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A speaker of truth has no friends

A speaker of truth has no friends

Donald Alire Requests Professional Assistance
December 9, 2013
After beating me and our family up for years, Donald Alire, CWA president Local 7076 from the Communications Workers of America, asked today for my professional assistance by allowing him to join my network on LinkedIn. My wife's initial reaction, "WTF? The village is missing its IDIOT!!!"

Donald Alire Wants to Connect on LinkedIn

Local 7076 does not represent workers effectively. I consider this related to Donald Alire's poor leadership skills. Of some 15 agencies, nine are currently missing an Agency vice president. My former position, Agency VP at the WCA, remains unfilled. My former bargaining unit coworkers are afraid to get involved with this union. [note: since my post, CWA Local 7076 removed this page. This is typical of their behavior — they hide the truth from members.]

From what I observed, bargaining unit employees neither trust nor respect Donald Alire or the CWA. As president, Donald Alire did everything in his power to hurt me while I worked at the Workers' Compensation Administration. Due to his retalitatory actions toward me, he harmed our bargaining unit. When the WCA terminated my employment in January 2013, Donald Alire refused to communicate with me. Shortly after filing for arbitration, the CWA and Donald Alire abandoned our family. They forced us to manage the arbitration by ourselves; refused to help us obtain the arbitration transcript, which cost $1,500; and worked hard to ensure we fail.

Although we are a union family — people who support the labor movement — we believe the Communications Workers of America is vindictive and unprofessional. They retaliated against me and our bargaining unit because we demanded professional budgeting and financial management over union dues. Donald Alire was a "person of interest" in this matter. The financial records I examined related to Alire were generally out of order, incomplete or improperly completed, and many of us were concerned about his pattern of reporting expenses. I was never able to conclude Donald Alire had performed his union role honestly and ethically.

Robin Gould, CWA regional representative, recruited me to serve my coworkers in 2007. Our family considers this the GREATEST mistake of my career. If you wish to join a union, watch out for the CWA. We do not trust these leaders. We believe they are poorly represented by CWA national president, Larry Cohen, and Donald Alire, CWA Local 7076.

Mary Taylor, CWA regional vice president, was highly unprofessional with us. Although we provided her ALL our available evidence and the union supported our appeal to arbitration, she dumped us at the last minute. This hurt our family greatly. The CWA gave us one opportunity to work with their attorney, Stan Gosch. He offered us 20 minutes to review a very complex case. He was not prepared when we met.

In our dealings with the Communications Workers of America, I have found the following people to care little about workers in America. We believe they are concerned only about their cushy jobs, their fat salaries, and covering up their vindictive and unprofessional practices. We do not respect the following people:

Larry Cohen, CWA president
Annie Hill, CWA Secretary-Treasurer
CWA Executive Board
Mary Taylor, CWA regional vice president, District 7, Denver
Brenda Roberts, CWA regional rep
Robin Gould, CWA regional rep
Jana Smith-Carr, CWA regional rep
Stan Gosch, CWA attorney

We urge you to find a better union if you are interested in organizing and assisting the labor movement. We believe you are wasting your money with this unprofessional organization.

Workers United
May 28, 2013
For those at the WCA or CWA who read these historical and political comments, please keep in mind about fifty (50) of my coworkers, bargaining unit employees at the Workers' Compensation Administration, joined me to sign a petition to Governor Martinez about the mismanagement of CWA Local 7076.

Nearly our entire bargaining unit stands in opposition to the union — not because we dislike unions or the labor movement — simply due to the fact that union leadership has given the appearance of misappropriation of funds and retaliated when we confronted them about their practices of poor goverance.

Although we have continued to pay dues or the reqiured fees to the union, CWA and Local 7076 have continued their retaliatory behavior toward me and my coworkers for years now. This is unacceptable!

The WCA and CWA: Corrupt Management

    Winston Churchill


May 24, 2013
Wow!!! What a world. I was hired by the Workers' Compensation Administration (WCA) directed by Alan Varela in 2006. When director Varela left in 2007, he had this to say about me:
Scott,
Thank you for the note. You are clearly a huge asset to the WCA. If I could clone you and hire twenty of you at this Agency, I'd do it tomorrow. Take care and always know you can call on me if I can ever be of service.

Sincerely,
Alan
Also in 2007 the WCA awarded me Employee of the Month. Upon completion of my probationary period, I was recruited by Norman Norvelle and Robin Gould of the Communicaitions Workers of America (CWA) to serve in our workplace union. Normal warned me to expect management retaliation for my decision to assist the union:
I am copying Robin [Gould] on this since the situation is not going away. It is common knowledge that Mark [LLewellyn] is not such a great guy, supervisor, or easy person to work for. In this game, management has most of the marbles and we only have a few so we must be very careful. HR is not there to help employees, only to support management and this is what Priscilla [Pena-Johnson] will do. She is not there for you, but for Mark and Laura [Feight]. Management would like to get rid of the union, so they can assume their old role of absolute petty tyrants. We interrupt that system and they hate it. We probably need to pull out all stops and help you. Whatever you do, don't go to HR or Priscilla for help. Let us help you. Mark has had his way for so long that he probably not used to thinking things through. He is probably just doing a poor job, because that is all it use to take. He will not be your friend from this point forward. Someone may be manipulating him. I am not the best at this type of situation, but we have some people who are very good at this and how to handle the situation. I will do everything that I can to help you. I will need a few days to put some things together.
In 2009 — 2010 I led an arbitration action to protect about a half dozen female employees from harassment, bullying and unprofessional treatment. The union won. [download decision] Boy, did this piss off Laura Feight and Priscilla Pena-Johnson! Priscilla and Laura began messing with my career at this point.

Yet conditions began to change between the union and me shortly afterward. During election 2010, I found the CWA Local 7076 finanacial records and budgets to be in disarray. As I investigated, other Local 7076 members reported additional financial concerns — reports of theft of member money, falsifying travel and work documents. The more I tried to review records, the greater the obstruction by CWA officers. Brett Siegel, acting CWA Local 7076 filed a malicious complaint with my managemnet around August 2011. This was all WCA director Fuller needed to begin his campaign to remove me.

In June — July 2011, a number of bargaining unit members complained about their manager. Director Fuller demanded I reveal all the names of the witnesses. I refused, as all were concerned about retaliation. Fuller was totally pissed with me over this. He told me he would never forget this lapse of loyalty to him. I was soon locked to my desk and had to have permission to leave even if I wanted to go to the bathroom. A memo from my supervisor:
I'm sending this email to reiterate what we talked about a few minutes ago. Primarily, I need to know where you will be when you leave your desk. As we discussed, I will create a sign out sheet on which you can indicate your location if I am away from my desk.
Director Fuller fired me a couple months later. Both the CWA and WCA have been gunning for me for years. The CWA clearly is a retaliatory organization. They continue to do everything they can to hurt me — including siding with my employee in the WCA's termination action against me. As posted on May 20, 2013, Mary Taylor, CWA District 7 vice president, furthered at least THREE false statements about me. She joins WCA director Ned Fuller speaking falsely about me.

This is the character of both WCA and CWA management today. They cover up their faults and speak falsely about those who demand accountability and responsible action. The WCA wastes taxpayer dollars; the CWA wastes member dues. Both organizations have become my enemies for standing up for good goverance.

Re: Decision of Mary Taylor, CWA District 7 vice president
May 20, 2013

Larry Cohen, president
Communications Workers of America
501 Third Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001-2797

Cc via email:
Mary Taylor
Robin Gould
Stan Gosch

Dear Larry Cohen
I have been badly injured and will do my best prior to being admitted to the hospital to inform you of the deception and retaliatory behavior furthered by CWA union personnel in our region. Mary Taylor, in her May 8, 2013 letter, decided not to fully support our arbitration appeal although making numerous factual errors. I am posting this letter online to help my coworkers. They need to know how my family and I have been treated during this difficult time.

Mary Taylor stated, "You received a series of disciplinary warnings in 2010 and 2011 ..." This is a FALSE statement. WCA director, Ned Fuller, made a similar FALSE statement in the agency's Notice of Contemplated Action. I received NO disciplinary action prior to the arrival of director Ned Fuller in 2011. It is my opinion the new Republican administration was gunning for union leaders, particularly successful ones. I had not been disciplined prior to Fuller's arrival. Yet both director Fuller and Mary Taylor continue to make false claims about this point. How would you feel if YOUR union representatives lied about you and supported your employer in a deceptive campaign?

Mary Taylor stated, "You failed to get permission to work away from your workstation." This is a FALSE statement. I notified my supervisor via email at about 9:14am on November 30, 2012 that I had a very bad migraine. At about 9:20am, my supervisor via email stated, "Yes, you may leave but please make an effort to send your corrections to [coworker] as soon as possible for you to do so. She needs them to finish the report. Thank you."

I was given permission to leave. Director Fuller claimed I was insubordinate, which is false. My union representatives side with my employer a second time on a false claim.

Mary Taylor stated, "You subsequently notified the Employer's human resources department that [your supervisor] had assaulted and battered you in the incident." This is a FALSE claim. My employer also made this FALSE claim and my union personnel continue to collaborate with my employer to speak falsely about me.

There are other issues we could discuss but this is sufficient to demonstrate the malice in the union's action. Mary Taylor has factually lied about me on at least three occasions. This is YOUR union vice president. She did not take the time to research this properly, as I have addressed these issues previously. It appears to me Mary Taylor and her staff are either incompetent or they are intentionally trying to harm me. Three errors of this magnitude cannot be accidental.

The CWA regional personnel and Local 7076 have been angry with me for 2-3 years due to my watchdog and oversight activities over their financial and budgeting mismanagement. They have retaliated against me for years — beginning in August 2010 when a Local 7076 official complained directly to my employer to achieve political objectives for Local 7076.

I ask you to fully review this matter. Thank you.

Re: Letter from Robin Gould, CWA Officer
Cc via email:
Eileen Kohler
Robin Gould
Stan Gosch

May 6, 2013

Dear Mary Taylor,
As I am unemployed, I am currently on the road ady do not have access to my USPS mail. You can reach me via my email address listed below. In Robin Gould's April 25th letter she stated the union offers to support us partially. Either support us 100% or not at all. Both the Department of Workforce Solutions and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found sufficient probable cause to support my complaint of wrongful termination. This union does not. The Communications Workers of America sides with my former employer. Let me add some relevant history.

In 2009 my employer, Workers' Compensation Administration, was abusing, harassing and beating the crap out of some six talented and professional women. Robin Gould claimed their contractual rights WERE NOT being violated. She attempted to negotiate a compromise with the general counsel. I battled with Robin for months about her reluctance to defend these gracious women. She finally relented -- and with my assistance the union prevailed in arbitration. Your people quit on us! I fought for my coworkers.

In 2011 my employer terminated me, due in part to the tortious interference from Local 7076 officer, Brett Siegel. Jana Smith-Carr thought my employer had an excellent case and offered us only token assistance. We filed with the EEOC and I was returned to work. Your people quit on us yet we prevailed.

After my employer terminated me a second time in January 2013, I fought to force management to release relevant evidence in this dispute. Robin Gould pulled out at the last minute, claiming union employees do not have a right to demand such documents. She quit but I continued the fight. My employer blinked and released the documents.

When I had a phone conference with CWA attorney, Stan Gosch, about a month ago, he was unprepared and unprofessional. I am ready to battle; your staff considers our appeal an inconvenience.

Battling for Labor is hard work. Your staff does not appear willing to invest the time or effort to join the fight. The CWA recruited me; this union trained me. I have been a successful advocate for my primarily female coworkers because I am willing to fight for my coworkers. Your staff on the other hand has been wrong in every major battle -- including this one I currently suffer.

Robin Gould also blames me for not cooperating. I discovered your staff fouled up the Local 7076 books, financial information and budgets in 2010. I demanded accountability and professionalism. Your staff responded with obstruction, tortious interference and retaliation. Your staff has acted incompetently while I battled for my coworkers and family. In this light, you claim you are uncertain you want to invest in me.

The ultimate decision now rests with you. I am a proven winner for Labor and my bargaining unit at the WCA respects me. They do not respect your staff or the behavior of the CWA. You asked for our answer before May 7, 2013. Either support us 100% or do what you wish. We will respond accordingly. We will hold you and the CWA liable for any action you take that hurts our chances to prevail. We assume any communication you initiate with my former employer telling them you will not support the arbitration will encourage them and diminish our ability to succeed. We hope you use good judgment.

Horrors of the Communications Workers of America
April 17, 2013

One of my coworkers dropped me a text message this morninng to see how my appeal is coming. I let her know the wheels of justice turn slowly. She asked if the union was helping out at all. My response:

The union is the biggest problem!!! Really difficult people. They took our money for years yet have beeen unwilling to help in our time of need.

This is why I post the relevent history and interactions here. Prior to becoming a union member, steward and union vice president for the Communications Workers of America, I held a pro-union attitude. In my 5-6 years working with this union, I can only conclude they are wasting our money and dashing our hopes for a better world for labor. The leaders in the Communications Workers of America are really, really difficult people.

What a mistake to have gotten involved with them; what a waste of a good career and our money.

And, the ironic thing of all of this: this is exactly what Gov. Martinez and WCA director Ned Fuller hope happens. The union is fighting with members. They are fighting with me because I exposed their fiscal mismanagement. They have punished me for years now. I demanded accountability. The union attacked me at my work. It has cost me my job and career.

This union is failing labor. You pay your money. It is wasted. Don't get involved with the Communications Workers of America! Very dangerous!!!

Union Employee Responds to CWA
Mary Taylor, Vice President
Communications Workers of America
8085 E. Prentice Avenue
Greenwood, CO 80111

Sent via USPS Certified Mail

Cc via email:
Robin Gould
Brenda Roberts
Stan Gosch

RE: Arbitration Case

April 16, 2013

Dear Mary:
My wife and I are in receipt of Robin Gould's April 12, 2013 letter. We do not accept the CWA position that "this grievance should not be pursued to arbitration ... You are responsible for all costs associated with the arbitration if you proceed on your own." On February 26, 2013, Donald Alire, CWA Local 7076 president, notified Eugene Moser, director, New Mexico State Personnel Office, that:
"CWA is appealing the final action of termination on behalf of [employee], Economist Advance, Workers' Compensation Administration. Pursuant to Appendix A of the Collective Bargaining agreement with the State of New Mexico, we are seeking an irrevocable election for arbitration."
CWA and our family had 30 days after my termination to make an "irrevocable election" and decide if we planned to appeal through arbitration or the State Personnel Board. In good faith I made available to CWA all relevant documents that were in my possession. CWA made an informed decision to support this appeal. Had CWA notified us within the 30-day window that we would be responsible for "all costs associated with the arbitration," we would have selected the State Personnel Board option for appeal. The CWA position as of April 12, 2013 now undermines our defense. This is unacceptable.

As I discussed with you during our phone conversation on March 19, 2013, it is questionable whether your team has engaged us in good faith. Robin Gould failed to support my efforts to obtain relevant documents related to this adverse action. Stan Gosch was unprepared to review this matter in our phone conference on March 18, 2013. Brenda Roberts blamed me falsely in her March 18, 2013 memo after I reported Gosch's lack of preparedness. On March 20, 2013, Brenda Roberts contacted me for user login information to my online archive of relevant documents. I had sent this information to both Brenda Roberts and Robin Gould on March 7, 2013. You team appears to have been professionally negligent in their dealings with us. I offered you the option I would pay expenses to fly to Denver and meet with your team so we could work on this together. You did not accept my suggestion. Your team has not discussed this case with me since you and I talked on March 19, 2013. This is unconscionable and unreasonable behavior.

I also mentioned in our March 19, 2013 phone conversation that one of my goals is to protect my coworkers the best I can. Establishing an aggrieved employee has the right to demand relevant documents during the 30-day window was one objective; ensuring CWA engages aggrieved employees in good faith is another. We will therefore take whatever steps we need to prevent this unreasonable decision from becoming precedent. CWA joined us in the decision to appeal through arbitration on February 26, 2013. CWA must stand with us now.

I respectfully request that you reverse your organizational decision and support us fully and in good faith. Due to time constraints, we cannot wait long. We allow until 5:00pm on Friday, April 19, 2013 to hear affirmatively from you. If you choose not to comply, we will take legal action against you and your team, as well as the CWA and Local 7076, for breach of our agreement and violation of good faith.

Sincerely

CWA Refuses to Assist Terminated Employee
April 15, 2013

Clearly I made a huge mistake to get involved with the Communications Workers of America (CWA). Due in part to their interference between my employer, Workers' Compensation Administration (WCA), and me, I was terminated in October 2011. The union assigned my case to Jana Smith-Carr, who provided me only basic support. Concerned about the sincerity of the union defense, I filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC charged the WCA and assisted me back to work — the CWA union did nothing to help my family and me.

The CWA and Local 7076 have been angry with me for years. I am a professional economist who routinely analyzes finacial reports and budgets. I became aware of discrepancies in Local 7076 budgeting and financial reporting beginning around June 2010. The harder I pushed to get clarity from Local 7076 officers, the more the group covered up and obfuscated. This pattern of behavior suggested corruption or misappropriation of funds. A short history is contained in my previous April 15, 2013 post.

The WCA fired me a second time in Janauary 2013. This is a clear retaliatory termination. I had thirty days to make an "irrevokable election" between union arbitration and a State Personnel Board appeal. I worked with CWA union representative, Robin Gould, during the period and selected the union appeal process.

Today, unexpectedly, I received notice from the union that they refuse to support me. Although the union does not give specifics, they claim the "CWA has determined that this grievance should not be pursued to arbitration. Because of the documentation supporting the Workers' Compensation Administration's action, we believe that we would not be successful in arbitration."

The union did not call or contact me to discuss their concerns. I had offered to fly to their Denver office so we could work on the case together — they refused my suggestion. They simply are not interested in helping me. Yet they took my money each pay period! Are these people you want to count on?

I noted in my February 20, 2013 post how Robin Gould had refused to support my request for relevant documents. Although I was finally able to secure the documents I needed by myself, if you or a coworker are ever in a similar situation, you will learn how this union failed you. I fought for the right to relevent documentation — the CWA did not. I then provided all information to Robin Gould and the union prior to making my "irrevocable election." They supported me and my request for union assistance.

They are not justified in abandoning my family and me now; their action is further evidence of a continued pattern of retaliation toward me — and workers who demand accountability from their employer and union.

Your Union Ignores Those Who Demand Good Faith and Professionalism
April 15, 2013

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. —Mahatma Gandhi

Although I've now had a couple phone conversations with Brenda Roberts, Communications Workers of America, Denver office, she refuses to answer or address my concerns why Local 7076 president, Donald Alire, fails to respond to me when I am battling for my job and family's financial future. Brenda refuses to answer why Robin Gould initially supported our work to ensure bargaining unit employees have access to relevant documents but pulled out at the last minute. [see February 20, 2013]

First they ignore you!

I paid dues to Local 7076 for about six years — totaling around $4,000. I realize this is not much relative to a BIG union but it is a lot to a family. Bargaining unit members have a right to know what they can expect in return. Here's what I know:

When I reported the lack of professionalism regarding Local 7076 budgets and financial appropriation, acting Secretary, Brett Seigel, retaliated against me by filing a malicious complaint with my agency management — violating the CBA Article 2, Section 10 (see below). This caused me massive problems. I had just reported a manager for engaging in hostile work behavior and management used this opportunity to terminate me less than three months later.

When in need of union assistance to appeal the wrongful termination, CWA regional rep, Jana Smith-Carr, failed to provide a robust defense effort. This appeared to be further retaliatory behavior. It was the EEOC, not our union, that helped me.

On my return to work beginning in March 2012, Donald Alire refused to allow me to serve my steward position — because WCA bargaining union members and I do not support the union's political position on Fair Share. Not only is Alire's action a violation of the First Amendment, it violates the collective bargaining act (CBA) Article 1, Section 5: Non-interference, "nothing contained herein shall bar the parties or their members from petitioning their elected political representatives or fully and activitely participating in the political process." On behalf of about 50 WCA bargaining unit members, I met with Governor Martinez's chief of staff, Keith Gardner, about June 2012 to hand-deliver our petitions against Fair Share.

Alire's retaliatory action also violates the CBA Article 2, Section 10, "Except as limited by law, each employee shall have the right to join and assist the Union freely, without fear of penalty or reprisal ..." Alire made it clear that I, and our bargaining unit members, were not FREE to assist the union unless we agreed to HIS political positions. We have a right to dissent. Alire's action is retaliatory, intimidating and a form of bullying. Violations of the CBA also violate the Public Employees Bargaining Act (PEBA) — 10-7E-19, G and H, NMSA 1978.

Fair Share is a contractual provision that forces all bargaining unit members to pay union dues or a similar fee. If they do not, the union can request the agency to terminate their employment. The union generally reports individuals who do not pay to a collection agency, which can destroy their credit rating.

Since my second termination on January 30, 2013, Donald Alire has refused to return my email requests for help. Further retaliation? I have now made two requests to work with CWA attorney, Stan Gosch, but the union continues to ignore me. I have summarized my response to the agency's termination decision, made all relevant documents available to the union, but they continue to ignore me. Donald Alire, Robin Gould, Brenda Roberts and Stan Gosch refuse to respond. [NOTE: after a number of requests, Stand Gosch agreed to a phone meeting. He was totally unprepared. He was unprofessional. He appeared to be looking for a reason to blame me and justify the union in not assistig me. Gosch was totally unprepared!]

They ignore me! This is YOUR union when one is in need. Why are you paying dues? Will they be there to help you if you are in need?

Your Union Leaders Failed 3,500 Bargaining Unit Employees
February 20, 2013

I called Brenda Roberts, Communications Workers of America, Denver regional office, this morning to initiate a formal complaint about Robin Gould, CWA regional representative, and Donald Alire, CWA Local 7076 president. You pay thousands of dollars over your career to support the the union and pay these people to work for you. They turned their backs on you.

They had a golden opportunity to help some 3,500 Local 7076 bargaining unit employees -- to protect you against unfair treatment and discriminatory action. Donald Alire did not offer me ONE SECOND of his time, although I sent him many emails and kept him in the loop at each step.

Robin Gould failed to engage me in good faith. She refused my urgent request for her time as negotiations with management were at their peak. Their refusal to take action cost some 3,500 Local 7076 bargaining unit employees an opportunity to secure critical rights for aggreived employees and prevent management from hiding relevant information about job performance from them.

Donald Alire did not care enough about 3,500 Local 7076 bargaining unit employees to respond to me and send ONE email or make ONE phone call. Such behavior is not becoming a local president. This is negligent and relaliatgory action. Robin Gould was too busy to give you, some 3,500 Local 7076 bargaining unit employees, just 30 minutes of her time when it counted.

Stay tuned ... details to follow.

Tax the Rich: An Animated Fairy Tale
December 9, 2012

This short, 8-minute story is narrated by Ed Asner with animation by Mike Konopacki. (p.s. This film has outraged Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh. For that reason alone, you can't miss this.)


How America Has Changed (for the worse)
December 9, 2012

In 1956 the Young Republicans Supported and Saluted Labor. How come the party and conservative Republicans work so hard to hurt labor and Middle Class Americans today?
Republicans Support Labor

Union Punishes WCA Members
OPEN LETTER to CWA Local 7076 WCA members

May 30, 2012

About a month ago, WCA management alerted the union they proposed to make changes to the Employee Policy manual, per Article 5, Section 2 of the CBA. Under the direction of current Local 7076 president, Donald Alire, a Department of Health (DOH) employee, the union failed to act — although WCA bargaining unit members objected to this passive acceptance of management's proposed changes.

Today, I received an email from Miles D. Conway at miles@cwa7076.org. The union is gearing up to defend employee work conditions at the DOH in stark contrast to the Lack of Support the union provided WCA employees. The Local provides a description of their upcoming activities on their website:
In the latest round of policy changes, NM Dept of Health is mandating hour long lunch breaks, furthering attacks on job flexibility and morale. Recently, more high level DOH officials have resigned amid the popular speculation that the Dept of Health is devoid of effective top leadership.

Albuquerque Membership Meeting // Dept of Health
Albuquerque Membership Meeting // Dept of Health
click to enlarge

We'll discuss the crisis at the NM Dept of Health, how we intend to fight back and demand sensible changes allowing the Department of Health to fulfill its mission to our citizens.
WCA bargaining unit members pay their dues and fees yet the union, under Donald Alire, refuses to provide support. Alire takes care of the employees at the agency where he works but throws WCA members under the bus. This is further evidence of corruption, administrative negligence and retaliatory behavior by the union, as pointed out in previous posts.

No Taxation Without Representation
OPEN LETTER to CWA Local 7076 WCA members
Cc: Robin Gould, CWA Regional Coordinator, Denver Office
Cc: Larry Cohen, CWA National President, Washington, D.C.

May 29, 2012

Dear Mr. Donald Alire, CWA Local President,
My coworkers informed me you requested my assistance. You have banned me from representing our bargaining unit members in union activity. As such I have stated repeatedly I will not assist you or YOUR union as long as you prohibt me from formally championing their voices. You wish to exploit me but not respect our position.

Over a month ago my coworkers asked you politely and respectfully to drop your prohibition and allow me to serve their interests. You ignored their request and have continued to further a retaliatory agenda.

You made this decision. You also have the authority to end this inappropriate activity. We hold you personally responsible and consider the union professionally liable for all damages.

I documented in my post, (3.31.12), your justification for banning my formal involvement, "You have threatened to go to the Governor with proposals that are not goals of the organization and undermine our principles."

That may be your personal opinion but your action violates OUR contractual rights under the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Article 1, Section 5: "... however, that nothing contained herein shall bar the parties or their members from petitioning their elected political representatives or fully and actively participating in the political process."

We have petitioned our elected officials. For this, you retaliate against us. This harms us. YOUR union has continued a pattern of punative behavior for many months now — yet YOUR union continues to extract money from our paychecks. This is taxation without represenation.

When officials take our money over our objection; when they disenfranchise us by denying our right to select our representatives; when they violate our contractual rights using tactics of retaliation, the officials become gangsters and thugs — they fail to win the hearts and minds of the membership. Such behavior isn't representative of democracic participation but of mafia intimidation and dictatorships. This is the legacy your are creating for the workers' movement in this country.

Sincerely


Your Union is Hurting You!
OPEN LETTER to CWA Local 7076 WCA members
Cc: Robin Gould, CWA Regional Coordinator, Denver Office

May 9, 2012

Dear Mr. Donald Alire, CWA Local President,
In your email Monday, May 7th, you asked for feedback about the proposed changes to the WCA Employee Policy manual. I categorically object to these changes. My coworkers and I have not had sufficient time to study management's modifications. As we are not represented at this time, do not allow these proposed policy changes to become effective. Your effort on this has not been in the best interest of WCA employees and this is further evidence of the Local's incompetence in the stewardship of worker rights in state government. Let me illustrate:

First, you emailed PDF copies of the proposed changes to a subset of WCA bargaining unit employees. Why not distribute these to all our employees? Further, your method overwhelmed mobile communication devices. Remember we do not use state email or computers, as it is unclear whether we are allowed to use these resources for union activity. Your action can get us in trouble. I have posted the PDFs below:

Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 5
Section 6
Section 7
Section 8

Second, although the union has the right to contact ALL WCA members, you did not do this. Why did you fail to inform ALL our members? We have no authority to do this by ourselves. WCA members have a right to be fully informed about possible changes to our work environment.

Third, you unilaterally agreed to a deadline of May 11, 2012 without consulting us or prior to getting us necessary information that would allow us to analyze the proposed changes.

Fourth, I asked you weeks ago for a "change list" — using standard policy mark-up language, which includes STRIKE and/or [INSERT] sections. There are nearly 100 pages of material. We cannot analyze management's proposal in the current fashion.

Fifth, although you are an IT professional, you do not use modern information technology to assist our effort. Rather than sending out PDFs via email, you could have requested Word documents with STRIKE and/or [INSERT] mark-up. These files would have been smaller and easier to analyze. Why do you use communication principles from the 19th century? This union, Communications Workers of America, seems to be highly backward.

Sixth, as you refuse to allow me to represent my coworkers, I cannot speak for or do work on behalf of my coworkers. Obviously you are not a "team builder" — and, your personal battle against me hurts WCA members. This is highly unprofessional.

Yet let me be clear, I object to these proposed changes. Your leadership on this matters appears to constitute administrative negligence.

Sincerely

Dictator Don: Let us have a voice!
OPEN LETTER to CWA Local 7076 WCA members

[5.8.12] Friday, May 11th, is an important day for you. You probably don't know this. Local president, Donald Alire, knows. Yet he's doing a poor job representing your interests. He's wastes his energy exercising "dictatorial" powers in a personal battle against me rather than fighting for you. This should make you angry!

WCA management has proposed significant changes to YOUR Employee Handbook — rules that govern the quality of life in the WCA workplace. Friday, May 11th, is the deadline for your response, as negotiated with management by Dictator Don. You are required to answer through your union leadership, per the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

What do you think of the proposed changes? Do you agree or disagree? Will these be beneficial to you or not? You don't know? Why not? It is the Local's responsibility to inform you — but Dictator Don didn't! Isn't that an example of administrative negligence? Why are you paying him? Dictator Don receives around $1,700 per month of your money. If he's not doing a competent job for you, why does he take your money? Why do you allow this?

I volunteered to assist. Your current team of stewards is understaffed and without sufficient resources to study management's proposed changes. I have time and the experience with WCA employee policies to represent you. Yet Dictator Don has unilaterally determined I am unfit to represent you. You are without an Agency vice president — due the petty political manipulation by Dictator Don. His battle against me ultimately hurts you.
  • You are left without competent representation.
  • You are not properly uninformed about critical matters that affect your career.
  • You do not have a voice in your workplace.
  • Why are you paying this union?
The CBA, Article 2, Section 12, extends stewards and officers the privileges of using state resources, such as email, computers, telephones, etc., to conduct the required business of labor-management activity. Dictator Don continues to block me from serving as your steward. He doesn't like me because I am too demanding. Yes, I demand the Local account for every nickel of your money!

Friday, May 11th, remains an important date for our workplace. If this is the type of leadership we can expect from this Local, I believe we are all in agreement: Let us keep our money!

MISAPPROPRIATION OF MEMBER RESOURCES
OPEN LETTER to CWA Local 7076 WCA members

[4.15.12] Many of you have asked for specifics about concerns of financial misappropriation by CWA Local 7076. Obtaining working budget information from Local officials has been a difficult process. Initial requests were ignored or denied. I then received conflicting or incomplete materials. When I received the CWA Local 7076 Proposed Budget, it showed alarming trends. See FY2011 Budget Proposal.

In the first section of the CWA Local 7076 Proposed Budget, Total Income for 08-09 Actual is listed as $511,335.87; 09-10 Actual is listed as $431,585.43; and the proposed 10-11 Budget expected income around $500,000.00. Yet examining the bottom of P2 and top of P3 illustrates the mismanagement of member resources. For 08-09 Actual, CWA Local 7076 overspent their budget by $67,072.76 (P3) or -13.1%; for 09-10 Actual, the Local overspent their budget by $89,139.47 (P3) or -20.7%. Their proposed 10-11 Budget suggested they would continue to overspend, and increase the overspending, by $122,100.00 (P3) or -24.4%. Is it clear to you now why I began ringing the alarm bells? Do you believe this is responsible behavior?

After continuing my demands for over a year, I received some additional information in April 2011. See Finances1 and Finances2.

In Finances1, Local 7076 listed they were overbudget by more than $21,383. In Finances2, their figures suggested they were overbudget by some $29,792. Under Section 7500, Item 6510: Rents, Local 7076 paid some $11,949.12 for building leases in March 2011. Most of this covers the "cadillac" home office in Santa Fe, which costs around $8,000 per month — or nearly $100,000 per year. This is YOUR money going for high-priced office space and adds little to improving working conditions.

In Thursday's meeting (4.12.12), current Local president, Donald Alire, told us he works as a volunteer. This was an untrue statement. When questioned, Donald admitted member dues compensate him a minimum of 14 hours per week at his State of New Mexico rate of some $25.38/hour, a $300/month stipend, and expenses. In addition, examining Finances2, we see Item #7050: Officer Compensation listed as some $7,613.51 for March 2011. Officers are not volunteers; they are paid generously with your member dues. As your Agency Vice President, I received a $100/month stipend. See Financial Policies. Collectively this line item in the budget came to about $2,703.78 for March 2011. See Item #7250. For an example of Officer Salaries, see Salaries. These figures do not include monthly stipends or claimed expenses.

Item #6590: Accounting Services shows March 2011 expenses of some $6,886.13. Although you pay for a Treasurer officer, this person cannot manage the books properly - thus, an outside individual provides the accounting services at about $50/hour. Why are we paying for the Treasurer? Why are we paying $50/hour when competent accounting professionals at the WCA work for much less?

In a March 19, 2011 memo to the eBoard, CWA District representative, Jana Smith-Carr, wrote, "I have found some serious issues which I believe the Executive Board needs to address in order to keep the local functioning and in compliance with various constitutional and legal requirements." Ms. Smith-Carr included the following:

Filing System
"There must not be any check written that does not have an accompanying voucher. Those vouchers along with a copy of the check and the invoice, if applicable, need to be placed in the files."

Payroll
"Anyone completing a payroll voucher must be very specific for all time spent on local business. This shall also apply to staff."

Loans to Members
  • "It is my recommendation that no personal loans or advances should be given to any officer or member.
  • If the local currently has any outstanding personal loans or advances, there must be an accompanying promissory note with a repayment plan."
I have been unable to obtain additional information about this last matter. Credible sources told me this is related to direct theft of member funds. We should demand greater clarity about this.



[Update 4.17.12] I've added supplementary documents, 2009 Form 990, for the tax year beginning October 1, 2009 and ending September 30, 2010. Part 1, Line 19, of this document reveals CWA Local 7076 overspent revenues for the 2008 tax year by $67,073 (greater than 13 percent). This is similar to figures reported 4.15.12. This document suggests the Local overspent revenues for 2009 by $4,939, contrary to other documents I received and reported on 4.15.12. Expenses for both tax years were relatively similar, around $578K. The Local didn't cut back after overspending by 13 percent; they simply received more member dues.

As pointed out in the 4.15.12 post, current Local president, Donald Alire, claims he receives financial support from members for about 14 hours of work per week. On an annual basis, Donald's base "salary" would be around $18,500. He also receives another $300/month ($3,600/year) in stipend. Donald's total would be about $22,000, not including other expense reimbursements.

Reviewing 2009 Form 990, Part VII (P7), we learn Robin Gould, president for partial year, received some $23,265 in member supported salary; Michelle Lewis, president for partial year, received even more: $23,654. This suggests the Local paid more than twice as much for the president as would be considered normal. Janine Anton, serving as Treasurer, received $12,583, and the Local paid an additional $17,868 in Accounting services on top of this (Part IX, P10, line 11c). It is my understanding there were problems with the financial accounts during this time.

Examining 2009 Form 990, Part IX (P10), highlights a key concern on my part: travel. For the fiscal year, the Local compensated officers and staff approximately $55,607 in travel reimbursements (line 17). How much could this have been reduced using telephone conferencing or other technologies? And, of concern, $48,843 in "Other" services (line 11g) - what is included in this category? Rents/Occupancy came to $78,519, which is enough to buy a small home.

STATE WORKERS SEEK CHOICE IN THE WORKPLACE
Office of the Governor
490 Old Santa Fe Trail
Room 400
Santa Fe, NM 87501

OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNOR MARTINEZ AND LOCAL MEDIA OUTLETS

April 10, 2012

Dear Honorable Governor Martinez:
I have been a dues paying member of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), Local 7076 chapter, for some five years. I have served as a union steward for about four of those years and my coworkers in the bargaining unit at the Workers' Compensation Administration (WCA) elected me to Agency Vice President to represent our interests over three years ago. Current Local 7076 president, Donald Alire, banned me from serving my coworkers stating, "You have threatened to go to the Governor with proposals that are not goals of the organization and undermine our principles. I am not comfortable, at this time, with you as a representative of our organization."

I am writing to you, on behalf of over 40 bargaining unit members at the WCA (nearly all our official number of union-eligible employees), who have signed a petition asking you to give state employees "choice" in the workplace. We seek to repeal the Fair Share provision of the state's collective bargaining agreement with the union.

People will ask why a strong union activist would further such a request. The short answer is CWA Local 7076 misappropriated money over the past couple years. I serve as an economist for the state and work with budgets and financial figures professionally. Around June 2010 I discovered alarming irregularities in Local 7076 financial reporting and accounting. The response from Local 7076 was to obfuscate and cover up this unethical behavior. The harder I worked to discern the degree of financial misappropriation, the more Local 7076 officials attacked me professionally. This retaliation caused me serious complications with my employer. In my professional opinion, Local 7076 and CWA officials did everything in their power to keep union members and non-union fee payers from discovering the truth about their money. This is unacceptable.

Fair Share is a privilege not a right. Unions argue they need "fair share" to minimize free ridership, i.e., small number of employees financially supporting the union while other employees decline to contribute fairly although benefiting from union activity.

Local 7076 appears to have engaged in financial misappropriation, covered up this failure and attacked those who reported the problem to members to correct accounting practices. Simply put, Local 7076 violated their promise to members and agency fee payers alike through their unethical, corrupt and incompetent activity. This has destroyed member trust and diminished the credibility of the union. As Local 7076 refuses to allow me to serve and represent the interests of my coworkers, we collectively request a meeting with you.

When running for the office of governor, you promised to target corrupt financial practices within state government. We ask that you extend your efforts to the current labor bargaining process. State government employees, faced with unethical practices, deserve choice in the workplace. This is our only means of restraining inappropriate activity and demanding good governance in union affairs. We would be deeply indebted to you for your assistance.

Sincerely,

CWA Local 7076 union member
State Government Employee

Employee Pleads for Ethical Governance Over CWA Local 7076
4.1.12: OPEN LETTER to Jana Smith-Carr, District Representative, regarding CWA Local 7076

Morning Jana ~
I've included Donald's latest confirmation of this local's continued attacks on me for doing the "right" thing, as he has refused to respond to me.

If we were talking about who we should support in the upcoming election, this would be a political discussion and all views should be respected. Yet we are talking about the mismanagement of member dues -- essentially the THEFT of member money. This is not open for debate or difference of opinion.

Over a year ago I asked you to have the district take over and run this local. You didn't agree with me. I still do not see that Donald et al can run the local union properly and professionally. Donald shows in the attached message he's not a leader but a dictator.

The local union took money from my last paycheck — this is a tax, as I am forced to make this deduction. This is a tax on my coworkers as well. Yet who represents our interests? My coworkers would vote me in for Agency VP and they respect me as their steward. Yet Donald refuses to allow us to be represented — as we choose. Like King George in the 1770s, he dictates how we are to be represented and taxed. This led to a revolution then ...

Whether I go to the governor or not is up to my coworkers. What has Donald or the local union done to change our position? Does Donald come to the WCA to speak to us about past practices? No, he simply hides behind a wall of bureaucracy. He continues a cover-up where he may have been a participant in misappropriation of funds. Let the WCA team of auditors review the books. Tell us the truth. Stop punishing me!

Finally, Donald talks about the "goals of the organization." Are the goals of Donald et al to "steal" member dues and cover it up? My goals, the goals of my coworkers, is to ensure proper governance of the local union; to ensure our "taxed" contributions are used properly and accounted for professionally. This is the foundation of ANY ethical and successful organization. We cannot build a workers' lobby on a flimsy house of cards. We must begin with trust, credibility, and open and transparent governance.

I have been with the union for some five years. I have been polite and professional for most of this time. Yet as I told you in person recently, I have lost my patience with this amateur effort. It's not impossible to run this organization professionally -- yet the local union must recruit and nurture quality people. Instead, they run out those who demand excellence.

My coworkers demand excellence. They have a right to make this demand — the local union is taking their money; taking their money against their will in many cases. I demand high quality, ethical and professional governance; my coworkers demand nothing less.

I came to you months ago, over a year ago, asking politely for you to use your authority to correct this mismanagement. When we spoke in person recently, you told me my complaints were valid yet you did not "approve of my methods." What methods do I have but to speak out?

As you see here, Donald et al have disappeared me. What option is left for me or my coworkers? This group of officers hides from me; from us. I have always been willing to talk — they are the ones who shut the door.

I simply demand to be made whole; my coworkers want to be made whole as well. If we are to be taxed, we want TRUTHFUL and ETHICAL governance.

These are the principles that we demand — if the local union is to forcefully take money from our paychecks. Apparently these goals are at odds with this local union: Communications Workers of America Local 7076.

Hope you have a wonderful day.

********************
Evening,


Sorry for the confusion but according to the bylaw, the President appoints stewards. I believe that it is very important to the organization that stewards work towards the common goals of the local union. At this time, we are bargaining with the State of New Mexico for a fair contract for the membership. You have threatened to go to the Governor with proposals that are not goals of the organization and undermine our principles. I am not comfortable, at this time, with you as a representative of our organization. If you would like to meet and talk about my concerns, please feel free to call me at 505-XXX-XXXX.

Donald Alire
CWA President Local 7076

Union Continues Retaliation Against Employee
3.31.12: OPEN LETTER to CWA Local 7076 WCA members

Dear coworkers and friends,
I wish to thank each of you for the support over the past six months. This has been an extremely trying and difficult time. Your support has meant so much to both my wife and I. With my return on March 5th, I have tried to rebuild the networks we had established over some 5-6 years together as coworkers. I have learned that a group of local union officials have continued their frivolous and malicious attacks against me. I interpret this as retaliation for my actions to protect and defend your member dues.

This week I learned CWA local 7076 union president, Donald Alire, removed me as a WCA steward to prevent me from representing your interests. I asked him to explain:

March 30, 2012 10:13:26 PM MDT
Evening Scott,

Sorry for the confusion but according to the bylaw, the President appoints stewards. I believe that it is very important to the organization that stewards work towards the common goals of the local union. At this time, we are bargaining with the State of New Mexico for a fair contract for the membership. You have threatened to go to the Governor with proposals that are not goals of the organization and undermine our principles. I am not comfortable, at this time, with you as a representative of our organization. If you would like to meet and talk about my concerns, please feel free to call me at 505-XXX-XXXX.

Donald Alire
CWA President Local 7076


I have included my response and posted it here to keep you informed in an open and transparent fashion:

March 31, 2012 6:48:37 AM MDT
Good morning Donald ~
I am tired of the retaliation from you and others in the local union. I have sufficient evidence to suggest officers, possibly even you, misappropriated member funds. As I tried to determine if these serious allegations were in fact accurate, local union members worked to hurt me, cause me trouble with my employment at the WCA and ultimately harm my family and our financial future.

As a steward and the representative of WCA members for the local union, I have an obligation to ascertain what is going on. As you are aware, I tried to review the books. The local union made that impossible. I have a team of WCA auditors who are willing to join me to review the local union's financial records. When can we do this?

The fact that WCA members have signed a petition regarding the contractual provision of Fair Share reflects the failure of the local union, people like you, to respond adequately to their concerns. I do not appreciate that you punish me for the failure of others, including yourself.

WCA local union members believe, and I agree, they have the right to know fully and completely how their money is being spent. They are highly disappointed the local union has engaged in a cover up of past (and possibly present) activity. They are unhappy that their representative, who was serving their interests, was attacked and continues to suffer retaliation for simply doing a good job as a "watch dog" over member dues.

From my point of view, the local union is targeting and trying to hurt me - for doing an ethical and professional job as a steward and agency representative. As I told Jana [Smith-Carr, CWA union district representative], the local union and national should applaud such diligence. What message are you sending by working to disappear me and shut me up?

As I want open and honest discussions, I am posting this information to our WCA member forum so my coworkers can remain informed.

I am available to talk and meet. When are you in Albuquerque?

Thank you for your time and for getting back to me.
Scott

Fair Share Rebate Update
10.5.11: OPEN LETTER to Local 7076 members

As pointed out in my September 8th post (see 9.8.11 post), two WCA Bargaining Unit members who have "declared their objection, in writing to the Union, during the month of May" and wish to be classified as an Agency Fee Payer, have not received their annual rebate. This refund, per the Contract, must be remitted to the Agency Fee Payer by the end of July each year.

One of the two received a rebate on about October 1st, some 60 days late. The other Agency Fee Payer still has yet to receive the annual rebate. We have heard nothing from the Union about the reasons for this delay.

This is continued example of the lack of fiscal responsibility by the Local and International Union. This group readily demands and takes our money but fails to act as a competent steward in return.

[Employee] Responds to False Charges Filed Against Him By Sue Wenzel
9.22.11: OPEN LETTER to Local 7076 members

Jay Boyle
CWA Staff Representative
8085 E. Prentice Avenue
Greenwood Village, CO 80111-2745

Dear Mr. Boyle:
I am in receipt of your letter dated September 15th. Let us be clear on a couple matters. First, neither the CWA International nor Local 7076 have credibility with me. If you wish to earn my respect I hope you will investigate the charges I (or our stewards) have filed against this Local and specific officials. Second, please do not send material to me via Certified Mail. I am rarely at home and do not have time to visit the post office to retrieve correspondence. Third, Susan Wenzel has proven to be an incompetent Local officer in my opinion; she also holds her vice president position in violation of Local Bylaws. Her credibility and testimony are therefore suspect.

In your letter you ask that I make myself available on your suggested dates along with all materials and witnesses. I will consider cooperating with you if you demonstrate integrity. If you simply wish to cover up past practices and continue corrupt behavior, there is no need for us to meet.

Finally, as I will demonstrate, Wenzel's charges are baseless and without evidentiary support. If you wish me to answer her fraudulent allegations, I will need you to provide proper background materials. I also wish to refer you to my website (herein BTS) at:

http://www.BeatTheSqueeze.com

Per Wenzel's July 25, 2011, charges:

1. Wenzel writes, "[employee] verbalized on 7/16/11 he is willing to write to the governor of the state to have her decertify the union." This is a false statement. New Mexico governor, Susana Martinez, in my opinion, does not have the authority to decertify the union — even if that was my goal. I have never sought such action and have been fully open about my objectives. These are posted on BTS.

I am the elected Agency VP for the Workers' Compensation Administration (WCA). My Bargaining Unit overwhelmingly distrusts the current slate of officials administrating this Local (documented on BTS). As their representative, I am their voice. In the Contract, Article 1, Section 5, " ... nothing contained herein shall bar the parties or their members from petitioning their elected political representatives or fully and actively participating in the political process."

The WCA Bargaining Unit objects to the forced and mandatory requirement of Fair Share — as the Local has not been open, transparent or responsible with member dues in our opinion. The Contract provides we may petition our elected political representatives. I openly informed the Local Executive Board (herein eBoard) of our concerns and intent. This is posted on BTS.

2. Wenzel writes, "At the meeting on 7/16/11, Scott's behavior was so threatening ..." Donald Alire requested the group move into Executive, which is confidential. Wenzel violated the confidentiality of this forum by releasing HER interpretation of events. As an Executive session is confidential, there are no minutes or notes from this meeting. As I respect the confidentiality provision, I am limited in what I may say. Yet to answer Wenzel's false allegation, I must point out the group discussion was heated and emotional; yet nobody was "threatened." [text redacted for public version]

3. Wenzel writes, "This left the board without a quorum, so no business could be conducted and no adjournment could officially take place." I have no power over other eBoard members. They chose to leave. The eBoard did business prior to moving into Executive; nothing prevented the eBoard from moving out of Executive and continuing business. Wenzel's charge is baseless.

4. Wenzel writes, "Since 2010, [employee] has waged a personal war against the president of the local without regard to the health of the local." I have never waged "war" — please ask Wenzel to provide examples. Second, this is not "personal." This is professional. I have called for Local 7076 interim president, Michelle Lewis, to resign on a number of occasions. My justification is published and available. Please ask Wenzel for this information. In my professional opinion, Lewis has acted in an incompetent manner. Her action, not mine, brings disrepute to the Local and CWA in general.

5. Wenzel writes, "Since the state (management) has informed the union and all employees that state emails are not private and are subject to monitoring by management, Scott has been asked continually to stop using the state email system for communication of confidential union matters." The Contract, Article 33, states that "electronic and telephonic data and communication may be monitored ..." I have been an employee with the State of New Mexico (herein State) since 2006. This monitoring policy has been in effect since I began working with the State. This particular clause was included in the Contract, effective January 21, 2006 through present.

This is not a NEW notification. I have been using State email for union business since my initiation into the union, since becoming a steward and since being elected to the position of Agency VP. Using State email therefore is an Established Practice. The eBoard was asked to consider formally changing officer policy in August July 2011 but the issue was tabled. Wenzel thus has no formal authority to require eBoard officers use non-State email. The State can also monitor our phone lines yet Wenzel does not address this. Wenzel is disingenuous in her false accusation.

6. Wenzel writes, "Scott has falsely accused our president, orally and in writing, of locking him out of executive board meetings." Wenzel's statement is factually inaccurate. I have never expressed the president "locked" me out. Yet the president did instruct another Agency VP not to connect the phone for call-in participants in spring 2011 — although I had informed our regional representative and the president I would be unable to attend in person and would be calling in. My claim about this matter stands.

7. Wenzel writes, "Scott maintains a website that he has set up ..." This is accurate. I maintain the website, BeatTheSqueeze.com (as noted above). I pay the hosting and annual charges for the domain name. Neither the Local nor CWA provide any funding for this project. I have never allowed anyone to edit or access the "main" page or Home page. I did create a confidential password-protected discussion center for eBoard members. eBoard members and Local officers approved the "eBoard member" section and have used the FREE services I created for the Local and eBoard for over a year.

Wenzel used the services I provided to the Local for FREE on at least 17 occasions, as documented in the system log. As she provided false testimony on this matter, I will give you access to this system through her account to allow you to review the history. From the Home page, use the eBoard Member Login in the upper right corner.

[text redacted for public version]

After entering the login information you will be routed to the SEA-CWA eBoard Discussion Center. The first post, titled, "Intro," documents both Wenzel and Lewis supported this work:
mlewis (Michelle Lewis) on about Jun 8, 2010 at around 4:48pm, wrote about my work, "This is GREAT! Lots of activities here at the hall today...I think I have run into myself coming and going today in preparation for the current audit."

swenzel (Sue Wenzel) on about Jun 14, 2010 at around 10:19am, wrote about my work, "Took me awhile to get in, but persistance [sic] pays off. It is very similar to my discussion board for school, I like it. sue"
8. Wenzel writes (regarding the website BTS), the site utilizes "the union logo." This is a false statement. It was false on July 25, 2011, when Wenzel filed her charges. There is no union logo.

9. Wenzel's charges are false, malicious and without merit. If you cannot provide me with evidentiary support of her claims, there is no reason for us to meet. I cannot answer further due to the baseless and flawed allegations on the part of the incompetent Sue Wenzel.

10. Both interim president, Michelle Lewis, and interim vice president, Sue Wenzel, continue to engage in incompetent leadership over this Local. Their professional practices appear to be corrupt and/or incompetent; their management of Local member dues appears to be corrupt and/or incompetent. If you truly care about the health of unions in general and/or the health of this Local, I urge you to focus your investigation on these matters.

11. This letter has been posted on BTS, as I am committed to open, transparent and good governance. As the representative of approximately 60 Bargaining Unit members at the WCA, we have nothing to hide — unfortunately, it appears SEA-CWA Local 7076 officials prefer to hide their behavior.

Thank you in advance for your time.

Sincerely

Cc:
CWA President Larry Cohen (via email)
CWA Executive Vice President Annie Hill (via email)

Petition to End Fair Share
9.8.11: OPEN LETTER to Local 7076 members

Office of the Governor
490 Old Santa Fe Trail
Room 400
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Dear Honorable Governor Martinez:
On September 1st, see 9.1.11 post, I notified Bargaining Unit employees who serve you and New Mexico taxpayers at the Workers' Compensation Administration that we would initiate a petition to be forwarded to you regarding the unacceptable lack of accountability and deception furthered by SEA-CWA Local 7076 and the Communications Workers of America. As I have detailed extensively on this page, the current officials are not reasonably responsible to union members or Fair Share fee payers.

As of today, September 8th, I have received signed letters in support of this action from a MAJORITY of the WCA Bargaining Unit employees. We respectfully ask that you hear our pleas for help.

As the WCA Agency vice president for SEA-CWA Local 7076, I respectfully request your help. While I support unions in general, Bargaining Unit (BU) employees, members and Fair Share fee payers alike, must have the tools to demand accountability from this union. As BU employees are forced to participate, as we are required to pay money to this union, we do not have the tools we need. I ask you; we ask you — to provide us with these tools.

Essentially, you force us, the State of New Mexico forces us, to participate financially with SEA-CWA Local 7076. We simply ask for choice — the choice to freely participate or not. This will mandate SEA-CWA Local 7076 be accountable to members.

Fair Share Rebate Failure
Let me provide you with another example of the CONTINUED lack of accountability by SEA-CWA Local 7076 and the Communications Workers of America. This came to me today, September 8th, from a WCA Fair Share fee payer:
On May 10, 2011, I sent my objection letter to the union's Washington office as required, as well as a copy to the local office. On July 27, 2011, I followed up that letter by contacting the local to confirm receipt. I was told by Cynthia Hinkley they did not receive my letter. I emailed a copy of my objection letter to Cynthia Hinkley so I would not miss the deadline. It is funny how last year they claimed I did not send my objection letter and I had to do the same thing to qualify for the reimbursement.

During our conversation she did advise me the refund would not come until July. Throughout the month of July, each week I would call to find out the status of the refund, and was told, "within the next week or two." I also called the CWA in Washington to follow up and was told they where being processed. As of this letter, I do not have my refund.

Today I again placed a call to the CWA Washington office and was told (by someone in Helen Gibson's office) that the refund checks have not been issued. This individual would not provide an ETA as to the status of the refund. I also placed a call to Miles Conway in the local office. I advised him I still do not have the refund of my dues and this is unacceptable because I am required to pay my Fair Share fees in a timely manner — I EXPECT the UNION to refund me in a timely manner. I advised him of Article 3 (below) and the requirement for the refund to take place in July, just in case they did not know it is now September. Miles agreed to contact the Washington office for follow up.
ARTICLE 3. FAIR SHARE
Section 1. Employees who have completed their probationary period and who are not members of the Union shall, as a condition of continuing employment, pay to the Union each pay period a "fair share" payment in an amount certified by the Union (Agency Fee Payer). In order to become an Agency Fee Payer an employee must declare their objection, in writing to the Union, during the month of May each year of this Agreement. Effective July of each year the Agency Fee Payer will receive a rebate for that portion of dues deducted as non-chargeable expenditures.

Petition to End Fair Share
9.1.11: OPEN LETTER to Local 7076 members

Dear team ~
As you are aware I have been highly concerned about the financial and administrative competence of our Local. Over a year ago I began looking into these issues. I have been obstructed each step in my effort. Most of you know this history. The bottom line, in my professional opinion, is the Local is hiding something. As I have stated previously, I cannot tell you whether this is due to corruption, criminal activity or simply incompetence.

This puts me is an extremely difficult position. I support unions. This is why I became a member; underwent training to become a steward; and, ultimately, ran for the Agency vice president position. You graciously elected me to represent your interests.

As such my responsibility is to you: to do my best to represent you; to be honest with you; and, to be a competent steward over your money and interests. At this time I cannot trust the leaders of this Local. To further aggravate matters, a Local officer forwarded a libelous and fraudulent complaint about me to WCA senior management a couple weeks ago in retaliation for my investigation. This has created significant troubles in my work as an Economist. There is nothing more I can do now to mitigate my concerns. I must leave it to you.

I have spoken with many of you over the past months. Some clearly want to leave the Union; others may wish to continue. To represent ALL our interests, I gave the Local a proposal prior to the Aug 20th Executive Board meeting. Due our concerns about their lack of accountability, I asked the Executive Board to provide WCA Bargaining Unit employees with an "open enrollment" period similar to what we have with our health care insurance. This would allow those who object to this behavior a "free" opportunity to leave the Bargaining Unit; those willing to remain could "freely" do so as well. My terms were rejected by the Local.

The final option is to petition Governor Martinez. We have this right per the Contract. I have attached a sample letter. If you wish to join this petitioning process, I need you to sign, date and return the letter to me. As this is only a suggested format, you are free to modify the comments. If you wish to amend the last section, the paragraph which I have bolded, please speak with me first. This effort must be coordinated.

I have an opportunity to go home between September 10th and September 20th. If you are interested, please contact me by the 9th. If you need more time, that will be fine, but please let me know.

Many thanks for your years of support and encouragement.

In unity ...
Scott

DOWNLOAD: Petition to Gov. Suzana Martinez

How the Door of Corruption Opens in Local 7076
8.17.11: OPEN LETTER to Local 7076 members

Our union, Local 7076, is not a professional organization. It is managed by volunteers and part-time people who control over $500,000 per year in member dues and Fair Share fees. While some officials have honorable intentions, not all do in my opinion, and this environment is a breeding ground for corruption and illegal practices. See 8.4.11 Open Letter: Some Facts About Local 7076 Financial Affairs. My professional review uncovered numerous examples of financial irregularities.

To complicate matters, this Local stopped making General Membership and eBoard meeting minutes available to members after November 2007. This practice had been regularly followed since the January 21, 2006 General Membership meeting. Then the "lights went out!" [image below - click to enlarge]

No More Minutes Online for Review

Unions, similar to politicians and government officials, have an unfortunate history of major corruption. Therefore it is critical "NOT TO HIDE" information about events and financial activities.

To prevent improper activity, officials working for the Local are mandated through the Bylaws and Union Constitution to follow strict procedure. This frequently does not occur with this Local. Let me give you an example.

To conduct official business, the Local needs to call a formal meeting by providing notice. Notice should be posted sufficiently in advance of the proposed meeting to give officers time to adjust their schedules - generally this would be 48-hours, 72-hours or a week's time. Second, to hold an official meeting, a quorum must be established. The Local currently has about 18 officers serving on the eBoard, nine must be present to establish a quorum.

Once a quorum is established, motions may be entertained by the president or be offered by an eBoard officer. There must be a second if a vote or action is requested. This is relatively standard procedure for official groups. Yet here is an example how your Local conducts business. And, this is why the door of corruption is wide open!

On Tuesday, Aug 16th, I received an email from the interim Secretary, which he sent late the previous evening. This individual consistently ignores Bylaws and procedural due process. It is rare I get an email from him. He generally inserts a "derogatory term" in the Subject Line and Body of the email to block State of New Mexico recipients. Here is his memo:
FROM: Brett Siegel [brett.siegel@sea-cwa.org]
Subject: new motion

Eboard,
Due to time constraints this needs to be voted on by COB [close of business] tomorrow. If the vote is incomplete, I'll individually call people and poll them. The time is rapidly approaching for the deadline to register for this conference.

Let me restate Adam's motion. His motion, which was entertained by Michelle, is for the eboard to approve the cost of sending him to the leadership conference. His estimated costs are in his email below.

I second the motion, and vote yes. Please vote ASAP.

Thanks,
Brett
Where are the violations of Due Process and Bylaws?
1. At the June eBoard meeting, it was agreed there would be no new spending unless approved through the Finance Committee. This committee is tasked to work on the budget, as the current year's budget is in disarray. We agreed to get the Local's books in order first. This has not occurred.

2. "Due to time constraints" ... Siegel does not give proper notice. This prevents discussion and review over proposals. He rushes officers to a vote. This is a request for $2,500+ and members have a right to be represented in this decision. If a proposal is worthwhile, a complete discussion is warranted and welcomed.

3. Meetings cannot begin until the required quorum is established. Thus any official business proposed by Siegel prior to this is out of order. The interim secretary mentions Michelle, interim president, to suggest this is "in order and proper." It is not and this is why I am concerned about Michelle's leadership.

4. "If the vote is incomplete, I'll individually call people and poll them" - this is not allowed. Siegel may call people, but how do you or I know how they voted? How do we know what Siegel says to them? This is poor governance - and this is activity that is not "in the sunshine."

What is the proposal?
From: Adam Koontz
Subject: Leadership conference

I am sending this to you first, this seems high for me and am thinking is this something we should be spending money on. Tell me if this is reasonable to you and I'll send it to the eBoard for discussion

I am asking for consideration as a candidate to attend the CWA leadership conference. I believe this conference with the OI training I attended will help continue to help grow and organize the UNMH.

Price breakdown:
Price of Conference: $875
Plane Ticket: $516
Airport Shuttle $70
Meals around $125
One night extra in hotel $60
Lost wages $860 depending on traval days
Total estimated cost $ 2,505

Sincerely,
Adam Koontz
CWA Local 7076 Agency Vice-President
Do you support this? Estimated total cost is $2,505 of YOUR money. You have as much information as I do. I cannot vote on a proposal that costs this much with so little information. Yet this occurs time and time again with this Local. This suspect process is thrust on us all the time as well. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are expended in this manner. There is little accountability; there is poor stewardship over YOUR money. And, such unprofessional practice opens the door to corruption and misappropriate of funds. This goes on and on with this group!

How did the officers vote?
Siegel voted yes.
Donald Alire, Agency VP DOH: "I vote yes."
Daniel Secrist, "Yes"
Anselm Emeanuwa, Agency VP NMENV, "I vote No. Look for the District scholarship to reduce the cost."

While I generally support Adam and his efforts at UNMH, I do not have sufficient information to make an educated vote on behalf of my members. The Finance Committee has not met - as required, and I agree with Anselm who wants to ensure the Local remains fiscally responsible. I still have no evidence the Local is. As this process is rushed and in violation of our established rules, I abstain at this time.

What do you think happened? This is the final violation of the rules. Where are the minutes and details? I rarely hear about outcomes of votes and actions that occur in this chaotic process. A small group, a cabal, jams votes and actions down our throat without giving us time to review or have a discussion. This small group decides by themselves without following proper procedure and spends YOUR money without your knowledge or approval. This is unacceptable to me. What are your thoughts?

Brett Siegel: Interim Secretary, Attacks Agency VP - Over and Over
Beginnnig in early July (see 7.5.11 post), interim Local Secretary, Brett Siegel, began a malicious, defamatory and fraudulent campaign to attack the credibility and good reputation of [employee]. As an elected representative of about 60 employees at the Workers' Compensation Administration (WCA), I and WCA stewards have openly worked to reform questionable Local practices. Rather than join this effort, Siegel prefers to "shoot the messenger."

Siegel's campaign of libelous charges and wild assertions forced [employee] to cancel an initial review of Local financial records (see 7.19.11 post). Makes one wonder why Siegle would be so determined to stop an open review. Ya???

Siegel's unprofessional efforts escalated this past week. Does this man have something to hide?

As reported in the 7.21.11 post, WCA union steward, Cyrette Edmon, working with Agency VP, filed a Formal Complaint against interim president Lewis alleging Lewis appointed interim Executive VP, Sue Wenzel, without following proper procedural due process. Agency VP openly requested to be appointed Prosector in the matter. In the July 11th post, Agency VP asks, "Will the Local eBoard permit [employee] to serve in this role or continue to obstruct review over the Local's financial and administrative behavior?"

Apparently Siegel is determined to ensure Agency VP is not appointed Prosecutor.

On Tuesday, Aug 3rd, Agency VP received a message from Siegel's State Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) email address. "Please check your union email for an important message which will not forward to state email," Siegel writes to eBoard members.

Unfortunately Agency VP does not have his union account login information while at work and cannot check. Siegel refuses to send the message directly to him.

Later that afternoon, once at home, Agency VP checks his union account. Siegel has called an "emergency" meeting that night - violating procedural due process - and has one name listed for possible Prosecutor: Richard Sober. Although requested by Agency VP, and informally seconded by Cyrette Edmon, the Local Secretary refuses to include Agency VP's name. Isn't this referred to as tampering in an election?

Agency VP is unable to attend the "emergency" meeting and the group apparently appoints Sober. Siegels gets his victory. He has obstructed Agency VP from investigating these issues. Agency VP also volunteered to serve as interim Treasurer, due to the long-term medical disability of Leona Maes. The Local rejected that request from Agency VP as well. Does anyone see a pattern here?

Siegel doesn't stop at this point. He wants to further destroy Agency VP. On Aug 5 at about 1:13 AM, Siegel cracks the Local email administrative panel. He gains unauthorized access by bugging Miles Conway who is on vacation in Colorado. Siegel, in a written statement to eBoard members, instructs them that he intended to change Agency VP's password. This would enable Siegel to access ALL of Agency VP's Local email records.

Yet Siegel claims to make a MASSIVE discovery ... he rushes to tell the eBoard. In his memo, which he titles, "criminal or lying WCA VP?" Siegel claim his discovery proves Agency VP has been lying and that Agency VP's "real intention is to destroy the local."

The truth is Agency VP wasn't lying; he isn't a criminal; he isn't trying to destroy the Local. Agency VP, Edmon, Torres and other members posting here are simply seeking to reform their unprofessional and possibly unlawful activities.

Siegel won't stop with obstructing a review of financial records; won't stop at tampering with an investigation of Formal Charges; won't stop at libeling Agency VP before peers. No ... Siegel wants to harm Agency VP further.

Siegel then takes his animosity toward Agency VP to the WCA. Siegel forwards a scathing complaint to WCA MIS director. Siegel dons his DCA hat to enhance his credibility and falsely, libelously and fraudulently claims Agency VP is harassing, abusing, misusing and a whole lot more ... a whole lot more.

Siegel violates many tenets our civil behavior. If Siegel has FORMAL issues with Agency VP, then Siegel has the right to file, as Agency VP and Edmon have done, with the International and Local. Apparently Siegesl doesn't consider these avenues legitimate - because he is obstructing that process.

Siegel clearly does not respect the Union system of conflict resolution and jurisprudence. Therefore he "tattles" to State management hoping to get Agency VP in trouble with his administration. This is an example how interim officers at Local 7076 operate. They do not follow procedural due process; they do not adequately safeguard your money; they are not professional stewards over this Local; and they intentionally seek to harm those who demand reform.

Of course, all this information goes to the governor's team. They are delighted at our immature and unprofessinal behavior. We entered bargaining in July. This is why I wanted to clear up the many allegations.

To be successful in bargaining, the Local must have the FULL SUPPORT of members. Yet how can stewards and leaders on the ground confidently ask members to fight when the Local appears ready to impload? How are stewards like Agency VP and Edmon to answer WCA members who ask, "What is the state of our union? How is our money being spend? In your opinion is it being spent wisely?"

This Local is collapsing, not due to people like Agency VP, Edmon, Torres and others, who demand reform. This Local is collapsing due to those who hide, obstruct and spend their energy working to attack and destroy hard-working representatives and excellent State employees.

This, my friends, is the state of YOUR union today.

p.s. Agency VP - per Local Bylaws and the Union Constitution - filed formal charges against Brett Siegel with the International office in Washington, D.C. and the Local in Santa Fe. Agency VP did not contact Siegel's DCA supervisor like a uneducated child. He trusted the union channel, because Agency VP, unlike Siegel, respects unions. Unfortunately the current officer corp does not!

Manny Torres, former UNM Agency VP, Speaks to Members
8.5.11: OPEN LETTER to Local 7076 members

Matt and I went up to Santa Fe to attend the review of financial records that [employee] was to do on Saturday, July 30. When we arrived, we greeted the group and went on to help Scott begin the review. We began pulling out files randomly as there was not any area in particular that we were going to focus on. As we (Scott, Matt, and myself) were trying to figure out a process for the review, Jana Carr began questioning Scott and making it difficult to continue on with the review. Scott was taking notes during the review. Jana then asked Scott what he was going to do with his notes. Scott replied, "I'm going to take them with me." Jana replied, "no you can't take them because paper work can't leave the office."

I stepped in and asked why. Jana replied by saying that there is a document that states that Union material cannot be removed. I emphasized that we were not removing any material. We were only taking notes. I asked Jana to provide the document that she was referring to, but it was not provided. At that point, Jana continued to say that she needed to call the Union lawyer to see if we could remove our notes form the hall. Once again no answer from the lawyer was given to us. These questions should have been addressed before this meeting took place.

As we continued to take notes and look over records, Janine Anton arrived and immediately began questioning Scott about his wife's presence. She told him that his wife was not a member and she needed to move away for the table. Scott replied that he told every one that his wife was coming with him and no one objected or expressed that it'd be a problem. Scott asked more then once to be left alone but Janine didn't stop picking and requesting for his wife to step out of the office or move away from the table. In frustration, Scott got up and and asked Janine to leave him alone. Janine yelled "call 911 because I've been assaulted" so Jana left the room.

As soon as she made this claim, I got up from my chair and disagreed with her allegation. Jana came back and threatened us that the police were coming and stated that she could make them leave. My response was "no, bring them over here". When the police showed up, Jana went out side to meet with them and they called Scott out. After some time, I went outside to see if I could talk to them about what I had witnessed. I told them that Scott was being pushed to his limit and harassed by Jana and Janine. It appeared that Jana and Janine were trying to interfere with the review of the financial records and were making a hostile environment. The police came into the room and asked Scott's wife to sit some where else. At that point, Scott ended the review and left. Rosa and I gave our notes to Scott. Jana asked if we were going to stay and I told her I had seen enough. So, Matt and I left.

Outside the building, Scott was talking to the police. Matt and I talked to Scott and his wife. I apologized to his wife for the crappy treatment she received. I encouraged Scott not to stop his pursuit or his quest.

Scott left and Donald came out with Jana. We began taking about what was going on with the poor leadership. Jana replied by saying that in two more months a new official can be elected. I asked Jana "what about Michelle taking money on May 13?". She replied "that was an accident, but Michelle did pay it back". I asked Jana what about the principle? She responded, "well everyone makes mistakes". Jana asked me "what do you want me to do?" My response was "get rid of Michelle and Sue". Her answer was "there is no one out there willing to take their place". I then asked her why doesn't district take it over? Her answer was that it would cost too much. In my opinion, that is a sad answer. So, Michelle and Sue, you have nothing to worry about because it would cost too much to replace you and there is nobody willing to replace you.

I'd like to highlight that in the short time that I helped with the review, I did see many discrepancies in records. One of my findings was that there many paid vouchers that were incomplete. They did not have the required 2 signatures. Another finding was receipts for store purchases for Union goods/materials along with other items. The personal items did not appear to be claimed for reimbursement, but it clearly indicates that personal shopping was done on Union time and wages.

Members, now is the time to support Scott! Please get involved and find out for yourself what is going on in your Local. If you pay dues, you have the right to ask and receive answers. So I encourage you to email the eboard with concerns or questions. That is one of their main purposes.

I have been a union member since 1999 and continued to pay dues with the IBEW and CWA. I had to earn my union ticket with IBEW. It's not as easy as just paying dues to be a member as it is with CWA.

Once again, I asked Jana if UNM could get a Staff but her answer was that it'd cost too much. The unions were not created to make money. They were created to serve the members. CWA doesn't seem to get this. Once I have the option to stop paying CWA dues, I will because CWA is just out for your dues and is not supporting its members' interests. I also asked Jana to get UNM out off 7076. Her answer was that UNM has been with 5 other locals. What a shame. No one ever looks out for UNM but yet CWA claims they want to increase UNM membership.

Thank you,

Manny Torres

Member Requests STOP on Mandatory Dues Deduction
8.4.11: OPEN LETTER to Local 7076 members

Hello Scott;
My name is John Barnhart. I work at UNM in the Physical Plant Department. I would like to thank you for all the hard work and dedication you have put forth for your CWA Union Local 7076 members. We all owe you a debt of gratitude.

About 4 weeks ago I e-mailed the CWA International board of Executives and explained that we have a corruption problem in local 7076. I also stated that all of our UNM campus stewards and Scott Askey have resigned. Now we have NO union representation at UNM and our 7076 local officers are too busy covering their butts to represent us. I also told them that I am a strong union supporter and that my grandfather was involved with the 1936 Flint Michigan Chevrolet Plant UAW Sitdown strikes which helped bring union labor to the forefront in the USA.

I asked the Board if they could help our Local with the corruption problems because I was trying to decide if I wanted to continue to pay Union dues.

The International board never answered my e-mail.

Since we have no CWA union representation at UNM now and for the forseeable future, I would like to stop paying my union dues of $480 a year immediately. The contract says that we can't cancel union dues until March 31st of every year. I think the contract Must be null and void if we don't have union representation at UNM.

I would like to get some kind of waver or permission to stop my payroll deduction of $20 per pay period from the union now, not in March. I will put the same amount of dues money in my own legal account for future use if needed.

Can you post this letter on beatthesqeese.com?

PS. Govenor Martinez would enjoy seeing all unions go away just like all the other Republican Govenors.

Thanks again,

John Barnhart
Cedar Crest
UNM Utility Plant Operator II

Some Facts About Local 7076 Financial Affairs
8.4.11: OPEN LETTER to Local 7076 members

Interested members have requested additional details about alleged and known financial misdealings. Interim president Lewis summoned the eBoard to Executive Session in July 2010, details which remain confidential, to discuss concerns she had with financial statements from Janine Anton. Anton served as Local 7076 Treasurer for a period of time. Copies of documents included by Lewis, including Janine Anton's Stipend and Salary Vouchers, are available on request. This information was sent to me about a month later, as I mediated this matter.

FROM: Michelle Lewis
SUBJECT: Requested information
August 20, 2010 6:07 PM

Good afternoon Scott--
The allegtation that were raised and discussed in the Executive session of the July 2010 meeting are based on the attached evidance:
  • December 24, 2009- No voucher in File
  • January 15,2010- No back-up from Oracle; Local reimbursed for 6.5 hours March 5, 2010- 6.4 hours reflected on Oracle timesheet; Local reimbursed for 8.0 hours lost wages
  • April 2, 2010- 6.4 hours reflected on Oracle timesheet; Local reimbursed for 8.0 hours lost wages
  • May 28, 2010- 6.4 hours reflected on Oracle timesheet; Local reimbursed for 8.0 hours lost wages
  • June 28, 2010- Local vouchered for $60 phone allowance and $100 officer stipend- Eboard had not approved request for appointment
  • In addition there was a voucher for lost wages for 1/19-8.0 hrs, 1/26-8.0 hrs, 1/26-2.0 hrs with no supporting documentation attached to the voucher
These are the allegations as discussed! Thank you for initiating the conversation.

Michelle and Thomas

Local Officials Summon Police Against WCA Agency VP
7.30.11: OPEN LETTER to Local 7076 members

As announced on this page (see July 8th post), WCA Agency VP and interim Local 7076 Finance Committee Chair [employee] arranged with Local 7076 officials to conduct a formal review of Local 7076 financial records. They settled on Saturday, July 30th. This review was announced in advance and members were encouraged to attend. The review ended disastrously, as Agency VP left around 11:30am after Local 7076 officials summoned the Santa Fe police. Local 7076 officials FAILED this review. Agency VP concludes the Local officials cannot be trusted to be responsible stewards over member dues.

Rosa Padilla, Local 7076 Regional VP from DOH, Manny Torres, Local 7076 member and former Agency VP from UNM, and Matt, a friend of Manny's, also volunteered to review with Agency VP. As announced weeks ago Agency VP brought his wife to assist the review.

Volunteers arrived at the Local 7076 Santa Fe office complex at 9am sharp. They were met by Jana Smith-Carr, CWA Union official from the Denver office, Donald Alire, Agency VP from DOH, and Dale Welsh, CPT-for-hire for Local 7076. Janine Anton, Agency VP, arrived later as an observer. [herein Local officials]

The group entered a large meeting room where strained pleasantries were exchanged. Volunteers were offered coffee and asked how they wanted to proceed. Agency VP responded, "We would like to see all check stubs and supporting documentation beginning January 1, 2010, as previously discussed."

The group was led to a financial office where 2-3 boxes of records were produced. Along with volunteers, the records were taken to the meeting room. "How do you want to proceed?" the Local officials asked. Agency VP responded, "For me I need to overview the records for a minute to get familiar with the format and protocol. After this I plan to examine every record."

"Every record?" Jana Smith-Carr defensively asked. "Yes, every record!" Agency VP responded.

About 5 minutes later Agency VP initiated the formal review. He pulled some summary forms from his workbook and distributed these to Ms. Padilla and Mr. Torres. Agency VP extracted a file from the first box and recommended each volunteer insert a place holder so all files could be returned to their proper place. The volunteers agreed to do their best to keep all records in order.

The three, Agency VP, Ms. Padilla and Mr. Torres, began working quietly. Jana Smith-Carr watched defensively. After some 30 minutes, she asked, "Why are you writing information on those forms? You cannot take those from the building!"

Agency VP responded, "How can I conduct a review without making notes or keeping a record?" Jana Smith-Carr responded, "If you try to take your forms from the room, I will summon the police." This set off an argument among the group. Jana Smith-Carr left the room to call an attorney - and, possibly the police. This is an example of the pressure exerted by Local officials on the volunteers. Agency VP was both perspiring heavily and shaking after the hostile exchange.

The volunteers quietly returned to their work. About 20 minutes later Janine Anton came into the room with a document and asked, "Why are you reviewing those records? There is a summary here." Agency VP responded, "While I would love to see that later, I need to do my own review at this stage. I need to know more about the Local's processes."

This appeared to frustrate Janine Anton and she responded, "Well, your wife cannot see these records. Only members can view the records. She needs to leave the room."

Agency VP angrily responded, "I announced she would be joining me weeks ago. Nobody complained. She graciously gave up her Saturday to assist and volunteer in this process. This is how you treat her?"

Janine Anton continued to demand she leave the room. Agency VP stood up and exclaimed, "This obstruction and harassment must end. First, you say we can't take any notes; now you say I can't have an assistant after we've driven all this way and volunteered to give up a Saturday for this. This denial, delay and obstruction must end now!"

Janine Anton, standing at least 10 feet from Agency VP, claimed Agency VP intimidated her and stated she felt threatened (Agency VP had not moved from his standing position). She asked Jana Smith-Carr to call the police. Janine Anton left the room. The volunteers, including Agency VP, returned quietly to their work.

About 20 minutes later, the Santa Fe police arrived. They spoke to Jana Smith-Carr and Janine Anton. After this the officer asked Agency VP to step outside. Agency VP explained his side of the story.

This is [employee's] side of the story. For some 14 months now he has been trying to determine how the union is spending member dues - recently there have been allegations of fiscal misappropriation. Agency VP has been obstructed, harassed and intimidated at each step in his work. He worked diligently to organize this review yet Local officials continue to obstruct his progress. He invited the police officer to join the group - detailing how the volunteers were working quietly until repeatedly obstructed by Local officials.

Agency VP finished explaining the situation to the police officer and returned to the room. Mr. Torres left to speak with the officer. Agency VP and Ms. Padilla continued their quiet and peaceful work combing through records.

Another 20-30 minutes passed and three Santa Fe police officers entered the room. They explained Jana Smith-Carr and Janine Anton refused to end their insistence that she leave the room - or at least, leave the table and sit in the back. Agency VP responded this wasn't acceptable. He reiterated he had announced he was bringing her, there was no objection, and that he had a right to have an assistant.

The group was at an impasse at this point. Local officials refused to compromise, thus bringing the review to a standstill until she departed. Agency VP said this was a violation of Good Faith and Professional Courtesy. He was left with no choice but to terminate the review. He gathered his belongings, and together with her, they peaceably and quietly exited the building. Mr. Torres and Ms. Padilla gave their summary sheets to Agency VP. Mr. Torres and Matt exited the building along with the Agency VP.

FACTS: Local officials claim ONLY Local 7076 members can see these documents. Yet Dale Welsh, CPA-for-hire, is not a Local 7076 member. She was sitting at the table observing the review. She regularly sees these documents and apparently has a key to the building. Apparently non-Local 7076 members can see the documents when it's convenient for Local officials.

FACTS: Local officials tried to prevent Agency VP from taking notes. Agency VP successfully ignored this.

FACTS: In the opinion of witness, who met all these people for the first time, she believes Local officials are hiding something. She said she had rarely felt so much tension and hostility as she did during the review. In her opinion Local officials were doing everything they could to obstruct and deny an examination of Local finances. She stated, "only people who have done something wrong or have something to hide would act this way." She was shocked by their behavior.

FACTS: Agency VP was unable to complete the review but did get through some files. First, most vouchers for pay DID NOT include the required two signatures. Agency VP found that Janine Anton, who served previously as Local 7076 Treasurer, regularly approved pay vouchers FOR HERSELF without a required second signature.

Second, there are consistent irregularities in documentation of work for the Local. Details of compensated "claims of work" are generally non-existent. Current interim president, Michelle Lewis, when serving as Executive VP, reported some 186 hours of work without proper documentation. She billed the Local at over $30/hr equaling over $5,580 yet it is unclear whether she did the work. Documentation of her activity is FLIMSY at best. Agency VP had time to review ONLY six invoices from Lewis before being harassed and pushed from the review. None of Lewis's vouchers were properly managed. NONE! This pattern was consistent in the records Agency VP reviewed.

Third, the first expense voucher examined by Agency VP for Sue Wenzel asked for Lost Wages of 8 hours for an eBoard meeting. Yet eBoard meetings do not last 8 hours ... Sue Wenzel is currently an appointed Executive VP, in violation of Local 7076 Bylaws in the opinion of WCA stewards (see Formal Complaint).

Fourth, Donald Alire has been openly resistent and hostile to the requests for financial review. Therefore Agency VP looked at his records where possible. None of Alire's records Agency VP reviewed were managed properly - NONE! It was also unclear why an Agency VP would ask for replacement wages to "work on files in the Hall" so frequently. Of the four vouchers Agency VP reviewed for Donald Alire, all contained errors between the invoiced and the paid amount. These were minor discrepancies yet financial accounts should be precise to the penny. These were not!

In sum Local officials have been incredibly hostile, unacceptably rude and inexcusably opaque with me throughout this process. These are people who appear to have done something wrong and are intent in covering it up. Without a doubt they are not forthcoming; they are not transparent; and, they refuse to allow a honest review how Local officials are spending member dues.

After the horrible treatment we received today, particularly the obscene manner in which they abused my wife, I am no longer interested in trying to review their records. These officials are not professional and their behavior disgusts me. My wife, while not a Local 7076 member per se, is part of my Local 7076 family. I pay over $600 in Local 7076 dues each year. This is money for my family. My wife suffers the loss of income as do I. We are a team - a union. Yet these Local officials spit on my wife today and this I will not forgive.

I conclude at this point it is best to speak with Governor Martinez about Local 7076 officials and operations. Jana Smith-Carr accused me of trying to harm this Local. To Jana Smith-Carr, "I am a strong supporter of unions. Not I, but you, bring harm to this Local. You are required to be open and transparent with member dues. You refuse to do this."

WCA members and I DO NOT have a voice; we DO NOT have a right to know how our dues are spent. And, as patriotic Americans, we DO NOT accept Taxation without Representation.

As we say in Hawai'i ... I'm pau!

Local Bait and Switch
7.22.11: OPEN LETTER to Jana Smith-Carr, Donald Alire and Local 7076 members

We are all aware divisive forces within this Local. About thirteen months ago our interim president asked eBoard members to vote on a large number of spending proposals due the 2010 election cycle. I objected to these requests at the time because we had no budget information guiding us, which prevented us from determining if we could afford these expenditures. We were asked to DONATE member dues to selected politicians and political groups without financial information or voting histories about candidates.

Month after month I REQUESTED this information. I was ignored. This deafening silence forced me to increase the volume. Still nothing changed. This required me to increase demands and the Local finally responded by releasing LIMITED financial information this summer - although the fiscal year is nearly over. This is unacceptable.

During this process a number of people contacted me about possible financial misappropriations. These were serious concerns that warranted a review of policies and internal practices. The more information I requested, the stronger the resistance. This obfuscation is suspicious and adds to the perception internal matters are not in order.

Both Jana and Donald, along with Robin this past weekend, have warned those calling for an open review of these outstanding claims that airing this matter could have negative and long-lasting implications for the Local. They demanded Formal Charges be filed or these whispers end. Dan Secrist contacted me a couple weeks ago and supported this call: file Formal Charges or end this bickering.

Per these demands, Formal Charges were filed with the Union in Washington, D.C. and the Local office in Santa Fe this week.

Donald Alire, in an email to Adam Koontz July 21st, wrote, Michelle and Sue should not be "subject to that any longer especially cause nothing has been produced or found to say they did something wrong."

Formal Charges have been filed. Now Donald objects to furthering this process per the Union Constitution and Local Bylaws. Jana and Robin say nothing (although Robin is out of town).

This is continued "Bait and Switch." Local officers promise open governance - yet financial information and actions remain hidden. Local officers say, "File Formal Charges and we'll investigate." Yet they now obstruct this process.

On about Tuesday, July 12th, the Local arranged a Finance Committee meeting. Due to reports Miles Conway was aware of documents of interest to the committee, I asked him to appear - not to me individually - but to the group. I asked him to further my request to interim president Lewis. This would allow the committee to have this information collectively, thus reducing suspicion and bickering while increasing our credibility with the membership.

Mr. Conway did not show up and only after the meeting did I learn interim president Lewis blocked his participation. Although I had asked ALL participants at the Finance Committee, including Lewis, if anyone had asked him not to appear, Lewis did not disclose her actions to the group.

This continues a "Bait and Switch" policy by Local officers.

On about Wednesday, July 13th, Jana Smith-Carr called me to report she had interviewed Mr. Conway. This disappointed me, as at least two Local members should have been allowed to participate to ensure we maintained open and transparent governance in our review. Jana promised me she would provide a report about her review to the eBoard on Saturday, July 16th. This did not happen.

This continues a "Bait and Switch" policy by Local officers.

Jana, Donald, Dan and other eBoard members, I remind you Formal Charges have been filed per your demands. I am requesting to be appointed Prosecutor in this matter, as this ensures maximum credibility for the process. I have also asked Donald to volunteer to defend the accused, as he has been a passionate advocate of Local officers and practices.

The ball is in your court at this time. The credibility of the Local is at stake with the membership. Do we follow the Bylaws, rules and regulations set before us or is this simply a "Bait and Switch" policy?

WCA Steward Files Charges Against Local President
[7.21.11: Update for Local 7076 CWA union members]
On Wednesday, July 20th, WCA Steward, Cyrette Edmon, filed formal charges with CWA Union Secretary-Treasurer, Annie Hill, in Washington, D.C., and filed a copy with acting Local 7076 Secretary, Brett Siegel, on Thursday, July 21st, against interim Local 7076 president Michelle Lewis (complaint).

Ms. Edmon, in the formal role of accuser, alleges Lewis usurped and violated Local Bylaws and misappropriated Local membership dues. The charges stem from Lewis's action on about March 19, 2011, to appoint Sue Wenzel to the Executive Vice President position in violation of Local Bylaws (here). WCA Agency VP, [employee], was denied access to and participation at the March 19th eBoard meeting by Lewis.

Lewis's action subsequently authorizes Wenzel to submit Stipend vouchers in the amount of $300 per month; receive Wage-Replacement when working for the Local; receive Expense and Travel reimbursements; and, be next in line to assume the role of Local president should Lewis depart.

Local Bylaws require vacancy appointments with less than 14 months remaining in the term to be made by the eBoard not the president and receive membership approval within 60-days. Ms. Edmon alleges this did not occur and claims this action denied WCA and other SEA-CWA Local members their due process rights to participate in the selection of their officers, prevents them from knowing how their union dues are spent, and disenfranchises members from being represented in Local activities.

The complaint demands Wenzel immediately cease, desist and terminate activities related to the position of Executive VP and that Lewis reimburse the Local for any and all compensation paid to, and expenses incurred by, Wenzel.

Pursuant to the Union Constitution (here), Article XX, Section 3 (2), the "accuser" will be represented by a prosecutor, "who is a member of the Local, but not an accuser." Agency VP, [employee], asked Ms. Edmon to submit the formal complaint as he has requested to serve as prosecutor in this matter.

Will the Local eBoard permit Mr. Agency VP to serve in this role or continue to obstruct review over the Local's financial and administrative behavior? We will keep you updated as this process unfolds.

Please take a minute to thank Ms. Edmon for standing up in this difficult situation. We appreciate her courage and diligence to ensure you are properly and effectively represented.

RE: Investigation Into Allegations of Financial Issues
[7.19.11: Update for Local 7076 CWA union members]
After an extraordinarily intense eBoard meeting this past weekend, I was able to secure a review of financial records on Saturday, July 30th, beginning at 9am. Anyone interested in participating should contact me.

[7.8.11: Update for Local 7076 CWA union members]
Copy of email request sent to:
Jana Smith-Carr, SEA-CWA District 7 Staff Representative
Dale Welsh, contracted accountant for Local 7076

Dear Jana ~
In our last phone conversation I urged you to read Brett Siegel's false allegations concerning my request to review Local's books. It appears he is working extremely hard to deter any review, which makes me all the more suspicious. I am particularly concerned about, "... it would also be prudent for you to be monitored during your time at the hall, to make sure that confidential records are not removed, and to make sure that no materials are inserted into files."

Such accusations are without warrant and in violation of good faith. Since I am a volunteer, I do not wish to be embroiled in a scandal. This negative environment forces me to protect myself, alas I prefer someone I trust to be with me. Dale mentioned she could meet this Saturday, July 9th. I have requested my wife be my witness during this examination. We will bring our video camera in case we are confronted or obstructed.

I would like to begin my review by examining ALL checks issued by the Local, along with supporting documentation, i.e., expense, salary and travel vouchers, beginning January 1, 2010. This will cover approximately 18 months and should be a solid start for this inspection.

As we will be traveling from Albuquerque and assume this will be a lengthy ordeal, we would like to begin at 9AM sharp. We will bring food and water, so no breaks will be needed. I estimate this initial examination may last until 5PM Saturday, June 9th. I will be volunteering my time and sincerely thank my wife for agreeing to join this effort.

I would appreciate it if you would confirm my request.

Thanks,

SEA-CWA Local 7076 Agency Vice President
Workers' Compensation Administration
State of New Mexico


REQUEST DENIED
From: Dale Welsh
Sent: Friday, July 08, 2011 12:35 PM

Unfortunately, after you postponed our meeting, I made other arrangements that will take me out of town this Saturday.

Dale


SECOND REQUEST
Copy of email request sent to:
Jana Smith-Carr, SEA-CWA District 7 Staff Representative
Dale Welsh, contracted accountant for Local 7076

From: [employee]
Sent: Friday, July 08, 2011 1:09 PM

Dear Ms. Welsh ~
It is not mandatory you be there, as you are not a Local 7076 member. While you are a professional accountant, as you are aware it is not imperative for a qualified accountant to be present during this initial phase of the review. As long as someone from the local is there who can provide access to the documents – and, ensure I do not "tamper with records," per Mr. Siegel's unwarranted allegations, we will be fine.

Therefore, I continue my request to review local records this Saturday, July 9th, in preparation for a tentative Finance Committee meeting next week and our upcoming eBoard meeting July 16th, which I believe will be held in Albuquerque.

Of course, once again it looks like the local hopes to postpone or discourage my review. Each time I make a request, Local 7076 officials erect another barrier.

Thank you and I hope you have a wonderful trip.

SEA-CWA Local 7076 Agency Vice President
Workers' Compensation Administration
State of New Mexico


REQUEST PARTIALLY DENIED
From: Jana Smith-Carr
Sent: Friday, July 08, 2011 1:18 PM

Michelle, Sue, Donald, Dale, Robin nor I are available tomorrow. We are all out of state-do you have any suggestions how to remedy this given those realities?


THIRD REQUEST
Copy of email request sent to:
Jana Smith-Carr, SEA-CWA District 7 Staff Representative
Dale Welsh, contracted accountant for Local 7076

From: [employee]
Sent: Friday July 08, 2011 3:50 PM

Dear Jana ~
Thanks for getting back to me. Initially Dale had proposed she would meet with me. She's not an official member of the Local so apparently it is acceptable to have a hired employee supervise this review. As so many of the officers are out, I would be happy to have Miles Conway join us.

I'm sure that will be a positive solution to this reality. It is my hope other Finance Committee members will join us. As soon as we can confirm the date and time of my request, I will invite the other committee members.

Many thanks ...

SEA-CWA Local 7076 Agency Vice President
Workers' Compensation Administration
State of New Mexico

Members Continue to Demand Interim President Lewis Resign
Dear E-board
I am a UNM employee and seen disappointing results when Michelle took over for Robin. I do not want her as president, even more so after reading the memo from Scott. I request she resign.

It should say alot if we had two people resign from UNM that were really passionate about representing it's members, it was bringing in more members. I pay dues and should have a say. Since Michelle took over it has gone downhill, and to verify what i suspected in false voucher is stealing from me as a paying member.

If a person is doing no wrong you gladly give access to financial records when asked. As a paying member it is our right to be able to view those records at anytime. Not allowing Scott to attend e-board meeting why something to hide or that you may to told on. We have had enough people in positions in this state steal from us. Please do the right thing and investigate. Look at the actions of the people being accused.

If you choose to go ahead and hire Michelle I will be withdrawing my union dues as it is i now have no one to represent me. Past attempts to get a hold of Michelle were unsuccessful .

Thank you,
LoriAnn Gallegos UNM
July 8, 2011

State Workers See Reduction in Take-Home Pay
House Bill 628, passed this last session, increases the employee contribution towards PERA and decreases the employer portion. New rates for FY12 are shown below. These new rates will take effect the first full pay period in July. Employees will suffer a take-home decrease in pay on their pay date 7/29/2011.

We have highlighted the SPLAN3 row in the table below. That row shows the July 2010 rates for the employee (EE) and the employer (ER) and the new rates effective July 2011 for the employee (EE) and employer (ER).

Retirement/Retiree Health Care Rates

WCA Union Representative Libeled by Union Officer
[7.5.11: open letter to Local 7076 CWA union members]

For more than a year, WCA union representative [employee] has been trying to determine the financial position of SEA-CWA Local 7076. For years the local has struggled to provide adequate records of their financial activity. Members of the WCA have asked Mr. Agency VP to continue his due diligence to ensure their money is spent wisely and that the local in good faith maintains proper stewardship over member dues. Some officers of the local have attacked Mr. Agency VP for demanding transparency in local finances.

In an email message forwarded to Abe Peralta, Rosa Padilla, Adam Koontz, Donald Alire and Dale Welsh, Brett Siegal, who is a Local 7076 regional vice president and acting Local 7076 secretary, libels Mr. Agency VP by falsely charging him of adding to an "already overspent amount" of accounting services (note: Mr. Agency VP did not request to meet with Dale Welsh, contracted accountant, on Tuesday, July 5th). Siegel continues to berate Mr. Agency VP about a number of false charges. [read original email]

Mr. Agency VP received another detailed request [read original email], copied to key Local 7076 leaders, from a former Local 7076 officer and current SEA-CWA member over the holiday weekend. In an unwarranted attack on Mr. Agency VP, Brett Siegal wrote this to the group about the memo:

This email was likely not written by Mr. X (name changed to protect individual's confidentiality). It is likely written by Scott, to step up his personal campaign against Michelle. Below is an example of Mr. X' writing in an email ... (additional text not included, as it is irrelevant)

Another member who has observed Local 7076 activities and witnessed these attacks, wrote:

Request Michelle Lewis and Sue Wenzel's staff to RESIGN !!!
I as a union member I request the investigation of all budget information, and that criminal charges be brought to guilty parties. It is in CWA's best interest that the eboard take control of all budget activity at this time. Due to the incompetency of our presidential staff. I also belieave it would be in the best interest for CWA to relieve all power from the presidential staff, due to it's uncooperation in this matter. I hope to still be a member of this CWA union, but until this matter is resolved I find it hard to give money away. Honesty!

Are YOUR union leaders stealing from you?
[6.24.11: open letter to Local 7076 CWA union members]

Dear team ~
In this time of great difficulty I come to you with depressing news. For over a year I have been working diligently to get a grasp on Local union financial activities. Leaders, such as interim president, Michelle Lewis, and district representatives, Jana Carr and Robin Gould, have denied, delayed and deflected my efforts to obtain a clear and complete picture of finances. Due to my efforts numerous union members and officers have come to me secretly. They report alarming accounts. This has forced me to pose the question, "Are YOUR union leaders stealing from you?"

As a union member you pay $300 to $600 per year based on your salary. This is a honorable sacrifice from you. This takes food off your table and from the mouths of your children. I thank each of you for your dedication to our shared future. I cherish the trust you place in me by being a diligent steward over your hard-earned money.

Due to continued obstruction by these leaders ... I do not know the answer to the original question. Yet it is my duty to inform you and keep you in the loop. From the information I have been able to uncover, this is a summary of my fact-finding mission:

About a year ago it became clear financial matters were not in order. I demanded greater transparency in Local financial reporting. This did not happen. Instead I have been verbally attacked and suffered retaliation for my efforts. This has not deterred me though. After 6-7 months of pressure, I finally received BASIC information.

Your union currently operates in Fiscal Year 2011 (FY11). The fiscal year runs Oct 1st through Sep 30th. It appears these leaders overspent the budget in FY09 by some $50,000. Initial figures showed leaders overspending the FY10 budget by $100,000. Later documents contradicted this but I have been unable to determine which is accurate (if any).

It appears leaders have been using your DUES to make personal loans and advances to officers and members. I cannot determine the extent of this practice.

It appears leaders are profiting from work they do for you. Rather than file for reimbursement of replacement wages when working for the union, they demand a higher hourly wage when YOU are paying. Do you support this practice? I do not!

As you're aware the State announced a RIF (reduction in workforce) near the first of June. Some 33 employees at PED are included in this. Interim Local president Lewis may be one of the 33 to lose her State position. It is reported she now demands member dues to pay her annual salary. From the information I have been able to uncover, this would be about $70,000 per year. We currently do not have the funds in our budget and I do not believe she has been an effective leader. Do you support such a proposal? I do not!

It appears leaders are profiting on transportation reimbursement. For example, interim Local president Lewis lives in Rio Rancho. When she works in her State position, she drives to Santa Fe without reimbursement. When she works for YOU, it is reported she bills $0.51 per mile - about 120 miles round trip - or $61.20 per day. If she does this three times per week over the course of a year, this approximates $10,000 of YOUR money. And, it has been reported she sometimes goes HOME for LUNCH - driving up and back twice a day or more. Do you support this practice? I do not!

The Local, under Robin Gould's presidential term, signed a ten-year lease for office space in Santa Fe. It is reported YOU PAY some $6,500 per month for this location. We could have rented a mansion with massive Big Screen TVs, an unlimited food buffet and swimming pool for this amount. A handful of officers, including me, are reviewing options to get us out of this bad decision. VP Anselm Emeanuwa reported at our June eBoard meeting we may have to pay $400,000 to break the lease. This would be about ONE YEAR of dues from ALL our members!

Due to possible mismanagement of funds, the eBoard was forced to hire ANOTHER accountant using your dues. While this is a qualified individual, she charges $50 per hour up to 16 hours per week - $800 per week - nearly $42,000 on an annualized basis. Remember, these are part-time services. The Local has spent more than $25,000 at this time for accounting services and is projected to spend over $35,000 through September. This will be $20,000 OVER budget for this line item.

This is waste ... funds that could be used to win higher salaries or better benefits for you. Remember beginning July 1st, all of us will lose an addition 1.75% of take-home pay as we are forced to support more of our future retirement benefits.

I have attached the Local budget summary to this memo (see below), which I FINALLY received at our June eBoard meeting. Budgets should be presented PRIOR to the fiscal year - not nine months after the financial period begins. This again demonstrates the incompetence of your Local interim president. They are spending YOUR money without a plan in place. These leaders have not built the foundation required of any successful organization. Do you support this practice? I do not!

In the budget document there are three vertical sections: blue, green and orange. Information in the blue and green sections come from the CPA. I have added the orange section (and, I don't charge you for my work).

Within the D Column you see major line items in the budget. Those highlighted in RED are projected to EXCEED the budget. Fourteen of 24 line items trend to overspend the allocated budget. This further demonstrates LACK of professional ability by these leaders and their INABILITY to maintain fiscal discipline. This looks similar to the irresponsible behavior we witness from politicians working in Washington, D.C. Wouldn't you agree?

I have made THREE separate requests of these leaders and the hired CPA for hourly wage information and average weekly reported hours of officers, staff and personnel hired by your Local. This is a simple request. Yet they refuse to provide this information. They REFUSE to be transparent with YOU in their activities. And, this is YOUR money!

At this time I do not have additional answers for you. I am here to respond to any questions you may have and provide information where I can. I know how hard each of you work. I thank you for your shared sacrifice. As you know Middle Class families are collapsing. Unions are a key, last line defense in this battle. Yet to battle effectively, we must have strong, capable leadership. I don't believe you are being served properly ... and, in fact, some officials appear to be profiting rather than serving. I will do my best to obtain more accurate information. But ultimately you must decide if this is appropriate behavior.

In unity ...
CWA Local 7076 Agency VP
Workers' Compensation Administration

Local 7076 Budget (Excel document)

Americans Under Protest
David Brooks writes in the NYTimes that as a writer he is protesting the upcoming 2012 presidential and national election. As Americans, we should protest along with him.

FACTS
David points out some important facts about the state of our nation:
  • The number of business start-ups per capita has been falling steadily for the past three decades.
  • Workers' share of national income has been declining since 1983.
  • Male wages have been stagnant for about 40 years.
  • The American working class - those without a college degree - is being decimated, economically and socially.
Voters are in the market for new movements and new combinations, yet the two parties have grown more rigid.

The Republican growth agenda - tax cuts and nothing else - is stupefyingly boring, fiscally irresponsible and politically impossible. Gigantic tax cuts - if they were affordable - might boost overall growth, but they would do nothing to address the structural problems that are causing a working-class crisis.

Republican politicians don't design policies to meet specific needs, or even to help their own working-class voters. They use policies as signaling devices - as ways to reassure the base that they are 100 percent orthodox and rigidly loyal. Republicans have taken a pragmatic policy proposal from 1980 and sanctified it as their core purity test for 2012.

As for the Democrats, they offer practically nothing. They acknowledge huge problems like wage stagnation and then offer ... light rail! Solar panels! It was telling that the Democrats offered no budget this year, even though they are supposedly running the country. That's because they too are trapped in a bygone era.

[NOTE: While Brooks has many reasons to criticize Democrats, light rail and solar panel projects should not be included in his complaint. We import nearly $1 TRILLION in oil each year. This drains wealth from our economy. Light rail improves public transportation and makes America more efficient going forward. Solar helps reduce our reliance on non-renewable energy. Both projects decrease greenhouse emissions and help us reduce the damage we're doing to the environment. Lastly, unemployment in the construction industry remains close to 20 percent. Both construction laborers and materials are relatively inexpensive at this time. Investing in infrastructure projects is a WIN/WIN at this time.]

Mentally, Democrats are living in the era of affluence, but, actually, they are living in the era of austerity. They still have these grand spending ideas, but there is no longer any money to pay for them and there won't be for decades. Democrats dream New Deal dreams, propose nothing and try to win elections by making sure nobody ever touches Medicare.

Brooks concludes, "Covering this upcoming election is like covering a competition between two Soviet refrigerator companies, cold-war relics offering products that never change."

source

The Republican Party Should Be Ashamed of Themselves
David Stockman As Reagan's former budget director David Stockman has stated, tax cutting for Republicans has become a religion.

"Well it's become in a sense an absolute. Something that can't be questioned, something that's gospel, something that's sort of embedded into the catechism and so scratch the average Republican today and he'll say 'Tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts.'"

"It's rank demagoguery," Stockman added. "We should call it for what it is. If these people were all put into a room on penalty of death to come up with how much they could cut, they couldn't come up with $50 billion - when the problem is $1.3 trillion. So to stand before the public and rub raw this anti-tax sentiment, the Republican Party, as much as it pains me to say this, should be ashamed of themselves."

The GOP claims to be for fiscal responsibility but they always want to cut taxes even when we have record deficits. Even when Republicans are given a surplus they run up huge debts.

Their real goal is simply to cut funding for any programs that help the poor and the working class. They continue to work to transfer the public treasury to the richest Americans and they are pretty good at it. But then again there's not a real opposition party.

JOB LOSSES
As a result of the Republican "no new taxation mantra, the public sector slashed 29,000 jobs in May. All told, the public sector has lost 510,000 positions since its peak in August 2008. And, state and local governments are forecast to shed up to 110,000 jobs in the third quarter, the first time the blood-letting has risen into the triple digits, according to IHS Global Insight.

Not only do Republicans demand no new taxes, they have an interest in ensuring the economy does not improve ... this is their ONLY hope of defeating Obama in 2012. For them to win, YOU MUST LOSE!

How Should YOUR Money Be Spent?
We're all painfully aware of the damage to the economy and our family portfolios due to the Great Recession. A Federal Reserve study shows we collectively lost 23 percent. OUCH!!! Although we have seen signs of positive growth in this nacent recovery, we recognize we have a long way to go. Some 14 million Americans still cannot find full-time jobs and millions more cannot find sufficient work. In addition the nation grapples with more than $14 trillion in debt and many states are underwater. The question how best to resolve this crisis is on many minds.

Should there be more government spending? How about tax cuts? What about program cuts? These are difficult, and frequently emotional, questions.

To help you better understand the issues and make a more informed decision, the Economic Policy Institute has taken financial numbers from the Congressional Budget Office, a non-partisan research entity, and summarized program options.

The chart below illustrates what happens financially if we invest ONE DOLLAR of your money in up to six possible strategies. By allocating your dollar to "Direct Spending and Infrastructure," the dollar returns $1.75. On the other side of the spectrum, if we invest your dollar to provide "Corporations with a Tax Break," this returns ONLY $0.20.

Effective Stimulus

Why does ONE DOLLAR of public investment result in outcomes of such different magnitude? This focuses on the "multiplier affect" in public spending. When the government uses your money to invest in infrastructure, such as repairing a school building, bridge or road, the money goes into the hands of construction workers. They buy more tools, an additional truck or spend their earnings on their household. This puts money in the hands of others, who also go out and spend, which stimulates the economy.

When ONE DOLLAR of public investment is used for tax cuts for high-income earners or corporations, this money is saved or frequently invested outside the United States. This takes money out of U.S. circulation, which results in a negative multiplier effect, and thus is a poor policy choice.

What About the Flip Side?
Let's turn this around. Some elected representatives say our debt is too large and that we should cut government spending. If we follow this advice and cut "Direct Spending and Infractructure" by ONE DOLLAR, we can expect to lose $1.75 overall. The cut to a program such as this means the construction worker does not have work. He does not buy more tools or an additional truck. He struggles to pay his mortgage and family needs go unmet as well. A cut of ONE DOLLAR results in a loss to society around $1.75 due to a negative multiplier effect.

Conversely, we hear from TEA extremists that taxes should be cut, yet not all tax cuts are alike. If we return ONE DOLLAR in tax relief to a corporation, only $0.20 ends up circulating in society. We lose roughly $0.80. If we provide ONE DOLLAR in tax relief to high-income earners, society sees only $0.40 in positive spending - losing nearly $0.60. Tax cuts for low- and middle-income workers are slightly positive, because lower income earners SPEND most of their new revenue. Yet as the chart shows, tax cuts are less effective than other programs relative to positive outcomes for society.

Have You Thanked Your Union Today?
Mike Daisey discovers the worm in Apple ... Mike Daisey wants to change the world with his latest impassioned, comic-tragic screed, "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs."

Everyone knows about Apple. American and world consumers rate the company as one of their Most Admired. Hundreds of millions of people throughout the U.S. and world happily own Apple computers, iPods, iPhones, iPads or purchase media through iTunes. Yet did you know how these fantastic products get to your door?

Apple, Inc.Daisey traveled last spring to Shenzhen, China, where Apple's and other companies' hardware is made by subcontractors such as Foxconn. He posed as a businessman to gain access to many factories and used an interpreter to talk with workers.

Daisey was appalled by the working conditions - factory floors packed with 25,000 and more workers, some children, doing 12- and 18-hour shifts or longer, living in cramped quarters and shadowed by factory security people.

"I expected it to be bad. I expected it to be harsh. I was not actually prepared for how dehumanizing it was. I wasn't actually prepared for the scale of it ... That was what shocked me," Daisey says.

The difference between Chinese factory workers suffering to produce Apple products in Shenzhen and the conditions you enjoy in your place of work - unions!

Please see this feature also, as we remember:
How unions succeeded in making your workplace safer in the 100 years since the deadly Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

Many labor activists have shed their blood - some sacrificed their life - in the fight to ensure fair compensation and working conditions for you. Remember to thank your union today!

What A Difference A Year Makes
UPDATE: The average household income fell 1.9 percent last year while health care costs rose 6 percent. CNN

[March 21, 2011] This week marks the first anniversary of the Affordable Care Act – a law that ensures all Americans have access to quality, affordable health care and significantly reduces long-term health care costs. The Affordable Care Act is also designed to put you, not the health insurance companies, back in charge of your health care.

Affordable Healthcare for America

Because of the Affordable Care Act:
  • If you are a young adult, you can now stay on your parents’ health plan until your 26th birthday, if you do not have coverage of your own.
  • If you are among 4 million eligible small businesses, you can receive tax credits if you choose to offer coverage to your employees – covering 35% of the cost of coverage. 
  • If you are a child under age 19, you can no longer be denied coverage by an insurance company for having a “pre-existing condition.”
  • Your insurance company can no longer place a lifetime limit on your coverage.  Such limits have caused some families to declare bankruptcy.
  • If you are a senior, you will now be receiving a 50% discount on brand-name drugs if you enter the Medicare Part D ‘donut hole’ coverage gap – a discount that grows until the ‘donut hole’ is closed in 2020.  
  • You can no longer be dropped from coverage by your insurance company simply because you get sick.
  • Your insurance company can no longer place restrictive annual limits on your coverage – with annual limits completely eliminated by 2014.
  • If you are in a new plan, you now have free coverage of key preventive services, such as immunizations, mammograms, and other cancer screenings.
  • Your insurance company must now spend at least 80 percent of premiums on covering medical services – rather than administrative expenses, CEO pay, and profits. 
  • Your insurance company must now publish on the Internet detailed justifications for any premium increases they are seeking that are more than 10 percent.

Learn more about the Affordable Care Act


How the Middle Class Became the Underclass
I know how difficult times are financially for many of you. Your union and our sister unions across the nation are working diligently for fairer and more equitable conditions. I call on each of you to exercise your political rights and assist in this effort. For additional background, see:
The Betrayal of Public Workers
Unions under fire as states try to curtail benefits
Danger! Falling middle-class incomes
Why America's teachers are enraged
How the rich became the uber rich

I quote from Warren Buffet, world's second richest man and leading American entrepreneur, who testifies:
"There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war and we're winning."
We must keep in mind federal taxes are at 60-year lows. This is pinching federal and state governments - entities that now must drastically cut services many of you need. This also leads to additional furloughs, reduction of teachers and public servants, and possible pay cuts. Speaker Boehner, when questioned yesterday about the loss of thousands of government jobs, stated coldly, "SO BE IT!"

CNNMoney has an excellent article about the Middle Class blues today. Please read this. I include CNN's chart below and a couple paragraphs (note 2.22.11: I've added a second illustration detailing the explosive growth of the Top 10%):

The Rise of the Super Rich
The average American's income has not changed much, while the richest 5% above (and 10% below) of Americans have seen their earnings surge. This chart includes capital gains.

The Rise of the Super Rich
"Incomes for 90% of Americans have been stuck in neutral, and it's not just because of the Great Recession. Middle-class incomes have been stagnant for at least a generation, while the wealthiest tier has surged ahead at lighting speed. (see CNN's illustration)

In 1988, the income of an average American taxpayer was $33,400, adjusted for inflation. Fast forward 20 years, and not much had changed: The average income was still just $33,000 in 2008, according to IRS data."

"One major pull on the working man was the decline of unions and other labor protections, said Bill Rodgers, a former chief economist for the Labor Department, now a professor at Rutgers University."
Union membership is increasingly under attack. Simply put, lack of unions hurts Middle Class families. I know you followed the historic revolutionary events recently in Egypt. What do those who led the revolution want? Here's a short list:
  • Removal of any restriction on the free formation of political parties, on civil, democratic and peaceful bases.
  • Freedom of the press
  • Freedom to form unions and non-governmental organizations without government permission
A strong democratic society relies on political freedom and a healthy Middle Class. Wages must keep pace with inflation. This hasn't happened over 20 years for Middle Class families in America.

I believe we have an excellent governor. Unfortunately, her background was prosecuting crimes where she did an outstanding job. I'm not sure she understands the economic realities of Middle Class working families and small businesses in New Mexico.

Take a minute at lunch, during your breaks or after you're off work this week to send a polite - but informative - letter to Governor Martinez: Contact Gov Martinez

Let her know we need our most rich to be heroes now. Our young people are heroes in our war efforts, as they fight to keep us safe by sacrificing blood, limb and sometimes their life. Our most rich are becoming increasingly wealthy - while your family is threatened with economic uncertainty. We need their financial sacrifice.

We witnessed what the peaceful masses just accomplished in Egypt. They borrowed on our principles of freedom to ignite a revolution. Let's now borrow on their success. Peacefully, but in righteous honor and dignity, demand that Middle Class workers can earn a fair day's wage so they can properly care for their families.

Open Letter to Governor Susana Martinez: What Our Union Means To Us
New Mexico Unions worked tirelessly to build our House of Labor. While the brick work of our movement is never finished, we have built our foundation of stone. The preamble of our union contract states that both "The Employer and the Union agree to uphold the well-being and care of the citizens of New Mexico." The entire written agreement was negotiated and signed into law because we "believe and affirm [contract language] will inure to the welfare and benefit of the people of the State of New Mexico."

While not responsible for the past culture of waste, inefficiency, corruption, and the effect it has had on our workplaces, state employees do their best everyday to provide essential services to New Mexico.

CWA and the Martinez Administration have common goals and interests. Together we agree:
  • Active opposition to "pay-to-play" practices is necessary
  • We detest waste in government
  • We will root out corruption in government
  • We desire a state functioning more efficiently (State employees pay taxes too), with commitment, respect, justice, and equity
Our Union will work together with you and your Administration in areas of common interest and desire. The public employees of New Mexico play a large role in governance, educating our sons and daughters, and maintaining the public health of our communities. We strive toward a healthy environment, maintenance of an excellent road system and infrastructure, and the preservation of a rich and diverse culture and history. In short, every aspect of our lives is affected by the work we do and the work we are able to do.

We are proud of our contributions and efforts amidst the hard times that have affected people everywhere. The future of our State depends on the essential role of its working people and the ability of those people to provide the vital services that are always required, now more than ever. CWA 7076 members are committed to the welfare, benefit, and care of the citizens of New Mexico. As the labor authority and historian William Cahn said, these [Union] contributions are not "confined to raising wages and bettering work conditions; it is ...fundamental to almost every effort to extend and strengthen our democracy." We believe we share with you the endeavor to improve quality of the life for all people living in our State and expand, through democratic process, the means to do so.

It is our sincere and strong desire to cultivate and maintain a working dialogue with your Administration. In the past few years State employees have been required, through a series of salary freezes, job freezes, unfilled job positions, and consequent increased workloads, to carry the burden of the State budget deficit. This presents a circumstance where, not only State government suffers, but the welfare of New Mexican citizens is also endangered. We hope to begin a conversation with you that is creative, honest, and conducted in good faith. This letter, we hope, represents the opening of a door and the extension of our hand to you.

It is up to all of us to transcend our differences and come to terms based on our mutual interests. We live on common ground and on this ground we look forward to building a working relationship which benefits all the citizens of New Mexico.

Members of CWA 7076

Public Servants Compared to Private Sector Employees
Public employees, both state and local government, are not overpaid. Comparisons controlling for education, experience, hours of work, organizational size, gender, race, ethnicity and disability, reveal no significant overpayment but a slight undercompensation of public employees when compared to private employee compensation costs on a per hour basis. On average, full-time state and local employees are undercompensated by 3.7 percent, in com- parison to otherwise similar private-sector workers. The public employee compensation penalty is smaller for local government employees (1.8%) than state government workers (7.6%). ...

A full-time worker on average employed by state and local government received an 11 percent lower annual earnings compared to the private-sector employees. However, when compared to total compensation, the public employment penalty declines to 2 percent. High school graduates with some college approached wage earnings equivalency between private and public sector. High school graduates earn $36,640 on average working for state and local government compared to $38,269 for workers employed by private employers, a public-employment wage penalty of 4 percent. However, when we examine total compensation, high school graduates received total compensation of $53,880 on average working for state and local government compared to $50,596 for workers employed by private employers, a public employment compensation premium of 6 percent.

Public v. Private Worker Compensation

The compensation advantage reverses when we compare the college-educated labor force, with the private sector paying substantially higher wages. State and local workers with some college earn 32 percent lower wages and receive total compensation of 25 percent less than private-sector workers. The private-sector compensation premium jumps to 37 percent for a professional degree, 31 percent for a master's degree, and 21 percent for a doctorate.

Profits OVER People: Record Corporate Profits Not Helping Economy
CNN Money points out businesses collectively posted profits of $1.67 trillion, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. This is up 28 percent from a year ago.

America faces an interesting paradox. Companies have cut salaries and staff to the bone and are now making record profits. They have pushed their existing staff to do more (increasing worker productivity). Hiring new employees reduces profit margins - because consumers remain unwilling (or unable) to spend. Thus, companies will not add to their payrolls until they are confident consumers are going to spend more. Yet consumers won't increase their spending until the job market improves.

This "Catch 22" tells us companies will continue to squeeze more out of their existing work force. Since unemployment is high, workers can say little. Employees must simply grin and bear it.

Profit margins are expected to continue increasing faster than GDP growth for years. In other words, corporate executives can count their blessings this holiday season. And, they probably will again next year. Too bad it may be at the expense of the rest of us.

Record Corporate Profits Not Helping Economy

Obama Gets Shellacked for Doing the Right Thing
The Connecticut Compromise ... remember that? Not many people do. This set up the foundation for our Congress: members of the House elected every two years; Senators elected every six. Our Founders wanted one body to be somewhat sheltered from the emotions of the mass public.

High-exposure pundits, such as Shawn Tully at Fortune, write:
By 2013, the total U.S. federal debt will total 76% of GDP if Congress remains gridlocked, and digging out at that point will be unimaginably painful. In this week's elections, voters clearly voiced their frustration with the explosion in government spending, deficits and debt. Americans recognize that when the outgoing dollars exceed those coming in by 63%––the actual number in the fiscal 2010 budget––it's the same reckless behavior as if they paid for rent and groceries by running up gigantic credit card bills certain to destroy them in the future.
Shawn is highly educated but does not understand economics. Can you imagine what would have happened had Obama and the federal government not engaged in deficit spending? Millions of additional jobs would have been lost. And, look at today's job report. Average weekly wages improved in October by the biggest percentage than at any time since the start of the Great Recession -- up 3.5% compared to a year ago:

October jobs report: Hiring picks up

Had Shawn been president, he claims he would have cut governnment spending. This would have put more federal workers in unemployment lines; the stimulus paid for 10,000s of state teachers and public workers. They would have been in unemployment lines - asking for benefits (increasing debt). Taxpayers would have supported them - yet would not have received the services.

Because people like Shawn have a big microphone, too many America voters were scared into voting against their best interests. The outcome in the U.S. House race reflects their emotional reaction. Good thing we have the Connecticut Compromise!

I'm Rich; Tax Me More ~ by Garrett Gruener
Thankfully some of America's MOST RICH love their country more than they love wealth and power. Garrett Gruener, founder of Ask.com, chief executive of Nanomix, and co-founder and director of the venture capital firm Alta Partners, writing in the LA Times, says:

[1] For nearly the last decade, I've paid income taxes at the lowest rates of my professional career.

[2] Almost a decade ago, President George W. Bush and his Republican colleagues in Congress pushed through a massive reduction in marginal tax rates, a reduction that benefited the wealthy far more than other taxpayers.

[3] We were told the cuts would accelerate business growth and create jobs. Instead, we got nearly a decade of anemic job growth, stagnating wages, declining incomes and high inequality.

[4] The supply-side, trickle-down economic policies of the last decade benefited people like me, but the wealth didn't trickle down. So while we did quite well, people who live from paycheck to paycheck didn't.

[5] When inequality gets too far out of balance, as it did over the course of the last decade, the wealthy end up saving too much while members of the middle class can't afford to spend much unless they borrow excessively. Eventually, the economy stalls for lack of demand, and we see the kind of deflationary spiral we find ourselves in now. I believe it is no coincidence that the TWO HIGHEST PEAKS in American income inequality came in 1929 and 2008, and that the following years were marked by low economic activity and significant unemployment.

[6] ... from my perspective as an entrepreneur, the fluctuation [in tax rates] didn't affect what I did with my money. None of my investments has ever been motivated by the rate at which I would have to pay personal income tax. Modest changes in the tax rate for wealthy taxpayers don't make much of a difference if the goal is to build new companies, drive technological development and stimulate new industries.

First Provisions of Affordable Care Act Begin
Yesterday, Nancy-Ann DeParle of the Office of Health Reform joined bloggers for a conference call to highlight the provisions of the Affordable Care Act that go into effect September 23, 2010, six months after enactment of the law. Those changes:
  • Ban on discriminating against children with preexisting conditions: as of tomorrow, insurance companies can't deny coverage to children under age 19 for a pre-existing condition. The ban will go into effect for adults in 2014.
  • Ban on rescission: insurers will be prohibited from dropping a customer when they get sick or to search for errors in customers' applications to use as a basis for rescinding coverage or denying payment for services.
  • Ban on limiting coverage, lifetime caps: Insurers will no longer be able to impose lifetime dollar limits on benefits--particularly hospital stays or expensive treatments for chronic diseases, cancer, etc. By 2014, they will phase out annual caps.
  • Ban on limiting doctor choice in new plans: insurers will have to allow primary care physician status for OB/GYNs and pediatricians so that patients don't have to get pre-authorization or referrals to see these providers.
  • Ban on restrictions on emergency services: insurers will have to cover all emergency care, in or out of network.
  • Guaranteed right to appeal insurer decisions to independent third party in new plans.
  • Young adults can stay on their parents' plans til 26 unless they have access to coverage in their workplace.
  • New plans will cover preventive care with no customer costs--well-baby, mammograms, colonoscopies, etc. will be covered with no co-pays or deductibles.
Many of these changes will not apply to existing plans. Health plans that existed on March 23, 2010 are "grandfathered," meaning they are exempt from implementing these new provisions. So free preventive care, unrestricted provider choice, level charges for emergency care, and the right of appeal do not apply to existing plans. Additionally, the coverage for adult children on family plans can only be extended if an employer plan is not available to them. Source: Joan McCarter

See also: www.WhiteHouse.gov/HealthReform

Family Insurance Costs Skyrocket 14 Percent in 2010
American workers are taking yet another blow to their wallets this year -- a whopping 14% jump in costs to insure their families. The spike comes even as premiums for family coverage rose only 3%. This discrepancy is a result of cost-conscious companies shifting more of the insurance burden onto employees.

Family insurance costs skyrocket 14 Percent


Source: CNN: Sept. 2, 2010

Voters Oppose Most Social Security Changes
U.S. News and World Report summarizes (July 30, 2010) a survey asking Americans about potential changes to Social Security. Planning to Retire - Survey: Voters Oppose Most Social Security Changes

Keep in mind that little change is needed to fully fund Social Security into the 22nd century. Republicans unified and some Blue Dog Democrats want you to believe the program is facing MAJOR financial problems. It isn't! They simply want to scare you, reduce your earned benefits and protect the MOST RICH from paying their fair share. Learn more here.

"The federal government is considering a variety of ways to tweak Social Security benefits for people younger than age 55 in 2010. The Congressional Budget Office recently analyzed the financial impact of 30 potential Social Security changes including tax increases, benefit cuts, and raising the retirement age. See Government Analyzes 30 Social Security Changes.

The Social Security change with the most support (67% in favor) is requiring high income workers to pay Social Security taxes on all of their wages. Most adults (63%) also say it is a good idea to limit benefits for wealthy retirees.

Workers pay into the Social Security system on earnings up to $106,800 in 2010. If wealthy retirees were taxed on all of their income above $106,800 annually, but did not earn extra benefits based on those contributions, the Social Security trust fund's projected deficit would be completely eliminated ..."

Farm workers say: Take our jobs, please!
In light of anti-immigration leaders, such as Gov. Janice Brewer, R-Ariz., who told reporters in June that the "majority" of immigrants crossing the border from Mexico are smuggling drugs for cartels and also signed into law requirements for state police to "determine the immigration status" of anyone under "reasonable suspicion" of being an illegal alien, the United Farm Workers union is challenging Americans to take their labor-intensive, low-paying farm jobs.

"Farm workers do the work that most Americans are not willing to do," said union president Arturo Rodriguez in the announcement of the campaign. At least half a million applicants are needed to replace the immigrant workforce, so the union has posted an online application for Americans who want to work on a farm.

Most applicants quickly lose interest once the reality sinks in that these are back-breaking jobs in triple-digit temperatures that pay minimum wage, usually without benefits, according to the union. Some small farms are not required to pay minimum wage and in 15 states farms aren't required to offer workers' compensation.

www.takeourjobs.org

MY LETTER (7.6.10) TO TakeOurJobs.org:
To my brothers and sisters ~
Thank you for ALL the hard work and generosity you provide America. I apologize for the many terrible things said about you; I apologize for the way so many of our farm workers are treated.

I hope you know there are millions of us who stand with you. Thank you for giving us the best food in the world at the lowest prices possible.

In unity ...
Scott

The Day of Reckoning For State Pension Plans
by Josh Rauh, Ph.D., Economics
[posted 6.4.10] The pension plans sponsored by states and municipalities will place a substantial burden on state and local public finances in the near future. My recent work has estimated that the present value of already-promised state pension benefits is over $5 trillion when the benefit payments are discounted using Treasury yields, compared to a little over $2 trillion in pension fund assets. Most state constitutions offer special protections to pension benefits that state workers have already earned ...

As the accompanying table shows, the day of reckoning is in fact not as far away as some might imagine. Under my projections, seven states run out of money before 2020, including Louisiana (2017), Illinois (2018), New Jersey (2018), and Connecticut (2018). Thirty more states are expected to run out of money during the 2020s.

NOTE: Dr. Rauh projects New Mexico's state plans will be exhausted by 2023. Please see his complete article.

[complete article]


Mitch McConnell: Republicans Will Not Support the EFCA
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) promised that no Republicans will vote for the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), should it come to the Senate floor.

In a speech before the business organization Commerce Lexington, McConnell explained that the reason for such uncompromising opposition is that workers don't actually want to join unions due to the "very enlightened management in this country now, treating employees better and employees have decided they don't want to pay the dues." source

In a related story:
Low-wage workers are "often cheated" being routinely denied proper overtime pay and are often paid less than the minimum wage, according to a new study based on a survey of workers in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.... In surveying 4,387 workers in various low-wage industries, including apparel manufacturing, child care and discount retailing, the researchers found that the typical worker had lost $51 the previous week through wage violations, out of average weekly earnings of $339. That translates into a 15 percent loss in pay. source

Pretty much shatters the "enlightened management" illusion, doesn't it, Mitch!

Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy, the Liberal Lion
Senator Edward Kennedy - The Liberal Lion Born in 1932, the legislation he helped pass made life better for children, the poor, African-Americans, immigrants and workers. This is a tremendous loss for our nation and its citizens.

We honor and salute you!

Ted Kennedy was, quite simply, the best friend that working people had in the Senate. He served on the Senate Labor Committee (known by many different names over the years) from his first day in the Senate through his last, and chaired the Committee for many years. During that time, he was the driving force behind nearly every major piece of legislation intended to bring justice to the workplace -- from minimum wage laws to occupational safety reforms. But critically, and more than almost anyone in public life, he recognized that dignity and fairness in the workplace are ultimately dependent not on laws, and certainly not on the good graces of bosses, but on the right of working people to organize and bargain collectively. In short, Ted Kennedy -- the scion of Hyannisport -- was a full-blooded trade unionist. And he therefore dedicated much of the last decade of his life to the fight to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, the labor law reform he drafted to once again give working people a real chance to form unions and win fairness on the shop floor. It simply is not possible to truly honor Ted Kennedy's memory and at the same time oppose the bill that he crafted to rebuild democracy in the workplace. Jake McIntyre

What's On Your Mind?
Question: My husband and I both work full time. It seems we work all the time. Yet by the end of the month, we simply don't have any money left over. What should we do?

Answer:
Steven Greenhouse, writing in his recent book, The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker, says you aren't alone.
Since 1979, hourly earnings for 80 percent of American workers (those in private-sector, nonsupervisory jobs) have risen by just ONE percent, after inflation. The average hourly wage was $17.71 at the end of 2007.

Worker productivity, meanwhile, has climbed 60 percent. If wages had kept pace with productivity, the average full-time worker would be earning $58,000 a year. $36,000 was the average in 2007.
Had earnings kept pace with worker productivity, you would be making around $27.88 per hour today. Read a short excerpt from Greenhouse's book, The Big Squeeze

American workers are well aware that wages have stagnated. Economists note that dismal worker pay has made the recent downturn in the nation's economy even more painful. Skyrocketing fuel and food costs have hit workers extra hard because their incomes have not kept pace with inflation during this decade. To make ends meet, you are working harder than ever. Greenhouse's research shows:
The typical American worker toils 1,804 hours a year, 135 hours (nearly four weeks) more than the typical British worker, 240 hours (six weeks) more than the average French worker, and 370 hours (or nine full-time weeks) more than the average German worker.
This has created both a financial and time squeeze. Employed parents don't have enough time today to be with their kids or their spouse. There isn't time to exercise, run errands or have a high quality of life.

In addition you are more productive today than U.S. workers have ever been in history. You are putting in more hours at work; you are more productive on the job. This equates to increased profits for businesses. So where is all the extra money going?

Greenhouse points out that corporate profits have doubled since November 2001. Between 1996 and 2006, corporate CEO pay rose 45 percent. CEOs at 386 of the Fortune 500 companies took home an average of $10.8 million in total compensation in 2006, more than 364 times what the average worker earned that same year.

You're busting your ass; your kids suffer; yet corporations and CEOs rip you off by stealing the profits you are earning.

Who Works For You?
In 1983 union membership was slightly greater than 20 percent; today it's around 12 percent. As union membership has gone down, so has worker compensation. Who fights to get you higher pay and better benefits? Without a union, you are on your own -- GOOD LUCK! Your paycheck speaks for itself.

Unions aren't popular -- with management. This is because they are effective. You will hear many negative things about unions. Most of this is untrue and deceptive. Corporate America hates unions -- because they fight to keep jobs in America, keep worker pay high relative to increases in worker productivity, and ensure work places are safe, fair and fun!

Union Employees Make More Money 2007
Union Workers Make More Money Than Non-Union Workers

Unions work. The chart above shows that, across all demographic groups, union employees make more money than non-union workers. Looking at the Total column, union workers make over $10,000 more per year than non-union laborers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the union wage benefit is even greater for minorities and women. Union women earn 33 percent more than nonunion women; African American union members earn 37 percent more than their nonunion counterparts; for Latino workers, the union advantage equals 51 percent, and for Asian American workers, the union advantage is 4 percent. source

Whether you are in a union or not, high union membership causes ALL worker pay and benefits to increase. Businesses must complete for workers -- at the market rate. In many cases today, businesses set their rates for labor by comparing to the world market. Workers in China, India, Mexico and other developing nations can afford to work for pennies per hour. Can you?

A professional in India may make $4,000 per year for doing a job that is similar to the one you are currently doing. Can you live on $4,000 per year? Can you send your children to college on that salary? Can you afford medical care, retirement or a long deserved vacation?

Today America is a playground for the corporate rich, not for American workers -- and, it was American labor who built this nation; American labor fought and died in WWII to create the greatest period of prosperity that the world has ever witnessed.

The prosperous period created by our parents and grandparents has ended. If you hesitate to get involved now, your job and lifestyle will be outsourced.