Open Letter to 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 before 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

CAPS member

Associate Industrial Hygienist

Richmond Campus Health and Safety Officer

California Department of Public Health

About Mad Scientist

Member of California Association of Professional Scientists
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