Executive Board Meeting & New Contract

I am happy to report that I was allowed to stay through the entire Executive Board meeting without being kicked out at any point (like the last meeting).  I was not allowed to vote, as I was an “uninvited guest.”  I did not receive compensation for the annual time used to represent our membership, as with the last meeting.


I did learn some alarming information regarding the new DSHS contract.  The good, bad, and the ugly (in other words the TRUTH) was not presented to membership regarding the new contract prior the District Office holding the vote to accept the contract.  This accounts for why the exact wording of the contract was not allowed by the District Office to be reviewed prior to the vote.  I still have not received a copy of the tentative agreement document for the CBA which I would immediately post.


The way the bad news about the new contract was presented to me was via the DSHS negotiator stating that 1199NW has filed to address the “comp time portion" of the agreement on November 12th.  From what little information was provided to me, the reason why the District Office asked for a yes vote was to include the (what I think is an inappropriate) wage increase structure in the DSHS budget request.  What was presented to membership prior to the vote turned out to not be truthful.  Although I have not seen the wording, comp time was apparently negotiated away from the new agreement.  I believe that membership should have been informed of this prior to the vote.  


I ask that the negotiation team provide the truthful information to our membership, warts and all.  We deserve to know.  If what little I learned was true (without seeing the contract language), we have the option to petition for a no vote (after the fact) based on not getting truthful information from the District Office.   This is something membership must decide.


Please inform your peers of what has occurred.  I ask the District Office to provide the contract language immediately to our membership.  I ask that ALL future contract votes require full contract language disclosure prior to a District Office ordered vote so that membership itself can determine if a yes or no vote is a valid option.  I personally have no confidence in the District Office to determine what my vote shall be on ANY issue, hence I voted NO.


What occurred with this vote is ominous… It is yet another sign that we belong to a union that has no democratic base. If our Bylaws were followed, we as a membership body could file an appeal with the District Hearing & Appeals Board for investigation and resolution to determine who ordered this action and take action to assure that proper action could be taken to prevent future abuses of power.  But, 1199NW does not have a two year term elected District Hearing & Appeals Board or properly elected Election Board that was selected by membership at the District Delegate Assembly.  


At this time, 1199NW is a political action committee rather than a democratic labor union.  What I find really telling is that SEIU International has been slow to respond to my appeal which went directly to them.  Perhaps SEIU International is also a political action committee rather than a true democratic labor union…  I hope that this is not true, because if it is…  SEIU International has failed to properly elect its own Hearing & Appeals Board that would provide oversight of its own leadership which would explain why oversight of 1199NW has yet to be initiated.


Membership deserves the truth.  Extensive reforms must be voted in at the next District Delegate Assembly to turn 1199NW into a democratic union for the first time in its history.  I suspect that I will continue to be under 1199NW attack for speaking the truth.  


1199NW has attempted to overturn a valid Western State Hospital election because the elected candidates never compromised their values by blindly following District Office and Organizer directives.  The District Office created a false “reelection” that prevented the elected officers from running as there was a pending appeal (to the District Hearing & Appeals Board which did not exist) and the entire structure of WSH Chapter officers was modified exclusive of WSH membership to a structure that exists in no other 1199NW Chapter (by Organizers, not membership).  To have participated in such a “reelection” would have required acceptance of the new imposed structure (there was no acceptance of this structure).  Note that Executive Board and Vice Chair in that illegal “reelection” had no candidates.  Instead of installing the incumbents (even in the interim), the District Office attempted to appoint their own selected individuals, exclusive of a vote by membership (via the contract negotiation team).  In May, when this issue was initiated by the District Office via an illegal Election Board acting on District Office directives with the oversight of 1199NW Chief Counsel at all steps, WSH was no longer run by membership.  When Bylaw violations and appeals were filed, there was a sudden review of Bylaws and I again assumed my duties as “Chair” but the District Office did not want to see my face in Executive Board Meetings…  Hence the extreme actions the District Office has taken to create a hostile environment.  Just this past week the illegal Election Board (Chaired by an Organizer) rendered a ruling that would have changed the WSH Chair.  The District Office has gone to great lengths to prevent a fair vote from occurring at WSH…  The results of such an election would create a two year problem for the District Office.  Proper appeals and charges against District Officers have been filed.  It is not known if SEIU International even has a proper Hearing & Appeals Board that can hear this case.   


This is where things stand at this time.  Keep your input coming.  We as a collective must determine how we proceed should the situation continue on its current path.  How does membership wish to proceed with the contract issue?

© Paul Vilja 2017