Radio Interview CAPS a profit center for Blanning and Baker
Interview begins at the 8:15 mark of the MP3
Our radio interview was not aired on July 23rd as originally planned. It aired last Monday on Work Week radio hosted by Sabrina Jacobs.
The update on the PERB Unfair Practice Charge: Final arguments have been submitted and the Administrative Law Judge will make a decision in the next few weeks. Either Rachlis (and by precedent Cosentino) will be ordered back into the organization or PERB will uphold the process by which the kangaroo court was held.
Organizing continues at work sites around the state. Members and CAPS are talking to members of PECGS and finding the abuses by Blanning and Baker LLC that Unit 9 workers experience are the same or worse than those faced by Unit 10 workers.
Some workers advocate running for office again, as the opposition slate of relative unknowns received 25% of the vote on their first attempt, and as only 600 members of a 2,300 members voted the current leadership knows they are vulnerable. To unseat the current leadership in the next election we need only a few hundred more votes.
Some workers advocate using the Superior Court to enforce compliance with California Corporate Code (an issue we have reviewed in detail at the blog linked above).
Some workers advocate getting a new union to represent us. Some say decertification is the only method which can get rid of the profit takers of Blanning and Baker LLC (B&B) and create an organization based on rank and file democracy.
I for one have always argued that fighting for leadership of the organization is the best way to create rank and file democracy. I have argued against those who advocated use of the Court against the union and those who favored decertification.
However; whereas we have exhausted all internal remedies and; Whereas we have found out that the union was originally organized (the union signature cards were collected) by the profit taking corporation B&B as a profit center for their business and; Whereas we have witnessed members rights to uncensored elections violated and; Whereas we have seen members rights to membership meetings violated, and; Whereas we have seen members rights as guaranteed by California Corporate Code violated and; Whereas we have been physically battered by Matt Austin (profit taking partner at B&B) and; Whereas it has been reported to us from multiple sources that in handling grievances Matt Austin, CAPS and PECG agents sided with management and abandoned members cases leading to members being dismissed, we are coming to new conclusions as to the nature of CAPS.
It is clear that CAPS is not a workers’ organization. The only input workers have into the organization is our payment of dues and the ability to participate in fake elections. If CAPS is not a workers organization what is it? CAPS negotiates with the state for our contracts like a union but operates like a corporate profit center for B&B. The partners of B&B have vested interest in keeping the rank and file from being organized and mobilized. As CAPS is not a workers’ organization I have changed my viewpoint and no longer consider that the principle of not taking ones union to court no longer applies.
When workers are in a workers’ organization it would be unprincipled to take that organization to the bosses (the 1% ruling classes) courts. We stand by our caucus position calling for workers to fight inside their unions for democracy not to use the bosses courts. However as 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.
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 insiders 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.
Ultimately the strategy chosen to build rank and file democracy in unit 10 and unit 9 can only be decided by the development of a network of core activists at all the major departments who find ways to self-organize, network and come together to hammer out a united strategy and tactics to build a union that can mobilize the membership in the fight against the austerity, to defend our pensions, to win our COLA, to protect our members, to oppose outside contracting, to united with all other public workers and build a movement which does not subordinate itself to the bosses politicians in the Democratic and Republican parties (whom our unions give our dues to and who stab us in the chest when they get into office.)
Are you ready to build a core of caucus activists at you job site? Ready to network with other unit 9 & 10 members around the state?
Ready for union democracy?
If so contact us and we will join forces to put Blanning and Baker out of business, create union democracy and unite all public workers in action to defend our standard of living by fighting the imposition of austerity with all workers and workers organizations!