CSEA’s Attack on Staff
The Association Employees Union (AEU) is under attack. We all breathed a sigh of relief when Josie Mooney left CSEA. We were all so relieved to see the familiar faces of Keith Pace and Dave Low taking the helm of CSEA. They were insiders, they were family. We all let our guard down, and we are all paying the price for it now.
There are multitudes of examples of bad behavior and each one can and will be its own article, but let’s start with the most absurd attack on the staff first.
With all the serious threats facing CSEA members and the union movement as a whole, CSEA is ridiculously scrutinizing every meal the staff is eating.
Article 30.10 of the Agreement between AEU and CSEA states: “Effective February 1, 2006 the meal allowance paid to staff while traveling for CSEA business purposes shall be equal to that paid to CSEA members. During the term of this contract, if the CSEA member meal allowance is increased, the CSEA staff allowance shall increase equally.”
Currently the staff receives $7, $9, and $14 for breakfast, lunch and dinner respectively. If the amount spent on the meal is at this range, no receipt or proof has ever been required. If the amount was over, the staff was to write the member’s name who they took out and the reason for the meal.
We have a new regime and a bunch of unilateral changes and deviations from practice. Staff are now required to tell the employer the place they ate their meal, even if it is below the allowance.
CSEA has also threatened staff with discipline up to and including termination if they didn’t actually eat the meal. How would one go about proving that? Are we going to take photos with our McDonalds meals now, waiving a receipt?? It is ludicrous and demeaning.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get crazier, CSEA also wants to tell you when to eat your breakfast, lunch and dinner. They have chosen the times unilaterally and have imposed them differently in every field office.
CSEA staff members are all different. They have different eating and dietary needs. They work late into the early morning hours and get up when it is still dark. With all of the hours being worked by the staff, it is unbelievable that CSEA management is now forcing the staff to eat when they say so. Staff can only eat breakfast if they were doing business before 8:00 A.M. if it is after that, sorry.
AEU represents Labor Relations Representatives who cover large territories and are on the road at all hours on behalf of CSEA and its membership. CSEA management is now denying meal allowances under these new standards. Their new standards are not in the contract or in CSEA policy. What would happen if this was a school district doing this to our members?
Staff has to track every meal they eat and where they ate it, even if it is below their allowance. This has never been done before nor was it negotiated with AEU. Doing expenses like this will now take a lot more time to do, and staff are required to do expenses. This will mean more time away from members, stuck in an office, bean counting.
Staff is newly required with the new expense reporting system Concur, to swear in writing that the expenses are accurate and true so help you God. God help someone if they put down McDonald’s instead of Jack in the Box. They could be terminated. Some may not believe CSEA management would do that, but they are heavy handed with their discipline and quick to get rid of people.
Staff is barred from taking members out anymore for meals. They can only do that with special permission. Yet staff is being disciplined for taking members out and paying with their own money. So while CSEA screams they are broke, they will spend money for arbitration and an attorney to discipline a long term staff member for taking a member out and paying for it. Really?
The most famous CSEA line out there now is, “we are broke” and the most famous retort by the staff who watch the money being spent like drunken sailors is, “I thought they said they were broke?”
So, strike one of many, for the new CSEA managers who lost somewhere, what it means to be a union, and how to treat their employees. They are going to fight AEU over food. Staff is working more hours than management. Are we not supposed to eat? We are exempt employees and we work around the clock. Now they want to take away our meal allowance, tell us if, and when we can eat. We are not paid over-time for all the hours worked. Is a meal going to break the CSEA bank, or is management just being ridiculous because AEU has allowed them to push us all around. Even people in jail are entitled to a meal!
Timing is everything. While we are out house visiting, site visiting, phone banking, and precinct walking for No on 32 and Yes on 30, CSEA is going to attack their own staff over something as petty as food. Food! Who is scrutinizing what Keith Pace and Dave Low are eating, and who they are eating it with? You can bet they are not eating at McDonalds.
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