I apologize in advance for the length of this message.
We, LCCEF Leadership, have historically ignored the email messages from Bob Baldwin. I haven’t read his latest 3. As I am most often the primary target of his harassment and lies I don’t find reading them brings any value to my life or the work I am engaged in for all of us. But given the current and dire need for solidarity within our unit I thought it might be time, once again, to address Bob’s subversive and divisive communications, the very antithesis of solidarity. Please consider how his communications are breaking down our Union and that act is playing right into the Administrations hands. A divided Union is a weak Union. And Bob’s emails are intended to be divisive. I am aware many of you ignore his emails. I am writing this for those of you who do not and who may be susceptible to the false information they contain.
I am not writing this in criticism of the failed MOA/TA. We asked you to educate yourselves and vote according to your needs. If you voted no because you did educate yourself then that was the right choice for you. If you voted no because of propaganda and others prompting, we hope you will make the effort to educate yourself before the next TA.
In support of what I wrote above please consider the following:
- Nikki Li’s most recent communication to Bob (see attached below) is at minimum the 6th time in the last 2 years a Union Officer has reached out to ask Bob to work with us. Clearly, judging by his onslaught of antagonistic emails he has refused. He proclaims he only has the best interest of our union at heart but if that were really true he would have supported us this last 2 years rather than attack us.
- Given that we have invited Bob to work collaboratively with us and he instead continues to harass us, works very hard to discredit us, to sow doubt and suspicion regarding our ability and our loyalties, what might the logical conclusion for this behavior be?
- As Phil Barlow-Powers wrote in his email (see attached below), Bob is likely the most politically savvy President LCCEF has ever had. That theory would leave very little doubt he understands the subversive and divisive actions he is committing every time he attacks his Union Officers. Yes, we are his Union Officers too.
- Why would a past Union President EVER do such a thing? Might retaliation be a possibility? After all, we did recall him with a 73% vote. If our Union is disbanded he could then proclaim ‘this wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t recalled me’. Perhaps his actions are a very cleverly disguised strategy to achieve vengeance on a membership who dared to recall him. Perhaps he is simply posturing to be reelected in the Fall.
- Whatever the reasons, Bob’s actions are simply not consistent with a member who wants to assist his Union. United We Stand. Divided We Fall.
- If you pay attention to the underlying message in nearly every one of his tales you might notice there is always a hero and a villain. Back before we voted to recall him as our President, the villain was management and most often Dennis Carr and/or Mary Spilde. Today the villain is most often me (Robin Geyer) and LCCEF Leadership along with a couple of previous officers. But the hero is consistent. It’s always Bob.
- Another recurring theme in Bob’s messages is his use of fear and deception. Fearful people are easily led and manipulated. By creating a story of corruption around the people who have some small degree of power over your working environment he sows suspicion and fear.
- Throughout the years, during every bargaining cycle, we have all been at our most vulnerable. These were always the times Bob could most readily manipulate the membership through fear and deception. By doing so he convinced us to vote yes on whatever TA he put before us. He is still doing this today. We oppose this tactic. Instead we strive to provide you information so you can cast educated votes.
- Bob has repeatedly misrepresented, misdirected, and blatantly lied in his email communications to the classified unit regarding supposed statements by current and past Officers, the thinking and strategy of current and past Officers and the activities of current Officers.
- He has expressed his opinions as if they are fact when they are actually his opinions and for those who know the facts his opinions are often wrong. The spreading of his opinions as fact is damaging to our Union.
- Bob writes as if he is the only Lane classified employee capable of being a successful Union Officer. He promotes himself as the only resident expert. He ignores the fact that there are other experts both within our local and at the State and National level. We rely on all of those experts. We are not doing this alone. It is insulting to all of Lane classified employees for him to promote the idea that no others are able to do the work of a Union Officer successfully except him.
- An interesting bit of information I learned in the past couple of years; some of the views and philosophies Bob has propagated through the years are actually not consistent with Union philosophy and beliefs. They are simply Bob’s and he has thrust them upon us for years. In fact, some of his ideas are divergent enough that he was kicked off the AFT-Or Executive Committee long before we recalled him. AFT-Or Leadership shared with me they knew he was a problem long ago but they could not interfere with a local’s selection of Officers.
- We are all aware he did some good work for our membership in the past. And he sometimes produces content in his messages now that are of value. Unfortunately, his penchant for writing his opinions as if they are factual and, as if he knows all the pertinent information, causes false information to be spread. For instance, in an earlier email he commented on the current Bargaining timeline. He stated that we could have gone on strike in May. That is not accurate. The facts are; at the beginning of bargaining this year, while laying ground rules, we agreed to a 150 day cycle, not a 90 day cycle. This was purposeful. We determined that if we should need to strike it is clearly more advantageous to us to strike at the beginning of Fall term than it would be at the beginning of summer term.
- Another recent opinion he expressed as fact is; separating out insurance from wages and other economic issues, would be detrimental to our bargaining power. That is not true. Our bargaining power remains the same no matter what the issue. If we decided to stand together on having an ice cream social once every month and we were prepared to walk out if we didn’t get it, that would be no different than us standing firm on wages. It is up to us to decide what issues we refuse to budge on. Now what may be true, is more of our members will stand firm when BOTH insurance and wages are on the table. But that is more about our divergent values and needs. It could be proposed that it is actually manipulative to hold some members hostage over insurance they are not as invested in by refusing to separate it from wages. If we vote to go to OEBB we will finally be able to focus on other equally important issues during bargaining instead of this constant losing and very expensive battle over insurance.
- Now by voting down the recent MOA/TA we may be in a weaker position. The reason for this is finances. Because we did not accept the MOA/TA to move to OEBB at the end of our PacificSource contract on Oct 1 we will have an increase in insurance premiums starting on September 25th. This will be the pay check that directly correlates with a possible strike timeline. If we have not settled our contract by that time we will be paying for the entire increase ourselves. How many of our employees will be able to absorb the increased insurance premium and also lost wages by participating in a strike? If we had voted yes on the MOA/TA we could have held firm on the wages for many months without adversely impacting any member. This is what faculty have done since going to OEBB. So, if the propaganda spread about not accepting the TA was believed and some voted based on that propaganda that would mean it served in damaging everyone by 1) weakening us for a strike and 2) by causing everyone to pay more insurance premium starting with the September 25th payroll. That’s not to say we are criticizing those who voted no. We just hope it was not because of propaganda.
The above are just three examples, of many, where Bob has written his opinion as fact but the truth is they are just his opinions and some are clearly not correct.
- The current Officers are not in league with management and are not selling out the classified unit to management. We are your colleagues and the results of our work impacts us as much as you. Why would we want to weaken or damage the classified unit that we are also a part of? We don’t make a habit of slitting our own throats.
- We are prepping for a strike and working very hard to mobilize you, the membership, toward that action. If you read our Monday messages, attend General Membership Meetings, and attend Bargaining sessions you should be aware of this. If you don’t read our weekly updates and attend meetings you may not be aware.
- VP Kenny, nor anyone else, has attempted to get Bob fired. Complaints were filed against Bob, by Kenny and 2 regular members, for misuse of college email and for harassment. Many members have complained through the years about his messages. Even though his behavior appears to be a contract violation the college will not act on it because of the freedom of Union speech. No one is asking him to stop messaging regarding union matters. The request is for him to be civil and truthful. LCCEF contract Article 12.7.2 The Union and the College agree that the maintenance of a safe and healthy work environment includes the expectation that all interactions among employees and managers, will be conducted with respect and courtesy.
- I’m sure if I read the latest emails there would be many other things I would want to address here. I’ve been told he is particularly mean in the most recent one. I think I will pass. Bob’s messages are really not what I, or any of the current Officers should be focused on. They are however a distraction from the real work and that is another way he is creating harm to our Union. The time I have taken to write this could have been spent on far more important Union issues. I hope I’ve given you enough meat to chew on so that as you read his future messages you might do so with a fresh eye, and perhaps you will question the legitimacy of the things he writes. That is, after all, what we keep asking you to do. Educate yourself, and think for yourself.
In order to save our members from going beyond more than one month of increased insurance premiums we must:
- Hold the next TA vote on or before August 1, 2019
- Announce the next vote on or before July 18, 2019
- That leaves us 8 working days to accomplish this
- July 11, 2019 Board Meeting CRUCIAL DATE
- Every Bargaining session CRUCIAL DATES