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UNION FRAUD: Union Workers Campaigning On County Time For Miami Mayor Alvarez and Commissioner Seijas

Posted by FactReal on March 2, 2011

UNIONS USING TAXPAYER MONEY TO FIGHT TAXPAYERS
Miami union workers are campaigning — on county time — to fight back the citizens’ recall efforts to fire Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez and Commissioner Natacha Seijas. Yes, taxpayers are unwillingly paying for these public workers to fight against taxpayers. The transit union created in January an “education” committee to fight the recalls. People who have suffered under communist regimes are very familiar with “re-education” practices, which are only a front used by government to push their agenda and indoctrinate the citizens.

One driver at an early-voting site Tuesday passing out leaflets in favor of the mayor.
CBS4: (Emphasis added)
At least a dozen Miami Dade Transit employees – on county time — are actively campaigning on behalf of Miami Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez and Commissioner Natacha Seijas, the CBS4 I-Team Investigator Jim DeFede has learned.

CBS4 News found several of the employees, members of Transport Workers Union Local 291, at an early voting site in North Dade Tuesday morning.

“I’m going to be out here everyday,” said Shadel Hamilton, a bus driver for 21 years. “We are out here trying to inform people, trying to educate people.”

Hamilton is a member of the union’s Civil Rights and Education Committee, which was formed on January 26. The members of the committee continue to be paid their normal county salary – bus drivers earn between $20 and $30 an hour – but instead of driving buses, their assignment is to “educate” transit workers about an array of issues, including the recall. […]

When CBS4 I-Team investigator Jim DeFede asked Talib Nashid, the union president, why the recall was so important to the union, he said: “It’s a cause. We think the mayor needs to be in there, because he is supporting our cause. He’s supporting our people.” […]

Nashid said Miami Dade Transit Director Harpal Kapoor approved the creation of the education committee as well as the decision to allow a dozen union workers to continue to get paid while they served on the committee.

Miami Herald: (Emphasis added)
Facing a recall vote and an ongoing budget crunch, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez’s administration has excused 12 county transit employees from their regular jobs to participate full time — while still collecting their salaries — in a loosely defined committee tasked with informing workers about the current political upheaval and controversial budget that triggered the recall campaign.

Called the “transit education committee,” the group is being overseen by the Transportation Workers Union [TWU]. This is the first time the transit agency has formed such a union committee, and it comes as the TWU has thrown its support behind Alvarez.

On Tuesday one of the 12 workers was at a North Dade early-voting site wearing a yellow “Vote No” to recall T-shirt and distributing brochures in support of Alvarez. “We are out here trying to inform people, trying to educate people,” bus driver Shadel Hamilton told Miami Herald news partner CBS4’s reporter Jim Defede. […]

A Jan. 27 email reviewed by The Miami Herald said the Miami-Dade Transit employees are “being released on special assignment to the Transportation Worker’s Union” in an effort “to enhance communication among MDT’s 2,000+ operational employees.”

The TWU, one of Alvarez’s biggest financial backers, contributed $20,000 on Dec. 27 to the mayor’s political action committee, Citizens for Truth, which is focusing on defeating the March 15 recall election. The donation followed a Dec. 10 meeting between Alvarez and TWU leadership, according to the county executive office sign-in log.

TWU president Talib Nashid said the purpose of the 12-person committee — comprising employees who normally work as bus drivers — is to inform far-flung transit workers about issues like the current federal review of the transit agency and the budget. But he acknowledged that if the recall comes up, “and they want the union’s perspective, then of course all our members know the union supports the mayor.”

Nashid did not return calls following Hamilton’s appearance distributing pro-Alvarez literature at the early-voting site.

One former transit union boss, however, said the committee’s aims are more clearly focused. Wessell Clarke, who was ousted from the top union post in 2009, said last week that it’s his understanding “the committee is based on the recall campaign and they are working on the mayor’s behalf.”

Clarke added that he thought it was wrong for the union leadership to donate $20,000 to Alvarez’s PAC. “We can’t afford that. We don’t even give a U.S. Senate candidate $20,000.”

With absentee and early voting under way, Alvarez is trying to stave off recall with a strategy that includes mobilizing support from a county bureaucracy of more than 27,000 workers. Alvarez has come under fire, in part, because he backed union contracts last year that included salary increases this year. He also pushed for a 12 percent property tax-rate hike in September. […]

Salaries for the 12 employees range from $35,000 to more than $70,000, according to public records.

The move comes as Alvarez is not only fending off a recall but the county government is again facing a giant budget shortfall. In his recent State of the County report, Alvarez said the county is anticipating a $250 million budget hole in the coming fiscal year. Yet releasing the 12 employees from normal work duties is requiring the cash-strapped agency to employ others in their place. The “MDT employees released for the education committee will be covered by part-time operators,” Transit spokeswoman Karla Damian said in an emailed statement, without elaborating on any additional cost to taxpayers. […]

Miami-Dade Transit (MDT), TWU, Seijas, and Alvarez don’t care about the cost to the taxpayers. Taxpayers are paying these public workers to drive buses and not to campaign. They are free to campaign on their own time and dime. How low can they go? Tax money being used by government officials and unions to fight against taxpayers!
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6 Responses to “UNION FRAUD: Union Workers Campaigning On County Time For Miami Mayor Alvarez and Commissioner Seijas”

  1. BUCK CROSBY said

    This is why NO public employee from federal to state to county to township should be permitted to unionize and those that have should be permanently laid off or fired .

  2. […] Reporte de FactReal […]

  3. […] Alvarez decided to dismiss taxpayers in his obsession against Norman Braman. To fight this recall, union workers campaigned on county time on behalf of Alvarez and Seijas. We deserve better. Today is the last chance to recall […]

  4. […] Campaigns On County Time For Alvarez and Seijas Unions using taxpayer money to fight back the citizens’ recall efforts to fire Mayor Alvarez and Commissioner […]

  5. […] week to remove mayor Carlos Alvarez and commissioner Natacha Seijas for raising property taxes, for shenanigans with the unions, mismanagement, and other dictator-like […]

  6. […] – WISCONSIN: Average Teachers Receive $56,500 Salary Plus $43,505 in Benefits…Paid by Taxpayers – UNION FRAUD: Union Workers Campaigning On County Time for Miami Mayor Alvarez and Commissioner Seija… – KILLER UNION PENSIONS: Miami Police Officer to get Pension of $125,000 a Year for Life…Paid by […]

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