Editorial By: B-Polished
When I was a kid, I use to watch the adults in my family as they played Dominoes and Spades at family gatherings and barbecues. There was always the one uncle that got louder and more excited than everyone else when he won a hand or a game. The other adults would blast him with quick put downs and one-liners when he lost a hand or missed picking up some money (points) that was on the table. One of his libation fueled pearls of wisdom that resonate in my memory is when that uncle would joyfully say, "All money ain't good money. Sometimes you gotta drop a quarter to pick up a dollar" Of course at nine years of age, this made no sense to me.
I understand that saying a bit more after being affiliated with a union (either Teamsters or CCPOA) for the majority of my adult life. In essence, sometimes it's better to leave a little ‘money’ on the table during one hand to pick up a bit more in the next play. So why bring up this analogy? It is now mid-August and still no word on our contract negotiations. Since we have gone this long without any word from CCPOA regarding a contract offer for the membership, it may be a fair assessment that the tentative MOU will not be a favorable one. Going by past history the longer the negotiations take, the worse the contract language usually is.
CCPOA has been stead fast with concentrating on increasing monetary gains for the membership in the last three contract negotiations going back to the Schwarzenegger Last, Best, and Final Offer which ended up opening the door to furloughs. Although some may debate if we deserve a salary increase, there are other topics that obviously need more attention that line staff has been on the short end of the stick for far too long:
1. Regaining our status as essential state employees
2. Improving the slumping medical coverage
3. Move from 7K (168 hour work base) to a 40 hour work week – which would reset the overtime calculations to a 30 day month
4. Assure our well deserved pension level ramains aligned with national Peace Officer standards
5. Adjusting the sick call, holiday, vacation time usage against the overtime accruement
These are just some topics to fight for. Instead they want to concentrate on more money so they can increase union dues. Their greed in playing politics is robbing us on everything Don Novey and the original CCPOA fought for and gained including parody with other law enforcement agencies, which they've already gave up in this current contract - supposedly the best we've ever had.
State and local union leadership silence is deafening. It is understood that during negotiations, contract information cannot be filtered. Information from within the MOU is not requested, yet. Where the talks stand is another thing. There has not been a single mention of how talks are going or if we are even close to a 'tentative' agreement. It has become standard practice for state leadership to be silent on topics that is important to the membership. What is disheartening is that the local leadership has been just as silent. I would speculate the reason is that the one doesn’t know what the other is doing. State leadership has never been big on filtering correct/up-to-date information to line staff unless it paints them in a positive light.
A burning question that is on many of our minds is the local staffing package. DVI is supposed to be staffed for a maximum capacity of approximately 2,368 inmates. The unit population was supposed to max out at 200 inmates per unit. Most units are at or near full capacity except for inoperable cells, which are not being reported to Sacramento. DVI's inmate population is currently around 2,780(www.cdcr.ca.gov). Add in the amount of staff transfers and promotions and the actual staffing shrinks considerably more. We just lost over a dozen more officers to the CHCF Stockton facility with no replacements coming from the academy or transfers any time soon. Get ready for more overtime that the public doesn't understand we get mandated (forced) to work.
So what is the union stance on the staffing package? Again they remain silent as staff continues to struggle to complete daily logs, security checks, run a safe program, and monitor inmate movement. CCPOA’s silence is more proof that the Executive Council (EC) has checked out and is no longer in the business of representing on the behalf of the line staff. Political ploys and government hobnobbing only validates the Sacramento leadership to themselves. Everyone else hears and watches our membership get trampled in the media and on the job site while those that supposed to take up the cause on our behalf only shows interest in their own personal gain.
The pendulum has swung back against us in part due to experimental maneuverings of the governor and CDCr in an attempt to release pressure from the federal court system. And where is CCPOA during this experiment? Silent! Non-Custody staff is being trained to do custody (POST) work like arrest & control techniques and clothed & unclothed searches. All the while CCPOA stays quiet as a church mouse all in the name of a 'medical' experiment that will end up going horribly wrong if the staffing packages do not change. But then again, none of this is a problem since it doesn't exactly affect the E C, does it.
I’m Just Sayin…