2629

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: ‘caps@capsscientists.org’
Subject: Current Policy File?

Hi,

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

Giorgio

Giorgio Cosentino, PHM

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

Hi,

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

Giorgio

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

Hi Barryett,

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

Giorgio

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

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

Sincerely,

Giorgio Cosentino

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

Hi,

I was previously told the following.

“Giorgio,

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.

Giorgio

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

Did I use the wrong email address for this request?  

Giorgio

From: Cosentino, Giorgio (CDPH-CID-DCDC-VRDL)
Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 8:44 AM
To: Kristen Haynie (kristenh@capsscientists.org)
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.

Respectfully,

Giorgio

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) [mailto:Giorgio.Cosentino@cdph.ca.gov]
Sent: Friday, October 07, 2011 1:23 PM
To: caps@capsscientists.org; kristenh@capsscientists.org; cvoight@capsscientists.org
Cc: Enge, Barryett (CDPH-CID-DCDC-VRDL); Rachlis, Charles (CDPH-ADM-PSB-FMS); Wright, Will (CDPH-ADM-PSB-FMS); pvelez@capsscientists.org
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

Giorgio Cosentino, PHM

 And when did we finally get the document?

From: Chris Voight [mailto:cvoight@capsscientists.org]
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”

www.capsscientists.org

916-441-2629

 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.

 2) DEMAND FOR RECUSAL OR CHALLENGE FOR CAUSE FOR MEMBERS OF MDRC.

 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: ‘pvelez@capsscientists.org’; ‘vbrown@capsscientists.org’; ‘mberbach@capsscientists.org’; ‘jbudroe@capsscientists.org’
Cc: ‘sbauer@capsscientists.org’; ‘yaddassi@capsscientists.org’; ‘mcommandatore@capsscientists.org’; ‘mgordus@capsscientists.org’; ‘dmiller@capsscientists.org’; Enge, Barryett (CDPH-CID-DCDC-VRDL); Cosentino, Giorgio (CDPH-CID-DCDC-VRDL); Wright, Will (CDPH-ADM-PSB-FMS); ‘Charles Rachlis (crachlis@yahoo.com)’; ‘capsfightingunioncaucus@yahoo.com’
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 [mailto:mattsona@pacbell.net]

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. 

-Matt

Note Matt Austin’s reference to Giorgio’s need for some special “manual” in order to deal with “his relationship” with CAPSINDEED THIS MANUAL, WHICH AUSTIN REFLECTS UPON, IS THE VERY POLICIY MANUAL FROM WHICH THE GRIEVANCES AGAINST RACHLIS AND COSENTINO ARE BEING DERIVED.  AGAIN THIS DISPLAYS DISSTAIN TOWARD DEMOCRATIC PROCESS, THIS CONDECENDING ATTITUDE ON THE PART OF CAPS AGENTS TOWARD RANK AND FILE, AND THIS DISREGARD OF THE  RIGHT TO ACCESS THE POLICY MANUAL IN A TIMELY MANNER PROVE BEYOND A SHADOW OF A DOUBT THAT NO JUST CAUSE EXISTS AND THAT THE CHARGES MUST BE DISMISSED!

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.

3) CAPS PRESIDENT ATTEMPTS PURGE IN TRADITION OF STALIN AND THE JESUITS

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)  https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B3YWBBvtz9L-ZjYwYjg0YTUtOTk4OS00NzY3LTk5ZTEtZmU2ZDE5NmVjZDc2  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 www.capsfightingunioncaucus.wordpress.com 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.”  http://www.WSWS.org

 Charles Rachlis Associate Industrial Hygienist/ http://wp.me/p1OGRw-m

 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.

 3/24/11

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 Crachlis@yahoo.com  (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:

 VOTE NO ON THE  TENTATIVE AGREEMENT (TA)

 

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 crachlis@yahoo.com (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. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QdpHKtkkWh4zhp98Hh45dOx6dCFutbLezhxqxBVBGmc/edit 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/

email Charles.Rachlis@cdph.ca.gov

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/

email Charles.Rachlis@cdph.ca.gov

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 | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Witch Hunt Continues as CAPS leadership violates Policy Manual to expel opposition candidates

January 6, 2012

 

To: CAPS BOARD and MDRC

From: Charles Rachlis

Re: Proposed grievance hearing on January 11th

I would like to take the time to thank President Miller and Valarie Chenoweth-Brown for timing their grievance 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 both my winter holiday and Giorgio Cosentino’s.   It is form of retribution against the opposition candidates and must be dismissed.  Failure to dismiss will expose CAPS to liabilities for harassment against members for carrying out union activities and violations of civil rights.

Thank you for the prompt dismissal of this case,

 

Charles Rachlis

 

January 11, 2012 Posted by | CAPS MILLER vs. RACHLIS/COSENTINO | , , , , , | Leave a comment