Monday, July 25, 2011
Association of Deputy District Attorneys Readies for ‘Agency Shop’ Vote
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The county’s prosecutors are being asked whether they support a move to make all deputy district attorneys financially support the collective bargaining unit which represents their interests.
Ballots for the controversial Association of Deputy District Attorneys “agency shop” election are poised to be mailed on Wednesday, and are due Aug. 17, ADDA President Hyatt Seligman said.
If approved, the agency shop would require all deputy district attorneys who are not already ADDA members to become dues-paying members of the union—which last month affiliated with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees—or pay a fee for opting out.
Seligman insisted the creation of an agency shop would mean “that deputies can finally maximize the financial and political strength of their union, stop management discrimination in its tracks and end the current injustice of those who get the powerful benefits of collective bargaining and union representation without paying a penny of the cost.”
The ADDA has clashed with District Attorney Steve Cooley and other high-level officials in the office since being formed in 2008, and pursued complaints of anti-union animus before the county Employee Relations Commission and in federal court.
Deputy District Attorney David Berger, a disgruntled member of the group, said he is planning to resign due to his distrust of the ADDA leadership and desire for the group to “not have any more power than the have now.”
He urged other members to quit the group, and for “everybody in the office with any grain of sense to vote no” on agency.
Berger expressed concern with the way the ADDA has handled internal elections for officers, and a recent breach of members’ privacy resulting from the theft of a laptop belonging to an ADDA board member which contained the addresses and bank account numbers of members.
“You cannot trust the leaders of this so-called union,” Berger complained, calling them the “most undemocratic, unrepresentative group of poor examples of what a deputy district attorney should be.”
He also predicted agency was bound to fail, positing that most of his colleagues “are opposed to the way this so-called union has conducted itself” and “do not want anything to do with it.”
Seligman, however, remarked that the “landslide” vote in favor of the ADDA extending its memorandum of understanding with the county, as the ADDA board had recommended, “shows that our members are united with their Board to move forward constructively in today’s troubled economic times.”
Last week, ADDA members voted 118-18 in favor of maintaining the status quo with the county through Sept. 30, 2012.
Seligman said the group is “look[ing] forward to a return to the bargaining table next year more united, and stronger than ever before.”
Copyright 2011, Metropolitan News Company