portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article

AFSCME SPREADS CORRUPTION TO WEST COAST

AFSCME UC Workers for Democracy want their union, Local 3299, back from the bureaucratic robber barons of the International.
December 1, 2001

AFSCME SPREADS CORRUPTION TO WEST COAST


FACT SHEET


1998 The California State Legislature passed Senate Bill 645, a bill sponsored by the AFSCME International, establishing Agency Shop at the University of California. Once passed, approximately 14,000 UC workers would be required to pay an agency fee of over $20/month to AFSCME. The bill would take effect January 2000.

1999 AFSCME International formed the UCCC (University of California Contract Campaign). In a letter dated January 18, 2000, Gerald McEntee gave exclusive representation of Local 3299 (which represented the University of California Patient Care and Service unit members) to the campaign, directing the University of California to send dues and fees, as well as all communications to the director of the UCCC, placing Local 3299 in an illegal administratorship.

UCCC Executive Director, Craig Merrilees, meets with the UCSF Chapter of Local 3299, which is the chapter with the highest membership and strongest leadership of all the UC campuses. With approximately 15 stewards and leaders of the Chapter asking for assurances that the quality of the representation under the UCCC will remain as high as it currently is under the Local 3299, activists asking that the secretary and office remain open, are told by Merrilees, "THIS IS NOT A DEMOCRACY. I AM THE DIRECTOR. I will decide what is needed and what is not for this Local". The UCCC campaign begins to take out Local 3299 leadership, installing UCCC staff at each campus, who take over contract defense and ongoing negotiations.

2000 The Agency Shop bill took effect on January 1, increasing Local 3299 dues income from $40,000 to approximately $400,000. AFSCME International allocates all funds to the UCCC. The UCCC begins trainings for new "activists" using education techniques designed to give participants the feeling of a democratic process, when in fact the objectives were preset and organizing "actions" were decided from the top, not by the membership. Merrilees disrespects the members with his Machiavellian lust for power exhibited first by his violating the International Constitution guidelines by hand picking the election committee, then discouraging the junior staff from supporting true activists, to conducting captive audience sessions.

Although not officially in "trusteeship", AFSCME International has taken over the local's treasury, taken out the leadership, stifled the local activists, and refused to sign the local constitution, effectively keeping the local powerless for the past two years. The UCCC has repeatedly refused to provide the Local with sufficient funds to provide member services or to permit the local to disburse dues monies deducted from the paychecks of the Local's members. AFSCME International has rebuffed all of the former officer's attempts to ascertain how the International is spending the members' dues. AFSCME International has used a significant portion of the dues money stolen from the Local to discredit, slander and intentionally campaign against the Local's former officers. Finally, last month, AFSCME International ordered an election to be conducted, refusing to permit any participation by the Local's former officers or their supporters in the election, handpicked its chosen slate, and unabashedly used the Local's dues money to support AFSCME International's slate of candidates. It appears it was always AFSCME International's plan to place Local 3299 in an illegal administratorship. There was never any Local impropriety or abuse; AFSCME International's blatant takeover of the Local was motivated by its brazen desire to seize Local 3299 members' hard-earned dues money. AFSCME International has left nothing to chance, nor did it afford the Local any due process before seizing all of its assets and attaining complete control of the Local. This Local was seized without any regard for the rights of the membership in AFSCME International's zeal for greater income.


For further information, please contact:

AFSCME UC Workers for Democracy

Mary Ann Ring  sfactive@earthlink.net
Corey Menotti  cmenotti@earthlink.net
Cathy Buchanan  knukinfuts@earthlink.net
Pam Llorente  askme3299@aol.com