CSEA Membership and Staff Revolt, by Steve Zeltzer
|Membership and Staff Revolt Leads To Removal Of SEIU Stern Operative Josie Mooney In CSEA
by Steve Zeltzer
IN JUNE OF LAST year, Josie Mooney who had previously been fired by SEIU 1021, kicked off the San Francisco Labor Council and then gone to work as an organizer in Chinese Wal-Mart workers for the SEIU was hired by the California School Employees Association as it’s Executive Director. The union which represents 220,000 school workers in California has been hit by massive attacks on education workers by the governor and economic decline in California. Mooney had previously given a report at the University of California in Santa Cruz that she was helping to train the Chinese union officials on how to organize the workers in China through the use of a “card check” drive. Unfortunately for the CSEA union, Mooney’s agenda at the CSEA has deepened the crisis within the union. While calling for cutbacks of the staff and training of both the staff and rank and file members, Mooney sought to outsource video and other work to her favorite companies such as Whitehurst/Mosher. Mooney also according to members started the “dumbing down of CSEA.” She also began a frontal attack on the conditions and benefits of the staff workers with demands for a 23.17% cut in Association of Union staff members pay and the virtual elimination of any union protections.
At the same time, Josie Mooney wanted a million dollars for a spending spree on Democratic party political operatives like the Whitehurst/Mosher firm to expand the union outside of California. Many union members began to ask why this should be the purpose of the union or the defense of the members at the schools. “Why do we have to expand outside of California and schools? We don’t! We have a long and proud history. We don’t want our union weakened and diluted by representing anyone but California school employees. Expanding is only a means to get more money and reflects the “if it moves, sign it up” mentality that other unions have failed at…like SEIU! We want a strong infrastructure focused on us!” Even after three votes by the membership against this expansion scheme Mooney was undeterred.
Mooney also followed up on her former mentor’s plan to eliminate trained staff who were familiar with the contract and grievance issues and instead set up a 800 number for the members to call. SEIU has spent tens of millions of dollars on this outsourced phone call scheme throughout California and around the country. In fact in SEIU 1021, the union because of the anger from members about this phone call system was actually offering free bags of groceries if the members used the 800 number. The Staff Union UAE representing the workers at the CSEA went on the offensive and in a halarious video comedy called the “Purple Union Easter” Marilyn Pittman “comic extraordinaire channels “Peggy” whose role models are Meg Whitman and Ernestine the telephone operator. Watch how she tackles those pesky union-ites who dare to ask the question: “What happened to our AEU brothers and sisters?”
Members began to suspect the Mooney’s agenda would lead to the destruction of the union if continued. In a blog titled Welcome to your freedom! « Stop the CSEA Insanity,
members began to seriously question the method of the Mooney operation.
“Ms. Mooney and her skunk squads, “essential” work (what part of our work is not important or essential? what have we been doing all these years?), her deliberate Nazi youth squad (CAUSE) which turns brother against brother sister against sister – remember to rat fink out your co-workers, and deliberately BANKRUPTING CSEA has GOT TO STOP!”
The growing anger and fury came to a head on December 18, 2010 when a statewide board meeting was held in San Jose that would allow comments from the membership. Over a hundred members of the CSEA including busloads of workers came from Fresno along with AEU members attended and for five hours workers gave testimony about how they feared the destruction of their union by the tactics of Josie Mooney. According to reports, not one worker or staff member actually took to the floor to defend her behavior and tactics.
Following the meeting on December 23, 2010, Josie Mooney was removed from her position and placed on leave by the Board. This growing revulsion of the tactics and strategy of the SEIU national leadership and the massive rejection of these methods by the membership of the CSEA is a growing sign that this corporate agenda is facing a very angry membership in more and more unions.
[View the list]