Let’s examine some of the statements in Chris Shelton’s “Correcting the Record” letter of April 18th. A series of upcoming document releases will also shed transparency and light on the facts. Click here for release.
Here you will see how Local President Art DeIanni uses his members' dues money to pay himself over $192,000/year; which is more than the CWA president earns. It will also show how he further used his members' dues money to pay his son almost $90,000/year and spend 10's of thousands of dollars for pension payments. Appears to be a conflict of interest, and definitely not 100% volunteering and not 100% free to the local. Click here for documents.
Here you will see multiple years where former PPMWS president Boarman had his family member on the payroll of CWA, not 100% volunteering and not 100% free to CWA. Click here for documents.
This is the history of the Printing, Publishing and Media Workers Sector (PPMWS) merging with the Communications Workers of America (CWA), and the attacks on the PPMWS and Dan Wasser by Chris Shelton, the President of CWA. Shelton has tried to silence this conversation by removing it from the PPMWS website, but this conversation will only get bigger and louder! To see Dan Wasser's open letter of March 26, 2019, click here. Here are the Sector News articles referenced: News 2-2014, News 9-2014, News 6-2015
This timeline, the commentaries, and related documents are being made available to everyone with the freedoms of speech and information at the forefront. Our members and the general public should demand complete openness from their leaders and should not shy away from exercising their rights or challenging anything they are told. Without the information to start our debate, we can be easily misdirected. People should always be able to question their leaders, whether in labor, government, or otherwise, and hold them accountable. These very principles are what the United States was created on.
As leaders, we need to lead by example and practice what we preach. If we don’t, how can we ask others to do what we aren’t willing to do ourselves. There are indisputable rights in the CWA/PPMWS Merger Agreement and, the directive to secure such rights when needed. These rights are further guaranteed under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (the “LMRDA”). Whereas, it has been long established that the overriding objective of the LMRDA, to promote union democracy, would be thwarted if at any time union members concluded they could not challenge the union's hierarchy. We all have a freedom of speech and just as importantly, when needed, a freedom to sue.
When examining the items below, ask yourself who’s next; what Sector or what District. Will it be T & T; NABET; District 7 or District 4; the TNG or PHEW? Is it the overall goal to create “super districts,” so authority cannot be challenged and only held in a small group of hands, by right sizing? Diminish democracy between the leaders and the rank and file? All the while, making false claims or assertions to deflect the true motives - scheming in a Machiavellian way. These are some of the questions that we cannot shy away from or fear from expressing.
So, here is the timeline. Please take the time to not only read it, but also read the associated documents. Resolution is always preferred over discord, and we have diligently worked to that end. Unfortunately, there has been no agreement reached and we must now enforce our rights. We truly wish that our deliberations would have been more productive, but we are merely reactionary to the very conditions we are presented with.
PPMWS HISTORY & SHELTON DISCUSSIONS TIMELINE:
1. January 1, 1987 – The CWA/ITU Merger Agreement takes effect. Click here for document
2. January 8, 1987 – CWA President Morty Bahr is asked a series of questions on the Merger Agreement, and he responds. Click here for document
3. July 8, 2011 – First merger agreement amendment; term: four years. Click here for document
4. June 6, 2015 – Second merger agreement amendment; term: eight years. Click here for document
5. December 5, 2017 – Shelton abruptly announces his desire to shutter the PPMWS to Printing Sector President Dan Wasser
6. January 30, 2018 – 1st discussions held with CWA Committee: Ed Mooney (D2-13), Jody Calemine (Chief of Staff), George Kohl (Senior Director); and the PPMWS Committee: Dan Wasser (President), Don McConnell (Laws Committee Chairman), Michelle Tovo (Laws Committee Secretary), and Attorneys Marianne Oliver & Rich Gilardi.
6a. “Blue Book” given to PPMWS attendees by CWA Committee
6b. Upon reviewing the Blue Book during the meeting, it is discovered that it is ladled with errors and misinformation. CWA Committee acknowledges such fact. Click here for Blue Book
7. February 2, 2018 – Shelton sends letter to PPMWS with a deadline of February 28th to agree to his proposal. Click here for letter
8. February 23, 2018 – PPMWS letter to Shelton stating that due to the complexities involved, other dates need to be set up, and look at dates in March. Click here for the letter
9. March 1, 2018 – Shelton blindsides CWA Executive Board at 5:48 pm with a call for a Special Convention and schedules a conference call with the Executive Board members the next day, March 2, 2018, at 1:00 p.m. EST to discuss. Click here for letter
10. March 1, 2018 – PPMWS President Dan Wasser sends out an email to Shelton and the CWA Executive Board asking if Shelton has the right to unilaterally eliminate the PPMWS and associated Merger Documents, which Sector or District is next – T & T, NABET, District 4, District 7, PHEW, TNG, etc.? Click here for the letter
11. March 2, 2018 – Shelton holds conference call and no vote is taken on holding a Special Convention. The overall objective relayed to everyone was to meet more and work it out.
12. March 5, 2018 – PPMWS President Wasser sends PPMWS membership a letter on the new developments. Click here for document
13. March 12, 2018 – Negotiated Pension Plan (NPP) union trustees Art DeIanni and Robert Maida and three Employer trustees (2 of which are not contributing employers) approve an amendment to the Pension Plan’s Trust Agreement. Such amendment appears to violate the NPP Trust Agreement. The Trustees claim the forthcoming dissolution of the PPMWS on or before the end of 2018 in the amendment (emphasis added). PPMWS President Wasser does not receive the amendment until March 29, 2018 via mail. Pension trustees knew 5-months prior that Wasser would not be attending meeting due to scheduling conflicts and did not inform him of any such amendment. Click here for document
14. March 21, 2018 – Meeting held in D.C. and the PPMWS presents bullet points to the CWA Committee for discussion on PPMWS issues – click here for document. Upon Michelle Tovo pressuring Shelton once again on what locals in the PPMWS are complaining about representation since he continues to proclaim locals are not being represented properly, Shelton states that the PPMWS members are too stupid to know that they’re not being represented properly. Shelton rejects the PPMWS offer and issues his last, best, and final offer. Click here for Shelton’s last, best and final offer to dissolve the PPMWS. Note: This was the first and last face-to-face meeting Shelton attended.
15. March 22, 2018 – PPMWS President Dan Wasser emails Shelton another PPMWS proposal. Click here for document
16. April 10, 2018 – Shelton emails the PPMWS and threatens the PPMWS once again, agree to his proposal by April 20, 2018 or he’ll use any and all constitutional tools at his disposal to shutter the PPMWS. Click here for document
17. April 20, 2018 – PPMWS President Wasser emails Shelton the PPMWS response stating we are referring the issue to arbitration in accordance with the 2011 Merger Amendment – Click here for letter – and sends out an announcement to the PPMWS membership – Click here for letter
18. April 20, 2018 – PPMWS Attorney Gilardi files for arbitration with the American Arbitration Association (AAA) to enforce the Merger Agreement, in accordance with Amendment of 2011
19. April 20, 2018 – Shelton responds to PPMWS President Wasser’s letter to the PPMWS membership and tries to spin the facts on the dissolution of the PPMWS. Click here for letter
20. May 2, 2018 – CWA General Counsel Shea responds to the arbitration filing and rejects AAA for arbitration and claims CWA is now unclear on the violation and doesn’t understand the dispute over the dissolution of the PPMWS and Shelton failing to fill the vacancy as provided for in the Amendment of 2011. Click here for the letter
21. May 4, 2018 – PPMWS Counsel Richard Rosenblatt refers the PPMWS to the law firm Spencer Fane for evaluation of the amendment to the Pension Plan’s Trust Agreement. All NPP documents are sent to the law firm for evaluation.
22. May 30, 2018 – Shelton issues a letter to all CWA Local Presidents attempting to explain his position and proposals on the elimination of the PPMWS. Click here for document
23. May 31, 2018 – PPMWS Attorney Gilardi sends letter to CWA General Counsel Shea laying out the violation of not filling the 2nd staff position, Shelton’s desire to eliminate the PPMWS, and asking who CWA would like to use for arbitration since they rejected AAA. Also stating that the PPMWS would not pursue arbitration if they adhered to the Merger Agreement and the filling of the staff position. Click here for document
24. June 7, 2018 – Conference call held with the law firm Spenser Fane, the PPMWS Laws and Finance Committee, and PPMWS President Wasser. Spenser Fane explained the merits of the pension case and their evaluation to everyone. Laws Committee decides to hire Spencer Fane and file lawsuit against the NPP Trustees using only PPMWS funds. PPMWS President Wasser recuses himself from decision due to possible conflict.
25. June 9, 2018 – PPMWS President Wasser issues a fact sheet on Shelton’s correspondences, in preparation of the President’s Meeting. Click here for document
26. June 25, 2018 – Pension lawsuit filed against the NPP Trustees by Spencer Fane to enforce and protect the PPMWS retirees and members’ rights on pension plan. Click here for document
27. June 26, 2018 – CWA General Counsel Shea responds to the arbitration filing against CWA again and now claims that CWA doesn’t know who Gilardi represents, wants to know who is paying him and who authorized the arbitration filing. Click here for document
28. August 8, 2018 – PPMWS Attorney Gilardi sends letter to CWA General Counsel Shea stating that CWA has consistently obstructed the PPMWS’s right to engage in dispute resolution and will file court action to compel arbitration if need be to enforce PPMWS rights under the Merger Agreement. Click here for document
29. August 20, 2018 – CWA General Counsel Shea responds to court action letter and claims that it is premature to file court action to compel arbitration, though the PPMWS has been trying to pick an arbitrator for 4-months. Click here for document
30. August 20, 2018 – Shelton directs PPMWS President Wasser not to enforce the Merger Agreement and not to file court action to enforce the PPMWS members’ rights under the Merger Agreement. Click here for document
31. September 28, 2018 – Shelton sends letter to PPMWS President Wasser again stating not to file court action to protect the PPMWS members’ rights. He further asserts that if the PPMWS uses its own funds to protect PPMWS members’ rights, it would be a misappropriation of funds. The PPMWS views Shelton’s consistent threats/directives/claims as a direct violation of the LMRDA, among other things, which guarantees the right to free speech and the right to sue. Click here for document
32. September 28, 2018 – Shelton issues a separate letter directing the PPMWS not to proceed any further protecting the PPMWS retirees and members’ rights in the pension lawsuit. Click here for document
33. October 3, 2018 – PPMWS President Wasser responds to Shelton’s directive declaring the rights of the PPMWS members and protecting the Plan from possible malfeasance and/or misappropriations. Click here for document
34. October 3, 2018 – PPMWS President Wasser issues a separate letter to Shelton on the dissolution of the PPMWS questioning his impartiality and, his relationship with NPP Trustee DeIanni – due to the fact that DeIanni, and Maida, are the very subjects of the pension lawsuit with the PPMWS. Click here for document
35. October 12, 2018 – Shelton directs the PPMWS to withdraw the lawsuit against the NPP Trustees and not to compel CWA to arbitrate under the rights guaranteed in the Amendment of 2011. Click here for document
36. October 13, 2018 – PPMWS President Wasser emails Shelton and proposes several dates to meet and attempt yet again to resolve differences. Click here for document
37. October 24, 2018 – The Laws Committee, PPMWS President Wasser, and the CWA Committee meet in Pittsburgh and attempt to resolve differences. PPMWS gives a proposal – click here for document. CWA Committee rejects and gives a counter and wants a response by close of business Tuesday, October 30, 2018. Click here for the document
38. December 10, 2018 – The Laws Committee, PPMWS President Wasser, and the CWA Committee meet in D.C. and attempt to resolve differences. PPMWS gives a proposal – click here for document. CWA Committee rejects and gives a counter. No agreement is reached. Click here for the document
39. January 29, 2019 – Jody Calemine emails PPMWS President Wasser and asks on status of things and informs the PPMWS that the proposed pension settlement was rejected. Click here for document
40. January 30, 2019 – PPMWS President Wasser emails Jody Calemine back with questions that have yet to be answered as of March 14, 2019. Asking who rejected pension settlement, etc. Click here for document
41. January 30, 2019 – Shelton issues yet another directive not to protect the PPMWS retirees and members’ rights and withdraw lawsuit against the Negotiated Pension Plan within 10-days. Click here for document
42. February 7, 2019 - PPMWS Attorney Gilardi sends letter to CWA General Counsel Shea advising that the PPMWS is protected in filing the lawsuit against the NPP trustees; the suit is not withdrawn. Click here for document
43. February 12, 2019 – CWA hires a law firm in Colorado and files to intervene on the pension lawsuit and backs the two Union NPP Trustees Art DeIanni and Robert Maida, and the three Employer Trustees (two of which are not contributing employers), and wants the lawsuit dismissed; thereby choosing to possibly hinder and jeopardize all the PPMWS retirees and members’ rights on the NPP. No decision by the courts has been received as of March 15, 2018. Click here for document
44. February 26, 2019 – CWA General Counsel Shea phones PPMWS President Wasser and states that the Sector News will not be printed and mailed because of the last page – the UPH Foundation’s scholarships announcement. She states that it could be viewed that CWA supports the UPH Foundation.
45. March 3, 2019 – The PPMWS sends Shelton a final proposal on the dissolution of the PPMWS. Click here for document
46. March 5, 2019 – PPMWS Attorneys at Spenser Fane respond to CWA’s motion to intervene in the NPP lawsuit. As of March 15th, no court decision has been made. Click here for document
47. March 14, 2019 – Shelton responds to the final proposal from the PPMWS. Claims “golden parachute” and other antics to deflect true motives. If Shelton wants to discuss “golden parachutes” ask him about the millions of dollars of dues money needed to put into the CWA Pension to secure his lump sum cash option, and then ask what his lump sum option is when he elects to take it (emphasis added). The PPMWS believes that no severance should ever be golden and the terms of any such severance should not be any different than what has been negotiated for our members. Click here for document.
48. March 15, 2019 – PPMWS Attorney Gilardi files a lawsuit in federal court to enforce the rights guaranteed to the PPMWS under the Merger Agreement and all related documents. Click here for document – Notice goes out to all PPMWS members. Click here for document
49. March 21, 2019 - PPMWS President Wasser is suspended.
The PPMWS has tried to reach an amicable resolution with Chris Shelton and have worked tirelessly to that end. As shown, we have put forth several different resolutions in an attempt to reach such accord.
However, it becomes a never-ending pursuit when his reasons are constantly moving when seeking change.
First it’s about saving money – so we go down that path and offer solutions; then it’s about not providing proper service to the members – so we go down that path; then it’s about the pension lawsuit, golden parachutes, or the Union Printers Home (which is and has been a separate entity apart from CWA, see Merger Agreement #17 and Morty Bahr's letter here). The bogey is constantly changing so a resolution cannot be attained.
It appears very suspect with the timing of the pension plan amendment and declaration by the trustees that the PPMWS was going to dissolve “on or before” the end of 2018, and Shelton’s call for a Special Convention; suspect that he states it’s about saving money, but rejects the offer of the PPMWS paying more than $100k per year; suspect that it’s then about right sizing and the overlapping of duties, along with saving money, but creates “meaningful employment for the three existing CWA employees in PPMWS;” and so many other conflicting comments and positions Shelton has made and/or taken. Maybe the realization is that he doesn’t want a resolution, and his reasons and accusations continue to change to deflect from the real objective. You decide...