RE: [fightfor347] Am I alone on this?
- I would like to say that your cynicism and paranoia are unfounded and
everything will work itself out in the end.......but I can't. I've just come
from a "tour" of the new Membership Resource Center (MRC) and I have some
good news and some bad news. First the good news; It is a high tech office
with a large informational screen to display statistical information such as
how many calls are coming in per hour, how long the callers are on hold, the
time duration of the calls, the average time it takes to "handle" a call.
The individual Member Resource Organizer (MRO) has large computer terminals
that can display the callers name, the MOU of the caller and a category of
the problem or issue such as "supervisor harassment, payroll issues, denial
of overtime, etc,". The system is multi-layered and appears to be a complex
system dependent on complex technology. The director of the MRC is a very
nice gentleman by the name of Rodney Bullock and when fully staffed has
about 23 MRO's.
Now for the not so good news; The staff is employed by the International,
not the local. There are accountability issues in that kind of arrangement.
In the former Local 347, the staff was accountable to the member elected
Board. If a staff member wasn't "cutting it", the board could fire him/her
and the board also gives their ratification to his/her replacement. That's
obviously not the case now.
The MRC handles all of California, including 1021, 521, 721 and 221. In 721
alone there are 140 MOU's each with their own "past practice" issues that
none of the MRO's are privy to. The MRO's are very nice people but have not
worked in any of the unions that they "handle". They undergo 3 weeks of new
hire training before being thrown into the mix.
Mr. Bullock stated that the MRO's do make determinations as to whether or
not a member has a grievable issue, although the Director for OC/LA cities
later contradicted this statement. Although the MRC receives hundreds of
calls a week, the OC/LA Director stated that about 20% are referred to the
Advocacy Center which is under the purview of the General Counsel. The
layers of Bureaucracy are MRO, Worksite Organizer and Advocates.
There are also apparently "role" problems that still need to be worked out
with the MRC staff, which may slow the system. This current system appears
to be more technologically and statistically based. There is currently no
evidence that our Los Angeles City employees worksites are stronger or
better than before the merger from Local 347 to 721. Although the LA/OC
Director did her best to give the "work in progress" and "let's make the
best of it" speech, the changes are very noticeable. It's like waking up in
handcuffs are being told "we should still move forward".
It's not just you and you are not alone. You have every right to be upset
about being left out of the loop, especially when you've made the commitment
to put yourself on the line for your brothers and sisters. It's called being
disrespected and unappreciated.
As for your brothers and sisters who "chickened out", that's what all
stewards go through. It's called apathy. That's what happens when push comes
to shove. There are employees who make a lot of noise about doing something
about the unfairness and injustice that occurs at the worksite, but are
unwilling to do what it takes to make it better.
As for your unnamed "union rep (now known as worksite organizer)", please
keep in mind that he/she has to "tow the corporate line" and he/she really
needs the paycheck. They're not working under the same conditions as before
the merger and they are discouraged from "making waves".
Elitist? Quite possibly. That is the corporate method of marginalizing what
they call "risks". If there is information that they don't want you to have
they just keep it from you, such as the time and place for decision-making
meetings. Example; the Executive Board for 721 meets at 10:00 A.M. on a
weekday. You'd have to take your own time off to attend this meeting, but
the Board members get a "$tipend" for their attendance and don't have to
take their own time for this meeting. Pretty slick, huh? Try this link for
Executive Board happenings;
(Executive Board wants to hear from you)
If you think your current "worksite organizer" is "deficient" you can call
their bosses. Start with the LA/OC Director Julie Butcher, [(213) 200-2861],
next John Tanner [(213) 368-8660]. Please be sure to identify yourself as a
steward. Oh, yeah....here are their e-mails too; [julie.butcher@...]
Encourage your brothers and sisters to voice their concerns on this website
as well as with the "higher ups" at 721. Remember, they now have your dues
money and will be getting more with each salary increase we get. You should
Please keep us informed.-Dan
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]On
Behalf Of js90731
Sent: Friday, June 27, 2008 4:00 PM
Subject: [fightfor347] Am I alone on this?
I'm somewhat of a cynic and paranoid person in general, which is
probably why I become a show steward in the first place but I know
that I'm not alone on this. I have been a shop steward for a little
over a year now and I was working with my union rep on different
issues, especially for the last contract negotiations.
I tried to keep my fellow co-workers up-to-date at every step to
the best of the expediency in which my union rep provided me with
the information. The union rep, which I will leave nameless at this
point was designated as our source for grievances and other
information as needed. He had a toll free number to the former union
hall (St. Paul/Wilshire) and he was generous enough to give me his
cell phone number at which I kept in close contact with him during
the contract negotiations as well as some divisional issues which
concerned us city-wide prior to the budget "crisis."
He did an adequate job of getting me on the JLMC as well as
two subcommitees in which I actively take part in as much as I can.
I bombard him with numerous questions in which I feel is my duty
because this is my chosen career and I am more than enthusiastic
about learning about every aspect of my job, especially legally
which includes knowing department policies, practicies and the MOU,
which is why I stepped up to the plate when my fellow officers were
bitching and moaning senselessly as they do best, but when given the
opportunity to become active, they fell afoul and chickened out.
I don't hold them accountable for their actions, I'm
responsible for ME and the choice I made. For the past month or so,
seemingly since the creation of this bullshit "resource call-in
center" BASED IN PASADENA MIND YOU, I've learned of these discreet
meetings with "veteran" officers and my union rep to which I had no
knowledge of and was not given the opportunity to be party to.
I resent this. I know there's the popular line that's thrown
at me "I'm really busy man, bare with me" is getting a bit tired
considering that each paycheck about $25 plus is deducted for union
dues and an extra $5 to which I am voluntarily retracting because
I'm so distraught with the lack of service I'm receiving from "OUR"
I told him to his face that I think the call center was a bad
idea from the start to which he also enlightened me that the call
center will be the primary source for grievances and no longer the
union rep's responsibility. What a way to pass the buck right? This
impersonal disservice to city workers is offensive, repugnant and
outright unacceptable in my opinion.
I don't want to have to call an impersonal call center
located in a city in which probably has no clue what we do and the
problems we face in our chosen occupation (Traffic Officers). It
would seem that I as well as a few other concerned officers have
been abandoned by the one beacon of hope (union rep) and left to
deal with a panel of impersonal phone jockeys who probably haven't
the slighest clue as to how to deal with our issues/concerns.
I've noticed that I get NO email replies concerning
meetings or other issues that I address to my union rep since the
inception and enacting of this call center and when I questioned him
about this "closed door" meeting he held with three "fellow" co-
workers, he has not replied to me or given me a reasonable
explanation as to why I wasn't included in this.
When I addressed him with concerns that I had, he would
brush it off with a sardonic tone with such memorable quips
as "What's up with you? You're like a rebel without a cause!" This
remark coming from someone to which at one time I assumed was on the
side of labor! WTF is that? I'm completely confused as to what's
happening to the union and how impersonal and aloof it seems to be
becoming. It seems to be forming into factions of elitists to which
If you don't fit in, you can't "get in." Which is complete B.S. to
Am I alone on this?
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