VOTE NO ON THE TENTATIVE AGREEMENT
Not to get into details but CAPS and the Lawyers’ union both signed tentative agreements (TA) which are substantially the same as the concessionary contract signed by SEIU 1000.
They can present the points any way they like but in the end we look at the bottom line of the take home check and compare it to the days we work.
Under this deal there will be only one furlough day a month instead of the three we have had for the last two years. But we will not be able to take home the pay for the other two days we will be required to work. No, instead the money we earn for these two days will be obliged to work will be directed to CAPERS as additional contribution to our pensions. This is a transfer of responsibility for a portion of our pension on to our backs. In other words this is a pay cut! We will come back to work with only one furlough day a month but our checks will not increase.
We are asked to approve a cut to new employee’s pensions. They will have to work under 2% @ 60 instead of 2% @55. This give away creates two tiers which drives a spike in the solidarity between existing and new employees. How can current members expect to build solidarity with young workers when we sign away their pension rights?
Our union leadership says they fought as hard as they could but this is the best Brown’s team will offer. One wonders how hard CAPS was fighting, considering that the membership was not mobilized at all. The only participation to this point has been a non-binding, unscientific poll held at a series of unofficial informational meetings last fall where the membership was asked if it would support the same deal SEIU 1000 got. At that time the three meetings in the East Bay Area all rejected those terms. But today our negotiating team returns from negotiations with those exact terms; buttressed by a threat that the legislature may impose harsher terms if we do not sign.
To sweeten the deal the two holidays, which were stolen from us, are now ceded back as “personal development days” (pdd). And a 3% salary adjustment will be applied in July of 2013 to the top level of the pay scale.
Considering that for lack of COLA and due to the ongoing furloughs CAPS members have lost over 25% of their real wage relative to 2001 this offer of 3% in two years is not only an insult it is a blatant attempt to drive older workers into retirement. At least in retirement one can count on a COLA.
The section of the TA which dealt with pay differential says nothing about pay adjustment based on the pay differential, only that a study of the differences would be done. Why bother? This is not news! We already know we are underpaid in relation to city, county and private sector workers doing the same work. Pay Equity is long overdue. Don’t yank my chain …equal pay for equal work!
For two years we have intervened in the issue of our working conditions saying that our organization needs to change strategy and tactics; but CAPS rejected independent political action and direct action and instead puts its reliance in the courts and on the Democratic Party. After wasting all our funds on lobbyists and lawyers mobilizing our members to support the Democrats, our leadership comes back after all our funds are spent and claims that CAPS fought as hard as it could. We are warned by Jon Ortiz at the Sac Bea that if we do not accept this contract Brown will come back harder.
No brothers and sisters CAPS is not fighting at all. CAPS has a failed strategy and tactics which depends on demobilizing the membership, disregarding and violating our by-laws and telling us that we are too professional a layer of workers to actually roll up our sleeves and fight. We have turned our union over to the contract law firm and the Democratic Party. In the end the courts give us hollow victories (the gov can’t call a furlough without the legislator …but guess what the legislature approved….oh well workers loose … who would have guessed?) and the politicians we supported (read Governor Brown) slip us the shive demanding the same slave contract Schwarzenegger forced on SEIU 1000. All the while they say there is no money but the corporations get tax breaks and some 80 billionaires enjoy residency in the golden state and we don’t see them “sharing the pain”! Oil is pumped from underground and the profit does not serve the people of CA; all the while the prison population breaks records with 170, 000 incarcerated (mostly due to a failed school and collapsed economic system) fueling a non productive muti-billion prison industrial complex (mostly due to a failed school and collapsed economic system).
No CAPS has not even rolled up its sleeves and can not. Not as long as it is run undemocratically, not as long as it refuses to hold the by-laws mandated annual membership meetings. If CAPS members want to protect a professional pay scale they will have to fight and what the leadership has been doing is conceding with out a fight.
By refusing to hold annual membership meeting they have opened the organization up to a PERBS violation. CAPS prevents members from communicating with each other by not providing a group an electronic or paper forum, nor is membership list accessibility shared. We are prevented from having an open democratic discussion about the direction of our organization but they take our money and give it to the lawyers.
The membership has a choice to make, either accept this concessionary contract and work for free for two days a month or take back your union and give the state a real fight!
CAPS by-laws requires annual quorumed meetings to install officers and conduct other union business. This requirement of the By-laws has been violated for 10 years. All the meetings you have attended during the past 10 years have been informational not business meetings. This violates democratic practice and prevents members from running our own union. Unless we run our union democratically we will not be able to conduct a fight to protect our wages, and reclaim the lost salary missing due to lack of COLA and pay disparity. Talk to your co-workers! Hold meetings! VOTE NO!
Charles Rachlis 3/18/11