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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Life After AFSCME - ADDA excels free from AFSCME

It's been just over three months since the Association of Deputy District Attorneys' historic vote to fire AFSCME; the 'big labor little support' organization that had redefined the the word 'underperformance' by providing nothing in return for three years of members' dues.

The news that rocked and shocked; big labor group AFSCME given its marching orders
by the Association of Deputy District Attorneys.
The organized labor world was shocked when news of the overwhelming rejection of AFSCME became known. Rarely, if ever, does a David beat a big labor Goliath but that's what happened on January 7, 2015. 

ADDA President Marc Debbaudt selected an independent CPA firm to conduct
the count of members' votes, preventing accusations of voting fraud.
When the votes were counted, 143 deputy district attorneys voted to kick out AFSCME, with only 65 voting to remain tithed. They were, perhaps foolishly persuaded by AFSCME's promises of better pay, better pensions, and generally the same bunch of empty promises that has been the 'AFSCME experience' for both the ADDA and other labor groups who found themselves caught in the AFSCME trap - all talk and no action, except for AFSCME's vampire-like addiction to members' dues.

The skeptics and naysayers who were, perhaps, amongst the 65 who voted to remain affiliated with AFSCME pointed to the dire consequences of firing AFSCME; the ADDA would be unable to manage the complicated business of negotiating working conditions, maintaining communications, and representing members with grievances.

Three months later and the naysayers are, perhaps, having a hard time adjusting to the reality of life after AFSCME. The ADDA is stronger, more active and certainly more communicative than it was under AFSCME's regime. Long gone is the bullshit-ridden diatribe that characterized the ADDA under its former woefully inadequate 'leadership' - the Steve Ipsen - Hyatt Seligman era when the ADDA seemed to serve only the interests of a few.

That the ADDA has taken a new direction and has actually achieved more in three month than in three years of AFSCME is not altogether surprising given AFSCME's appalling track record. Let's not forget that under AFSCME over $1m in members' dues were seemingly sucked into a black hole. AFSCME's promises of better pay and working conditions were always just around the corner, and all the ADDA had to show for the money was a photocopier, a monthly meeting place and (admittedly superior) sandwiches.

Worse, while held hostage under AFSCME's jackboot, the ADDA - a law enforcement oriented organization, had to suffer the indignity of being associated with AFSCME's foolish and politically motivated support for Proposition 47, the voter initiative that many believe will increase crime in Los Angeles even more that Governor Brown's so-called realignment (AB109) that is is largely responsible for 2014's 14.3% increase in violent crime. In one of AFSCME's many broken promises, AFSCME had undertaken not to involve itself in political campaigns that did not have a labor-related issue. Despite that promise, and despite the ADDA's open opposition to Prop 47, AFSCME supported Prop 47 - a something that has no labor-related objective, and is by any analysis a threat to public safety.

If AFSCME's public safety betrayal wasn't bad enough, at least it was overt. But the Dragnet exposed a covert AFSCME betrayal in October 2014, when it became known that AFSCME falsely represented that the ADDA supported an attempt to poach members represented by the Professional Peace Officers Association (PPOA) at a secret meeting. One of the people AFSCME sent to that secret meeting was Tris Carpenter. He was the ADDA's 'business representative,' supplied by AFSCME, with his salary paid for by ADDA member dues. Yet Carpenter attended this secret meeting without the permission, consent, or knowledge of the ADDA. His goal at this secret meeting was to try to convince PPOA members that AFSCME could do a better job representing them. A clear case of poaching, and laughably false given the experience the ADDA had with AFSCME.

ADDA President Marc Debbaudt called out AFSCME for improperly using
its 'business representative' Tris Carpenter to misrepresent ADDA support for AFSCME

The horror story that was three years of AFSCME's expensive, unrepresentative and duplicitous 'affiliation' ended on January 7, 2015. That it ended was largely due to the efforts of ADDA President Marc Debbaudt, who had the courage and commitment to stand up to AFSCME.

Since dumping AFSCME, Debbaudt has proven that there is life after AFSCME, and that it's a better, more representative and more effective life than the expensive, underperforming empty-promise ridden AFSCME experience. Today, ADDA members receive a weekly bulletin of matters effecting their interests, and monthly newsletter from the ADDA directly addressing matters of concern. A professional lobbyist has been retained to assist the ADDA in the next round of negotiations with the County over pay and work conditions, and an experienced labor lawfirm has been retained to represent members with grievances.

All in all, even the naysayers have to admit that since dumping AFSCME, the ADDA has become far  more representative of its members interests and concerns. Its leadership appears to be dedicated to the interests of its members and not the interests of it leaders. The trust that was lost under the Ipsen-Seligman-AFSCME era is returning, and slowly but surely, the ADDA is becoming the organization that is was intended to be; one that has the interests of Deputy District Attorneys first and foremost.

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