Dancing doll spectacle

Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2002

The recent letter from Alma Seward pointed out some very interesting perspectives on how the Alaska State Employees Association has been making a spectacle of itself under the current business manager and his board of six puppets (two of whom are from Juneau). However, one thing Ms. Seward did not address is how state employees are being harmed individually and collectively by this inappropriate behavior.

As a state engineer, and former ASEA union steward, I worked in collaboration with a forceful business agent to 1) survey employee concerns at the Alaska Department of Transportation, 2) provide a report to management about systemic discrimination and workplace bully issues, and 3) participate in training for a labor-management committee (as provided for in the Collective Bargaining Agreement) to find solutions to problems in a pro-active manner. State management could not abide such open and creative dialog, so in collusion with the union, the effective business agent and I were fired simultaneously.

Twice-elected ASEA President Ernie Thomas has also suffered from the abusive management of this union - even being disciplined in his state job for sending an e-mail to members - and there are others who now have cases before the Human Rights Commission and/or lawsuits against the state because of ASEA impotence. Many members statewide are looking forward to the upcoming biennial convention in March to deal with the problem directly.

While I, too, am amazed at the incompetence of the board and staff of the union representing the largest group of state employees, as Ms. Seward is, I think it is a matter far more serious than simply wasting of members' dues. It is old-fashioned corruption. State General Government Unit workers must quit letting their required dues money be used against their best interests by staff and a few dancing doll board members!

Nancy Rongstad


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