Friday, August 19, 2011
Los Angeles Prosecutors Vote to Form ‘Agency Shop’
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Rank-and-file prosecutors in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office have voted to create an “agency shop,” in which all non-management deputies will be required to share the costs of collective bargaining, union leaders said yesterday.
The vote was 302-204, Association of Deputy District Attorneys President Hyatt Seligman announced. Under the agency shop, all members of the bargaining unit must join the ADDA, which was certified as the deputies’ representative three years ago, or pay a fee representing the individual’s share of bargaining-related costs incurred by the union,
The ADDA is, since earlier this year, affiliated with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. .
Seligman said that garnering over 60 percent of the votes cast “in an office in which management has openly carried out an anti-union campaign is an amazing victory.”
The ADDA has clashed with District Attorney Steve Cooley and other high-level officials in the office, and pursued complaints of anti-union animus before the county Employee Relations Commission and in federal court.
“This victory is a testament to the courage of union members who have been subjected to three years of harassment, as well as a testament to AFSCME’s professional support in organizing the Agency Shop election campaign,” Seligman said.
He added that the ADDA “is more committed than ever to serve the needs of every DDA in this office, and now we will have the wherewithal to do it.”
ADDA Executive Vice President Donna McClay also said she was “thrilled” with the election’s outcome. “Now every DDA can participate in the ADDA without fear of retaliation,” she said.
Seligman added that he hoped the agency shop “will encourage everyone in the office to join the union and then fully participate, so that the union reflects their will.”
Ballots for the election went out to all deputy district attorneys grades I-IV at the end of last month, were due Wednesday, and were counted yesterday.
Deputy District Attorney David Berger, an outspoken critic of the ADDA’s leadership, decried the outcome of the vote as “a disaster.”
“At least 300 DA’s didn’t vote, either because they were on vacation, which I’m sure was part of the plan, or because they couldn’t be bothered,” Berger said.
“It was hugely disappointing that the vote was so small, and I really have to wonder what people were thinking,” he said, adding:
“I thought that DA’s had more sense.”
A spokesperson for Cooley said the vote was “a union matter” and declined to comment.
Copyright 2011, Metropolitan News Company