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Thursday, December 22, 2005
Mosquito King vs Mosquito Union
King of the Mosquitoes
There is more breaking news from the Blogs about the Orange County Vector Control District’s General Manager Gerard Goedhart. Wednesday’s Orange Punch (the Orange County Register’s Blog) reported that the California School Employees Association (CSEA) was trying to organize the Orange County Vector Control District’s small work force. Both the OC Blog and the Orange Punch Blog carried excerpts of a letter to District GM Goedhart from the “chief counsel for the California School Employees Association in September to the president of the Vector Control Board of Trustees”.
The letter accuses Goedhart of violating labor practice laws in trying to foil the CSEA’s efforts to unionize the Vector District’s employees. It states in part:
“CSEA is currently involved in discussions with District workers who seek to be represented by the union. Yesterday District Manager Goedhart met with his staff and threatened to retaliate against them by withdrawing promised benefits, including participation in the Public Employees Retirement System, should they refuse to rescind their interest in being represented by a union. Specifically, he asked approximately 30 staff members to stay at work after their shift ended and told the assembled workers that they could either be represented by him or by a union. He said that everyone must sign a statement indicating their support for him; and, if he did not get one hundred percent support from the staff, he would halt his current efforts to improve their wages and benefits."
The Blogs also carried the rebuttal letter from Goedhart concerning the union accusations. It reads in part:
“I have made no binding, legal promise to enhance the employee’s retirement program. I have conducted research on the CalPERS retirement system and have kept the employees informed of it as their representative. No item has been considered by the Board of Trustees and they are under no obligation to consider any such enhancement at this time.”
CSEA is the largest classified employee union in the United States, representing more than 230,000 public employees in California as an independent affiliate of the AFL it mainly represents non-teaching school district employees. However, recently the CSEA has been moving into the bug world.
The CSEA was in a similar legal battle with the Palm Springs area Mosquito District, Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District in a scenario similar to their Orange County quest at the OCVCD. In 2003 the CVMVCD workers joined CSEA after a prolonged battle and tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees from the CVMVCD fighting the unionization effort.
The CSEA involvement in organizing the special district bug workers brings a whole new twist to political figures involvement in the growing debate on how to handle what at first appeared to be at best bureaucratic nest feathering, but now at worst sidestepping union organizing. In addition, the many traditionally conservative bloggers may now find themselves caught between bureaucratic boondoggles and union organizing.
Orange Punch Blog posted OCVCD letters CLICK ON:
OC BLOG posted letter excerpts and budget data CLICK ON:
Information on CVMVD from CSEA website CLICK ON:
CSEA Flyer used in CVMVD fight CLICK ON:
CSEA Information used in CVMVD fight CLICK ON: