capsfightingunioncaucus

Rank and File Scientists Demanding our Rights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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June 6, 2013 Posted by | CAPS 2013 Contract negotiations | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 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