How Did Local 73 Get In This Mess?
For many years, our Local did a good job for our members. New groups of workers were successfully organized and existing units were lead and serviced well. Employers respected our power. They knew that Local 73 fought hard for its members. Contracts were negotiated and gains were made in wages, pensions, and working conditions. Things weren’t perfect, but overall Local 73 did a pretty good job.
But somehow things went downhill fast over the last few years. The same old entrenched leaders had been in power for so long that they had become distant from the members. They started to think that the members were there to serve them, rather than the other way around. It was clear that innovation, leadership abilities, and effort were all in short supply.
The trusteeship was brought into existence to restore democratic procedures, but now that isn't happening.
Eventually they began to fight among themselves, trying to grab it all. While they fought over control of the Local, by and large the members were ignored and neglected. Members had difficulty in getting a phone call returned. Contracts weren’t being negotiated. Deadlines were missed. Grievances weren’t being resolved. The Local was falling apart. That was the sad situation of our Local by early 2016.
To help members understand what happened from that point to the present, the Members Leading Members team has put together the following timeline.
Leadership Decline Timeline
Disorder breaks out at an Executive Board meeting when Christine Boardman and Matt Brandon both claim to be the president of the Local. The police had to be called as the meeting broke up in chaos. A membership meeting scheduled for the following day was canceled due to the chaos that happened the day before at the Executive Board Meeting. Members were left confused and unsure of who was in charge of the Union.
August 3, 2016
The International Union in Washington D.C. removed the Officers and Executive Board of the Local and replaced them with Trustees they appointed, Eliseo Medina, Dian Palmer and Lenore Frielander.
Eliseo Medina resigned as Trustee just as the Local was beginning to show signs of getting back on track.
The international Union replaced Medina with two “Co-Trustees”, Denise Polyac and Dian Palmer. Palmer spends a significant amount of time in Wisconsin where she lives and is President of an SEIU Local there, leaving Polyac in control of Local 73. Contracts are not being settled, workplace problems are not being addressed and the membership is being ignored.
September 23, 2017
At a general membership meeting members demand that the trustees set a date for the election of officers as required by federal law. The motion is blatantly ignored by the trustees.
As the trusteeship is rapidly reaching the 18-month limit, the members of Local 73 continues to be ignored by the Trustees. Phone calls to the Local aren’t being returned, deadlines are being missed, contracts aren’t being negotiated and grievances aren’t being processed. Polyac and Palmer refuse to schedule elections as required by law. Instead, they are playing politics, unfairly disciplining and firing experienced staff and skilled negotiators and replacing them with their friends and cronies, leaving our members vulnerable.
December 21, 2017
A group of a dozen members who are disgusted by the trustees’ refusal to schedule an election, take action in federal court to force them to set an election.
The Members Leading Members slate, headed by members and staff who refuse to tolerate this dysfunction, introduce a slate of proven leaders for our Local. The slate is filled with experienced contract negotiators and longtime worksite leaders who understand the jobs being done by the members they seek to lead.
February 3, 2018
This is the last day of the 18-month trusteeship period. Under federal law, the trusteeship is presumed to be invalid beyond this point.
The members of Local 73 are being deprived of their right to democratically choose their leaders and run their own Local. The trustees are trying to cling to power and to their big money jobs at our expense.
Local 73 and your brother and sister members need your informed voice in the fight to restore democracy and effective leadership to our Local. Join the Members Leading Members team to take our Union back.