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Raider Union Stalks SEBAC Voters As They Head To Polls

by Christine Stuart | Aug 17, 2011 5:30am
(29) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Labor, State Budget

Green card being given out by UPSEU to get members to switch unions

As they headed into 95 Washington Street to vote on a $1.6 billion concession package, Judicial Branch employees were handed green cards by a rival union trying to get them to switch their affiliation.

Larry Pacifico, a member of the United Public Service Employees Union of New York, said he has nothing against Connecticut unions, but he’s very happy with his tenure at UPSEU. He said when you need them they’re there for you—a complaint voiced by some state employees who invited the rival union to the state.

He said he was with CSEA before joining UPSEU and hasn’t regretted the move.

The literature UPSEU handed employees touted the fact that its union’s “sole purpose is to benefit its members.”

“Ask yourself—How has your current union handling the SEBAC contract situation?,” the flier says.

But a member of AFSCME Council 4 was also outside the courthouse Tuesday handing out a story from the Troy Record about UPSEU and its representation of New York County workers. The article details how union members represented by UPSEU felt neglected by them.

According to its web site UPSEU is asking at least three unions in Connecticut to join it. The Connecticut Police and Fire Union, the Judicial Professional Employees Union, and the Judicial Marshals Union. The National Correctional Employees Union, said its union has already obtained well over 2,000 signed “blue cards” from Connecticut prison workers who want to leave AFSCME for its union. It’s unclear if there’s any connection between UPSEU and NCEU.

Kevin Boyle, president of UPSEU, said in a phone interview Tuesday that his union was contacted by union members in Connecticut unhappy about the current events surrounding the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition agreement, which was defeated back in June by a minority of its membership.

“They’re disenchanted with their representation,” Boyle said. “Now we find ourselves running a number of campaigns and we’ll find out at the end of the month if there’s sufficient interest.”

At least 30 percent of the members of a bargaining unit must return their petition cards to the Board of Labor Relations for certification by the end of the month.

The board will have to verify that all the names are valid. Then it will investigate the petition, meeting with the current union, the prospective union and the state. With that information the board will make a decision whether or not to hold an election.

The sentiment of SEBAC is that the move seems to show very little consideration for the state labor force in Connecticut, which will face massive layoffs and public service cuts if the deal isn’t ratified.

“They’re showing up on the eve of the most critical vote to protect jobs and save services,“ Larry Dorman, spokesman for AFSCME, said Tuesday. “That speaks volumes to their approach in trying to raid our unions.”

If the unions fail to ratify the vote a second time, nearly 6,500 state employees will be laid off and numerous state services will be slashed.

Dorman called UPSEU a “business group trying to poach existing union members,” from other unions instead of going out to organize their own.

Boyle said his organization which represents about 24,000 employees already represents about 110 bargaining groups in Connecticut. Most of those are groups of municipal employees.

UPSEU does not represent any of the 34 bargaining groups that are part of the 15 unions in the SEBAC coalition.

Dorman said UPSEU is twisting the truth by telling members that if it joins UPSEU it won’t have to participate in SEBAC, which is a creation of state statute. He said every state employee union must belong to SEBAC.

But Boyle said he doesn’t see the benefit of commingling various bargaining units into one coalition.

“What one group wants to do may have little to do with the needs of another group,” he said.

He said he understands the logic behind SEBAC bargaining for health and pension benefits with the state, but he doesn’t believe there should be a commingling of negotiations. He declined to comment further on SEBAC saying his union has to be elected first “then it will decide how we move forward.”

He said if the contract state employees are voting on this week is ratified, then there’s nothing his group can do to change that contract. He said the petition drive is to offer members “better representation in the future.”

If the SEBAC agreement is ratified this week then any new union, including UPSEU, won’t have the ability to negotiate pension and health care benefits for another 11 years. The expiration of the wage contracts for each of the bargaining groups varies, but in order to receive four years of layoff protection promised in the five year agreement it will have to agree to that portion too. It’s possible some unions will decline the wage agreement, but voting doesn’t end until today.

Critics, including some state employees who oppose the agreement, have argued SEBAC is only able to negotiate health care and pension benefits and overstepped its authority by negotiating a wage deal, but SEBAC’s chief negotiator Daniel Livingston has said if it wasn’t for the power of the coalition he wouldn’t never have been able to negotiate the package he did. 

The package being voted on currently includes a two year wage freeze, followed by three years of three percent wage increases. Any union that doesn’t approve the wage portion won’t be afford the layoff protection promised by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

Asked if he had been approached by UPSEU, Mark O’Brien, a judicial marshal supervisor and president of their unit within CSEA SEIU Local 2001, said the union is “free to approach us but I don’t believe any of my members will be leaving.”

Matt O’Connor, spokesman for CSEA SEIU Local 2001, said he’s focused on answering members questions regarding the tentative agreement, which protects jobs for four years and health and pension benefits for another 11 years.

He said the benefits are benefits that all workers deserve, but fewer and fewer receive.

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(29) Comments

posted by: Michaelreed | August 17, 2011  6:58am

Send those green cards in! 

AFSCME has not been protecting our benefits, wages or rights for years.  The lies, bullying, and scare tactics from AFSCME has to stop.  All AFSCME cares about IS OUR DUES AND NOT PROTECTING OUR MEMBERS RIGHTS AND BENEFITS.

Explore what another union has to offer.  They have to do better than AFSCME who sold our benefits away while they enjoy a superior benefit package and wages that we pay for with our dues.

  Let’s show AFSME we had enough and look at our options with another union.

AGAIN SEND OUT THOSE GREEN CARDS!

posted by: soldoutbytheunion | August 17, 2011  7:27am

“Raider Union” “Stalks” workers?  Really. Christine Stuart’s an impartial reporter, huh?  Typical of the state’s media throughout this whole process. Hey Christine, how about we invited them in, willingly!

Just read the stories about SEBAC and you’ll see what our unions have done for us (sold out our future for political gains…hey Livingston, enjoy the gig with Malloy Administration!)....nothing!  They’ve actually represented Malloy’s interests over ours. 

As for Matt O’Conner being focused on answering questions…what a joke!  My office never recieved a visit to discuss the “clarified” concession package.  I myslef called union “leadership” and requested that someone come to speak to us….never recieved a call back or a visit…this is such a sickening joke that it’s almost unfathomable. 

I hope the O’Conner’s and O’Brien’s…et al are held sufficiently responsible for trouncing our constitutional rights and committing malfeasance at best, felonies at worst.

posted by: Mr.Kruger | August 17, 2011  10:08am

You can add P4 Engineering and Scientific Professionals to that list.

posted by: Raoul Duke | August 17, 2011  11:19am

P4 should not be added to that list.  Outside of a small group in DOT, there’s not much interest in dealing with a scam “union” like UPSEU.

Here’s what a town worker in Islip, NY had to say about joining the scam “union” of UPSEU:

“Last year we dumped the Teamsters. The successor union UPSEU has been asleep at the wheel. Too bad they aren’t working as hard as they did when they were decertifying the Teamsters. They are silent. Over 4 years with 0 increase. At least we had a welfare fund. Thats gone too.”

posted by: BMS | August 17, 2011  11:23am

The problem with unions such as AFSCME is that they do not have direct election of their officers. The members elect delegates to a convention that picks the leaders. A secret ballot and direct election of union leadership, makes the leaders more responsive to the membership.

posted by: GoatBoyPHD | August 17, 2011  11:38am

GoatBoyPHD

The problem with any Union coalition like SEBAC is that they are there to represent everyone equally and that includes lega and mandated by contract benefits that are not equal between the coalition members such as haz duty or OT laws some of which exist off contract by legislation or administrative policy but the union won’t negotiate those ‘benefits’ away.

On the surface SEBAC has 3 distinct groups and maybe 4—Higher Ed, Public Safety, Blue Collar abd Professional.

Anyone thinking the retraining requirements for a software developer and a prison guard should be the same or that mandated 3rd party testing and techncal certification requirements for competency should be the same is deeply misinformed. Internal oral exams for promotion as a substitute for degrees or technical certifications aren’t exactly satisfactory equivalents.

posted by: Mr.Kruger | August 17, 2011  11:56am

https://sites.google.com/site/p4upseu/
Here is the site for all P4 members looking to get questions answered and accurate factual information about their new union.  Enjoy!

posted by: Raoul Duke | August 17, 2011  12:51pm

P4 does NOT have a new union.  Scam “union” UPSEU has not filed cards and there has not been an election.  Anyone claiming that P4 has a new union is either lying or misinformed.  If scam “union” UPSEU is lying about basic things, how can we trust anything they say?

posted by: RDKING | August 17, 2011  1:06pm

I have read all these comments and not one of you has a clue. you are letting bad publicity influence your decision. AFSCME has not sold you out, everything was done by the rules. Each local has its own bylaws just like council 4. Its not about the dues, its about strength in numbers and having a establish relationship with management to successfully negotiate. As for susinet, many of you had bad information again. Do your research before opening your mouth and printing anything

posted by: Mr.Kruger | August 17, 2011  3:25pm

@Raoul Duke- you are uninformed.  Stop trolling.  As a front individual in this movement, I can attest the the response and the call for green cards has been overwhelming, even over at agencies like DEEP.  It is spreading like wildfire over there.

So it’s time to get on this speeding train to a new era of honest and actual representation.  Either get on or get left behind because this is going to happen.  The P4 membership is speaking now by calling for UPSEU representation and this time they have been heard.

posted by: Puzzled... | August 17, 2011  3:36pm

Anybody who thinks that some new, smaller, out-of-state union can do a better job at representing Connecticut’s state employees than AFSCME (or any of our other unions for that matter) must surely be out of their minds. Our unions’  shortcomings are NOTHING compared to those of these newer, unaffiliated unions. These “raider” unions have VERY little experience negotiating on behalf of relatively large bargaining units, are FAR less democratic in their operations, have almost NO knowledge of and/or experience with Connecticut’s state politics, at BEST will only present you with mediocre unit contracts that offer no layoff or privatization protection, and will have to become members of SEBAC *anyway* because the law REQUIRES it. They’ll just take your dues and give you crap in return. But if it’s that which you want, far be it from ME to tell you to do otherwise LOL!!! In this economic climate, one bargaining unit’s loss can EASILY become *another* bargaining unit’s GAIN…

But if Corrections Officers REALLY want to form or acquire a truly powerful union for themselves, they should be studying the California Correctional Peace Officers Association instead of “courting” other unions from the Northeast. The CCPC has become the single most potent political action group in California… unfortunately, to the detriment of the rest of the state though. Otherwise, stick with who you’ve already got.

posted by: Vote Yes!!!!! | August 17, 2011  6:08pm

Vote Yes!!!!!

lol….Again with the “well it is only the minority of the P-4 Union that wants to go to UPSUE.  It is not the Majority.”  Well “Majority”, here is a news flash, The “minority” of P-4 has the Majority of the cards filled out.  So what that means is, that the group who think they are the Majority, are really the minority.  You might as well get on board because you are taking the ride with the rest of us…Toot toot….  Signed card numbers thus far are close to 1500, which makes us the MAJORITY….....You have woken a sleeping giant….

posted by: Vote Yes!!!!! | August 17, 2011  6:21pm

Vote Yes!!!!!

Puzzled, I respect differing opinions, but please use facts.  Parent unions do not negotiate contracts, it is the union members who do.  Historically P-4 negotiation teams (made up of union members) have done great over the years.  Well, except for this contract.  Unfortunatley SEACRAP negotiated our contract without the input from from the P-4 Negotiation’s Committee.  And look at the POS contract that we got with that.  Look at the horrible negotiations that took place without the P-4 Negotiation’s Committee.  Look how Bylaws had to be change changed…Dude I can go on forever…Please keep to the facts.

posted by: Camperman | August 17, 2011  6:37pm

@Mr. Kruger- I’m not sure where you work but the green cards are not “spreading like wildfire at DEEP…”. To put out mis-information is unfair to those who need to look at issues like decertification. Some union reps are pushing for such a vote (that should give EVERYONE pause).
To all P-4 members, Please research this topic and make an educated decision. Do not let a few disenchanted members sway your vote. The power is not in the union, but in it’s EDUCATED members!!

posted by: Upset.Citizen | August 17, 2011  6:46pm

Upset.Citizen

THE CURRENT BATTLE IS LOST, THE WAR CONTINUES ON!
 
I want to personally thank EVERYONE for their concern for the wellbeing of the union members who are looking to change unions.  In light of recent bad press it warms my heart to know so many people care about us after all…

I wish my current union cared about me as much as all of you, AND my contractual requirements as much as they care about keeping me as a dues payer!  This is business, time to go somewhere else; we are paying for services we are not receiving.  UPSEU will deliver!

THIS IS AMERICA! WE HAVE FREEDOMS! FREEDOM OF CHOICE IS THE ONE ARE GOING TO EXERCISE NOW! 

NEVER GIVE UP THE FIGHT!

posted by: Thetruth | August 17, 2011  8:32pm

To Puzzled-

I am one of those people that are out of their minds.  I signed a green card and I know many more of my fellow employees that have also signed the cards.

It’s a great kind of crazy feeling knowing that we are dumping CSEA and there is NOTHING they can do about it. Poor poor CSEA. 199, open your doors, here comes CSEA begging to join.

posted by: Raoul Duke | August 17, 2011  9:13pm

@Mr.Kruger you do realize that just because you say something it doesn’t make it true?  There is no P4 groundswell for the scam “union” UPSEU.  Most importantly, you are quite incorrect when you say that P4 has a new union.

posted by: Puzzled... | August 17, 2011  9:46pm

To “Concerned.Citizen” (yeah, right), “TheTruth” (of course), -Good luck with that “green card” business, but I wouldn’t count those chickens just yet if I were you. In the meantime, the vote’s all over & you “no” voters lost BIG time so you can now pick up your toys, go home, and moan & groan about how life’s SO unfair to anyone who might actually pretend to be listening to you.

posted by: Bill$Ratepayer | August 17, 2011  9:47pm

P-4 = The only union that stayed at and got paid for 35 hours work when everyone else works and gets paid for 40 hours.  As other unions say compensation increase by 12.5% over 4 years these folks passed on the increase in compensation.

P-4 has a bunch of old time engineers that are still lost in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.  They have some of the most clueless individuals as officers and reps.  Their problem is not CSEA it is the folks they elect to represent them within their bargaining unit.

posted by: Christine Stuart | August 17, 2011  11:07pm

Christine Stuart

Everyone needs to stop pointing fingers at everybody else and play nice in the comment section. Please. If you wouldn’t want your five year old to hear what you’re going to write, don’t write it. And if it includes a name of someone who is not elected then it’s getting spiked.

posted by: Puzzled... | August 17, 2011  11:25pm

Major-Schmuck - I *AM* sticking to the *facts*; you just don’t like to read someone else’s opinions if they happen to disagree with *yours*. (By the way, if you want others to take you seriously you might want to give some real thought to changing your “handle” on this “board” - and re-thinking the language that you use in your posts.) At any rate, of COURSE it’s union *locals* that do the actual contract negotiations with employers… but locals that have national affiliations have ACCESS to their nationals’ research departments - and those nationals’ research departments are EXCELLENT resources that the locals are able to make VERY good use of. So if P-4 members decide to go with a “junior,” unaffiliated union-wannabe that’s their right but they shouldn’t expect any sympathy from the REST of us when they start complaining about what poor contracts they get from their new union… they’ll be out on a very long limb all by themselves.

posted by: GoatBoyPHD | August 17, 2011  11:38pm

GoatBoyPHD

I think there are those who know signing a green card is harmless and ecouraging lawsuits over the new agreement has at least a 50/50 chance of somehow rewarding workers for the lost concessions.

This is CT and juries are easily confused and the state doesn’t always put its best foot forward in union cases.

posted by: victory | August 18, 2011  12:28am

To Dill payuh: Here are the real facts: The President never told any member at a Council meeting how to vote on the TA. The President never was at the Capital cheerleading anti-union troops. The union stewards you mentioned are not working to replace P-4, just seiu. The so-called layoff protection is like the rest of the agreement, not worth the paper it is written on. IF the TA is so great why did bully malloy, along with help from minions like yourself, have to twist arms and threaten members and then illegally change the rules by absurdly lowering the bar, and then have everyone vote until we got it right? Of course, we know you wouldn’t think anything of it because it is just like one of those crooked Deep chapter elections run by your patron saint. If P-4 joins UPSEU, we can understand why you and the few purple shirted koolaid drinkers left at Deep would be concerned at not being able to circumvent the P-4 Council to cry to peterson and most of the rest of the clueless executive board of fools, but its about to become reality. If the President and the other elected leaders are in the minority in the P-4 Council, how come they crushed the so-called competition so easily for three straight elections?
We know it must be frustrting for you and the 4 or 5 other malcontents to be in the minority for the last 5 and 1/2 years but you should be used to it by now.
The members will decide who their next union will be and we all know it will be UPSEU. Its time to get out of that worthless seiu union that has done nothing for us for 10 years but raise our dues. There is some good news for you, you can always become a fee payer.
grin

posted by: Upset.Citizen | August 18, 2011  4:57am

Upset.Citizen

@Puzzled… I was ‘Concerned’ a while ago, I’m way past that now I’m actually ‘Upset’…


How can you be so dismissive of our right to choose?  This is real, it is happening!  It is no different than changing car insurance…  better rates, better coverage, fill out a card. DONE!


I voted yes yesterday under duress.  I wanted to vote no but I would have lost my job, I had one of the layoff letters!  This is why I am choosing another union.  CSEA/SEIU DID NOT HAVE MY BACK! THEY FAILED ME AND MANY OTHER UNION MEMBERS! THIS WHOLE DEAL WAS CORRUPT! IT SHOULD NOT HAVE GONE DOWN THIS WAY! WE ARE LEAVING!


Believe it or not the actual members are the ones who are mobilizing on the green card issue!  On an hourly basis in my office I hear one person or another ask around for a blank card because someone new wants to fill one out and multiple people show up offering up blank cards!  That speaks for itself!


LOOK AT THE SEBAC VOTE NUMBERS: THE NO VOTERS WANTED OUT OF CSEA/SEIU BEFORE ALL OF THIS STARTED! THE YES VOTERS WILL BE LEAVING BECAUSE THEY DO NOT WANT TO BE HUNG OUT TO DRY BY CSEA/SEIU AGAIN!


AS FOR THE SEBAC VOTE: MANY VOTED YES OUT OF FEAR.  MANY VOTED YES OUT SYMPATHY FOR THE AFRAID.  WHAT HISTORICALLY HAPPENS TO GOVERNMENTS THAT RAN ON FEAR?

posted by: Vote Yes!!!!! | August 18, 2011  6:19am

Vote Yes!!!!!

Puzzled:  “the vote’s all over & you “no” voters lost BIG time so you can now pick up your toys, go home, and moan & groan about how life’s SO unfair to anyone who might actually pretend to be listening to you”.  Really???  Again, please stick to the facts.  Yes the vote has changed.  This is because leaders had to unethically and quite possible illegally CHANGE THE BYLAWS for this to pass, coupled with more threats from the Govenor.  Please stick to the facts, son.  By the way, as far as my handle that you question and insult…Major is the rank I held in the United State Marine Corp after 24 years of service to my country…Shmuck is my last name.  The handle “Puzzled” to me, son, sounds like someone who is confused.

posted by: soldoutbytheunion | August 18, 2011  7:37am

To PUZZLED:  You may have a rude awakening when SEBAC’s illegal actions are called to task in state/federal courts.  Their blatant disregard for democratic principles and the rank and files best interests will come back to bite them.  Count on it.

posted by: sharewhut | August 18, 2011  8:10am

This is something Council4 posted today on their site:
http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9P56GOO0.htm
goes hand in hand with this previous deal Gov.Cuomo NEGOTIATED :
http://articles.nydailynews.com/2011-07-17/news/29800935_1_cuomo-administration-public-employees-federation-full-union-membership
Compare what Gov. Cuomo NEGOTIATED with his unions.
Compare it to what Malloy EXTORTED from ours.
Just asking where our unions heads are buried.
Now they can focus the energy they DIDN’T expend for our cause on fighting for their Red Cross members to not have increased premiums, and to keep Verizon employees’ health insurance free (in a demonstration of solidarity, of course!).

posted by: sharewhut | August 18, 2011  8:20am

Big problem for the hopeful, this impending surrender may close the window on changes until 2014, as it extends current contracts until 2015. Probably why there was such a push to have Corrections agree to wage portion despite not having a contract in place. If, as reported, NP-4 accepted, look for a withdrawal of whatever they claim to have put into arbitration. (Wouldn’t membership have had to see any offer to at least have a chance to comment if not vote before arbitration?)

posted by: sharewhut | August 18, 2011  8:41am

Rather than ‘stalking, raiding, poaching, etc.’ union stories, I would like to see some kind of story detailing the conflicts within the unions representing state employees.
In Council4 state employees are a minority of membership (I believe in the low to mid 40% range) which includes municipal, non profit, and private sector workers. Who’s interests are they taking to the table? The impression I’ve gotten is of a willingness to short state employees (pretty much a fixed commodity as numbers aren’t going to grow) to prevent cuts to municipal aid and funding to non profits where there is more chance of recruiting new membership.
There have been stories posted on the union sites, even as this debacle has unfolded, highlighting victories gained for various city/town units and nursing homes.
Think that might be worth some looking into?