United Law Center Joins with CPPEA to Lead the Charge in Pursuing Decertification of Calif. State Workers Union, SEIU Local 1000

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United Law Center (“ULC”) has been selected to join with the California Professional Public Employees Association (“CPPEA”) in both the CPPEA’s effort to decertify the California state employees’ union, SEIU Local 1000, by November 30, 2015 and offer an alternative representation option with the CPPEA by way of election. Should the decertification campaign garner at least 30% support for any of the bargaining units currently represented by SEIU Local 1000, then the 95,000 state employees will be able to vote on who they want as an exclusive representative.

United Law Center

United Law Center

“By bringing in ULC, a fierce law practice not afraid to face down organizations like major banking and insurance companies, we have a bona fide partner who will represent state employees with the same passion and vigor that we will as their union."

United Law Center (ULC) has been selected to join with the California Professional Public Employees Association (CPPEA) in both the CPPEA’s effort to decertify the California state employees’ union, SEIU Local 1000, by November 30, 2015 and offer an alternative representation option with the CPPEA by way of election. Should the decertification campaign garner at least 30% support for any of the bargaining units currently represented by SEIU Local 1000, and then the 95,000 state employees will be able to vote on who they want as an exclusive representative. Last week, they co-authored a letter to Governor Jerry Brown announcing the decertification campaign and requesting that the State provide access to fundamental resources that would allow them to easily educate state employee members about the decertification campaign and the CPPEA as an alternate union option upon an election. However, all efforts will be taken to ensure open communication and protection of first amendment rights.

“We are excited about the opportunity to represent the CPPEA; giving a voice to the ‘little guy’ is what we do best, and giving a legal voice to the 95,000 state employees under SEIU Local 1000’s control is long overdue,” said United Law Center’s Founding Attorney, Stephen J. Foondos. “At this stage, the CPPEA is simply requesting open communication; when all communication vehicles are controlled by state agencies and the SEIU Local 1000, then any infringement on speech must necessarily be attributed to policies or conduct that is inconsistent with the first amendment. Our law practice was founded on representing those whom have been wronged by mega-money institutions like banks and insurance companies. All 95,000 state workers need to know they have a ‘David’ in their corner that is here to protect their interests, including their constitutional rights. Holding the Local 1000 accountable through the decertification process and subsequent election is a means to that end,” said Attorney Foondos.

The CPPEA has been actively challenging the SEIU Local 1000 on behalf of state employees for eight years but this is the first time they have pursued a decertification campaign and had all elements in place to proclaim itself as an alternate union option, should the decertification campaign success lead to an election in early 2016 where state employees will choose which union to join.

CPPEA is founded on key principals who differentiate it from the SEIU Local 1000:

  •     Full Transparency and Accountability – If a non-germane member wants an accounting of how the union’s funds have been spent, they will receive it. Today, it goes to arbitration which has never resulted in the union opening its books for a full accounting. For years out-of-state arbitrators have sided with the SEIU’s calculation of expenditures, to the penny. Miraculously the Local 1000 has never been required to adjust the nearly $60 million in expenses paid for by its members. While the SEIU Local 1000 spends hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to fight their own members in the fee arbitration about its accounting discrepancies, the CPPEA plans on issuing an annual “report card” to explain the efficiencies in their model.
  •     Member’s Dues to be Cut in Half. The CPPEA feels that a membership fee of .75% per member is more than enough to properly represent its members vs. the 1.5% currently collected by the SEIU Local 1000.
  •     Effective and Efficient Bargaining. State employees continue to see their union representatives go on record asking for stipends and raises, yet average state employees have only received an 8% raise collectively over the last 14 years, while cost of living has severely outpaced that amount.
  •     Employee Bill of Rights. All employees must have the right to safe, fair and just employment and be a part of ensuring their job security and future opportunities.
  •     Political Neutrality. New parameters will be set in place to have more accountability for political contributions and involvement, allowing the fee-payers to have more of a voice in where their support will be given. CPPEA will also not require non-germane objectors (which is anticipated to be a lesser amount than in SEIU due to more transparency) to opt-out annually. They can do it once until they are ready to change their status.

“We now have the elements in place to truly create positive change for state employees who have been pleading for legitimate representation for many years,” explained Ken Hamidi, CPPEA President. “By bringing in ULC, a fierce law practice not afraid to face down organizations like major banking and insurance companies, we have a bona fide partner who will represent state employees with the same passion and vigor that we will as their union. We look forward to prevailing in the decertification so that we can prove ourselves in an election to properly represent state employees.”

The CPPEA’s decertification campaign is in full swing and will continue until Nov. 30, 2015. At least 30% of the fee payers in a bargaining unit must sign the decertification petition in order for there to be an election in that particular bargaining unit in early 2016. Currently, the CPPEA estimates there are at least 21,000 fee payers ready to move their representation to the CPPEA.

The jointly authored letter to California’s Governor Brown by the CPPEA and ULC requested reasonable accommodations be made, as required by law, in order to communicate with the 95,000 fee payers about the decertification campaign. To prevent infringing on employee’s right to freedom of speech and freedom of association, the following reasonable requests were made:

1.    Unrestricted access to state email systems in order to communicate with all state employees.

2.    Unrestricted access to the conference rooms, break rooms, and common area’s in state offices throughout California in order to distribute decertification material such as flyers, and collect signatures on petitions, etc. reasonable accommodations allowing access to state facilities will be necessary.

3.    Unrestricted use of the telephone systems of all state agencies throughout California. Often, the only method to communicate and associate freely with state employees is through telephonic communications. Restricted use of access to the telephone system may inhibit the employees’ right to speech and association.

4.    Unrestricted access to bulletin boards for posting the decertification material at all state agency worksites throughout California.

5.    Recognizing the friction that may exist within state agencies and by the SEIU, we ask that an Executive Order be issued directing to all state agencies to refrain from the following:

a.    Management to refrain from retaliation against employees conducting decertification activities.
b.    Management to instruct all staff to refrain from intervening in the decertification process in any way.
c.    Management to instruct state agencies’ security personnel to be present during decertification gatherings, to ensure peaceful assembly.

About United Law Center
United Law Center, A Professional Law Corporation, advocates for clients who have experienced consumer law violations by major financial institutions such as banking institutions, insurance/healthcare companies and real estate institutions. United Law Center was nominated for Consumer Attorney of the Year in 2014 by the Consumer Attorneys of California. ULC continues to lead the litigation charge in foreclosure defense, bankruptcy and other mortgage related violations. With 12 appellate victories, 6 published cases and a $16.2 million jury verdict against mortgage servicer, PHH, in California, United Law Center is securing case law in favor of homeowners fighting banks for wrongful conduct. To determine if a homeowner or other victim has a valid case or thorough banking advice, they are encouraged to visit http://www.unitedlawcenter.com or call 916-367-0622 to schedule a free, no time-limit consultation. They will receive an honest, accurate assessment of their case, for free.

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