capsfightingunioncaucus

Rank and File Scientists Demanding our Rights

CAPS PRESIDENT DAVID MILLERS DECLARES MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS RIDICULOUS

CAPS PRESIDENT DAVID MILLERS DECLARES MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS RIDICULOUS

On January 9th, 2014,  during the hearing at PERB in case # SACO 4645, CAPS President David Miller was asked why the organization’s Bylaws and Policy Manual were changed in 2011 and why they had been disregarded for over a decade.  President Miller explained the changes were made to make the document clearer.  When pressed on what clarity the board was trying to arrive at, Miller explained that it was “ridiculous” to hold regular annual membership meetings.  He explained that member’s concerns could be freely addressed to the board at the quarterly executive board meetings in person, in writing, or via a district representative.

What Miller was not able to escape from is the fact that, ridiculous or not, the current leadership of CAPS in collusion with and under the advice of the executive director (Blanning and Baker LLC) and legal counsel (Gerald James) have, for years, denied the membership regular and annual meetings, which have been required by the CAPS Bylaw, the CAPS Policy Manual and the California Corporate Code (CCC).  In fact, a careful reading of the revised 2011 bylaws and policy manual reveals that regular membership meetings  are still required (which conforms with the CCC, although annual meetings were erased from the Bylaws and Policy Manual in February 2011.)   The requirement for regular membership meetings in the CCC indicates 15 months as the first of regular intervals for “regular membership meetings.”

Were it not for the long term inability of the CAPS leadership and CAPS agents to protect Unit 10 members’ salaries from the consequences of compounded inflation vs. years with no cost of living adjustments, members would hardly be concerned with how CAPS is run.  But today, two weeks before negotiations open, Unit 10 rank and file members are expressing their lack of confidence in the CAPS leadership and the CAPS agents and legal team. Workers, long denied regular membership meetings, are booking rooms and meeting on their own without the leadership.  Workers have initiated letter writing and petition campaigns: workers have openly discussed decertification, rescission, and severance as options.  Workers are no longer waiting for CAPS to act; they are beginning to act on their own.  This is a promising sign.  It will take the democratic participation of the rank and file to sweep away the dead wood and build an organization that can win the workers’ demands in negotiations.   If that organization will be CAPS or a new formation is truly in the hands of the current leadership.  As of now workers do not see CAPS as a worker’s organization.  Indeed, one 28-year CAPS member wrote us saying, “we need a union to protect us from the union!”

If the leadership continues to play footsie with the Democratic Party (and in cases with the Republicans), giving gobs of our dues dollars to the candidates, the lobbyists and the lawyers while neglecting to build rank and file organization and democracy, the consequent  defeat (in the upcoming negotiations) will drive Unit 10 members to seek alternatives and other organizational  affiliations.

To turn the situation around, CAPS must convene immediate emergency membership meetings at all campuses, form up action committees at each  section and unit where Unit 10 members work and prepare united job actions to impress on HR how serious our members are.   Without the serious threat of job actions by the membership our negotiators look like beggars with their hands out, rather than our true advocates convinced of the resolve of the membership and prepared to exert our collective strength.

January 9th the Governor released his proposed budget and there were no raises for the Unit 10 rank and file indicated.  Supervisors, on the other hand, found some indication that their pay parity concerns would be met.   For the rank and file to win it requires that we act now to assure that the CAPS negotiators do not come back to us with a Tentative Agreement equivalent to the SEIU 1000 concessionary contract that gained only 1.6% per year, and which does not cover the losses to pension and medical insurance premium increases, and will leave many workers with smaller checks than before the furloughs started 4 years ago.

Membership meetings are not ridiculous!  Membership meetings are where members chart their course, develop strategy and organize the membership for action.  What is ridiculous is the long-term failed strategy of the CAPS leadership, which has resulted in most Unit 10 members being 30% behind their peers in municipal employment and private industries.  What is ridiculous is to think that a board that sequesters itself out of sight of the membership for decades, which demobilizes the membership, denies the members their rights, and is oblivious to the fact that most members hate the organization, can win us our long overdue pay parity.

Rachlis went to PERB not only to get the second illegal expulsion expunged, but to learn from CAPS President David Miller the true belief of the current leadership-that worker’s democracy-that holding regular membership meetings is “ridiculous”!

But if history is a guide playing footsie with the politicians will not win our demands; it will take a rank and file upsurge to win!  Time is working against us but if CAPS acts now it could convene membership meetings at every job site next week and have informational pickets and press conferences across the state immediately in preparation for the negotiations.    For Unit 10 to win pay parity the rank and file must run the organization themselves!

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January 11, 2014 Posted by | CAPS 2013 Contract negotiations | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CAPS: Kangaroo Court to Expel Rachlis Again-Rachlis responds to false charges

Response to the Budroe grievance against Rachlis to be heard by the MDRC on October 9th, 2012

 1)    The ossified self perpetuating CAPS board works obediently to maintain the subservience of CAPS to its agents (the labor profiteers at Blanning and Baker LLC,) Democratic and (on occasions) Republican Party politicians and ultimately the ruling class which profit by the demobilization of organized labor.

 2)    By denying members their right to annual/regular membership meetings, under California Corporate Code and under the 2007 CAPS Bylaws, for over ten years many members of the current board have participated in an ongoing theft of services.  The bylaws (literally second law) are a contract between the members and the organization; the members pay dues dollars and the organization is obliged to follow the bylaws.  Yet CAPS denied members their right to annual membership meetings for over 10 years and when I brought it to the attention of the board in a November 2010 letter, the board under the guidance of B&B wrote our right to an annual membership meeting out of the 2011Bylaws.  This may come as a surprise to CAPS but as far as I have been able to ascertain only corporate, fascist, and business unions deny their members the right to hold regular meetings where the members can discuss the business of the organization.

 3)    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 illegally thrown out and the CAPS leadership team would not have lost to Rachlis in the PERB decision # HO-U-1064-S which required CAPS to reinstate Rachlis retroactively to the date of his expulsion.  Playing fast and loose with the rules, are lawyer’s games and they may work to control and organization but they come  at the expense of worker’s democracy which is systematically denied.

 4)    The failure of the CAPS/B&B leadership team to deliver on the economic front and the ongoing denial of members rights has created a breech between the leadership team and the rank and file of CAPS.  By refusing to hold regular meetings CAPS leadership assured that the B&B method of filling the politicians campaign coffers with our dues dollars, and the filling of the partners of B&B’s retirement funds with millions from State Workers dues dollars would not be challenged by any attempt to mobilize the membership around a winning strategy and tactics similar to that which worked for the Chicago Teachers last month, and the Marikana miners last week.  Indeed the lack of workers’ democracy, the failure to take workers’ side in grievances with management, the multiple denials of legal counsel by B&B for workers attacked by management has left the rank and file with the feeling that CAPS/B&B work hand in hand with management instead of working for the members.  This is why an opposition slate running, of relatively unknowns, despite censored campaign statements and limited access to the ear of the membership won 25% in the last election by running on a class struggle-action program.  This type of rank and file response to such a campaign is unheard of in recent labor history.  Indeed the fact that the CAPS-Fighting Union Caucus (CAPS-FUC) won 25% in the last election has the ruling clique running scared and for that reason B&B’s stooges have launched a smear campaign to drive me out of the organization.  Miller/Chatsworth-Brown in their grievance of September 19, 2011accused us of running a campaign for the decertification of CAPS (which was not true then and is not true now) but consider the implication that if it were a campaign for decertification and 25% of the members voted for it B&B’s profit taking days and failed methods would clearly be numbered.

 5)    The current leadership team employs the so-called team concept of labor management relations assuring the supine obsequiousness of labor before management.  This method has left the membership with declining spending power for our shrinking dollar (uncompensated for by COLA’S), cuts in hours and wages due to two years of furloughs and two years of PLD’s, increased employee contribution to medical, to pensions, we lost holidays and have suffered increase of supervisory harassment, as well as racial, ethnic, age and gender discrimination expressed through arbitrary application of unreasonable work and reporting rules.  The membership, 2/3’s of which did not vote in the last election and of the remaining 1/3 who voted 25% voted for the opposition, is clearly not inspired by the leadership which reigns by the combination of inertia and denial of workers’ democracy.

 6)    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.  The MDRC must reject this.

 7)    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 highlighted key controversial phrases and will comment on their meaning further below.

 8)    “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.”

 9)    Budroe and the CAPS /B&B leadership team 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 statement reproduced above is merely a statement of facts.  The facts are: there is no internal democracy in CAPS, the organization has illegally expelled me and illegally suspended Mr. Cosentino (thus establishing a track record as scofflaws) in turn it is reasonable for members of units 9 & 10 to consider that in order to establish democracy in our organizations B&B’s contract must be severed and to accomplish this objective necessity, internal remedy mechanisms may not be adequate.  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.

 10) 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.  Indeed I am not alone at weighing the options before CAPS.  And there is no statute in the Bylaws or PM that denies members the right to talk about or write about weighing options.  Weighing options is not the same as choosing options.  Contrary to its own intention by expelling Rachlis twice in one year the CAPS board would be putting more weight on the scale that the membership is currently looking at.

 11) Budroe claims that our blog posting makes it clear that we do not advocate ‘reform from within’ and that rather we call for decertification.  Again the enmeshment between the entrenched and ossified leadership of CAPS can not disassociate itself from B&B.  The ‘damning’ blog stated “Today we are convinced that CAPS can not be reformed without getting rid of B&B”.  Without overstating the obvious we do not see the contract between CAPS and B&B as carved in stone-it must be renewed on a regular basis.  The CAPS relationship with B&B is based on a contract that the CAPS membership can, if it so chooses, not renew!  This would open the road to reform of CAPS and would shift the weight on the scale toward the possibility transforming CAPS into a fighting rank and file class-struggle organization.

 12) 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.

13) In his frantic quest to expel Rachlis twice in one year Budroe, makes additional attempts to falsify the content of the ‘damning’ blog.  For the CAPS-FUC the principle of not taking workers’ organizations to the bosses’ courts is inviolate and as such we have 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.)

14) It is time for CAPS to begin to function in a democratic manner and stop its illegal denial of membership rights and this witch hunt against members who demand our rights be respected.  If the MDRC reduces itself to the level of a kangaroo court dutifully and uncritically participating  in the Budroe witch hunt, a witch hunt which began with red baiting by Matt Austin in Superior Court, was followed up with addition red baiting by Budroe and Miller during the campaign last year and was reintroduced in the Miller/Brown grievance of September 19, 2011, then this august body will itself be soiled by its actions reducing its respectably in the world of adjudication one akin the McCarthyite House Un-American Activities Committee, the Spanish Inquisition, and the Moscow show trials which sentenced the best working class militants of the 20c to death.

15) In conclusion the MDRC has a choice. You can expel Rachlis on false charges and further expose the undemocratic nature of CAPS.  This action would confirm for many that CAPS is not Workers’ Organization but is truly a captive corporate controlled union reduced to being nothing more than a profit center for B&B and the dutiful enforcer of the capitalist austerity on the backs of the workers of unit. 10.  Or you can reject this witch hunt and open the road to workers democracy in our organization.

Charles Rachlis October 4, 2012

October 9, 2012 Posted by | CAPS WITCH HUNT | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 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