When your child hides his or her report card, it is rarely because it contains all A's. When your union officers hide their actions from you, it is rarely because they are proud of what they have done. Threats of lawsuits from FightBack500 forced Local 500 officers and Board members to provide information about their actions. The results are not pretty, but they show what Merle Cuttitta has been hiding from the members of Local 500.
1. ONLY MCPS DUES ARE HIGH IN LOCAL 500.
Information letters we have received from Local 500 confirm that Rosemont Early Education workers in DC pay only $12 per MONTH, or $144 per year. MCPS members passed that level over a decade ago.
Our own early childhood workers at MCPS pay $23.60 per pay period. Bus attendants and food service workers pay $23.60 while earning Grade 4 pay for 4 hours a day.!! We have already reported that George Washington University professors in DC have been promised dues of $24 per month, and Head Start workers in Baltimore pay only $288 per year.
After searching the Local 500 constitution, we can find no authority for such low dues. Even if it were a choice for Local 500 officers, shouldn't current members know about it? WHY HIDE IT FROM THE MEMBERS?
WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR OWN FAIR DUES COMMITTEE? Merle Cuttitta ended its meetings and deliberations. Will she start them now that the election is near? What happened the last three years? Again, WHY ARE THEY HIDING THIS FROM THE MEMBERS?
2. SPENDING YOUR DUES MONEY TO ORGANIZE RESEARCHERS IN CALIFORNIA AND TEXAS !! HOW DOES THIS INCREASE OUR STRENGTH?
The information letter from Local 500 dated February 18, 2004 tells us that "a representation election is in progress for 69 employees of Public Citizen who are assigned to Austin Texas, Oakland California, and Washington DC."
If this is such a good idea WHY IS SHE HIDING IT FROM THE MEMBERS OF LOCAL 500?
This year members voted to expand our jurisdiction to Washington, DC, with no real explanation of how we would be stronger. Now we find that Merle Cuttitta has opened campaigns in Texas and California. Who will service these members? Who will bargain their contracts? Who will pay for travel ands expenses to enforce the contracts?
How does the campaign make us stronger here ... or in Texas and California?
3. LOCAL 500 ENDORSED THE ONLY CANDIDATE WHO PUBLICLY STATED SHE BELIEVES MCPS EMPLOYEES SHOULD PAY HIGHER HEALTH CARE COSTS!!!
The Gazette editorials of February 18 , 2004 tell us that the candidate endorsed by Local 500 promised that school employees will "have to agree to pay a fairer hare of health insurance costs."
Most of us really do not know if the candidate endorsed by Local 500 is a good one for us. We have not been told of her experience, beliefs, or campaign ideas. We do not know what questions she was asked or what answers she offered to problems of supporting services. The union's officers kept all of this to themselves.
Wouldn't this have been an important fact to bring to the members of the union as President Cuttitta bargains our health insurance for the next year or two? What other surprises are in store for us as we vote for school board members? WHAT ELSE ARE THEY HIDING FROM MEMBERS OF LOCAL 500?
4. THESE ARE NOT THE FIRST SECRETS THEY HAVE TRIED TO KEEP FROM MEMBERS!
Remember the secrets they kept from us during bargaining?
Remember the additions to the grievance procedure that prohibits members from getting an attorney and going to court or the EEOC after filing a grievance? (Page 13 of the new contract)
Merle's contract change was not in the contract summary for a reason: We lost an important right congress set out for us in 1964. No wonder they kept it secret.
Then they bargained away the guaranteed 40 hour week for bus operators? Now hundreds of members who used to have 40 hours are fighting to regain the 10 or 15 hours a week they lost due to the new contract. No one would have voted for the contract if they knew such a give back was included. NO WONDER THEY KEPT THIS SECRET FROM MEMBERS!
WE NEED NEW AND OPEN LEADERSHIP AT LOCAL 500
FOR A CHANGE