I met Eulalio Gomez in Bakersfield earlier this year. The correctional officer from Fresno was part of an MLK Day gathering of public sector union reformers, and I was there to document.
Each California employee present had spent time and resources challenging their unions in one form or another. They came to compare war wounds and most had battle fatigue. Bolstered by the support of their peers, they went back into their respective corners of the state to continue their battles.
Six months later, Gomez is among the first to run a victory lap. An election spearheaded by Gomez has caused Fresno County’s largest union to lose members to the new, 900-member Fresno County Public Safety Association, which just won the right to represent workers formerly of the Service Employees International Union.
Gomez, the association president, says his group is just focused on members.
“Wages and benefits only,” he says.
“We fought to obtain our independence and self-governance. In a free market, consumers are free to buy a service they like. No one should be forced to pay for a service they no longer want. I determined that they had poor customer service and were not accountable to members.”
According to a website statement from SEIU Local 521 president, Riley Talford, the SEIU is “disappointed (but) ready to stand together as a united coalition of workers to build a better future for all Fresno County employees.”
As a Californian from back in the day, those thoughtful words indicate mud-slinging is so passe.
I caught up with Eulalio, and we had a chat.
HSC: “What happened?”
EG: “We had a decertification election from SEIU in Fresno. Two elections occurred in eight months, and we won both of them. We are a union that represents members, without social agendas. We don’t want to fund ‘black lives matters’ and immigration reform events.”
HSC: “How do you as a Mexican-American explain to critics that you’re not racist in not supporting social justice agendas?”
EG: “It’s simple: I’m not racist. The fundamental issue is that is has nothing to do with the employees of the County of Fresno. If folks want to be part of it, that’s not a problem for me. But they should fund it out of their own pocket like everyone does extracurricular activities. Our group is largely sheriff correctional officers and the movement has caused a degrading of perception to members of the public against uniformed personnel; it has caused acrimony at law enforcement officials, creating anarchy and often inciting violent acts against the law enforcement community.”
HSC: “How do you explain ‘bad apples’ don’t represent everyone?”
EG: “We do acknowledge there are some issues with our brothers and sisters on the streets, but that does not represent law enforcement as a whole. People should be judged by their individual actions not by the uniforms they wear. So it’s almost like people believe if you’re in a uniform, you’re bad.”
HSC: “To the kid on the street, who says he’s being judged for his color, how do you respond?”
EG: “I believe you’re judged by your actions and not by the color of your skin… We should all follow the same rules.”
HSC: “In Bakersfield, you told me you’re doing this for your children.”
EG: “Yes because I’m doing this to make our community safer… we address local issues only. At the end of the day, all the money generated from the Fresno County Public Safety Association will stay right here locally. It won’t be going to D.C.”
HSC: “What would you like to tell Californians?”
EG: “If you are a public sector employee disenfranchised with your representation, take control of your future and change it and get involved. Either remove it or change it.”
HSC: “How long have you been fighting to create your own union?”
EG: “Five years.”
HSC: “What did you tell your children about your fight?”
EG: “I showed them the flyers that were being dispersed at my job calling me a ‘bad apple,’ ‘liar,’ and I explained to them why. I explained they are willing to use all avenues to stop the loss of dues. They understood the politics. I affiliate as an independent: I don’t want to be labeled, and I don’t want to be forced to support an issue based on my affiliation. We all have our own minds and can determine what’s best for ourselves and our family.”
HSC: “Are people starting to call you the Erin Brokovich of ‘Choose Your Union?’”
EG: “No. That title goes to a DMV clerk named Mariam Noujaim. She’s from Egypt, and I just love her tenacity and her personality and ‘break the door down’ attitude. I respect her for challenging her union on transparency and competition. She works hard and she doesn’t care if the doors are not open, she goes through the door.”
HSC: “Isn’t that the American way?”
Last week, approximately 900 corrections officers in Fresno County (Calif.) voted to leave SEIU Local 521 and join an independent union, according to media reports.
The corrections officers, who’ve been members of Local 521 for many years, are employed at the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office and Probation Office. Here are the vote totals from last week’s vote:
Fresno County Public Safety Association: 315
SEIU Local 521: 234
No Union: 18
Local 521 represents approximately 31,000 public-sector workers in the central part of California.
Almost a year ago, the same group of corrections officers also voted to leave Local 521. However, the election results were subsequently tossed out after Local 521 filed legal challenges because election officials inadvertently sent the mail-in ballots to voters some four days early.
In a separate development, more than 300 members of Local 521 near San Jose are planning to decertify SEIU, according to theMorgan Hill Times. The effort involves 314 classified school employees at the Morgan Hill Unified School District.
The effort is being led by the chapter president for Local 521, who said she resigned her position at SEIU in order to lead the decertification effort. She and her co-workers want to join a different union or form an independent union among themselves.
According to the Morgan Hill Times, the former chapter president announced the effort at a meeting of the school district’s board of trustees, where she said:
“We pay $130,000 per year in union dues to SEIU San Jose and feel we don’t get any representation in exchange. This has been coming for a while.”
In May of 2016, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry appointed Local 521’s Chief Elected Officer (CEO)Luisa Blue to Henry’s leadership team in D.C. Blue will now serve as one of SEIU International’s seven Executive Vice Presidents, the highest elected position following SEIU’s President and Secretary-Treasurer.
Makes perfect sense, right? After all, it looks like CEO Blue has been doing a bang-up job in California.
Art Of The Deal
ART OF THE DEAL:
Who is going to build the wall in the ‘treacherous’ conditions at a minimal cost?
Future President Mr. Trump:
*You give a work permit to the Illegals
1. They build the wall,
2. You stop the illegals invading our Country,
3. You get a step closer to the White House.
Mr. Trump do we have a DEAL?
Persistence, thy name is Miriam Noujaim.
Leaders of the largest state-employee union, SEIU Local 1000, probably have some other names for the DMV employee and union member who once again has revved up a lawsuit aimed at prying open the union’s financial records.
In a petition filed in Sacramento this week, Noujaim seeks a court order allowing her to review and copy the last two years of Local 1000’s travel and expense records. Specifically, she wants to see expense account statements and reimbursement requests for President Yvonne Walker and three of her lieutenants. Noujaim also wants her attorney, Mark Goudy, in the room during the review. (more…)
Ken Hamidi has been trying to break the grip of SEIU Local 1000 since 2007.
Along the way, the Iranian-born Franchise Tax Board employee has won some admirers for his never-say-die spirit and for winning a landmark California Supreme Court case a dozen years ago. He’s also drawn the ire and the ridicule of SEIU officials, who dismiss him as a self-aggrandizing blowhard and a buffoon.
Now he has renewed efforts to replace the union’s exclusive representation of half of California state government’s organized workforce with an association that he would head. (more…)
SEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker would receive three times her current wages under a new executive pay proposal that the union’s statewide council will consider at its Sept. 16-19 meeting in Oakland.
The plan calls for members serving in Local 1000’s top job to earn a total compensation package of$150,000 per year. In Walker’s case, the union would tack on $103,000 to the $47,000 gross pay she receives as a legal secretary with the Department of Justice.
Because Walker is on full-time union paid leave, SEIU already reimburses the state for her salary plus 35 percent to cover her benefits. So in reality, the entire $150,000 would come from union resources.
One of the largest public employee unions in California is under attack from within.
A group of Service Employees International Union Local 1000 members want a vote to decertify the union and join a new labor organization they have formed.
They need more than 30 thousand signatures to force the vote, and then they’ll need more than 50 percent of the union members to cast ballots. If more than half of those members vote in favor of decertification, SEIU will no longer represent them.
A Franchise Tax Board Analyst named Ken Hamidi is organizing the decertification effort and has already formed a new union called the California Professional Public Employees Association.
Hamidi says the union is misspending union dues on things like lavish travel, entertainment and to buy political influence through lobbying and other activities. (more…)
SEIU Member Sues Union For Transparency
Paul Robins sits down with Mariam Noujaim, an SEIU member who is suing the union to access its financial records.
SOURCE: KTXL – SACRAMENTO
SEIU Member, David Joyce discovers a way to get out of the union by filing as a Conscientious Objector. choosecharity.org