More SEIU Workers Want Out Of Union
FRESNO, Calif. (KMPH) —
"This is like a bad divorce. We want a divorce and the SEIU doesn't want us to divorce," Kandy Gonzalez, a Job Specialist with the Department of Social Services, said.
Gonzalez doesn't expect the SEIU to let her or about 1,000 workers in the Department of Social Services leave the union without a fight.
"They're going to invest whatever money they're going to invest to keep us in this marriage. And what's sad is they're probably going to be using our money to fight us. They'll be using our dues to fight us," Gonzalez said.
But after a nine-percent pay cut and union-organized 'walk-off the job' in January, Kandy says they've had enough.
"What nine-percent cut means to me, it's $400 less. The economy is at its worst. We have people that we're servicing; they've been without employment for two or three years. And for us to go on strike when there's so many people not working, it didn't seem right," Gonzalez said.
Last week, Department of Social Services workers held a town hall meeting about the SEIU. They handed out a survey to ask people what they think about the union. One of the concerns people listed most was transparency.
"We know that ultimately the power is with the people. If we don't want a service, why are we stuck with a service we no longer want?" Gonzalez said.
It's the same question correctional officers like Eulalio Gomez asked themselves before forming the "Fresno Sheriff's Correctional Officers Association" last month.
The plan was to hold an election this month and let the 300 correctional officers at the jail choose to go with the new union or stay with the SEIU.
Since then, the SEIU filed a complaint with the civil service commission.
"It's, to me, startling, to think an association or a union can do that to their own members. I'd like to put the county employees on notice to see what's really occurring here; what's behind the scenes? Is it because SEIU cares so much about its employees? Or is it because of union dues?" Gomez said.
Gomez says this won't stop them.
"If you choose, as a majority, to have an election for whatever reasons, you should be allowed to, and your own union shouldn't fight you for it. Your union shouldn't use your own dues, your own money to fight your for it. To me, that's appalling, it's actually pretty scary to think that a union cal tell you what to do, what to say and what to think," Gomez said.
Last week, Kandy Gonzalez filed paperwork with the county to register the "Fresno County Employees Association".
That would be made up of workers with five different job titles within the Department of Social Services.
The support of at least 300 co-workers is needed to have an election.
As for what's next, the civil service commission will now consider the complaint filed by the SEIU, which could take months.
Meanwhile, KMPH contacted SEIU officials for a statement. Our phone calls were not returned.