Brothers and Sisters,
EAA is at the dawn of a new era. Your Board of Governors is committed to changing the way EAA has operated for years, which culminated with the Aquino/Davies era. Your Board of Governors intends to ensure your union has openness, transparency, and is creating an opportunity for members to contribute to their union by participating in negotiations, committees and in other ways.
Some Board members wanted to return to the Aquino/Davies era. Some in the membership still want to return to the Aquino/Davies era where member participation and discourse was discouraged.
These same people call certain individuals indispensable to EAA. The fact is that no one is so indispensable, that they cannot be replaced. Charles De Gaulle’s observed that “The cemeteries of the world are full of indispensable men.”
Our union has a long, proud, and sometimes contentious history. But, ultimately we come together and work for a brighter future. We are at one of those historic moments in EAA history. Officers of the union have a responsibility to the members whose livelihoods are in their hands. Our Union cannot be a union if officers are not willing to listen to divergent views that are constructive and ultimately aid in good policy decisions.
A few years ago, some of our brothers and sisters attempted to join another union, not because they wanted to, but because their voices were not being listened to, or were being disrespected by their union. As with our nation’s motto, from many we are one; this should also exemplify an EAA in solidarity.
There can be no new dawn if we continue to ostracize those who questioned the direction in which their union was going and took actions they honestly felt were in EAA’s best interest. Realizing this, your current Board of Governors is welcoming home all those who were suspended for supporting the decertification of EAA. The time has come to bring our disenfranchised members back home with open arms and invite them to help make EAA a better, stronger union of which we can all be proud.
We are in an affiliation with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and California Federation of Teachers (CFT). Unlike what the titles suggest, AFT and CFT are also unions of public sector professionals and medical service workers. A committee will be working on the terms of this agreement, and that finished document will be given to the members for a vote. This affiliation can only become final with a vote of our members.
In the meantime we can see the benefits of a national affiliation first-hand. Working together with AFT and CFT, we have put together a professional MOU negotiating team. Unlike past negotiations, we now have extensive resources available to us through our affiliation. In addition, unlike past negotiations, your Board of Governors intends to keep you more closely attuned with what is going on at the negotiating table.
As part of the NEW EAA, your Governors are working with our partners at AFT and CFT to ensure you have the latest information on negotiations and other matters of importance and interest to members. In addition to having a skilled negotiating team at the table, other initiatives are underway to ensure our side is reaching the public. Here are some of the things your NEW EAA is working on:
Within the next week or two, you will see a very different website, which we feel is far more friendly and easy to use.
The changes in the website are part of the new look for the EAA which will include MOU bargaining updates as well as other news for EAA members about their union and the national affiliation with the AFT.
We are working to set up the website so that you can e-mail your questions to EAA or individual governors and have answers posted and shared.
The Teletownhall will be a massive conference call in which the members join in and hear about changes at EAA, but the main topic will be the live update to the events at the MOU negotiations. The members will also have a chance to ask questions of the speakers. The initial Teletownhall is slated to take place in the near future after work at a time when the member can listen and interact for a period of time away from work.
(We are currently working on setting up the necessary technology. We are hoping to hold our first Teletownhall on or about Wednesday, May 25, 2011. We will send out a blast to all members once the system is ready.
Making a Difference Everyday Campaign
Working with AFT’s Public Employee Division we are launching the “Making a Difference Everyday” campaign which features important work performed by EAA members. Members will be stating why the work they do is important to the people in Los Angeles. The idea is to put a face on the work that EAA members perform and show that their work is important. As LA City employees our members take their work seriously. They are professionals with great responsibilities.
This program will be rolled out initially with postcards featuring members with quotes and statements about why their work is important and how they make a difference every day. Soon after this rollout there will be more print media with similar messages. Finally there will be ads around town (such as on buses) featuring more EAA members.
This program is a direct response to the constant barrage of negative statements being made by anti-union and anti-public employee organizations seen around the country, notably in Wisconsin and Ohio most recently. It answers the call by many members to get a positive message out in the public about the work they do.
Larry Rolon, President
EAA Board of Governors