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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We also opposed launching a campaign to decertify CAPS without first testing the nature of the organization through assertion of membership rights as guaranteed by the bylaws, the Policy Manual, and the California Corporate Code.  Today we are convinced that CAPS can not be reformed without getting rid of B&B.  We have proved that CAPS makes contact between members a near impossibility thereby ensuring the perpetuation of the insider’s incumbency (Ms. Velez has been on the board for 17 years during 23 years as a member,) puts another weight on the scale of reform vs. decertification.    The combination of a self perpetuating board, the denial of regular membership meetings, and the vested interest of B&B’s partnership ( they take between 800k-and 1.5million from unit 10 CAPS members annually  and closer to 6 million annually from Unit 9 PECG members,) may require the formation of a new union and the decertification of CAPS and PECG.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

SAVE CAPS RECLAIM YOUR UNION

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

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

HOW TO TRANSFORM CAPS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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