CWA Local 1034 denounces attacks on Katz

The Executive Board of CWA Local 1034 — which represents more than half of the state government employees — has denounced leaders of five other CWA locals for their attacks on union leader Carla Katz. In a memorandum to Hetty Rosenstein (Local 1037), Jim Marketti (Local 1032), Carolyn Wade (Local 1040), John Rose (Local 1031) and Tom Palermo (Local 1039), the 1034 board calls their attacks on Katz “reprehensible” and urges a no vote on the state contract.

We can no longer stay silent as you continue to personally attack Local 1034 and our President Carla Katz. In your actions and words, you shamefully and purposely tear down the great union that we have worked hard to build. We strongly stand beside Carla in her leadership of Local 1034 and your attacks on her are attacks on us. We voted unanimously to oppose this bad deal, which we know our members do not want. Our opposition to this contract is not an attempt to “look tough” as you arrogantly and wrongly claim. We are actively urging our members to vote €˜NO’ because the current contract fails to protect healthcare and retirement security, and it doesn’t begin to address the many critical issues we face on the job. We firmly believe that we deserve equality with the teachers’ union on healthcare benefits.

Your unwarranted personal attack on President Carla Katz is reprehensible and contrary to the spirit of democracy, tolerance and respect for human dignity inherent in unionism. We, and our democratic union, have always supported the right of our members and leaders to disagree on substance and policy. That right to disagree is key to our strength. However, your behavior and actions undermine that right and damage our entire union. The vitriolic nature of your attacks raises questions in many of our minds as to what motivation YOU have to accept, and urge your members to accept, a contract that is so inferior to the tentative agreement made by the teachers.

What motivates you to accept a contract that does not ensure that the state repay the money it owes to keep our pension sound? What motivates you to support a deal that takes away free healthcare for not only active members but for future retirees? Why would you tell your members to support a contract that leaves the cost of health insurance for employees and future retirees vulnerable to increases in each new contract, and imposes a new health care plan without real detail? What would possess you to support a contract that creates a two-tier system of benefits, so that workers working side-by-side doing the same job are compensated differently? Why are you promoting a deal that imposes conditions on local and judicial employees, including concessions on healthcare and pensions, who will not have the opportunity to vote on these changes? And finally, why did you accept this offer so quickly, in order to make the Governor's artificial deadline of having an agreement before his budget address, and not bargain until the real deadline of June 30, 2007?

It seems to us that you have resorted to the personal smear tactics against Carla and the scare tactics of the unwarranted strike language on the ballot because you may now realize what a bad deal you made at the members' expense and really cannot defend it rationally to your members. Or, perhaps you had reasons for accepting the deal that you do not feel comfortable revealing to the members and the public.

We are proud to have Carla’s leadership during this fight. Carla’s record of winning wage and benefit improvements over the past 25 years speaks for itself, and her commitment is evident once again in the current contract battle. Her commitment to all of our members in the state workforce and among local governments, the judiciary, and the healthcare and private sectors is unparalleled. Carla has served as union president with dignity, integrity and excellence. You, on the other hand, are doing the members and this great union an extraordinary disservice.

The statement was signed by Susan Wright, Robert Mueller, Mary Hrenda, Sue Lockwood, Doris Ruffin, Alice Saulter, Toshi Abe, Jonathan Berg, Anna Curtis Stephens, Ben Manhas, Fred Mickle, Greg Badini, Kevin Tauro, and Linda Kukor. CWA Local 1034 denounces attacks on Katz