Saturday, November 2, is the Day of the Dead holiday.
To celebrate the long, agonizing “death-of-a-thousand-pay-cuts” of SEIU Local 221, the union president, David Garcias, has announced a BBQ for everybody. Loco 221 got a copy of the official invitation sent to us (see below). In addition to celebrating new union contracts that will increase the dues revenues for the Local while leaving members with less money in their pockets, he is also celebrating the loss of yet another whole bargaining unit of workers this year. That makes 7 units that have voted to leave SEIU 221 since 221 was formed in 2007. Each unit had hundreds of workers and now all their union dues money is being paid to other unions. Hurray! SEIU 221 is the Walking Dead so let’s party on the Day of the Dead!
Garcias wants to spend lots of union dues money to buy BBQ stuff for the County Bargaining Team for doing such a great job. The way most of them went along with the Big Lie that 9500 County workers were going to get “raises” and the way they helped Local 221 trick all the people into voting for the new contract was terrific. For example, they did a great job of telling people that half of them would get a 1.5 percent raise in the first year, without mentioning that inflation was over 2.5 percent this last year, and projected to stay at about that level. They did a great job of telling people it was okay that only half of them would get the raise this year because everybody would get a raise later, but not mentioning that inflation would be bigger than that also.
It is customary on the Day of the Dead for people to bring food to graveyards to share with the Dead. It is well known that the Dead are especially fond of tomatoes and rotten eggs.
So, come on out everybody and let’s all party til we drop, dead.
– the Loco 221 staff
———- Forwarded Message ———-
Date: Fri, 18 Oct 2013
From: “David Garcias, SEIU Local 221 President” email@example.com
Subject: County Bargaining Team BBQ!
SAVE THE DATE!
You are invited to a celebration barbeque for the County Chapter Bargaining Team. These members spent many months fighting to get a fair contract. Now we would like to show our appreciation for their hard work. Bring your family to the park and join us in the celebration! Food and drink provided.
Saturday, November 2, 2013
12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Mission Bay Park*
RSVP to 858-560-0151
*We will be at Playa Pacifica Park, San Diego, CA. North of the Hilton Hotel. Look for the purple signs. More details at www.seiu221.org.
ALL people at the County of San Diego who are members of SEIU 221 still have time to stop their dues going to SEIU! If the County’s Board of Supervisors vote to approve the proposed new contract on Tuesday, October 8, 2013, you will have to wait until next June for your next chance to stop paying SEIU dues. Sick of corrupt union officials lying to you, telling you that you will get a “raise” but then you read the fine print and when you include inflation, the “real wage” (actual buying power) will end up being a PAY CUT? Then here’s your next big chance to tell them where they can put it!
So, you can do it TODAY. Just download this form Union Membership Drop Letter for SEIU 221 and send it in! FAX IT! Hurry! The County Auditor Controller Office Fax: (619) 531-5219, and Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and MailStop: A-5.
For the full story about the rules for dropping SEIU dues, see our Loco 221 article at
Loco 221 is not surprised that SEIU Local 221 officials have been so quiet about the announcement that the second highest officer in SEIU, International Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina, will leave SEIU in just a few weeks. It could be an embarrassing subject, for SEIU officials in San Diego. Medina is one of Local 221′s “home boys”. His quick exit may be related to the sentencing phase of the trial of convicted former SEIU Local 6434 President Tyrone Freeman.
Medina was appointed Executive Director of SEIU Local 102 here in San Diego, in 1986. In the years that followed, mergers with other unions resulted in creation of SEIU Local 2028. Medina rose to the top of the pond becoming first an International Vice President and then getting his current job. He was replaced as Executive Director at Local 2028 for several years by Mary Grillo, until she also got promoted to a top job in SEIU’s Public Services Division at union headquarters in Washington, DC. Then, in 2007, another merger and shuffle of members of both Local 2028 and of SEIU Local 535 resulted in the creation of Local 221.
In 2010, when the Local 221 Executive Board voted to give resigning Local President Sharon-Frances Moore over $100,000 in severance money (she was not being fired, at least not officially) and the union’s membership rose up screaming at the International to stop it, former International President Andy Stern appointed Medina to go to San Diego and slap some sense into the morons on the Local 221 Executive Board. Medina and Mary Grillo are said to have taken new Local 221 President David Garcias under their wings, to “mentor” him about how to run the Local, since he was elected in 2012. Poor fool! He’d do just as well being mentored by inmates at Folsom or Atascadero.
Loco 221 will now give a bow and salute to the blog reporters at Stern Burger With Fries, because their article about the reasons for Medina’s surprise resignation is great investigative reporting.
What’s behind Eliseo Medina’s Swift Departure from SEIU? Click on the link to read their article.
The article offers evidence that Medina’s departure is likely tied to recent legal developments in the SEIU/Tyrone Freeman corruption scandal. Remember the President of SEIU Local 6434 tried and convicted of stealing more than $12 million dollars of union dues money from the low-paid home care workers he was supposed to represent? Yup. That guy.
As SEIU 221 goes into its third month without a new contract with the County of San Diego, lots of people are asking “How can we get an election to switch to a better union?” The news that the County’s CM bargaining unit successfully voted to get out of SEIU and joined the new union, the Association of San Diego County Employees, has increased the amount of interest. Loco 221 will give you some of the basics. This article has information that is true in general, for all workers in the USA, but it also emphasizes details that apply especially to workers at the County of San Diego.
Anytime your union has an expired contract, you can file the official documents to get an election to vote on switching to another union. It can be a union that already exists (if they say they want your group) or it can be a new union that you form with your co-workers. It takes some work, but it is not that hard.
The most important thing you need to do to get started is to find the leaders/organizers in your group (your “bargaining unit”) and start organizing together ( 10 people talk to 10 people – 20 talk to 20 and so on). It is most important to do what the employees want, not what the organizers want. Too many times in history the leaders /organizers try to lead and no one follows. The reason was that they were not following the will of the people, only their own ego.
If you work in the private sector in the USA, then the official documents have to be filed with the NLRB — the National Labor Relations Board. If you work in the public sector, in California, then the official documents have to be filed with PERB — the Public Employment Relations Board. You can call them and ask for basic information on the steps involved. They have a lot of the information on their websites, and they will tell you where to find it.
Workers at the County of San Diego also have to follow steps and requirements that are spelled out in the County’s LRO — the Labor Relations Ordinance, even though the actual election is run by the state PERB. See especially Articles VI, VII, and VIII. But don’t ignore Articles III, IV, and V. Don’t panic. It’s not that complicated. People at PERB and people at the County’s Labor Relations office can explain some of the terms and how it all fits together. You can talk to people at groups like City Employees Associates to get practical campaign advice and help from a labor law attorney. They work with county workers and municipal workers throughout Southern California. Ask about their fees. There are other, similar groups you can find.
What is a “bargaining unit” (BU)? Union representation elections are held for groups of employees that have been legally identified as having certain common interests and traits. A BU might be only workers with one job title/classification or it can be a group of similar job titles combined together.
At the County of San Diego, an example is the Clerical (CL) BU. The CL unit has 50 separate job classifications. All of them would be included in the petition to file to get an election and in the actual voting. County of San Diego workers can find their BU by looking up their job classification (by its name) at the County’s Job Descriptions webpage. At the webpage, you click on your own job title, let’s say, Account Clerk, and the first line under your job’s Class Title is the line “Bargaining Unit”. Once you know your BU, you can find the full list of all the job titles that are in your BU at the County’s webpage that has all the union contracts (they’re called Memoranda of Agreement, or MOA’s). Click on the MOA that includes your BU and then scroll to the very end where it lists all the “Overtime Codes”. For each BU, the Overtime Codes chart shows the full list of job titles. Those are all the people you need to contact and organize and sign the petition to get an election to switch to another union.
At the County of San Diego, per the LRO, you have to get at least 35 percent of the people in the whole BU to sign the petition in order to get an election to switch to another union.
Pay attention to deadlines and timelines. An important one at the County of San Diego, per the LRO, is that none of the signatures on the petition for the representation election can be more than 4 months old. Another one sets out when you can file a petition to get an election, if your contract is NOT expired. It’s worth quoting, and short enough:
“A petition which includes employees covered by a Memorandum of Agreement which has been ratified by the unit and approved by the Board of Supervisors shall be filed no sooner than 240 days and no later than 210 days prior to the expiration of the Agreement. This bar shall only apply during the first two (2) years of a multi-year agreement.”
So, at the County, if you have a 1 or 2 year contract that is in effect, you have to follow the 240-210 day “filing window” rule. If you have a contract in effect that is for a term of more than 2 years, then at any time after the second year you can file a petition for an election. And, as we said at the start of this article, if your contract has expired, like the SEIU 221 contracts at the County are now expired, then you can file the petition at any time before a new contract goes into effect.
Here are some samples of the forms and petitions you have to file for a representation election to switch unions at the County of San Diego. All the “red” highlighted text has to be replaced with the name of your own bargaining unit, the name, address and phone number of the petition’s spokesperson (a County employee working in the BU), and the particular details of your own BU and number of signatures, etc. If you have permission from an existing union to petition for an election to join their union, you put in their appropriate name, address, etc. If you are forming your own new union, you use that information instead (be sure you have first met the requirements to be an officially registered employee organization).
To join a different union or to form a new union, people need to sign the sheets for petition signatures to support the petition letter. The sample sheet that Loco 221 also contains language that meets the legal requirements for the “Authorization for Representation” cards. So, a person signing the petition support sheet also joins the new union at the same time.
You can have a union that actually does what the members tell it to do.
You don’t have to suffer forever with:
(1) bad contracts that are too “sweetheart” with your employer;
(2) and bad representation that blows off the rights in your contract and in the laws and that doesn’t protect you enough against abuses by your managers;
(3) and union officials that ignore you or lie to you, or rig your union elections for union officers, or re-write you union bylaws so that they can be interpreted any which way the union officials like;
(4) or all of the above.
A healthy, happy union life after you get rid of SEIU is possible!
OK, Loco 221 LIED, sort of. Really, more like we just didn’t explain an exception to the rule, because it is one that almost never happens. So, it’s happening right now and we will explain how ALL people at the County of San Diego who are members of SEIU 221 still have time to stop their dues going to SEIU!
On June 2, when Loco 221 published our article June is “Drop Month” for SEIU Dues at County of San Diego we knew that SEIU 221 had gone a couple of months in 2011 beyond the date that their contracts with the County expired in June. It was unusual. In the past contracts had almost always been renewed around the time the old one expired, or sooner. In 2011, a new contract was settled in August. This year, the contract talks are dragging on now into September and SEIU is making strike noises. It could go on for months still.
Our article about the June “Drop Month” correctly explained that almost all of the time, June is the only month that you can send in the official notice that you want to stop paying dues to SEIU. That part was too true. We did quote the language in the SEIU contract that says:
Article 2, Section 3(A): “Employees who are members of the Union on the effective date of this Agreement, or who thereafter join the Union, shall as a condition of continued employment, maintain their membership in the Union for the term of this Agreement.”
And we also quoted the part that was the main point of our article about the “Drop Month”:
Article 2, Section 3(B): “However, a member may terminate membership in the months of June by serving notice on the Union or with the Auditor and Controller of the County that the member desires to terminate his/her union membership and dues deduction.”
What we should have said, and didn’t, was that Section 3(A) has a very important phrase “…for the term of this Agreement.” If there is no new contract signed by the time the old contract (the ‘Agreement’) reaches the end of its term and EXPIRES, then ANYBODY CAN TERMINATE THEIR MEMBERSHIP AT ANY TIME, until a new contract is signed! The term of the old SEIU 221 contract ended at the end of June 2013.
So, you can do it TODAY. Just download or copy this little form Union Membership Drop Letter for SEIU 221 and send it in!
Everything else we said in the original article about why it’s a good thing to do, still stands.
It’s a little known part of the union contract, for people represented by SEIU Local 221 at the County of San Diego. Once you fill out the little card that tells the County and the union that you want to join SEIU, the contract says you cannot change your mind and quit the union, for as long as you remain employed by the County and in a job classification that is represented by SEIU! Forever and ever! Your union dues will just keep flowing out of your paychecks and going to SEIU.
As long as an SEIU contract is in effect, you have a chance to “drop” your membership only once each year, in the month of June.
SEIU always renews the contract, and the “term of the Agreement” is always continued. Except THIS YEAR, they are going into the THIRD MONTH WITHOUT A NEW AGREEMENT.
So, any day of the year, 365 days a year, you can fill out the card and send it in, to say you want to join the union and pay the dues. But only one month each year are you allowed to change you mind and stop the dues coming out of your pocket, UNLESS THE CONTRACT, THE AGREEMENT, IS EXPIRED, LIKE IT HAS BEEN SINCE THE END OF JUNE. When there is no Agreement, then every day that goes on without a new contract, you can send in your official notice that you want to drop your membership and stop your dues. Most people don’t even know they can ever quit, or how.
Loco 221 thinks this dirty secret, about how people get trapped into continuing their dues payments and not knowing how to stop it, makes the union officials feel like they can do anything they want, no matter what the union members want, and still soak up the dues money. It sucks! So, for example, if SEIU officials decide it’s OK for the County to cut take-home pay for County workers (like they did in 2011) and if SEIU officials decide to plaster thousands of posters and leaflets everywhere saying members should vote for a pay cut contract because the “sky is falling” and “it’s the end of the world” and “the County will do something even more evil if we don’t take it”, what can you do?
One answer is that you can drop your membership, and take away your money. If you belong to an “agency shop” (where non-members still pay a service fee to the union) then dropping your membership will still reduce the amount of money that SEIU gets from your paychecks.
What good is it to drop your membership? It sends a very strong message to the SEIU officials that you are not OK with the way they are running the union. It is one of the few things you can do that actually is an effective pressure to get them to do anything.
Now, it is no accident that the “drop month” is the same month that the union contract expires. SEIU always negotiates for the contract to end at the end of the month of June, no matter how many years the contract lasts each time. SEIU always runs around in the months before a contract expires and tells everybody that non-members need to join the union to show management that “the union is strong”. This is supposed to make management think that a big majority of employees support the union and might even go on strike if they don’t get a good enough contract. Now, in any union where the union officials really do listen and really do what the union members tell them to do, there is a lot of truth to the idea of showing a big majority of the work force is choosing to be in the union. But, SEIU is not at all like that. SEIU is so big (almost 2 million members) and so bureaucratic and so FUBAR that it almost never cares what the members want.
So, TODAY, if you want to send a message to these SEIU “leaders” that you have “no confidence” in their big talk about winning a good contract, and that you will permanently take away your dues money from SEIU if they bring you another County contract with pay cuts (including anything that won’t keep up with inflation) then drop your membership! You can also send SEIU a personal letter, explaining all the ways you think they suck and, if you want to be at all nice about it, you could say what they should change, too.
Remember, if SEIU shocks you and bargains and organizes and wins a good contract, you can always change your mind and join the union again. 365 days a year. Easy. And also remember that you do not have to be a member of the union to support a strike, if the union “leaders” ever stop acting like cowards and put up a real union fight for a good contract.
Here is a sample letter you can use to drop your membership and stop the dues deductions from your paychecks:
Remember to make 2 copies and to send one to the County and one to SEIU. The contract says you only have to send it to one or the other. But you wouldn’t want anybody to tell you they never got it, and then the month of June came and went OR AN EXPIRED CONTRACT GETS REPLACED BY A NEW ONE after weeks or months of having no contract, and you are screwed until the next June comes around, or until the next expired contract pops up. The new contract ALWAYS has the “member forever during the term of the Agreement, except in June Drop Month” contract language.