Helen’s “Horse”? (or show me the bucks)

Loco 221 has obtained a copy of an internal email about an argument going on inside the elected SEIU Local 221 negotiating committee for the contract renewals at the County of San Diego. Apparently the committee members agreed to keep the conversation hush-hush and only inside the committee. It looks like either a committee member decided to spill the beans or else maybe missed the meeting and never “got the memo” about keeping it quiet. But it was forwarded out to the world by one of the people on the original committee email list. He wasn’t one of the people doing the email conversation, so it is unclear what his opinion is about the whole thing, except that he thought people should see it.

However it went down, it went “viral” even faster than the zombie bites in the movie World War Z!

Loco 221’s staff has been investigating the whole thing today and we learned so far that some of the other unions that already settled their new contracts with the County have seen the SEIU internal emails and are now yelling at the County officials that they were lied to and screwed, because they were told that nobody would get any raises and that nobody would get more than a 2 year contract. It seems from the internal emails that the County’s Chief Administrative Officer, Helen Robbins-Meyer, has secretly been meeting with the SEIU International’s Larry Alcoff, and their hot romance has spawned a County offer to give SEIU some raises, but only if they wait a year, or two or three — that part is not too clear from the emails, except that the deal is a 4 year contract offer. See if you can figure out what’s going on for yourself. We’re publishing a copy of the email.  By the way, one of the names you’ll see is David Garcias. He is the current president of Local 221.

If you want to express your opinion to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors about all this, the 5 board member’s email addresses are: Greg.cox@sdcounty.ca.gov, dianne.jacob@sdcounty.ca.gov, Dave.Roberts@sdcounty.ca.gov, ron-roberts@sdcounty.ca.gov, bill.horn@sdcounty.ca.gov AND you can write to Helen Robbins-Meyer at cao_mail@sdcounty.ca.gov

Here’s the email chain:

From: Wally Gutierrez <wally2131@hotmail.com>
Subject: FW: Disaster? Fw: Re: Mediation, 8/21/13
Date: Fri, 23 Aug 2013 10:24:50 -0700
To: Undisclosed-recipients:;

FYI Looks Like more trouble at SEIU Local 221

Date: Fri, 23 Aug 2013 09:23:51 -0700
From: jeffstoffel1966@yahoo.com
Subject: Fw: Re: Disaster? Fw: Re: Mediation, 8/21/13
To: wally2131@hotmail.com; kayryan1@yahoo.com


Sent from Yahoo! Mail on Android

From: David Torok <davetorok@earthlink.net>;
To: Jeff Stoffel <jeffstoffel1966@yahoo.com>;
Subject: Re: Disaster? Fw: Re: Mediation, 8/21/13
Sent: Fri, Aug 23, 2013 3:48:29 PM

Pass this around? just another dagger in seiu back

—–Original Message—–
Sent: Aug 23, 2013 8:40 AM
To: marykay.henry@seiu.org, eliseo.medina@seiu.org, mary.grillo@seiu.org
Cc: david.garcias@seiu.org, larry.alcoff@seiu.org, despana@san.rr.com, pchambers49@yahoo.com, mdmurray1@cox.net,
melwds@cox.net, ms.tracysmith@hotmail.com, dani.swallow@yahoo.com, Cassandra.coates@seiu221.org, Aliaway1@cox.net,
macyvette@msn.com, moore-joseph@hotmail.comchefbrendarizzo@aol.comkathy.griffee@seiu221.orgarmagh4466@hotmail.commorrig217@yahoo.com, pamela.raptis@seiu221.orgcheryl.bright@seiu221.orgjeepers_rjg@yahoo.comlarrypierce1@yahoo.comjebixby@cox.net,  dgonzalez12@live.comqwest4truth@gmail.com,  hklein84@gmail.com, phnlola@gmail.com, silverhawkgreens06@yahoo.com,
karenauggie@yahoo.com, waltburrola@yahoo.com, mkroopkin@juno.com, carole.keaton@yahoo.com, alma.aguirre72@yahoo.com,
Keykelly77@yahoo.com, iktrammel@sbcglobal.net, kcoste@cox.net, gonzalezjessie@msn.com, linda.correa@seiu221.org,
mariaballvalencia@hotmail.com, labre23@yahoo.com, johannafirth@yahoo.com, mtecumseh01@yahoo.com, davetorok@earthlink.net,
karenajasinski@gmail.com, moletime@yahoo.com, djam50@att.net, pjflamingo@gmail.com, robray9@gmail.com,
slc54@hotmail.com, munanua@yahoo.com, pjsmomma@gmail.com, zimmermanteam@sbcglobal.net, joseavila.seiu221@yahoo.com,
sna1Lmp@yahoo.com, juliebroomhall@yahoo.com, Belinda_lcalderon@yahoo.com, newyorkcitybelle@yahoo.com,
chuckeybob@cox.net, jorgeescobar8@gmail.com, cluless67@gmail.com, cbr6474139@aol.com, shartnett56@yahoo.com
Subject: Disaster? Fw: Re: Mediation, 8/21/13

Dear SEIU International President Henry, Sectrary-Treasurer Medina, and regional director Grillo:

FYI. Internal San Diego County Chapter Bargaining Team conversation.
Perhaps we need somebody other than Larry Alcoff to finish these contract negotiations?

– Monty Kroopkin,
steward and elected member of the San Diego County Chapter Bargaining Team, Local 221

———- Forwarded Message ———-

From: “Monty Kroopkin” <mkroopkin@juno.com>
Date: Fri, 23 Aug 2013 15:24:18 GMT
To: cbr6474139@aol.com
Cc: david.garcias@seiu.org, larry.alcoff@seiu.org, despana@san.rr.com, pchambers49@yahoo.com, mdmurray1@cox.net,
melwds@cox.net, ms.tracysmith@hotmail.com, dani.swallow@yahoo.com, Cassandra.coates@seiu221.org, Aliaway1@cox.net,
macyvette@msn.com, moore-joseph@hotmail.com, chefbrendarizzo@aol.com, kathy.griffee@seiu221.org, armagh4466@hotmail.com,
morrig217@yahoo.com, pamela.raptis@seiu221.org, cheryl.bright@seiu221.org, jeepers_rjg@yahoo.com, larrypierce1@yahoo.com,
jebixby@cox.net, dgonzalez12@live.com, qwest4truth@gmail.com, hklein84@gmail.com, phnlola@gmail.com, silverhawkgreens06@yahoo.com,
karenauggie@yahoo.com, waltburrola@yahoo.com, mkroopkin@juno.com, carole.keaton@yahoo.com, alma.aguirre72@yahoo.com,
Keykelly77@yahoo.com, iktrammel@sbcglobal.net, kcoste@cox.net, gonzalezjessie@msn.com, linda.correa@seiu221.org,
mariaballvalencia@hotmail.com, labre23@yahoo.com, johannafirth@yahoo.com, mtecumseh01@yahoo.com,
davetorok@earthlink.net, karenajasinski@gmail.com, moletime@yahoo.com, djam50@att.net, pjflamingo@gmail.com,
robray9@gmail.com, slc54@hotmail.com, munanua@yahoo.com, pjsmomma@gmail.com, zimmermanteam@sbcglobal.net,
joseavila.seiu221@yahoo.com, sna1Lmp@yahoo.com, juliebroomhall@yahoo.com, Belinda_lcalderon@yahoo.com,
newyorkcitybelle@yahoo.com, chuckeybob@cox.net, jorgeescobar8@gmail.com, cluless67@gmail.com, cbr6474139@aol.com,
Subject: Re: Mediation, 8/21/13

Everybody, Cheryl is right. Having slept on it and having faced my worksite meeting yesterday without being able to be honest with people about the betrayal we are planning for them, I have a deep ache in my gut. A vote for “Helen’s (Trojan) Horse” by anybody on this Bargaining Team would be a vote AGAINST SEIU. The membership MAY be swayed by some slick snake-oil sales campaign to ratify this deal. But they would vote for it with bitterness and with an attitude of “those SEIU bastards lied to us again and caved again without giving the membership a chance to strike and fight for what we deserve, a pay raise for all at the front end.” The membership will in great numbers say, “That’s it! I’m done with SEIU.” I cannot comprehend why Larry or David or anybody at the International would want to persuade the Team and the membership to eat this poison pill, unless the International has just given up on keeping the CountyChapter bargaining units of Local 221 and decided it would save administrative costs to merge Local 221 into Local 721 to our north. This is unacceptable. Local 721 is a multi-countyLocal and members have much less access to their Local President and e-board and have to travel hundreds of miles to attend an e-board meeting. And the alleged request from Helen that we keep this all from the membership because she supposedly has no “authority” from the Board of Supervisors to make this kind of deal (and that she is going to have to pull the offer off the table if it gets out before we get a Tentative Agreement that she can sell to the BOS as some product of the mediator) is just MORE BULLYING AND THREATS. We should instead respond by saying that we demand that SHE sit down at the table with the Bargaining Team. Bargaining is supposed to be between two EQUAL partners of a contract. I am sick of all the lying cheating manipulations that shut the Team out of the room and that allows major new ideas of bargaining to get introduced without the Team’s prior approval.



———- Original Message ———-

Dear Larry, David, and Bargaining Team,

I became interested in being on the Bargaining Team, because I personally wanted to do what I could to ensure that our members get the contract which we deserve.  I am troubled by our last meeting and the team’s acceptance of Helen Robbins-Meyer’s proposal for a 4 year contract. I strongly oppose. The majority of the team with the exception of 2-3 all expressed some reservations or not being happy with the details of the County’s framework, but agreed to move forward anyway.  I have taken my commitment to the bargaining process and to our members seriously.  I have stood by our message that we will not settle for a bonus, but a real living wage increase for everyone.   I ask you all to give this more thought before you commit to the proposal that the County created for our Union members.  The County is self- serving and would never present a proposal without gaining from it.  They intend to gain and benefit at the expense of the membership. The Bargaining Team has co-signed on this.  This decision was made in haste and such a significant decision with so many mixed emotions should have been given more time and thought before moving forward.  Ask yourselves, if you have met your personal goals and expectations as a Bargaining Team member.  A good decision should never leave you feeling doubtful or apprehensive.

For the first time in a long time, the County is starting to see us as a viable threat and finally responds with some movement, and we quickly jumped on this offer.  There was no consideration of a counter proposal to their framework.  Prior to this, there was never a discussion of a 4 year contract.  I am disappointed that the first year is not inclusive of everyone getting a raise.  All the BU’s have not received any raises in several years and now you are asking some of the BU’s to wait another year for a well-deserved raise?? I cannot support this in good faith.  I still believe that the first year of this proposed contract should provide across the board raises to all, not just 4-5 BU’s.  I am wondering if you guys know that some BU’s will only walk away with the 2% bonus in the first year.  Is this really a fair deal when all members are not benefiting at the front end, but more in the back end, year 3 and 4 when there are opportunities for re-openers after the 2nd year?

Have you considered that when this is put out to the membership that the first thing they will focus on is the 2% bonus?  The average member will not understand about pensionable income, flex, etc.  I know I did not get this right away.  Pensionable income is not a big incentive for the younger members or members who do not plan on retiring with the County.  I know that this is not my plan.  Most members are focused on the “here and now” and their immediate survival in making ends meet.  Pensionable income does nothing in the present as far as keeping a roof over your head and feeding your family.

For the past 20 weeks, I have consistently and proudly returned from every meeting assuring the members that we will not settle for a bonus. I stand by my convictions and will not support this proposal as currently written as a “good deal for our members”.  History often repeats itself.  The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.  Are you aware that the County held out during the last negotiation all the way to the end and made movement around the same time as they are now? We all know that we quickly jumped on that window of opportunity, as we are now.  The County is not dumb and they know exactly what they are doing.  This is the same strategy that they have consistently used in the past.

Larry acknowledged that Monty was right, that after the 2nd year we risk further decertifications from our Local.  I can almost guarantee that this will happen with this deal, therefore weakening our Union.   A raise should not be divvied out at different times for different people.  This is not right.  We can equalize pension offsets and we can’t do that with wages!  You are supporting that some BU’s are valued more than others. We all need to look at the big picture and consider all the things that we are at risk of losing if we move forward with no counters.

Larry, I have a lot of respect for you and all you do, but I do think that you are growing tired of this process and ready to move on. Maybe this explains your eagerness to jump at this deal?? We should not be comparing ourselves with the other small associations. We are the biggest Local and should be paving the way for others.  Are we the pioneers in setting precedence for all associations and unions so they may follow in our footsteps?

As a team we have made some monumental strides with unity, communicating with the membership, and job actions.  I know as well as everyone else that at this point a strike would not be successful, but I do not believe in throwing in the towel at the first move from the County as a way to go.  We agreed early on that going with no contract would be better than getting stuck with a bad contract. Even if we don’t strike, we would keep hope alive that we could organize well enough and long enough to be ready for a successful strike. If we take this deal, we may never know, because nothing ventured is nothing gained.  I am asking all of you to really think this through.  If Larry would have said this was a “bad deal”, would you have agreed with that as well?

Thank you all for hearing me out and I hope you will sign on to this statement in support of a counter proposal.

Cheryl Bright


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