Executive Director’s Message: Unity and Dissent

In recent years, your Union – the Engineers & Architects Association – has resolutely rebuilt its standing among City unions: in quiet ways, such as its consistently strong defense of its Members in grievances and disciplinary hearings; and in louder ways, such as in winning the best MOU’s in decades, in its Community Outreach efforts, in its Affiliation with IBEW 11 and the AFL-CIO, and in its endorsement of Eric Garcetti for Mayor in late 2012 (when EAA broke ranks with the County Federation of Labor to endorse its own favored candidate). These efforts have steadily rebuilt EAA’s strength and the quality of its service to Members.

Even with these successes, there will always be dissent. In a democratic, member-based Union, dissent can be healthy and not undermine strength in unity. In recent weeks, a group of “concerned EAA stewards” have made it clear that they strenuously disagree with a number of your elected Board’s actions. Indeed, they have made it clear that they disagree with the very composition of the elected Board. And so they have set a goal for themselves of replacing as many of the 7 elected Board members as possible, as soon as possible.

The EAA By-Laws, adopted by the Membership, purposely mandate annual elections of Board members with the 7 seats divided into three groups (By-Law VIII 4.f) so as to retain “as much experience as possible on the Board”. Under extraordinary circumstances, that schedule of potential turnover on the Board can be accelerated – through the Recall Procedure. “Concerned EAA stewards” have seized upon that procedure, which if properly conducted and justified, is a legitimate part of EAA’s democracy. But is this Recall effort properly conducted and justified? Is this anonymous effort instead a case of the “end” [replacing as many Board members as possible, as soon as possible] justifying the “means”?

Is dissent in this form making your EAA stronger? Or is it undermining the strength of your Union and its Governing Board? You are being asked to decide. Please exercise your rights as a dues-paying Member and VOTE in the November EAA Elections. Ballots will be mailed out beginning November 8th.

Strength in Unity

Michael Davies
Interim Executive Director