Everything I could not say in my article about the Teamster’s contract

International Brotherhood of Teamsters

I’ve been trying to write this post for two weeks.  Part of it will be familiar to those of you who saw my response to someone who took me to task for my article on the contract.  But I am also expanding in a lot of the areas as well.

I will give you my background first. I started with the county in 1980 and retired in 2013. I was an employee rep from 1998 or 1999 until 2006 when I was kicked out of the union for voicing my concerns about Bob Blough’s financial dealings, lack of decent representation, etc. The “kicked out” was not so much about my outspokenness. I won a seat on the board of directors and it was the only way Blough could think of to keep me from seeing the books, which I had been denied to see as a member. He came up with phony charges and the BOD at the time went along with it.

All of that being said, I don’t know if it is still on line but back 2006 I wrote an article for The Voice. Part of the premise was that unions must bargain from a position of strength, not a position of weakness. SBPEA has always bargained from a position of weakness and that can be chalked up to two things: member apathy and lack of a responsible political action plan.

It does not matter if the employees look greedy or not. Talk radio, other media, the Tea Party, and county leaders have set the narrative on this one. Employees are greedy. Perception is reality no matter the truth. And union employees are perceived as being greedy.  Just ask John and Ken.

The bottom line is that at this time the Teamsters are, in fact, bargaining from a position of weakness. They are trying to change that.  But they cannot change their position without the help of the employees they represent.

If this were a regular contract I would be screaming from the rooftop to reject it. But it is not. It is the best offer you are going to get, like it or not. So use it to your advantage and use those four years to write your own narrative.

Elect members of the board of supervisors that understand that attracting warehouse jobs by claiming that companies can pay low wages without benefits is not in anyone’s best interest. Elect members who are employee friendly, not just to county employees, but to the whole concept that if someone works 40 hours a week in a decent job they should be able to support a family and provide medical coverage for their children without the aid of public assistance.

In other words, if you want a decent contract in four years, you must take action NOW.  Do not allow your union to support Supervisor Robert Lovingood or Supervisor Janice Rutherford.  There are still some Bob Blough proteges who are more interested in getting invited to the Fifth Floor than in negotiating good contracts for employees.  Those proteges both work for SBPEA and are on the board of directors.  Take the time to find out who they are and DEMAND they be removed.  Don’t allow these few individuals to undermine all that the Teamsters is trying to do for you to get you better contracts.  If you hear anyone at SBPEA say anything positive about Lovingood or Rutherford or suggest support or PAC donations to either, you know you are dealing with a Bob Blough protege.  GET THEM OUT OF OFFICE!!!!! 

Lovingood and Rutherford have nothing, and I MEAN NOTHING, but contempt for county employees.  Heck, Lovingood owns a temp service and would like nothing better than to make all government employees temporary, minimum wage employees with no benefit.  He has long loathed county employees, long before he was elected to the First District.  Rutherford shows her contempt for county employees at each and every meeting.  Her unwavering support of Greg Devereaux and the way he treats employees proves it.

Take those four years to educate the public why all of these minimum wage, part-time warehouse jobs the county touts as “bringing in jobs” are detrimental to everyone’s way of life. It hurts our county as a whole.

Take those four years to educate the media that county employees work hard and only want a fair wage for a full day’s work.

Take those four years to demand that the board of supervisors replace unelected county bureaucrats with those that have a real vision for helping this county to prosper. If they grow this county by bringing in higher paying private sector jobs, there will be a greater demand for real estate and for services. County revenues will increase and that means raises will be easier to come by.

And finally, use those four years to build your union so that it is bargaining from a position of strength rather than weakness. The union will never be in a place to negotiate good contracts if employees don’t support it and get involved through the term of the contract rather just when a proposal has been placed on the table.


11 thoughts on “Everything I could not say in my article about the Teamster’s contract

  1. Yes, the same old SBPEA people are still in charge, and so long as that continues people will not unite.

  2. When people were getting ready to gleefully vote for the Teamsters, thinking things would change 180 degrees. I told them that they were just voting for higher dues, a new so-called leader, but the same ineffectual office staff, negotiators and board members. They stated “oh, no! It will all be different! New staff, blah, blah blah”

    I’m not saying the SBPEA was any better, or the IBEW was any better or worse. There were all lining up like a bunch of whores on the street corner waiting to dip into dues money to propagate their floundering business model.

    Well drones, are you happy now? You got what you voted for. And you get to pay higher dues for the privilege. Good work.

  3. It is not all of them, a majority of them, or even many of them. It is a handful of individuals who do not like change and like the perks and way of doing things when Blough was there that are undermining what so many are trying to do. It is maybe three that work for SBPEA and three on the board of directors who are the problems. All I’m trying to say is that members need to be very aware that those individuals exist and take action to get rid of them either through the election process or by putting pressure on Teamster’s leaders to fire them.

    • Thank you for clarifying Sharon. Totally agree with all of your points and I am not posting “anonymously”. Also I am not posting as an out of work unlicensed Attorney who lives 3000 miles away and has no direct knowledge of anything that goes on here. As usual many are willing to stand from afar and cast stones and bitch and moan but very few are willing to step up and accept the challenge of getting involved and helping to build a real Union. Some of us are actually in the trenches trying to fix things and hold people accountable while others aren’t even informed enough to know what the true issues are. As far as Teamsters/ IBT they are smart enough to take things slowly, analyze the organization and recommend appropriate changes but still preserve the appropriate History with the past MOUs and grievances and not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Unfortunately for the Professionals the same cannot be said for the organization they have selected to represent them. In the end 1932 members will have received. 7% across the board at least and the professional unit will be lucky to get their 7% cut back and see no additional increases or any across the board/COLA. As for Melissa White as usual she is clueless as the same old SBPEA people are NOT in charge. Then again she doesn’t live here and is not a member and is the one who has no accountability for the constant lies and misinformation that she likes to spew on social media.

  4. Sharon, the last statement is incredibly true.
    In my opinion, people who show up only in time to complain and/or vote are like the Easter/Christmas churchgoers. They have no idea what happens the other 24 Sundays of the year. But they are the most vocal about what wasn’t perfect on the day they dropped in.
    There are many dedicated and eager board members continuing to take the organization forward to strength and unity.
    Then there are a few members who pretend to be supportive while filing frivolous complaints and being snarky when they make their “positive” comments. Again, only a handful. Saying things like “I’ll vote yes while pinching my nose”. The thinly veiled hatred for unions shines through. What they actually do is further harm any forward progress and display the same sad sarcasm Blough had.

  5. Actually, those of us who are most strongly pro-labor, understand how important it is to be transparent and to comply with all rules and regulations. As the Supreme Court has noted frequently, it is those who do not that cause the problems for everyone else.

  6. Fact: SBPEA’s affiliation agreement with the Teamsters required that the same SBPEA people stay in charge.. SBPEA still has the same General Counsel, same General Manager, and basically the same people on the executive board. That’s the problem. (If the Teamsters had actually taken over, it would have been a change in representation, and county employees would have been entitled to a full and fair, independently run, representation vote. Then, things would have changed.)

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