LABOR BLACK &BROWNSHUT IT DOWN!
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
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Volume 1, Number 2
Stand Up For Your Rights!
S.E.I.U Local 1021 Whips Solano County inArbitration Ruling!
Topaz-Shirley DuBois Reinstated!
Solano County Ordered to Award Full Back Pay and Benefits!
On Feb. 22, 2012 Topaz-Shirley DuBois, member of S.E.I.U. Local 1021 won a long and hard-fought battle against the bosses of Solano County. She has been a Mental Health Worker for Solano CountyMental Health Services since 2001, and was unjustlyfired on Dec 27, 2011. The arbitrator ruled:
“TheCounty had no just cause to terminate Topaz under theautomatic resignation provisions of the MOU.”
LB&Bcelebrates this hard won victory!While this victory offers a breath of fresh air, let us be reminded that arbitrators usually go against theworkers! The racist firing of her husband Charles DuBoisin 2003 is one example. While in predictable fashionEBMUD’s company Arbitration ruled against hisReinstatement and instead chose to remove this “thorn inthe side of EBMUD”. As a rank and file member, Topazwas active in getting union and community support for Charles and his union AFSCME Local 444.The county of Solano bosses have been harassingTopaz since 2006. Where as the poor conditions of SolanoCounty’s mental health department had further intensified, so had Topaz’ resistance. Her work has helpedto expose the link between the deaths of three of her co-workers, one being her close friend Lorlei Floyd , and tothe overwork and speed-up pushed by county bosses. Tonote, in 2007 Topaz became co-chair of the SEIU’sContract Action Team (CAT) and in the arbitrator’sFINDINGS OF FACTS it was stated that Topaz
: “... had initiated a grievance and lawsuits based on unsafe working conditions, stress, and overwork resulting from theCounty’s ‘Do More With Less’ campaign, and theresultant understaffing of mental health units. She blamed this policy for the deaths of three of her co-workers fromheart attacks and stroke.”
On Jan. 3, 2011 the Solano County bosses claimedTopaz had quit -- despite her being on medical leave for astroke and complications. So transparent was theCounty’s harassment that the arbitrator stated
: “Thedetermination by the County that the Grievant voluntarilyresigned under Section 9G(8) of the MOU is being reversed.”
Topaz’ consistent struggle against the bossesis one that has paid dividends, but it also does not endhere. Every rank and file worker must unite, standtogether and fight!The latest wave of attacks against Topaz by the bosses coincides with her involvement in theorganizing of the historicOct. 23, 2010 Labor-Community Rally andPort Shutdown whichdemanded “Jail Killer Cops!”, “An injury to oneis an injury to all!” and“Justice for Oscar Grant!” Oscar GrantsUncle, Cephus “UncleBobby” Johnson and Jack Bryson who also had two sons on the BART platform,reached out to ILWU Local 10 to lead that action as atool to fight police brutality with labors power.At left:
Topaz DuBois, SEIU local 1021 member reversed her firing by Solano County bosses and won 1 year worth of back pay. Her victory is a lesson that in order to win we must fight!
In the spring of 2011, Topaz and LB&B saw theopportunity for joint struggle with other class strugglefighters and sought to unite with Dorian Maxwell, theMUNI drivers, with the ILWU defense againstemployer attacks, with the Oscar Grant, RahiemBrown, and Kenneth Harding Jr. anti-racist policemurder mobilizations. Topaz also joined in defense of “whistleblower” Sean Gillis, an Oakland Paramedicsupervisor, who was suspended and subjected tosystematic harassment for exposing the negligence of the city, calling to investigate the medical treatment of Oscar Grant, who was shot point-blank in the back byBART officer Johannes Mehserle on Jan. 1, 2009.Topaz told LB&B: “Labor must unite to defendthe black and brown community! Sean, a white tradeunionist stood up for Oscar Grant and demanded aninvestigation into his case. We must also stand up for this brave worker! The significance of Sean’s case isthat it exposes the institutional racism in the citygovernment! To unite the entire working class wemust rally to defend our bravest principled workerswho put them selves on the line for justice.”While Topaz found allies and solidarity amongsther rank and file union co-workers and patients in theworking class community of Vallejo, many of S.E.I.U.1021’s so-called “union leaders” were recalcitrant,unavailable, or just plain dis-interested (they failed tofight for a Skelly hearing). Many thanks to the braverank and file members, and the few principled unionleaders who stood with her through thick and thin!It would seem useful for the union to point outthat the arbitrator noted the existence of SolanoCounty’s “Do More With less” policy. S.E.I.U. 1021should use these revelations and aggressivelychallenge the overwork and “concessions” that areliterally, killing workers! These models of workplaceabuse are being used by bosses everywhere without anorganized challenge. S.E.I.U. rank and file must seek out and offer support to the whole working class,especially the beleaguered Black and Browncommunities, where the fight for jobs for all at