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 […]






UFCW Stands by its Man

All across the country, powerbrokers in Hollywood, in the media, and in politics, are resigning or being shoved aside as sexual harassment allegations against them surface. Yet, the UFCW continues to stand by its man, Mickey Kasparian, nearly a year after sexual harassment allegations against him first broke. Kasparian is the powerful boss of a UFCW local in Southern California.

Last December, a former UFCW staffer filed a lawsuit alleging that she had suffered gender discrimination and wrongful termination by Kasparian. Shortly thereafter, another former UFCW staffer sued Kasparian alleging that he had sexually harassed her for years. In the following weeks, a third UFCW staffer was demoted and then sent out of state; she viewed this treatment as punishment for her support of one of the other accusers. After her firing in March of this year, this third UFCW staffer filed a complaint with the State of California alleging gender discrimination against Kasparian’s union. Also in March, a fourth woman filed a complaint with the state alleging that her organization, which was funded by the UFCW, had engaged in gender discrimination against her due to her support for the other alleged victims and her refusal to support Kasparian.

In spite of all of these allegations, the UFCW International is unmoved; a UFCW International spokeswoman recently stated,

“With respect to the other issues [presumably including the allegations of sexual harassment], they have been addressed directly by President Kasparian and by an internal committee led by female leaders of the local. The internal review, which was conducted independent of President Kasparian, reflects some of the significant steps that the local has taken to address these questions.

“Additionally, by every measure, President Kasparian has the strong support of his members. In his years as president, he has promoted female leaders and encouraged a positive and diverse work environment, while holding all staff accountable to the high standards our members expect and deserve.”

It seems odd that the national UFCW organization would be content with a local “review” of multiple, serious allegations against a powerful local union boss — if it were truly interested in truth and justice for its staffers and members.

Perhaps the women will be able to get justice next year.

All across the country, powerbrokers in Hollywood, in the media, and in politics, are resigning or being shoved aside as sexual harassment allegations against them surface. Yet, the UFCW continues to stand by its man, Mickey Kasparian, nearly a year after sexual harassment allegations against him first broke. Kasparian is the powerful boss of a UFCW […]






UFCW Local 23 Sues Grocer to Stop Higher Pay

ufcw-sues-giving-raisesUnited Food and Commercial Workers UFCW Local 23 is filing a lawsuit against Giant Eagle grocery to defend seniority practices

Ironic, coming from the union advocating for a $10.10 minimum wage… Defending this industrial-era practice is stopping a local UFCW union from letting their members earn more money:

Why did UFCW Local 23 oppose higher pay for its members? Because it upended their seniority system, allowing junior employees to make more those with more seniority. Local 23 wanted uniform pay scales—even if that meant cutting some of their members’ wages.

This kind of thinking is very much in line with the kinds of jobs that were prevalent in the days when unions were being started. In those days, there was a real concern that there would be employers that would show favoritism as a method to separate employees from their union. There were many jobs that were interchangeable, such as production lines or industrial positions.

Nowadays, the labor market has changed significantly. While automation has significantly reduced low-level industrial jobs, customer service as a service is becoming a commodity. Manufacturing jobs are disappearing as service jobs increase. This means less people are on production lines and more people are dealing with customers directly in a personal way.

Additionally, there has been a significant shift in attitudes towards long-term jobs. During the industrial era, it used to be more common for one person to stay with a single company for many years. Now millennials, the youngest generation in the job market, are more likely to hop from one job to the next. This undercuts another key benefit of seniority, that employees staying with the company longer get paid more. In an economy where there’s been a lot of turnover and many people have lost their jobs and found new ones, longevity is less and less of a motivating factor in payment.

This shift creates a different motivation for service-based companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors. A company known for good customer service can set itself apart from their competitors even if they offer a more expensive product because of the experience customers have buying their product. In fact, according to the Small Business Administration, poor customer service is the biggest reason why people discontinue business with a company.

The fact of the matter is that people respond to rewards. Without added incentive for people to invest more effort into their work, why would they put any more energy into it than what’s required? The concept of seniority only works if there are no additional benefits for additional work. And in today’s consumer service-based economy, that is no longer the case.

Seniority is outdated. What today’s worker needs is a system that rewards extra energy and effort, and rewards doing a good job. These days, seniority only protects those who don’t care to invest more in their own work. The only people who benefit under seniority system are workers who may not care about their work as much, but stay at their jobs longer.

Today’s worker also needs a union that provides benefits for what they need, not just taking their money and spending it on their own needs. And it’s not just UFCW Local 23. The UFCW International has its own share of corruption, mismanagement and scandals that they should be focusing on rather than trying to make sure their workers don’t get paid more.

United Food and Commercial Workers UFCW Local 23 is filing a lawsuit against Giant Eagle grocery to defend seniority practices Ironic, coming from the union advocating for a $10.10 minimum wage… Defending this industrial-era practice is stopping a local UFCW union from letting their members earn more money: Why did UFCW Local 23 oppose higher […]






Destroying Entry Level Jobs and Teen Opportunity

Union Mismanagement 1 Comment

Today’s article brought to you by Americans for Limited Government’s NetRightDaily blog. By By Rick Manning. Originally published Dec. 4, 2013.

Fast food restaurants will get the joy of having labor unions stage protests demanding an increase in their worker’s wages and more than doubling the overall federal minimum wage this week.

Everyone wants to make more money, so what could go wrong?

Perhaps it would be wise to ask the United Food and Commercial Worker Union (UFCW) members in the Washington, D.C. area.  These union members have priced themselves out of jobs as the consuming public is being trained to scan their own food items, cutting out the middle man.  The union workers are so concerned about their dwindling numbers that they are threatening to strike on December 20th with a major complaint being that the implementation of self-scanning technology is eliminating their jobs.

Now the same Big Labor economic geniuses whose demands for ever increasing benefits and wages threaten the grocery clerks very existence are being equally helpful to entry level fast food workers.  Workers who perform low skill functions for a minimum wage or just slightly higher.

At a time when Amazon has built a drone to deliver packages, and hopes to have them operational with full Federal Aeronautics Administration approval within four to five years, it takes little imagination in our current culture to see a fast food restaurant operating with very few personnel.

You punch your order in at a display screen, or in drive thru, Siri’s younger, more advanced sister, takes your order showing you the results on the screen.  You put your credit card or cash into the ATM like payment system and drive to the pick-up window where you get your food that comes out when sensors tell the machine you are in place to receive it.  The food gets cooked by a series of machines that put the right patty on the grill, drop just the right amount of fries and automatically puts the appropriate soft drink cup under the right beverage.  A lid is attached and your meal is delivered to you when you drive up.

The restaurant has next to perfect food cost controls, and a labor force that doesn’t sleep in on Saturday or shut the restaurant fifteen minutes early because it is slow and they are bored.

Automakers build cars using very exact automation, is it so unreasonable to believe that a burger could be made similarly?

Yet, protestors are going to blithely march around fast food restaurants demanding wages that virtually guarantee mechanized product delivery, a result that has disastrous consequences.

Fast food restaurants are gateway jobs, and are not intended for the vast majority of people to be anything but that – entry level.  This is a great thing.

Teens learn that they have to get to work on time both from getting pinged by their bosses, and by having to stay late due to the tardiness of a coworker.  Teens learn about this FICA fellow who takes a bunch of their paycheck without their ever seeing a dime, and wonder how their $183.75 check for five, five hour days dwindled down to a mere $135.  And most importantly, teens learn that money to go to the movies, pay car insurance and put gasoline in the car has to be earned by trading time, energy and effort in a value creating way.

Read the rest of the article here.

By admin On Dec 11, 2013 Union Mismanagement 1 Comment Today’s article brought to you by Americans for Limited Government’s NetRightDaily blog. By By Rick Manning. Originally published Dec. 4, 2013. Fast food restaurants will get the joy of having labor unions stage protests demanding an increase in their worker’s wages and more than doubling the overall […]






UFCW Strikes at Giant and Safeway over Obamacare Hurts Union Companies

United Food & Commercial Workers UFCW Local 400 members authorized strikes against Safeway and Giant over Obamacare, could push customers to nonunion stores

The UFCW has authorized strikes against two major unionized grocery stores prominently located in the mid-atlantic region surrounding Washington, D.C. – Giant and Safeway:

Members of United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 400 voted overwhelmingly this afternoon to authorize a strike against Safeway, joining their fellow members working at Giant who also voted this morning to authorize a strike against their employer. At both stores, UFCW Local 400 members are fired up about management’s refusal to offer a fair contract.

And the issue at the heart of the strikes should seem pretty familiar to those who have been following our recent coverage of UFCW:

“The big issue at the table has been health care and today, our union brothers and sisters refused to go backward and authorized our local union leadership to call a strike,” said Vivian Sigouin, a Bargaining Advisory Committee member who works at Safeway #1431.

That’s right – UFCW members are worried that they may end up on the Obamacare exchange systems and lose their current health care plans that they’ve bargained for through their union. The irony that Obamacare was pushed for- and celebrated by- the UFCW should not be lost. We’ve already discussed at length about how the UFCW’s support of Obamacare has backfired, and now the union is trying to take it out on employers.

What makes this potential strike fascinating is the area and locality. As mentioned, the vote merely authorizes a strike – whether the strike happens remains to be seen. Strike authorizations are a step in the direction towards an actual picket line, intended to signal to employers that agreements are in danger of dissolution. The actual strike may or may not happen, but the potential strike could actually create more dangers for the unions than their employers.

Over the last few years, the UFCW, in conjunction with their worker center front group, Our Walmart, have been targeting the non-union Walmart. They objected to Walmart’s expansion into the Washington, D.C. area and encouraged the D.C. City Council to pass prohibitive regulations. Despite their best attempts, their efforts failed. Now, even as they threaten to strike the most prevalent union-run grocery stores in the D.C. area, Walmart is opening hiring centers for their two new locations.

The implication is clear – unionized stores like Giant and Safeway face strikes, picket lines and loss of customers. The non-union, enemy of the UFCW evaded their tactics, is creating jobs, and stands to profit from UFCW’s protests. The UFCW is demonstrating what Walmart’s future could look like under union rule, and it isn’t a pretty picture.

Not only that, but the underlying conflict is over policy passed with the help of the union, and later objected to by the same union. Now, not only will the UFCW strikes potentially endanger seasonal profits for Giant and Safeway, but they may also be putting that business right into the hands of their biggest competition. With an example like this, what sane company would join the UFCW?

United Food & Commercial Workers UFCW Local 400 members authorized strikes against Safeway and Giant over Obamacare, could push customers to nonunion stores The UFCW has authorized strikes against two major unionized grocery stores prominently located in the mid-atlantic region surrounding Washington, D.C. – Giant and Safeway: Members of United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) […]






UFCW President Hansen Shocked Obamacare Not As Advertised?

United Food and Commercial Workers Union International President Joseph Hansen’s editorial criticized Obamacare after the UFCW got 28 waivers from the ACA.

In the fallout of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, more and more opposition to the national health care program has arisen. Even prominent Democrats who voted for the bill are now expressing their concerns that Obamacare will turn into a “train wreck.” Now voices are coming from even more surprising places- the leadership of unions who were prominent supporters of the legislation!

The UFCW, who worked incredibly hard to support the passage of Obamacare, is now expressing reservations about the bill now that we’ve passed it to know what’s in it. So why the big change of heart? Apparently, the Affordable Care Act actually hurts unions!

Many UFCW members have what are known as multi-employer or Taft-Hartley plans. According to the administration’s analysis of the Affordable Care Act, the law does not provide tax subsidies for the roughly 20 million people covered by the plans. Union officials argue that interpretation could force their members to change their insurance and accept more expensive and perhaps worse coverage in the state-run exchanges.

Hansen’s editorial explains a number of places where the Obamacare promise has not met reality, chiefly in the promise that people could keep their coverage and their doctors. All of this starts to sound like a big change of heart, until you see Hansen’s real motivation. From UFCW International President Joseph Hansen’s recent editorial:

..the ACA would block these plans from the law’s benefits (such as the subsidy for lower-income individuals and families) while subjecting them to the law’s penalties (like the $63 per insured person to subsidize Big Insurance).

This creates unstoppable incentives for employers to reduce weekly hours for workers currently on our plans and push them onto the exchanges where many will pay higher costs for poorer insurance with a more limited network of providers. In other words, they will be forced to change their coverage and quite possibly their doctor.

So as Obamacare is implemented, more workers will be forced out of the UFCW’s healthcare plans and into the healthcare exchanges. Employers will be forced to cut hours and full-time employees. This also affects the UFCW as their membership struggles to pay their dues and rising healthcare costs.

And the ultimate irony- while the UFCW was a big cheerleader of Obamacare, they were first in line to be exempted from it:

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which celebrated the passage of Obamacare as “an achievement that will rank among the highest in our national experience,” secured waivers for 28 different affiliates.

So the UFCW’s crowning achievement is now their biggest anchor. But don’t let their about-face surprise you. They’ve been playing both sides of the issue for a long time, they’re just only now seeing the consequences.

United Food and Commercial Workers Union International President Joseph Hansen’s editorial criticized Obamacare after the UFCW got 28 waivers from the ACA. In the fallout of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, more and more opposition to the national health care program has arisen. Even prominent Democrats who voted for […]