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Friday, October 09, 2009

To Affiliate or not to Affiliate? That is the MCEA Question!

Sent to MCEA Leaders:
Having been an inside eyewitness to an international union affiliation question conundrum when I was Executive Director of the formerly independent Indiana State Employees Association (ISEA), please allow me to share two major concerns with which Maryland Classified Employees Association (MCEA) leaders and members should grapple on this same issue.
Obviously, any affiliation agreement document should include crystal clear protections for MCEA's independent self-determination.
However, of even more critical importance is the integrity, behavior, and attitude of the prospective affiliation organization.
In any agreement, specific contract language is important.
Nevertheless, it is the behavior, attitude, and integrity of the contractual parties that is the decisive determining factor for a successful and equal partnership.
This isn't a kid's game of bean bag.
The stakes are high, and it would be foolish to expect MCEA's supplicants for affiliation to be anything less than completely determined and machiavellian in their pursuit of bending MCEA's leadership to their own purposes and taking over MCEA's state employee dues deduction privileges.
After all, the allegiance and obligation of MCEA's suitors are to their union employers and not to MCEA's independent membership or Maryland's public and retired public employees.
Cajoling campaign promises and fawning flattery are one thing.
The behavior afterwards of a successful suitor is yet another thing.
Keep in mind that the MCEA President already has appointed an affiliation committee, and "as of this date, several meetings have taken place with different unions" (Source: MCEA President's Report to MCEA's October 12th & 13th Convention Delegates).
For more background on the ISEA affiliation experience in Indiana and an independent perspective on what happened, ask Roger McNeill.
Roger was ISEA Vice President at the time of their affiliation and still is an Indiana state employee.
You may e-mail him at Mcneillbld@aol.com.
Yours for job justice and workplace liberty,
Larry D. Kump

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