These reforms include eliminating the current delegate system for electing union leaders, giving local unions more authority in bargaining for their own contracts, and granting locals more say in proposed mergers.
Stern opposes Rosselli’s reforms. A March 5 Salsa Team message includes an attached document with several talking points critical of Rosselli. In the body of the email, SEIU staffer Gilda Valdez advises Davis-Howard, Mooney, 1021 chief of staff Marion Steeg, and others to “Memorize the points in talking to folks.” Valdez goes on to say in the email that she “will be calling … about your assignments.”
Reached for comment, Davis-Howard confirmed that the AOL email account listed as “Damita” was hers. But she claimed no knowledge of the Salsa Team or the messages sent to her. “If you’re saying those emails went to my home computer, who knows if I ever even got them?”
Despite her unwillingness to acknowledge whether she had received the messages, Davis-Howard bristled at the suggestion that the Salsa Team’s activities violated union rules. “Are you trying to tell me that I can never campaign? Does it [Rule 18] say that I have to be neutral and uninvolved 24 hours a day?”
Calls to Mooney, Oscherwitz, Valdez, and Tamura were not returned.
But some union members think there’s a serious problem here. In a written statement, Roxanne Sanchez, who was the president of the San Francisco local before it was merged with other Northern California locals to create 1021, accused Davis-Howard and the Salsa Team of “rigging the outcome” of the delegate election.
“This type of breach in ethical conduct – at such a high level – threatens the foundation of trust and confidence in our Union and in President Damita Davis-Howard’s ability to hold fair elections,” she said.
Sanchez informed us by phone that a formal complaint will be filed with the union’s election committee by Friday.