Reexamine relationships

Posted: Monday, February 25, 2002

For those dues-paying members of the Alaska State Employees Association who were unable to find the Our Gang executive board meeting held last week in Juneau, don't feel disappointed. During that meeting the six majority members adopted an official policy that no board members are to answer questions of members, and your presence was not wanted. You may have once voted to elect some of these board members, but they have determined they cannot tell you anything once elected except according to the wishes of the Anchorage business manager!

Considerable news coverage statewide occurred when twice-elected ASEA President Ernie Thomas was suspended Jan. 12 and accused of creating "imminent danger" to the union. But after a formal hearing with the International AFSCME organization, Thomas was reinstated before the recent board meeting. His reinstatement was only known on Feb. 20, and Thomas was half a day late for the e-board show in Juneau. Knowing that he was going to be late, board secretary-acting-as-president Sue Layton of Anchorage allowed the agenda to be altered so that items regarding the convention in March were addressed, including who would be chairing the various committees for this upcoming even, which the president is supposed to chair.

A while back Mr. Thomas was given discipline from state management because the business manager, Spanky O'Connell tattled to his pal, Administration Commissioner Jim Duncan, that Thomas had sent an e-mail to some 185 General Government Unit employees regarding concerns about changes of health care provisions under a new state-union trust to be administered by ASEA. However, when Anchorage board member Pat Morrow recently issued a campaign statement for his candidacy for ASEA president to all GGU members using union and state resources, all Duncan did was notify GGU members of the telecommunications use policy.

The original Our Gang comedies occurred back in a time when union corruption was second in concern among law enforcement agencies to the serious nature of organized crime. With the wealthy state of Alaska now funding union formation of a health trust, that union members must pay protection money to ASEA to be a part of, it appears this child's play could mean it is time to reexamine those kinds of sordid relationships, but don't count on the Knowles-Ulmer Administration to do it!

Donn Liston


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