(Union Members and Non-Members can submit a Petition!)
Folks, it is on!
The “Decertify SEIU and replace it with CPPEA campaign” is on right now!!
Below is the letter that our (i.e., your and my) legal representatives have drafted and sent to Governor Brown yesterday. As you can see from the letter, we are advising the Governor that we mean to “Decertify SEIU” because of SEIU’s lack of transparency, lack of representation, refusal to adhere to GAP accounting standards, and their refusal to abide by even the most basic rules in place specifically to safeguard against such abuses.
Read the letter, then download the Decert. Petition, sign it and submit it ASAP!
If you want to get rid of SEIU and replace it with a “Real Union”, one that will aggressively fight for our rights, then it’s in your control right now. This is literally the opportunity of a lifetime!
Do you want to have a Pension when you retire after working for the state for two or more decades? Well you might not have one, if you don’t fight for it.
Do you want to work in a more professional, relaxed and productive environment, where you and your work are appreciated, even if you have that now, you know that can change as quickly as your administration moves on to the next job position.
We need a consistently better working environment!
Here’s the good news:
YOU don’t have to do much, most of the work has already been done for you.
All you have to do is to download the petition, sign it and mail it. That’s all.
What are you waiting for?
What is more important than safeguarding your income, your pension, and your sanity?
If you want to help, print out several blank Decert. Petitions and pass them out to coworkers.
This is our chance; our BEST chance of getting SEIU out of our lives. Let’s not blow it by believing there’s nothing that we can do. Our legal representatives, the United Law Center (ULC), are working for us on “Contingency” terms, that means if we don’t win this Decert. campaign then they don’t get reimbursed the tens of thousands of Dollars they have already spent on it, and the tens of thousands of Dollars more that they will spend before this campaign is over. If these attorneys, that are renowned for championing the cause of the little guy, can see CPPEA’s Integrity, our historical intent to help state workers, and see the likelihood of our winning this Decert. campaign, then maybe you should too.
Submit your signed Decert Petition NOW!
Then print out several copies of the blank “2015 Decert. Petition” and distribute the copies to several other like-minded coworkers and tell them to do the same.
Others have gotten SEIU out of their lives and they are much happier for it. They have not regretted it. We can do the same, and now is our best chance to do that.
Our strength is in our numbers. I can’t get rid of SEIU, but WE can!
Submit your Decert Petition NOW!
(Union Members and Non-Members can submit a Petition!)
(After the document opens, click on the Floppy Diskette icon in the top left corner to Save the Petition to your computer).
The letter to Governor Brown follows….
CPPEA – CA Professional Public Employees Association
September 8, 2015
The Honorable Jerry Brown
Governor of the State of California
Sacramento, CA 95814
Re: CPPEA; Decertification Petition
Dear Governor Brown,
Pursuant to Gov. Code Sect 3520.5(c), California state workers have the right to seek decertification of the incumbent exclusive representative, through reasonable procedures and accommodations, and to elect an alternative representative. Accordingly, this letter will serve as a formal request of the Governor’s office to support and protect the rights of 95,000 State of California employees in Bargaining Units 1, 3, 4, 11, 14, 15, 17, 20, and 21, by providing the California Professional Public Employees Association (hereinafter “CPPEA”) reasonable unfettered access to email, telephone, worksite rooms and facilities in order to provide an safe, fair and equitable opportunity to campaign for the decertification of the SEIU Local 1000, (hereinafter, the “SEIU”).
I am a California State employee working for the Franchise Tax Board. I am a staunch labor advocate and activist and one of your strong supporters. For over a decade, I have sacrificed my time, money and effort at the expense of my career as an engineer to fight for the rights of state and public employees. In 2003, in the now landmark decision by the California Supreme Court, Intel vs. Hamidi, I successfully fought for workers’ “internet free speech” rights. I have always felt compelled to stand up and fight for the rights of others and now seek to support and protect the interests of 95,000 California State employees whose rights have been and continue to be violated due to the complete lack of substantive representation, transparency and accountability by the SEIU leadership.
In response to overwhelming demand, in 2008, I cofounded the CPPEA a grassroots service oriented state employees’ association founded on the principles of strong representation, transparency and accountability. I am also its current President. Today, there are thousands of fair share fee challengers, nonmember fee payers in the nine bargaining units, who have canceled their SEIU Local 1000 membership and filed as a Non-Germane Objector (“NGO”) status. These employees have also formally authorized the “CPPEA and/or Ken Hamidi” to legally represent them in all matters relating to fair share fee challenge arbitration matters. The CPPEA has also helped hundreds of state employees regarding their wages, hours, terms and conditions of employment. We estimate that in a fair and equitable secret ballot election conducted by the Public Employment Relations Board (hereinafter, “PERB”), an overwhelming majority of the 95,000 state employees will seek representation by the CPPEA. Currently, we estimate that at least an additional 21,000 are seeking CPPEA representation.
The CPPEA was modeled after other California service oriented state employee associations such as PECG – Professional Engineers in California Government, CAPS – California Association of Professional Scientists, and CAPT – California Association of Psychiatric Technicians. While comparatively small, employees represented by these associations benefit from the fair and equitable representation, transparency and accountability. Free of any suspicion regarding the misappropriation of funds and given genuine representation, these employees are happier, freer and thus more productive employees.
Once elected, the CPPEA will aggressively and fairly represent all fee payers in negotiating collective bargaining contracts. In addition, all employees will be given real and substantive legal representation for all on-site employee/employer disputes, mediations, administrative hearings and arbitrations; something promised by the incumbent representative but does not exist for the vast majority of fee payers. Moreover, this will be accomplished while charging employees only half (0.75% of gross income) of what the SEIU currently charges employees.
It is important to note that the CPPEA is politically neutral and its political activities will be limited to Supporting a legislation that promotes the common interests of all state employees. Those who seek to voice ideological opinions will be given equal access to facilities and methods of communication. However, our primary goal is to offer substantive representation, equitably manage disputes and adopt policies that foster an amicable and productive relationship with management. These goals can only be accomplished through strong legal representation and total transparency with the employees. These issues are not related to “democrat” or “republican” or other political ideologies but instead are rooted in the fundamental precepts of “right” and “wrong.”
For eight years, CPPEA has pursued a statewide campaign in pursuit of SEIU reform, trying to establish basic democratic rights for state employees in the nine bargaining units it represents. Unfortunately, this has been met with tenacious resistance. Today, more than ever, we believe there is a legal and moral obligation to give fee payers, non-germane and members alike, a more affordable, stronger representation offering complete transparency and accountability.
Legal Representation: United Law Center
Recognizing that our efforts to decertify the SEIU alone will be an enormous “David and Goliath” battle, we have engaged legal counsel who has proven itself worthy of the undertaking. We are proud and fortunate to have one of the most tenacious, competent, and effective advocates for the rights of Californians, United Law Center. Charged by its clients with the responsibility of holding the banking industry accountable for their actions, United Law Center took it upon themselves to seek justice for thousands of California homeowners; a task nearly all believed impossible. In just five years, their record of accomplishments is impressive. Having represented thousands of individual homeowners, they’ve obtained thirteen appellate victories, six published decisions, both in state and federal court, a $16.2 million unanimous jury verdict, and were nominated for Consumer Attorney of the Year (2014) by the Consumer Attorneys of California Association. They also have more trials scheduled against primary lenders than at any other time in history. United Law Center, well versed in the struggle for an individual’s rights against mega-entities, together with the CPPEA, will give back a voice to workers who have been silenced.
Our goal, however, is to put an end to unnecessary labor disputes. By meeting them head-on, United Law Center will be instrumental in avoiding future legal battles against management. Work disputes will be tackled and resolved early on. With on-site representatives and well-managed Stewards trained by the United Law Center in the art of dispute resolution and educated in the applicable laws, disputes will be mediated and resolved early on. Our goal is to work together with management, not against it. However, creating a united and productive culture with management can only be achieved by fair and effective representation combined with productive alternative dispute resolution methods.
We are confident that United Law Center will be a key instrument through which state employment and labor will be great again. The CPPEA and United Law Center will revive the spirit, respect, and appreciation that state employees had for over 75 years under the California State Employees Association or CSEA.
Outcry for Transparency
Throughout America, countless lawsuits and other legal actions ar.e being taken by government employees determined to hold the SEIU accountable for their lack of representation and accountability. Similarly, thousands of California state employees are seeking a change in the union leadership that failed to protect, let alone promote, their interests. On an individual basis, employees are speaking out and demanding answers. However, the efforts of a single fee payer to hold the union accountable are ultimately futile in light of the money, power and control the SEIU has accumulated. It is incomprehensible and morally unjust that fee payers must go unrepresented while the union’s spending goes unaccounted. Tragically, fee payers whose pleas for help go unheard are forced to sit in silence for fear of retribution and retaliation.
To be sure, any attempt by a fee payer to uncover the truth regarding expenditures is aggressively fought back by the SEIU. When employees are forced to legal action, the SEIU will spend millions of fee payers’ dues to silence any objection to their spending. In the now famous class action lawsuit, Knox v SEIU, the SEIU tenaciously fought fee payers all the way to the United States Supreme Court. While the state employees were eventually victorious in 2012, it was only after the SEIU spent millions in dues to defend itself. Moreover, the SEIU used fee payer dues to pay over $1 million for the opposing party’s attorney’s fees, something most fee payers do not know.
Currently, however, in Hamidi v SEIU, the SEIU fights another class action lawsuit against the interests of its own fee payers. The lawsuit seeks to drop the oppressive “opt-out” requirement that forces fee objectors to pay dues for political and ideological activities by the SEIU that are inconsistent with many fee payers’ beliefs. Not only is the opt-out provision oppressive but it is in direct violation of the fee payers’ right to free speech and association. Nevertheless, in order to keep the money flowing, the SEIU is again willing to spend millions in employee’s fees to fight a battle that in good faith should not be fought. If the SEIU truly had the best interest of the fee payers in mind, they would drop the opt-out provision and change it to an opt-in as in other employee associations. Nevertheless, it is this continued failure to put the interests of all fee payers before their own that give rise to this letter and to our request for a fair and legal decertification process.
Non-Germane Fee Objectors and Questionable Arbitrations
Pursuant to Government Code sections 3515.6 and 3515.7 (a) and (b), the SEIU is authorized to collect 1.5% of the gross income of the 95,000 state employees in the nine bargaining units, approximately $60 million annually. However, pursuant to Gov. Code Section 3515.8, fair share fee payers are entitled to a “return of any part of that paid…that is either in aid of activities or causes of a partisan political or ideological nature…”
Since the “official” take-over under the affiliation agreement of the CSEA in December of 2003, the SEIU’s has conducted annual arbitrations allegedly accounting for the accuracy of their expenditures. Under the guise of a formal and “legal” arbitration, the SEIU has shielded itself from any real and substantive review of their expenditures. To be sure, in cookie-cutter fashion all arbitrations result in the SIEU expenditures being sustained, to the penny. Never once has any adjustment in expenditures been made, let alone a refund to fee objectors. This blatant disregard of the standards proscribed by the Hudson Act of 1986 and is in direct contravention of the fiduciary duty owed by the SEIU to all fee payers.
In the most recent arbitration, the SEIU refused to follow even their most basic policies and/or those dictated accounting guidelines or by law. In SEIU vs. Agency Fee Objectors (August, 2015), the SEIU was challenged to account for nearly $60,000,000.00 in expenses. Under the Hudson Act and Cal Civil Code sect. 1141.18, the SEIU was legally required to timely notify all employees of the hearing’s date, time and location, provide copies of all documents in support of the expenditures, select a mutually agreeable arbitrator licensed to practice law in California and provide reasonable access to the hearing to all 95,000 state workers. Notwithstanding objections, not one of these requirements was met. Although the arbitrator’s decision is not yet out, it is certain that the SEIU’s $58,366,460.00 in expenditures will be sustained in full. As in all other arbitration decisions, not a single error will be found in determining whether an expense was for a political activity or for promoting the rights of employees in general. Although unlikely, any other outcome would be a result directed in response to this letter.
Looking at SEIU’s own Schedule of Operating Expenses, the entries are so general and non-specific; it’s useless for any practicable purpose. The SEIU’s own system of accounting to determine whether an expense is to be charged to fee objectors, is to take a stack of flyers apparently from events and mark them with a “C” for chargeable and “N” for non-chargeable. (See Exhibit F in SEIU vs. Fee Objectors, (2015). The methods under the General Accepted Accounted Principles (GAP) have been completely abandoned.
Although several formal requests have been made to the SEIU to substantiate their annual multi-million dollar calculation of union expenditures, employees’ demands are routinely ignored. The SEIU’s adamant refusal to be transparent regarding the moneys paid by members and non-members alike is not only harmful to state employees, but to the employer and the general public. It is this sort of arrogant flaunting of the law and lack of accountability that causes fee payer frustration and hopelessness and gives rise to the CPPEA’s Petition for Decertification.
We intend to seek permission to conduct an independent forensic audit to identify precisely where the SEIU has spent the millions in dues and to require moneys to be refunded if appropriate.
Lack of Substantive Representation
It is estimated that at least 50% of the dues paid by employees are to be for the purposes of representation and for the collective bargaining. Yet only minor portion of those dues are spent on such activities. According to SEIU’s own financial records, out of the nearly $60,000,000 spent each year, on average only a mere $350,000 goes towards representation while approximately $8,000,000 is spent for contract negotiations. In total, that’s a mere 13%. This means that approximately 87% of dues go towards non-germane activities or other activities that are wholly unaccounted. For example, fee payers were charged near $1 million for strikes, even though there is a “no-strike” provision prohibiting such activities in Article V paragraph 5.1 of the SUIE’s Master Agreement.
Moreover, the vast majority of employees suffer from a total lack of representation for work site disputes or administrative hearings. In many instances, employees have been forced to form their own internal “private union” where small two-member teams volunteer their free time assisting other employees with representative services the SEIU is paid to perform. From filing claims, filling out forms, advising employees of the procedures, these fee-paying volunteers are the only resource employees have to seek help. Sadly, the SEIU has become so deficient in their duties that management has grown accustom to advising employees to “go file a grievance” since they know the employee will have no representation and no real method of recourse. Not only astonishing, this is repugnant to the fundamental principles of a union and speaks to the lack of any human dignity SEIU has towards those employees they claim to represent and are allowed to profit from.
The SEIU has also failed to effectively bargain for its fee payers. While too broad a topic to cover at length, it can safely be stated that employees have consistently lost money, while other unions not only keep up with inflation, some are closer to parity in pay with their private sector counterparts. It is our opinion that SEIU’s representation and contract bargaining is insincere, at best, and more accurately wholly ineffective.
The Necessity for Change
It is self-evident that when employees are treated fairly and given a voice through substantive representation, they are given a sense of security and freedom that fosters productivity and
Creativity, workers to rise to their full potential. Through substantive measureable methods of transparency and accountability, employees are given a sense of support and security resulting in more efficient and more compliant employees. These basic precepts of human nature represent the fundamental and essential principles of a union and are critical for the common good of the people. However, when these principles are compromise and/or ignored, the sense of well-being is replaced with resentment, fear and oppression. Unfortunately, this is the current state of employees under the SEIU.
Today, employees are in a state of paralysis and uncertainty that is punctuated by a complete and utter lack of recourse. Increasingly, abusive practices have created an environment of intimidation to the extent that state employees are frozen to seek help for fear of retaliation. They are not lawyers and most have little to no experience in union practices. They simply know that alone they are powerless to effectuate change. Oppressive union conditions are simply no longer tolerable. Based on thousands of disconcerting pleas for help we are compelled take steps necessary to bring back real representation, transparency and accountability to the people for whom this government represents and employs.
Decertification of the SEIU; Reasonable Procedures
Pursuant to Government Code section 3512, 3515, and 3520.5 (c), the CPPEA will file a Decertification Petition in November 2015, giving state workers the opportunity to elect a new exclusive representative. Pursuant to PERB regulation 32770 (b), the decertification process requires that we provide proof of 30% support. As you know, the 95,000 state employees work in state agencies scattered throughout California. Furthermore, the restrictive policies found in all agencies regarding accessibility to emails, telephone access, employee information, and use of facilities will make it virtually impossible for us to exercise our rights while complying with the 30% requirement. Pursuant to Government Code section 3520.5(c), “reasonable procedures” must be established to facilitate the decertification and election process so as to provide equal communicative access to all 95,000 state employees.
Accordingly, in an effort to have a fair and safe campaign that is consistent with the laws of the State of California and the no-tolerance policies in all agencies regarding intimidation practices; and to ensure a fair and democratic process preserving the employee’s rights to free speech and free association; and for the purposes of educating and promoting employees regarding the decertification process, we respectfully request your support in providing the following reasonable accommodations:
1. Unrestricted access to state email systems in order to communicate with all state employees. All state agencies should be directed to place the CPPEA and the United Law Center on their “White List” so that our emails are not filtered as “SPAM” and equal email access is provided.
2. Unrestricted access to the conference rooms, break rooms, and common area’s in state offices throughout California. In order to distribute decertification material such as flyers, and collect signatures on petitions, etc. reasonable accommodations allowing access to state facilities will be necessary. This will provide the employees the opportunity to be informed and educated as to their rights and the opportunity to seek alternative representation through the decertification and election process.
3. Unrestricted use of the telephone systems of all state agencies throughout California. Often, the only method to communicate and associate freely with state employees is through telephonic communications. Restricted use of access to the telephone system may inhibit the employees’ right to speech and association.
4. Unrestricted access to bulletin boards for posting the decertification material at all state agency worksites throughout California. Similar to the above, posting of information is not only a reasonable accommodation to facilitate the distribution of educational material regarding the decertification process it is essential to the employee’s rights of free speech and association.
5. Recognizing the friction that may exist within state agencies and by the SEIU, we ask that an Executive Order be issued directing to all state agencies to refrain from the following:
a. Management to refrain from retaliation against employees conducting decertification activities.
b. Management to instruct all staff to refrain from intervening in the decertification process in any way.
c. Management to instruct state agencies’ security personnel to be present during decertification gatherings, to ensure peaceful assembly.
Again, the above list of reasonable accommodations and requests are designed to protect the rights of workers to freely speak and associate. We simply ask that you to support the adherence to existing laws and direct state agencies to facilitate by lifting the barriers to communication between CPPEA and state workers. There is no other way for state employees to demonstrate their proof of support without access to the state email, state offices, and phone systems, in order to communicate with the CPPEA.
If our request to provide reasonable procedures and accommodations enabling us to obtain the necessary 30% support proves to be impossible to implement, then we ask that you direct PERB to drop the 30% proof of support requirement to accompany the decertification petition. In any event, the CPPEA will take any and all necessary measures to comply with the 30% requirement.
Time is of the Essence
Due to the time constraint of gathering the required 30% proof of support before the end of November 2015, we will continue to collect signatures under the limited conditions currently available. However, we respectfully encourage your response as soon as practically possible, or by September 19th, 2015, approximately ten days from receipt of this letter. We are genuinely grateful for your assistance and anticipated support in ensuring a safe, legal and efficacious decertification process. In the past, you have supported similar causes as with Cesar Chavez and farm workers, signing the landmark Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975. Today, we are not seeking new laws, merely the support of your office and/or all other government agencies with the legal implementation of reasonable procedures for the decertification process in order to uphold the rights of state workers.
We believe now is the critical time to take action in resurrecting the fundamental rights of state workers to choose their exclusive union representative. We believe a blind eye can no longer be turned to the blatant and obvious abuse of our rights by the SEIU against workers who have little to no recourse. We believe you and your office can be a catalyst for change and instrumental in preserving the fundamental rights of workers, as a revamping of the civil services must necessarily include the legal opportunity to change in union leadership. We believe that labor is the driving force behind the effective execution of our government’s responsibilities to all Californians and a more productive labor force through honest representation is an essential good for California.
We have been charged by thousands of employees of this state with the responsibility of giving back to them true, honest and effective exclusive representation and we must do whatever is necessary to succeed; the safe, legal and democratic decertification process is our first step towards that end.
We would, of course, be grateful to meet with you and your staff to resolve some of these issues in person and will be available upon your requests. Until such time, we deeply thank you and look forward to your anticipated response.
Very truly yours,
Ken Hamidi Date
P.O. Box 1436
Citrus Height, CA 95611
Mobile phone number: (916) 412 – 6992
Work phone number: (916) 845 – 7197
Stephen J. Foondos, LL.M. Date
Founder and CEO
United Law Center,
A Professional Law Corporation
Legal Counsel for the CPPEA
• Marybel Batjer. Secretary, Government Operation Agency
• Richard Gillihan, Director, Department of Human Resources
• Stephen Foondos, United Law Center
• 95,000 State Employees in the nine bargaining units represented by SEIU Local 1000
CPPEA – P.O. Box 1436, Citrus Heights, CA 95611 www.cppea.org
Below is a link to download a .PDF file copy of the actual letter to Governor Brown.