An Open Letter To AFSCME On The Eve Of Their National Convention
2008 is the year when Americans are able to help plot the course of America for the next four years by taking part in the election process to choose the President of the United States. 2008 is also the year when many of the working class that belong to a Union have the opportunity to help decide their Union's leadership for the upcoming four years. The AFSCME International Convention will take place this July in San Francisco and officers will be elected. I would like to relate my personal experience with one of the International Vice Presidents.
In October 1990, I started working at AFSCME Illinois Council 31. During my tenure, Henry Bayer became the Executive Director. The following are incidents that either took place during my employment or regard my termination:
1. A memo I received from Henry on March 10, 2003 states:
"Congratulations! Our records reflect that you did not use any sick time in the month of February. The Council appreciates your attendance."
I only know of two other clericals who received a memo like this, all of the other clericals used sick time that month.
2. Henry Bayer signed a declaration, dated October 31, 2005, in which he stated the following:
"On August 26th, 2003 I talked with Sarver about a problem he was having with Plaintiff. Sarver informed me that Smith was refusing to meet with him to discuss issues regarding her employment with the door shut to the meeting. I believe I talked to Sarver a couple of times. I told Sarver that he was entitled to request that the meeting be a closed door meeting because the issues in question related to Smith's employment. I also told Sarver that if Smith did not agree to a closed door meeting that she should be terminated.
I also talked to Smith that morning. Smith stated that she had been asked by Sarver to meet behind closed doors and that she objected to this requirement. I told Smith that it was not unusual for me to conduct closed door meetings. I also told her that the purpose of the meeting was not disciplinary. She asked whether she could have a witness at the meeting or whether she could tape record it. I denied her request to tape record the meeting. I also felt that she did not need a witness at the meeting because I understood that Stacey Plugmeyer, the Office Manager, would be present. I told her that if she refused to meet with Sarver that she would face discipline."
Under deposition on April 6, 2006, Henry stated the following:
"Well, this was something that I felt ordering her to sit in the room while a personnel matter is being discussed with the door closed is not an unreasonable request. I just felt that that was – that that was insubordination and not tolerable.
We have a right to have them sit down and talk to employees. Nobody was going to bring any harm to her, and there was no reason for her not to do it. Sometimes you are asked to do something you can't do. This was not the case here. This was a simple request where as an employer we have a right when we ask someone to come in for a meeting to come to a meeting and to close the door."
3. On December 11, 2000, an order was placed for 17 new vehicles. Both Henry Bayer and B. Sarver were listed as drivers for the new vehicles. On January 4, 2001, the vehicle currently being driven by Sarver had $391.61 in repairs performed. The invoice contained notations of:
Change oil and filter
Customer request ck of all lights, one may not be working
Customer request ck car over for any needed repairs
Customer request replace wiper blades
Replace air cleaner filter
Trans leaks fluid
On February 6, 2001 the vehicle was again serviced. The invoice total was $466.72 and included the following notes:
Change oil and filter
Replace air cleaner
Replace fuel filter
Replace pollen filter
Customer states the left seat belt rings wont retract
Replace platinum tipped spark plugs
Ck over for any needed repairs
Perform premium cooling system serv
Perform premium trans serv
On a memo dated February 13, the Sarver vehicle was listed as being traded in and then notated as "Spoken for by driver".
4. AFSCME had an employee who was receiving disability pay from an insurance company. During that time, she worked for 60 days from August through November of 1999 but was never paid for them. In addition, she retained a Council auto and life insurance from December of 1997 through October 23, 2000. At that time, we paid the value for the 60 days, less the amount she received from Social Security and the disability insurance, and deducted the taxes for the value of the auto and the life insurance.
5. In 2002, we purchased some securities at a premium. The securities paid back almost immediately at face value meaning we lost the money we paid above face value.
6. The following is an excerpt from Bernie Schoenburg's column Published Sunday, July 08, 2007 in the Springfield State Journal-Register:
"The lawsuit alleges that the captains attempted to unionize with the Illinois State Employees Association. It also alleges that ISEA competes with AFSCME, that AFSCME was a major contributor to Blagojevich's 2002 campaign, and that "as a result of the campaign contributions made by AFSCME Bayer and Maupin were given access to Governor Blagojevich and met with him to discuss employment decisions" within the department. The plaintiffs say Bayer and Maupin encouraged the governor to demote the captains ("because they did not want a union at the Illinois Department of Corrections that might compete with AFSCME."
I would like for every AFSCME member to be aware of these incidents that took place while Henry served as International Vice President of AFSCME International. The mantra throughout this country calls for 'change', and events like the foregoing truly warrant a change.
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