Defending Bad Behavior

Project Veritas has caught a teachers union official claiming the union helped a teacher avoid punishment for having sex with a student. Furthermore, the official was more than willing to help a fictitious teacher who had supposedly hit a child.

Project Veritas has released undercover footage of Union City Education Association President, Kathleen Valencia, explaining that the union has helped a teacher who allegedly had sex with a teenage girl keep their job, and would do the same for a teacher who physically abused student…

When the Project Veritas undercover journalist asks if unions normally help teachers who abuse students, [Union City Education Association President Kathleen] Valencia says, “it happens, yes it does!”

Valencia then details the steps the union will take to make sure the [fictitious] teacher who abused a student in school keeps his job:

“I’m going to get your brother a lawyer. Your brother’s not going to admit anything happened. The only witness is the scumbag kid… he’s got a record.

When pressed about what the teacher should do to protect his job, Valencia says “keep [the teacher’s] mouth shut,” and adds plottingly, “nothing happened.”

If a teachers union is willing to defend scandalous behavior, what is the UFCW willing to defend?

Project Veritas has caught a teachers union official claiming the union helped a teacher avoid punishment for having sex with a student. Furthermore, the official was more than willing to help a fictitious teacher who had supposedly hit a child. Project Veritas has released undercover footage of Union City Education Association President, Kathleen Valencia, explaining […]






UFCW Bosses Should Resign

From newsrooms to boardrooms, from college campuses to church campuses, and from Hollywood studios to the halls of Congress, powerful men are being called to account for alleged sexual misconduct. But somehow, Mickey Kasparian, a United Food and Commercial Workers International vice president, has managed to keep his job in spite of the scandal swirling around him. Both Kasparian (who is also the president of UFCW Local 135) and Marc Perrone, the UFCW International president, have handled the scandal very poorly; and both of them – leaders of a union in which women make up a majority – should resign.

Kasparian’s scandal began in December of 2016 when Sandy Naranjo, a former UFCW employee, accused him of gender discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful termination. In her lawsuit, Naranjo alleged that “Kasparian created a work environment that was particularly hostile toward women”; she had previously viewed her job as a “dream job.”

Just days after the first lawsuit was filed, a second former UFCW employee, Isabel Vasquez, broke her silence and accused Kasparian of something much worse – demanding she have a sexual relationship with him. Fearing for her job, she had complied with his humiliating demands, eventually retiring early. Kasparian kept an inappropriate picture of Vasquez behind his desk, and only removed it around the time she filed her lawsuit.

In April of 2017, a third former UFCW employee, Anabel Arauz, filed a lawsuit against Kasparian alleging discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. In her lawsuit, Arauz referred to the union and Kasparian’s “demonstrated animus, bias, and discriminatory intent/conduct against women.” Last December, Melody Godinez, who is an SEIU member and a union executive board member, filed a lawsuit against Kasparian alleging that he had repeatedly sexually assaulted her. At her deposition, Godinez expressed a fear of Kasparian, whom she once viewed “as a friend and mentor.”

It appears that the allegations against Kasparian have been costly. It was recently reported that the legal expenses for Kasparian’s union local were more than four times higher than usual this past year. In recent years, his union has spent an average of $203,000 on legal representation; last year, it spent over $829,000. At the same time, the amount of money the union spent representing its members was lower last year than it has been in more than a decade.

Earlier this month, Perrone, the UFCW International president, responded to a UFCW member who wrote an open letter to him begging him to take action against Kasparian. In his reply, Perrone made it clear that he has no intention of lifting a finger to oust Kasparian. Instead, Perrone made excuses, writing, “You have made suggestions that the International can freely remove a local union president based on accusations made by others… Please understand, the UFCW International Union does not have this authority.”

Perrone is trying to mislead with his statement. He would like for us to believe that there is nothing that the International Union can do, but that is not the case at all. In fact, according to the UFCW International Constitution, the UFCW Executive Committee has the authority to both suspend and remove any officer “whenever the activities of any… officer of a chartered body involve, in the judgment of the International Executive Committee, an emergency situation injurious to the welfare or best interests of the International Union or a chartered body…”

After more than a year’s worth of embarrassing headlines and protests, it seems that Kasparian’s scandals are sufficiently serious to enable the Executive Committee to punish him. Just who is on this Executive Committee which has the authority to decide whether or not to suspend or remove union officers? Perrone and four other UFCW International officers. So if Perrone wanted to fire Kasparian, he would only need two of the other four members of the Executive Committee to vote with him.

For the good of UFCW members, both Kasparian and Perrone should resign. Kasparian, already a divisive labor figure, has been accused of discrimination and/or sexual harassment by multiple Hispanic women from the labor movement; his union has paid enough to settle lawsuits against him already. For over a year, Perrone has refused to take action against Kasparian, and now Perrone has tried to mislead claiming that his hands are tied. His inaction and dishonesty make him unfit to lead.

From newsrooms to boardrooms, from college campuses to church campuses, and from Hollywood studios to the halls of Congress, powerful men are being called to account for alleged sexual misconduct. But somehow, Mickey Kasparian, a United Food and Commercial Workers International vice president, has managed to keep his job in spite of the scandal swirling […]






Is UFCW Leadership Just a Bad Boys Club?

And now Chris Lopez has his answer. Lopez, a UFCW member wrote an open letter to UFCW International President Marc Perrone pleading with him to fire or suspend Mickey Kasparian, a UFCW local president who has been accused of mistreating four Hispanic women. Kasparian is also a vice president in the UFCW International Union. In Perrone’s response to Lopez’s letter,  Perrone explains that he’s going to keep doing what he’s been doing about Kasparian’s scandal: nothing.

What are Perrone’s excuses? Perrone claims that the UFCW International Union doesn’t have the authority to “remove a local union president based on accusations made by others.” Perrone also tries to claim that the union’s hands are tied by federal law, which prohibits the use of union funds to help a particular candidate for union office. If that’s really the reason Perrone’s doing nothing, then what was his excuse last year when there was no election?

Perrone must think his members are stupid; his excuses just aren’t credible. If he truly wanted Kasparian gone, there are steps that he could take to get rid of him. After spending over three years as the UFCW International president, Perrone has to know that the UFCW International Union constitution lays out the process for suspending and removing a problematic officer (at Article 9, section G).

Whenever the activities of any member or officer of a chartered body involve, in the judgment of the International Executive Committee, an emergency situation injurious to the welfare or best interests of the International Union or a chartered body, the International Executive Committee is authorized to assume original jurisdiction in such matter… Under such circumstances, the International Executive Committee may suspend the person from membership or office, but it shall be required to accord such member or officer a hearing… Following such hearing, the International Executive Committee is authorized to take such disciplinary action as the circumstances warrant, including removal from office…

After over a year of embarrassing headlines, it seems that Kasparian’s scandals could reasonably be considered “an emergency situation injurious to the welfare or best interests of the International Union or a chartered body.” It should also be noted that the UFCW International Executive Committee only consists of five people, and Perrone is one of them. (The others are Esther Lopez, Paul Meinema, Stuart Appelbaum, and Shaun Barclay.) So if Perrone wanted to suspend or fire Kasparian, he’d only need two of the other four members of the executive committee to vote with him.

But even if the other members of the Executive Committee loved Kasparian and refused to lift a finger to remove him, there are still things that Perrone could do to try to get rid of him. For example, Perrone could publicly pressure his fellow Executive Committee members to take action. He could appoint a committee to investigate the women’s claims against Kasparian and release the committee’s report. He could publicly demand that Kasparian resign. He could search for a strong candidate to oppose Kasparian in the election, and he could campaign against Kasparian.

Perrone’s refusal to take any action raises questions. How is it that SEIU, once its sexual harassment scandal broke, was able to quickly get rid of several people accused of inappropriate behavior and the UFCW can’t do anything? (After all, the accusations against those SEIU officials were less serious than those against Kasparian.) What does Kasparian know that Perrone doesn’t want revealed? What has Kasparian done, what is he doing, or what has he promised to do to make Perrone so resistant to calling for Kasparian to resign? Could it be that the UFCW leadership is just a bad boys club?After well over a year of waiting, UFCW members deserve answers.

 

 

And now Chris Lopez has his answer. Lopez, a UFCW member wrote an open letter to UFCW International President Marc Perrone pleading with him to fire or suspend Mickey Kasparian, a UFCW local president who has been accused of mistreating four Hispanic women. Kasparian is also a vice president in the UFCW International Union. In Perrone’s response to […]






Member Begs UFCW President to Take Action

In an open letter to UFCW International President Marc Perrone, a UFCW member and grocery store worker is begging Perrone to suspend or fire Mickey Kasparian, the scandal-plagued president of a UFCW local in California. The UFCW member, Chris Lopez, very reasonably inquires about the amount of union dues money used to pay the settlements for the sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits filed against Kasparian; Lopez feels that “even a single penny is too much.”

Lopez also warns Perrone against inaction and accuses Kasparian of destroying the San Diego labor movement.

Mr. Perrone, your nonaction will imply that possibly you too are guilty by association by condoning Mickey Kasparian’s violations of human dignity…

The ignorance and self-serving actions of Mickey Kasparian have destroyed the labor movement in San Diego, possibly pushing us back decades.

The AFL-CIO Labor Council is broken up, fighting each other because of Mickey Kasparian…

Lopez is also concerned about the ability of the union to negotiate a good contract due to Kasparian.

We are desperate because our contract is nearing expiration and public perception is so important during contract negotiations. How can the public support us knowing what Mickey Kasparian has done?

Our union is tainted by the union president with his indiscretions. How will labor be able to organize with this black eye…?

How can the company management or anybody take our union president Mickey Kasparian seriously during negotiations? We have lost countless things from our contract over the years under his management and now minimum wage is catching up with us and will surpass many of us union members.

Lopez lists more than two dozen men in other professions who have been fired or punished for their improper behavior and asks why the UFCW hasn’t done anything about Kasparian. Lopez notes that his union representative claimed that the settlements had been paid by insurance; Lopez questions who is paying for the insurance.

Will Perrone respond to this UFCW member’s pleas and finally take action against Kasparian? Or will Perrone continue to sit on his hands as he has done for over a year as four Hispanic women have made serious allegations against Kasparian?

In an open letter to UFCW International President Marc Perrone, a UFCW member and grocery store worker is begging Perrone to suspend or fire Mickey Kasparian, the scandal-plagued president of a UFCW local in California. The UFCW member, Chris Lopez, very reasonably inquires about the amount of union dues money used to pay the settlements […]






Are Dues Being Used to Pay Hush Money?

Earlier this year, UFCW boss Mickey Kasparian settled all of the lawsuits against him. The plaintiffs in those cases made several allegations, including sexual harassment, discrimination, and wrongful termination. All of the women involved worked for a union or an affiliated organization. Some of the claims were recent, and some of them were from a number of years ago.

The settlements were all reached secretly, and both Kasparian and the lawyer for the accusers have said that they can’t comment. This raises a number of questions:

  • Do the agreements prohibit the women from discussing the terms of the settlements?
  • How much were the accusers paid to settle the lawsuits?
  • Were any union funds used to pay these women?

Kasparian’s union, UFCW Local 135, is expected to hold elections this year. Well before the elections take place, UFCW members deserve to know whether or not any of their dues money was used to pay hush money to these women.

Earlier this year, UFCW boss Mickey Kasparian settled all of the lawsuits against him. The plaintiffs in those cases made several allegations, including sexual harassment, discrimination, and wrongful termination. All of the women involved worked for a union or an affiliated organization. Some of the claims were recent, and some of them were from a […]






Workers Defeat UFCW

In recent years, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) has experienced a number of setbacks. Since 2001, the union has lost over 100,000 members. In addition to declining membership, the union has experienced unwanted press attention over the past few years. For example, after a 2015 indictment, UFCW’s organizing coordinator for the marijuana industry was sentenced to prison for fraud and other crimes late last year. Another UFCW boss, Mickey Kasparian, has been mired in a scandal involving sexual harassment and discrimination for over a year. In January, two officials at two different UFCW locals were indicted for crimes, including racketeering; both men are alleged to have had ties to the Mafia.

On February 7th, the UFCW suffered another setback. On that day, there was an ambush unionization election at a co-op grocery store in Northfield, Minnesota, a Democratic-leaning city about 40 miles south of Minneapolis. While the workers who supported unionization had the backing of UFCW Local 1189, the workers who opposed the union were on their own. The co-op’s management remained neutral; and no third-party organization intervened. In the end, however, the union’s opponents didn’t need help; they were able to defeat the UFCW — one of the largest and wealthiest unions in the country — with over 55% of the vote.

The secretive unionization effort began last summer, but it took until last month for the union to finally collect the 12 signatures that it needed for an election. Pathetically, the unionization campaign still resorted to using dishonest tactics to gather these few signatures. For example, some co-op employees were told that signing a union authorization card only meant that they wanted more information. (In actuality, signing such a card gives a union the right to represent an employee.) Co-op workers were also falsely told that over two-thirds of the staff had already signed the cards.

Many co-op employees were unaware of the UFCW’s campaign until the posting of the Notice of Petition for Election in January. There was no agreement among union supporters as to why exactly the store needed a union. Some workers wanted higher pay, while others claimed the co-op had engaged in unspecified unfair labor practices. The union organizer claimed the co-op was hiding money from its workers and could afford to pay them more. It’s unclear how she would know this.

Several co-op employees decided to fight the union. One of the union’s opponents, Bob N., managed to get a copy of the contract that the UFCW negotiated with a Minneapolis co-op grocery store. Bob posted this contract in his store’s break room. It turns out that the Northfield co-op’s wages and benefits were as good as — and in some ways better than — the compensation package that the UFCW had negotiated with the co-op in the much larger city. Of course, unlike the employees of the Minneapolis store, the workers at the Northfield store don’t have to pay union dues. Bob also wrote several newsletters and put up a number of posts from the UFCWMonitor.com, a blog that chronicles the activities of the union, for his co-workers to read.

Although the UFCW had the advantage of both time and resources, it still lost the ambush election. It appears the UFCW would like to try to unionize the Northfield co-op again next year. The good news is that next time, the union’s opponents will have had an entire year to prepare for the election, rather than less than three weeks. Bob and his co-workers who opposed the UFCW are a great example of how regular people, with very little time to organize, can still defeat a powerful union when they’re armed with the facts.

 

 

 

In recent years, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) has experienced a number of setbacks. Since 2001, the union has lost over 100,000 members. In addition to declining membership, the union has experienced unwanted press attention over the past few years. For example, after a 2015 indictment, UFCW’s organizing coordinator for the marijuana industry […]






Dishonest Unionization Attempt Defeated

Bob N., who works at a co-op grocery store in Northfield, Minnesota, reports that UFCW Local 1189 was defeated earlier this month in the unionization election at his co-op. The secretive unionization effort began last summer, but it was not until last month that the union finally collected the 12 signatures it needed to call for an election.

To gather these signatures, the unionization campaign had to resort to dishonest tactics. For example, some co-op employees were told that signing the union authorization card only meant that they wanted more information. Workers were also falsely told that over two-thirds of the staff had already signed the cards.

Many co-op employees were unaware of the effort until the posting of the election petition. There was no agreement as to why exactly a union was needed. Some workers wanted higher pay, while others claimed the co-op had engaged in unspecified unfair labor practices. The union organizer claimed the co-op was hiding money from its workers and could afford to pay them more. How she would know this is unclear.

Bob managed to get a copy of the contract that the UFCW negotiated with a Minneapolis co-op grocery store, which he posted in the break room of his store. It turns out that the Northfield co-op’s compensation package was as good as — and in some ways better than — the deal the UFCW negotiated with the co-op in the much larger city. Of course, unlike the employees of the Minneapolis store, the workers at the Northfield store don’t have to pay union dues. Bob also wrote several newsletters and put up a number of UFCW Monitor posts for his co-workers to read.

It appears the UFCW would like to try to unionize Bob’s store again next year; but this time, he’ll have a lot more time to prepare for the election.

 

Bob N., who works at a co-op grocery store in Northfield, Minnesota, reports that UFCW Local 1189 was defeated earlier this month in the unionization election at his co-op. The secretive unionization effort began last summer, but it was not until last month that the union finally collected the 12 signatures it needed to call […]