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AFSCME (the union):Illinois’ Sheridan Correctional Center Strike of June 6, 2006

Posted by C.L.I.C.K. for Social Change on May 17, 2008

Reference: National Legal and Policy Center “Union Corruption and the Law” by Phillip B. Wilson located on their website at http://www.nlpc.org/

Update: January 2, 2007

While researching my issues for the upcoming litigation in Federal Court against AFSCME, specifically Local 472, I discovered a tactic this union is possibly pursuing with the new vendor. I believe this union is pursuing a “closed shop” with the new vendor instead of an “open shop.”

The term “closed shop” is used to signify an establishment employing only members of a labor union. The union shop, a closely allied term, indicates a company where employees do not have to belong to a labor union when hired but are required to join within a specified period of time in order to keep their jobs. In the alternative, an employment “open shop”, strictly speaking, is one that does not restrict its employees to union members or membership.

I am not sure why the new vendor would subject its employees to the strict standard of a “closed shop”, but it is worth investigating since it will impact my employment and salary. The new vendor taking a position of an “open shop” with AFSCME can be negotiated, especially since AFSCME does not want to adopt the doctrine of cultural diversity in its leadership or Board leading to fairness and equality for the employees (counselors) it plans to represent at Sheridan Correctional Center (Sheridan).

Many states either by legislation or by court decision have banned the “closed shop.” In 1947 the Taft-Hartley Labor Act declared the “closed shop” illegal. Arguments in favor of the “open shop” are that forcing unwilling workers to pay union dues or agency fees is an infringement of their rights; that union membership is sometimes closed to certain workers or the initiation and/or agency fee is so high as to be an effective bar to membership; and that “employers” are deprived of the privilege of hiring competent workers or firing incompetent ones.

Presently, AFSCME does not have enough votes to call a strike against the new vendor if their demands are not met. If the new vendor allows AFSCME to have a “closed shop” it will be able to call a strike if their demands are not met.

In the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit it suggests a union becomes the exclusive bargaining representative for a group of employees when explicit voluntary recognition occurs by an employer who expressly assents to a union’s representation. See Jefferson Smurfit Corp., 331 N.L.R.B. 809, 809 (2000); or implicit voluntary recognition occurs when an employer’s statements or conduct clearly and unequivocally demonstrate that it has made a commitment to enter into negotiations with a union. See Nantucket Fish Co., 309 N.L.R.B. 794, 795 (1992). The NLRB has consistently held that merely reviewing authorization cards does not count as implicit recognition. See Jefferson Smurfit Corp., 331 N.L.R.B. 809, 809 (2000). Furthermore, the court notes that the NLRB’s decision is consistent with national labor policy, which favors the voluntary recognition of a majority union. See NLRB v. Lyon & Ryan Ford, Inc., 647 F.2d 745, 750 (7th Cir.1981). AFSCME, specifically Local 472, does not have a majority union.

If the new vendor allows this “closed shop”, what is the agency fee? I will research this issue more closely and will provide a follow up report. The follow up report will encompass an analysis of other Illinois State agency contracts where AFSCME represents its employees, specifically, where there are non-union employees, such as the Illinois Department of Employment Security and the Illinois Department of Health and Human Services. There may be mitigating issues here.

The new vendor must acknowledge there is no one advocating for those who oppose this union’s cultural diversity disparity. We are left out of the loop for all practical purposes of negotiating a meaningful contract that includes all the people.

Update: December 30, 2006

As previously reported on this site: On December 20, 2006 Mr. Henry Bayer, Executive Director of AFSCME, responded to a letter I sent to him suggesting his collective bargaining unit for the counselors at Sheridan Correctional Center (Sheridan) is discriminating against others of cultural differences.

This collective bargaining unit has no cultural diversity attached to its board members. There are no latinos or blacks sitting as Board members for AFSCME’s collective bargaining unit at Sheridan. There may have been blacks on their Board when they first started the collective bargaining unit at Sheridan, but after this union’s strike fiasco on June 6, 2006 the blacks that were apart of the bargaining unit declined their memberships. For this cause, new Board members of latinos and blacks must be present in the collective bargaining practice for it to have meaning of representing all the counselors at Sheridan to the new vendor. Why should the new vendor honor any proposal from AFSMCE’s collective bargaining unit if it does not represent all the counselors?

Mr. Rob Fanti believes he does not have to put any “latinos or blacks” on “his” Board. I guess Mr. Bayer and Fanti believe they know how “lationos and blacks” think and what their needs are. The people who are on this Board bring information to their “respective” class members only. By the absence of latinos and blacks on this Board, there is not a dissemination of information about the proposal and any proposed union business. Therefore, we should not have to pay any type of dues to this union.

This union’s actions are certainly a norm for that part of our society who oppressed and discriminated against “blacks” for over 400 years. The discrimination continues at Sheridan.

When I, as a black man, requested to be on their Board, Mr. Bayer responds: “If you sign a membership card, then you have the right to vote and to run for elected positions.” This is an absurd answer. I do not need a membership card for this collective bargaining unit to represent me at the bargaining table with new vendor at Sheridan. There is something wrong with this picture, and our society who allows this to happen. There needs to be and must be stronger legislation against union activities as suggested in the writing “Union Corruption and the Law” by Phillip B. Wilson. There should be a public outcry about the way unions operate, specifically, outside the legal parameters of the law and common decency.

Mr. Bayer goes on to say “…Some local unions require a member to be in good standing for a year before becoming a candidate for office.” I guess this means going along with the agenda of Mr. Fanti, who uses his members as pawns in a chess game. Bargaining unit members, be real clear of his intentions. If Mr. Fanti cared about “all” the counselors at Sheridan he would believe in cultural diversity. The only culture he is interested in is his own culture and their needs.

Mr. Bayer also states “…I’m not familiar with the Addiction Study Program Committee on which you sit, but in AFSCME members attain office by gaining the confidence of their co-workers and getting a majority of the vote.” What kind of craziness is this? What Mr. Bayer really means if you have a one-way thought process you can be part of their team. This one-way thinking promotes my original discussion on why this collective bargaining unit at Sheridan does not want any “real” black men or women sitting on its board. This bargaining unit does not want real discussion of the issues. The Boards I sit on are clear of my intentions. My intentions promote fairness and consistency, not an alignment to the values and concerns of a particular agenda.

This bargaining unit believes they can make demands upon an employer to “take care” of them because they are employed by them. This is ludicrous. A person gets what they work for, no more, no less. A certain amount of a discipline’s academic and experience gains power in negotiating for or having more or requesting more from an employer. You have to have something tangible to bargain with in these negotiations.

The people who sit on this collective bargaining unit Board have no idea what people of color need or want. These people have no idea what the needs are of social services. They come from their kitchens, Walmart, K-Mart or other disciplines or through nepotism demanding things because they have seniority “counseling” at Sheridan. Just because one has worked at Sheridan for 2 or 3 years as a “counselor” does not mean they know how to apply the techniques and theories of the counseling discipline. One may not learn from their peers who do not know social services, but rather from those who have the real experiences of social services and clinical knowledge of the subject matter. One certainly will not learn or know anything if they have certification credentials which come from falisified clinical supervisions.

One may not learn from peers but rather from those who have the real clinical knowledge of the subject matter. One certainly will not learn or no anything when they have certification credentials which come from falisified clinical supervisions. A company is looking for “good service” meaning accountability. A person should not be paid and receive benefits just because they come to work. If one is not doing their work appropriately, the company should be able to take the appropriate steps to assure that services are being rendered appropriately and effectively.

Mr. Fanti and Mr. Bayer do not want to address this issue. They do not want a person like myself who would make them look at themselves before they construct a package to present to an employer. You cannot or should not tell a client to look at themselves if you are not willing to look at yourself. What Mr. Fanti and Mr. Bayer need to do is read “Union Corruption and the Law” by Phillip B. Wilson.

This is also posted on my other website at: http://click.townhall.com/

Update: December 21, 2006

On or about December 18, 2006 I returned a call and talked to Attorney Charles E. Tucker of the United States Government, National Labor Relations Board about filing a charge against AFSCME in this matter. On December 21, 2006 I received the charge in the mail. The charge, as Attorney Tucker interprets my writing, does not address the issues. When I talked to Attorney Tucker I informed him I probably would not file a charge with his office because I will get better results this time by filing a civil complaint in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. This process will work better in addressing the issues. The discovery process will be mandatory.

For example, I can use the Landrum-Griffin Act, which is organized into five titles, that is, Title I contains the Bill of Rights for members of labor organizations; Title II requires reporting by labor organizations, officers and employees of labor organizations and employers; Title III regulates the use of trusteeships and limits the purposes for which a trusteeship may be imposed by a labor organization; Title IV regulates union elections, requiring they be held not less than every five years at the National level; and Title V outlines the fiduciary responsibilities. There are at least four disadvantages to filing an NLRB claim. First, NLRB powers are remedial. Second, the Board’s role is to ensure that national labor policy is met, whether or not the union member enjoys an optimal outcome. Third, the findings of the NLRB could be binding in other litigation, and for this reason the plaintiff may want to choose to litigate in a different forum with more formalized discovery; and Fourth and finally, the NLRB is made up of political appointees whose rulings often change with presidential administrations.

Update: December 16, 2006

I faxed a copy of this letter to the United States Government, National Labor Relations Board’s Mr. Will Vance, Officer-in-charge. I requested a complaint form for filing a charge in this matter.
December 15, 2006

Mr. Henry Bayer, Executive Director AFSCME Council 31, AFL-CIO
29 N. Wacker Drive, Suite 800
Chicago, Illinois 60606

Re: Local 472 – Board Membership and Equal Representation at Sheridan Correctional Center

Mr. Bayer:

I, Fred L Nance Jr., am requesting action and information about AFCME Board Membership with Local 472, which is representing the employees (counselors) at Sheridan Correctional Center (Sheridan). AFSCME’s Local 472 is the bargaining unit for employees (counselors) of the new vendor at Sheridan. There are no African Americans, males or females, presently sitting on the Board bargaining for a contract with the new vendor, supposedly representing all the employees of the new vendor. I am an African American. Every present sitting Board member is white, yet they are supposed to represent African Americans.

This has the appearance of unfair representation, with racial overtones. I requested Board membership and was told I have to hold a membership card. Why do I have to have a membership card? Local 472 is in the process of bargaining for a contract with the new vendor, representing me as a member of their Local and I do not have a membership card? I do not have to have a membership card for Local 472 to represent me. Local 472 is the bargaining unit for all the Sheridan employees (counselors) of the new vendor, with or without membership cards, white and black.

There are no African American Board members. How can the African Americans who work for the new vendor be properly represented when they have no representation at the table? Why am I being denied the opportunity to be a Board member? Is it because I am black?

I have been told that I have no right to a vote since I do not hold a membership card, yet AFSCME represents me at the bargaining table. This not having a right to vote sounds familiar.

I have been told I have no right to be at a meeting held by AFSCME discussing the bargaining issues that are going to be presented, in my behalf, to the new vendor because I do not have a membership card. I sent an e-mail to Mr. Rob Fanti requesting a copy of the proposed contract. Mr. Fanti has not contacted me, even though he has seen me numerous times at work. I guess I am not entitled to a copy of the proposed contract, even though each present sitting Board member, who is white, has been privy to this proposed contract.

If AFSCME can bargain for me at the table with the new vendor when I do not have a membership card, then I should have all the rights of similarly situated others who do have membership cards who are being represented. The proposal AFSCME is about to present or has presented to the new vendor does not have proper representation of all the employees of the new vendor.

I have heard that AFSCME is getting ready to bargain with the new vendor. AFSCME has withheld information about the bargaining practice from its non-cardholding members whom they purport to bargain in their behalf.

Also, when does voting take place for the Board members? Are the non-cardholding members exempt from the voting process? The last vote for Board members took place in November of 2005.

Therefore, I respectfully request consideration for Board membership with Local 472 as they represent the employees (counselors) at Sheridan. I respectfully request, from AFSCME, equal and fair representation at the bargaining table as a Board member, that is, there should be African Americans sitting on this Board discussing the issues that will impact the employment of African Americans since they are being represented by AFSCME.

I am familiar with Board membership. I presently sit on Kennedy-King College’s Addictions Study Program as a Board member. I have been a Board member with Kennedy-King for 7 years. I am a Board member of the International Institute of Black Addictions Professionals (IIBAP). I sit on IIBAP’s research committee. There is no one sitting on this Board holding academic standing and credentials such as what I have to offer. There should be no reason why I cannot sit on this bargaining unit Board to discuss and articulate the issues of employment. I have extensive knowledge of employment law. I have extensive knowledge of human/social services.

Respectfully submitted,

Fred L Nance Jr., ABD, MA, CADC, NCRS

cc: Mr. Henry Bayer, Executive Director (U.S. mail and fax delivery)
W. James Young, Attorney National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation
Catherine L. Struzynski, Esq., AFSCME Council 31 (fax delivery only)
Rainbow/Push Coalition
http://click.townhall.com/
http://clickforjusticeandequality.blogspot.com/

Update: October 3, 2006

I talked to Ms. Efia Goosby, Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) Supervisor on October 2, 2006 requesting she recuse herself from judging my IDES Appeal. Ms. Goosby refuses to include the Illinois Department of Corrections in my appeal, even though I have persisted in requesting their inclusion because they locked me out from my employment, and that they are the “indirect employer” in this matter. I have also left a message with Ms. Goosby’s supervisor Hilda Whittington.

I informed Ms. Goosby one of her line items for discussion in my pre-hearing of September 28, 2006 was “Whether the Administrative Law Judge, Efia Goosby, must disqualify herself from hearing this matter.” Ms. Goosby informed me on October 2, 2006 that this issue will be discussed on October 12, 2006 at my “hearing.” This is absurd.

AFSCME (the union) employees striking at Illinois’ Sheridan Correctional Center (Sheridan) are not entitiled to unemployment benefits because they voluntarily walked off their jobs. Employees who were locked out from their employment by their employer, specifically the State of Illinois/Illinois Department of Corrections as “de facto or indirect employers” because they jointly control the day-to-day operations of the facility and the substance abuse program, are entitled to unemployment benefits.

During a telephone pre-hearing interview on September 28, 2006 between the Illinois Department of Employment Security’s (IDES) Administrative Review Board and the participating and non-participating employees of the strike, AFSCME Attorney Scott Miller cited this case to suggest the non-participating employees were not entitled to unemployment benefits. The case cited is AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES (AFSCME), COUNCIL 31, Appellee, v. THE ILLINOIS STATE LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, STATE PANEL, et al. (The Department of Central Management Services et al., Appellants). Opinion filed October 6, 2005.

This case does not apply to the present situation regarding the non-participating employees of this strike. In the first instance, AFSCME is the “bargaining unit” of the striking employees. AFSCME does not have a “contract” with the employer of the employees who were striking, which renders this cited case useless.

Ms. Efia Goosby, Administrative Law Judge, erroneously accepted this cite from Mr. Miller even though it was established during this telephone pre-hearing interview that Mr. Miller would not be allowed to participate in the proceedings of the non-striking employees, nor would Mr. Miller be representing the non-participants of the strike. I strongly objected to the acceptance of this cite. Nevertheless, Ms. Goosby exercised her biased and prejudiced authority to overrule my objection.

I will be posting this case for the viewing public.

On March 7, 2005, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich signed into law an act that amended Section 604 of the Illinois Unemployment Insurance Act. As amended, Section 604 now provides unemployment benefits to employees who are locked out by their employer. Effective January 1, 2006, locked out employees will be entitled to receive benefits provided the employees are not otherwise disqualified from receiving benefits under another section of the Illinois Unemployment Compensation Act.

As amended, the law does impose some limits on the entitlement locked-out employees will have to benefits. Specifically, the law states that locked-out employees are not entitled to receive benefits for any week of the lockout during which (1) the union refuses to meet, under reasonable conditions, with the employer to discuss the issues that gave rise to the lockout; (2) the National Labor Relations Board determines that the union has refused to bargain in good faith over the issues that gave rise to the lockout; or (3) the lockout resulted as a direct consequence of the union’s violation of an existing collective bargaining agreement.

Under the Illinois Unemployment Insurance Act, an employer is required to contribute a specified percentage of its employees’ salary into an Unemployment Insurance Fund for the payment of benefits. The amount that an employer must pay is determined by the employer’s experience rating. The employer’s experience rating is determined on the basis of the number of its employees that apply for and receive benefits. The new law is significant because it may increase the pool of employees that may be eligible to receive benefits under the Act. If locked-out employees are eligible for and receive benefits, the employer’s experience rating may increase, resulting in additional costs to the employer. Thus, an employer considering a lock out of employees should be aware that such action may impact their experience rating. Employers can work to manage these costs by seeking to meet with the union in order to resolve any contract disputes or otherwise convince the NLRB that the union is not acting in good faith. Employers, however, will have to take a more active role in the lock out process based on this amendment.

(820 ILCS 405/601) (from Ch. 48, par. 431) Sec. 601. Voluntary leaving.

An individual shall be ineligible for benefits for the week in which he has left work voluntarily without good cause attributable to the employing unit and, thereafter, until he has become reemployed and has had earnings equal to or in excess of his current weekly benefit amount in each of four calendar weeks which are either for services in employment, or have been or will be reported pursuant to the provisions of the Federal Insurance Contributions Act by each employing unit for which such services are performed and which submits a statement certifying to that fact.

(820 ILCS 405/604) (from Ch. 48, par. 434) Sec. 604. Labor dispute.

An individual shall be ineligible for benefits for any week with respect to which it is found that his total or partial unemployment is due to a stoppage of work which exists because of a labor dispute at the factory, establishment, or other premises at which he is or was last employed. The term “labor dispute” does not include an individual’s refusal to work because of his employer’s failure to pay accrued earned wages within 10 working days from the date due, or to pay any other uncontested accrued obligation arising out of his employment within 10 working days from the date due.

For the purpose of disqualification under this Section the term “labor dispute” does not include a lockout by an employer, and no individual shall be denied benefits by reason of a lockout, provided that no individual shall be eligible for benefits during a lockout who is ineligible for benefits under another Section of this Act, and provided further that no individual locked out by an employer shall be eligible for benefits for any week during which (1) the recognized or certified collective bargaining representative of the locked out employees refuses to meet under reasonable conditions with the employer to discuss the issues giving rise to the lockout or (2) there is a final adjudication under the National Labor Relations Act that during the period of the lockout the recognized or certified collective bargaining representative of the locked‑out employees has refused to bargain in good faith with the employer over issues giving rise to the lockout, or (3) the lockout has resulted as a direct consequence of a violation by the recognized or certified collective bargaining representative of the locked out employees of the provisions of an existing collective bargaining agreement. An individual’s total or partial unemployment resulting from any reduction in operations or reduction of force or layoff of employees by an employer made in the course of or in anticipation of collective bargaining negotiations between a labor organization and such employer, is not due to a stoppage of work which exists because of a labor dispute until the date of actual commencement of a strike or lockout.

This Section shall not apply if it is shown that (A) the individual is not participating in or financing or directly interested in the labor dispute which caused the stoppage of work and (B) he does not belong to a grade or class of workers of which immediately before the commencement of the stoppage there were members employed at the premises at which the stoppage occurs, any of whom are participating in or financing or directly interested in the dispute; provided, that a lockout by the employer or an individual’s failure to cross a picket line at such factory, establishment, or other premises shall not, in itself, be deemed to be participation by him in the labor dispute. If in any case, separate branches of work which are commonly conducted as separate businesses in separate premises are conducted in separate departments of the same premises, each such department shall, for the purpose of this Section, be deemed to be a separate factory, establishment, or other premises.

Whenever any claim involves the provisions of this Section, the claims adjudicator referred to in Section 702 shall make a separate determination as to the eligibility or ineligibility of the claimant with respect to the provisions of this Section. This separate determination may be appealed to the Director in the manner prescribed by Section 800. (Source: P.A. 93‑1088, eff. 1‑1‑06.)

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