Monday, September 8, 2008

Mandatory Furlough/Temporary Layoffs BACK at SEIU 721

The Tyrone Freeman shady stuff has overshadowed SEIU 721's difficulties.

There were members of the old 347 (LA City local) filling Unfair
Employee Relations Practice cases over and over again trying to
stop their local from being merged. (Didn't work, as Employee
Relations Board does not interfere in the internal workings or
non-workings of unions.)

Also, if you check out the latest Civil Service Commission Agenda
(available at it looks like the civil service rule
to permit "mandatory furlough/temporary layoffs" is back again.

It's not getting a lot of publicity as the Coalition of City
Unions made a deal to give back $18.25 million to the general
fund (that was savings from the various health plans, which is
part of the contracts with the health plans), and to pursue a
program of $3 million in voluntary furlough days. That's
being sold as a triumph of mutual gains bargaining, whatever
that means!

Attached is a PDF copied from the Engineers and Architects
Association (EAA) union web site.

It's a letter from John Sweeney (head of AFL-CIO) to Annelle Grajeda,
currently on leave from Local 721 due to alleged illegal payments to her
boyfriend, and to Bob Schoonover, who perhaps might be around to
read it. The County Federation of Labor is an AFL-CIO organization
and EAA is an AFL-CIO union. Local 721 is being threatened with
removal from the county fed. (It is not an AFL-CIO union because
few years ago, SEIU split from the AFL-CIO and formed Change to
Win with the Teamsters and others, so it can only remain in the
county federation if it has a solidarity charter to NOT raid other

For about the past month, SEIU 721 (mega local that contains the
old SEIU 347 which used to represent City of L.A. member) has been
attempting to raid EAA, and get EAA-represented members to sign cards
for a decert election. This was tried in 2004, but failed. Last
time around, Laura Chick even helped out SEIU by giving it a copy
of a mailing list with the HOME ADDRESSES of all of the EAA-represented
employees. The effort seems to be directed from Washington, as
they have fancy web pages designed by PR firms and send individualized
spam e-mails to EAA-represented employees at work, as well as calling
them at work from boiler rooms doing surveys full of leading questions.

Their interest in EAA would be as what's called a "cash cow", as
the engineers, programmers, and accountants get paid better than most
of the bargaining units 721 currently represents at the city. The
EAA dues are 1/2 of a percent. The SEIU dues are 1 1/4 percent.
Get the picture? So, right now an EAA member at the city is paying
less dues per month that that poor woman profiled in Steve Lopez's
column who is working two nursing home jobs and paying $70 a month
to the local formerly directed by Tyrone Freeman.

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