As a former member of the Alaska State Employees Association Executive Board, Alma Seward in her recent letter to the Empire presented some reasonable expectations of all ASEA dues-paying members.
But to really understand the nature of the union representing all General Government Unit state employees, one needs to watch a few old "Our Gang" comedies. Those "Little Rascals" shows have titles like "Wiggle Your Ears," "Three Men in a Tub," and "When the Wind Blows." Some cast include Spanky, Scotty, Darla, Froggy, Dorothy, Stymie, Buckwheat, Alfalfa, and the bully, Butch. This is the caliber of the current ASEA staff GGU members accept.
The current gang of board members that runs ASEA between conventions are also poor actors. Over the years they have allowed "Spanky" Chuck O'Connell (the business manager) to publicly embarrass state workers with his performance in episodes alienating public officials most likely to help state employees, harming credibility of ASEA by letting him convince them to hire him back after he was fired, changing provisions of the negotiated agreement while it was being ratified by the members, tattling to the employer about e-mail use of the state computer system by elected ASEA officials, and helping state management reduce health care provisions for members.
The latest installment of these Little Rascals began in April 2000, when ASEA staff apparently conducted a flawed election to re-elect probation officer president Vinnie O'Connor over seafood inspector challenger Ernie Thomas. Thomas won by even more votes in the re-run. Spanky's gang has since tried every silly thing they, and their attorneys can imagine to depose the twice-elected president. With ominous faces, they now publicly charge Thomas with causing the union "imminent danger."
Ms. Seward will probably be the next union leader accused of causing danger because she has shined a light on current staff attempts to remove President Thomas. And, congratulations are in order to Fran Ulmer for receiving ASEA's early endorsement of her candidacy for governor!