I have written this piece more times than I want to admit to. The reason is that when I attempt to speak about ‘good faith’ I go off in a direction I didn’t intend to, just to explain my point of view and become long winded about nothing interesting. So I will try to stay blunt and to the point.
Good faith is a farce. By the means of how it’s defined by DPA, CCPOA, Administration and the Governor, ‘Good Faith’ is a joke. I’ll explain how it is interpreted by everyone involved, in different ways and the only thing that is consistent is that we, the line staff continue to get screwed. ‘Good faith’ is a posturing ploy that is used to make the other person at the negotiations look bad, all with their own set of definitions, which I will break down here.
DPA: We will sit and listen, allowing you to complain to us about what you don’t like, but have no intentions to do anything about it.
CCPOA: I will show how powerful I am by painting you in a corner and using your own words against you in a court of law, three years from now, instead of getting to the basis of what my members need right now.
Administration: I understand what you are going through, and I have your best interest at heart as well as the institution, but the definition of the regulations that I want to use at this time does not substantiate your position, further my career or seems cost effective, so I have no alternative than to place you on administrative leave until the investigation is concluded.
The Governor: Even if you have to lie to them during negotiations, show them I’m the boss! Do everything you can to break up that union, even if you have to lie and break a few of our own rules and federal labor laws to do it. We’ll take it from them now because no one will stop us including the judges I appointed. Hopefully the feds will step in before I’m out of office and take that department over!
Time and time again we are reminded that CDCR is a reactionary department and does not believe the seriousness of issues that are brought up unless they bring it up. We all become witnesses to how complaints of not enough staff, faulty equipment, DOM violations or personal issues has ended up creating greater problems and costing more money than the fix of additional needed staff, replacing faulty equipment or violations that administration hides or the union bargains with.
What is bad about their little game is that our careers and livelihood rests in the balance of the dance they continue to do with each other. We are fed that safety and security is our main priority in our place of employment. But what happens when we bring safety or security issues to the table is that we are ignored by Administration unless a formal complaint is filed or something happens where someone gets hurt or killed, CCPOA ends up using us as a pond to get the things they find more important in their game of check and checkmate, the Governor and DPA believes we are just whining, don’t really need what is asked for and won’t take us seriously until we get a contract that they refuse to negotiate ‘in good faith’. I’m just sayin…