(Bonehead: Foolish or stupid!) In the headline, the Ol’ Dog described the following election challenge submitted to the DOL as a Bonehead Challenge. It is less a legitimate substantiated election challenge– and more a document whining about what happened AFTER the election.
Those who authored it have not limited themselves to frivolous filings, however, they have also indulged in the usage of various appellations such as immoral, unethical and fascists in regards to President Rosenberg and Membership First!
November 30, 2005
: To the Department of Labor:
We file this challenge to a recent election for national officers of the Screen Actors Guild (“SAG”). The election ended September 23, 2005. The complaint is properly before the Department of Labor (“DOL”). The SAG Constitution requires that challenges be filed within 14 days of the election. At that point the Election Committee was required to hold a hearing within 45 days of the election, which in this case would have been November 7, 2005.
We each filed a timely protest to the conduct of this election with the Guild Election Committee (see Exhibit A: a copy of SAG’s Constitution relating to the National Election Challenge process; Exhibits B, C and D, which are the challenges we filed; and Exhibits E, F and G , which are e-mails from SAG staff member Michelle Bennett, dated November 18, which confirm the receipt of our timely challenges).
A hearing was scheduled for November 2, 2005 (see Exhibit H, an e-mail dated October 26, 2005, notifying challengers and candidates of the hearing date and rules of procedure. Exhibit I is the rules for the hearing and the handling of evidence).
Sam Freed, one of the challengers, appeared first at the scheduled hearing, only to find that there was no quorum present and the hearing was canceled. The hearing was not rescheduled and thus was not held before the constitutionally imposed deadline of November 7, 2005. Although our preference at the time was to have a hearing before a properly constituted Election Committee, on November 17, 2005, we were advised by staff member Michelle Bennett that there were no plans to reschedule the internal hearing.
So, “The hearing was CANCLED.” Therefore they received NO FINAL DECISION! Ah, remember this, boys and girls! It could be important later! As to The reason that there was no quorum, it was because the New York USAN committee member Maureen Donnelly, who was present, refused to participate. It was a setup. They didn’t want a hearing! These are disruptive sore losers who will do anything to try and discredit President Rosenberg and the new SAG leadership. Unfortunately, they’re being aided by some members of SAG senior staff, loyal to the previous regime, who seem intent on doing everything they can to disrupt the new leadership. Why these people are allowed to remain in the employ of SAG is a question that must be addressed on a priority basis.
As the Election Committee, which had exclusive jurisdiction over election challenges, did not address our challenges on a timely basis, and as there is no provision in the Constitution for redress of these concerns, we have no alternative but to turn to the DOL and ask that you take up the investigation of these issues. In order to preserve our rights with the Department of Labor, this complaint is filed within 30 days of the cancellation of the hearing.
“No provision in the Constitution for redress of these concerns? ” Huh? “Bonehead alert! Bonehead alert!” Not only are BH’s bastions of misinformation, they are just plain lazy. If they had taken only a few more seconds and bothered to read a little farther into the SAG Constitution, Section 8, (C) they’d know that if the election committee failed to address their concerns–and thus violated a provision of the constitution“such member may request a hearing by the Board of Directors.” They failed to do this. This bonehead move alone is enough to get their bogus charges dropped, since they failed to exhaust all remedies through the union before rushing off precipitously whining to the press and the DOL. We’ll have a look at the components of their complaint, but first a gander at the labor law.
Okay, let’s see. Their election challenge states that there was no quorum! Thus there was no meeting! And thus, they haven’t as yet received a final decision from the elections committee! But, wait, buckaroos, Section 402, says they must wait three calendar months for a final decision before they can file a complaint! That would mean they would have to wait until at least December 23 before interjecting a complaint with the labor board! Yikes! In regards to this matter the Ol’ Dog thinks these folks have suffered a bad case of Premature Interjection.
Now let’s have a look-see at what they claim are the two components of their challenge.
The first is that the political slate within SAG that won the key officer positions maintained a membership list including over 17,000 e-mail addresses which was derived from union sources and was not made available to other slates.
Where’s the beef? More like baloney! They offer no proof of their mythical 17,000 email addresses’ allegations! No exhibits with this one, folks! More importantly you’ll notice that nowhere in their bonehead challenge is there any evidence proffered that this mythical email list WAS EVER USED to send emails. Look, you could have a list of all 120,000 of our members including everything from their spending to sexual habits, and it would not be a Labor Violation, no matter how it was obtained or what it contained, as long as it was not used. The labor board would not be interested! However should anyone out there have such a list the Ol’ Dog wouldn’t mind taking a peek at it.
The fact is, this letter from Sam Freed, Eileen Henry, and Paul Christie ain’t a challenge! It’s more like childish, disgruntled rambling! For God sakes, who is advising these people?
Indeed, the information is confidential and other slates which desired to do mass mailings or electronic messaging had to at a cost go through designated third parties who maintained the confidentiality of the lists.
What information is confidential? Oh, yeah, right, those mythical email lists derived from union sources! Hey, the Ol’ Dog has at one time or another had hundreds of emails derived from union sources. They were obtained from other UNION members and their email lists. Now if you’re wondering how that’s done, let’s check out the Queen of Mass Mailing, former Chicago SAG Branch president and avid USAN supporter, Lisa Lewis. Here’s some excerpts from what Dear Lisa had to say in an email dated Aug. 24, 2001 on how a certain group obtained emails, “Their email lists were probably compiled by merging supporters’ personal lists and by co-opting the lists of those same folks!” But Lisa how could that happen? ” it only takes one random and even well-intentioned email (with all the addresses in plain sight) addressed to both you and a member of this group to allow them to have pilfered it. ” But, but, Lisa would acquiring an email list by this method be illegal? “.while certainly questionable in terms of ‘Netiquette, is not illegal.”
There is evidence that a member of the winning political faction had membership lists with social security numbers and that same member was involved in a conspiracy to transferee member e-mail addresses to a third party to develop an external list serve of SAG members. That latter activity is the subject of a lawsuit currently pending in the California federal courts.
: Ah, ha! So there is evidence! Now we’re getting somewhere! Ah, ah, but wait I don’t see anything about an exhibit here! They must have misplaced that one! Yeah, right. This is what’s called tap-dancing folks. Has nothing to do with their challenge. And as a matter of fact, the DOL knows about that a previous SAG challenge on the mentioned matter, instigated by these very same members and their cohorts, was denied by the NLRB!.
It has also been established that there was an electronic breach of the SAG membership records as to which we are told there is an ongoing investigation.
They were “told?” Hey with evidence like this they don’t need no stinkin’ exhibits!
The second is that the current leadership is attempting to obstruct and cover-up these serious violations of internal union rules and federal law.
What serious violations of internal union rules? What federal law? Oh, I know they were “told” they were serious violations.
Most recently they have aborted the Election Committee hearing process in the manner we describe below.
Now let’s get this straight. Those filing charges refuse to participate in a quorum– and then they accuse their opponents of aborting the hearing. Ahhh, okay! Of course, all of this is after the fact, and has nothing to do with their challenge that there was a violation DURING the election.
More importantly, it appears that they are taking steps to withdraw the lawsuit (referred to above) brought by SAG under the prior administration relating to the development of the very list at issue and the use of employer resources to create the list.
You remember! The list they “heard” about! The one that came from SAG sources! No but wait! Now they are saying employer resources created the list. Hmmm, if someone got the list from SAG as they charge then why would that person need an employer to create it? And, ta-da, if they got it from an employer why would they need to get it from SAG sources. Anyone get this?
At issue is not only the taint of the recent election, but the future threat to the democratic process within the union if the current leadership is permitted to retain the advantage of confidential member information for political use.
Hmmm, I wonder if they’re talking about all the confidential member information that the previous leadership obtained with their phone surveys in order to have an advantage in forwarding their political agendas?
Background. It is no secret that the Screen Actors Guild is politically polarized. We have had a history of contentious elections and referenda votes, and the sitting National Election Committee was well aware of this history. They were charged with making sure that each candidate adhered to the rules of procedure, and with adjudicating concerns as they arose, through out the election period. The committee was composed of four representatives from Los Angeles (the committee chair chose not to fill the seat for an alternate); two representatives and one alternate from New York, and one representative and one alternate from the Branches. The Committee met many times, to my knowledge; I am sure that SAG staff member Michelle Bennett can provide the exact number of members, and which voting members were present. As with all SAG committees, the quorum requirement is at least one member from each of the three divisions be present for the meeting (See Exhibit F, SAG Constitution on quorums for committee meetings).
You notice the trend here! They’ve got plenty of exhibits. Except when it comes to substantiating their bogus charge of misconduct during the election.
The winning candidate in this election, Alan Rosenberg, attempted to manipulate the outcome of the election challenge process by appointing, at the last minute, a political ally to cast a vote in the hearings. He did this despite full committee agreement as to the hearing date, and despite a record of committee meetings being held with whatever committee members were available, so long as a quorum was met. In protest, the New York members of the Committee refused to participate in the hearings with any but the original committee members.
Contrary to what our BH trio says, the appointed committee member was appointed by the Committee Chairperson to replace an absent member out of country: Something, by the way that is often necessary and that the rules provide for. Ah, so it boils down to this, matters did not proceed in the manner our challengers and their cohorts wanted, so in protest, they refused to participate in the hearings. Sort of like that group that walked out of the last plenary because they didn’t get their way. Oh, wait a minute! They’re not sort of like the same group. THEY ARE THE SAME GROUP!
We were always concerned as to how the Election Committee was performing its duty in an unbiased way both during the election and appeals process. That is the basis of the charges filed by Paul Christie and Eileen Henry. The issues that constitute this election challenge were the very issues that were brought before the Committee during the election, but then as now the Committee had no response.
Or to be DOL correct, the committee offered NO FINAL DECISION..
We were also always concerned as to how the Election Committee could properly hear charges, and render a decision concerning charges of its own misconduct.
Is this getting a tad confusing, folks? The charges, if I remember correctly concerned a 17,000 email list. Are they saying the Elections Committee furnished this list. Yikes! And I thought the Kennedy Assassination conspiracy theories were confusing. Ah, could it be on the subject of misconduct, they’re talking about Committee member Maureen Donnelly’s refusal to participate purely for political reasons. Or their own misconduct for requesting a meeting, then affectively wasting the time of attending- committee-members by boycotting it! The bottom line is, if they felt that the committee committed a violation in regards to its duties then why didn’t they take their concerns to the SAG board as provided in the constitution. Unless, of course, this whole thing is simply a rouse to publicly spread more of their propaganda! You think?
In the September 2005 elections, there were three slates: Membership First, headed by Alan Rosenberg; Campaign for Unity, headed by Morgan Fairchild, and an independent party, headed by Robert Conrad. The SAG election process is lengthy and our membership is spread across the country. A primary means of campaigning is through e-mail and mail. Candidates can request member contact information from the Guild but that information is never directly provided to them. Instead, to preserve member confidentiality and privacy, the Guild sends candidates messages through an authorized third party vendor at a cost to the candidate (see exhibit G, the rules of procedure for the 2005 national campaign).
Ah, another evidentiary-challenged exhibit! What do any of their exhibits have to do with their bogus election challenge? Look, Bunko, you put in enough exhibits and maybe they’ll overlook the fact that you have absolutely no proof. I’m surprised they didn’t include photos of the candidates as an exhibit– and an exhibit of an email. Hey, and how about an exhibit of that third party.
The winners of the election, the Membership First slate, got approximately 40% of the vote. During the campaign, this slate sent numerous e-mails to the membership using their own substantial list serve and an unauthorized vendor. There is substantial physical and anecdotal evidence that the contents of the Membership First list serve was largely collected from member records. The Campaign for Unity candidate came in second with approximately 35% of the vote and because of the substantial costs of using the Guild authorized list sent fewer e-mails to the membership.
You’d think they might include at least a teenie weenie bit of that substantial physical evidence in an exhibit wouldn’t you? But then if they had, it just wouldn’t have been a good Ol’ Bonehead Challenge!
Following the 2003 referendum election on whether to consolidate SAG with its sister union, AFTRA, it came to light that unauthorized campaign e-mails were being sent from an untraceable source. A lawsuit against an Internet service provider resulted in evidence sufficient to bring suit against a third party, a nonmember employer, who admitted complicity in the use of a list of member information to send unlawful e-mails which would inappropriately influence another Guild vote.
Once again more bonehead wordplay. The makeup man recklessly charged in this matter only admitted to forwarding legitimate emails. There was no acknowledgement, nor indeed any proof, that they were unlawful. But be that as it may, this is just more irrelevant rambling since it has nothing to do with the challenge at hand.
This individual was known to be a friend of several members of Membership First. Subsequently, Mark Carlton, a leader of Membership First, admitted to assisting this nonmember by providing the mailing list for use in sending these illegal e-mails. He has, to our knowledge, refused to give that list to Guild attorneys. Mr. Carlton is also known to be in the possession of a substantial list of member information, which includes social security numbers, a fact that can be verified by several SAG staff.
Ah, ha! Those senior staff members loyal to USAN and the previous administration! Okay, so here’s the big question: What senior staff members? And, ah, how did this information that “can be verified” by SAG Staff get into the hands of Sam Freed, Eileen Henry, and Paul Christie? You think that maybe this whole challenge is their doing? You think?
It should be noted that there was no legal way for Mr. Carlton to have collected this sensitive information on members. The Guild does not make this information publicly available. Even when candidates go through proper channels to “rent” the member mailing list, names and addresses are provided directly to an authorized mailing house, and never to the candidates themselves.
I hate to break it to our BH Three, but the DOL does not give a rats ass if the information is sensitive or not. Their only concern is if it was unfairly derived through guild resources and then USED giving a candidate, or candidates, an unfair advantage over other candidates in an election. And, unless, that can be proved, you are wasting your time, our time and the DOL’s time.
Also at issue in the suit against the nonmember/employer is the sending of a disguised e-mail to SAG staff designed to intimidate and demoralize. In order to send that offending e-mail the sender had to have unauthorized access or have hacked into proprietary Guild information. There are footprints that link the offending e-mail to the mass e-mails sent to the membership by the nonmember/employer.
Yikes! This SAG staff revelation is the most damaging of all. He who intimidates the SAG staff into voting for them wins the election. The Ol’ Dog gives Four Bones up on that one!
Protecting the integrity of our election should not be a political issue. However, with the recent election there have been many abrupt changes and common procedures are not being followed. The newly elected administration has hired new counsel and given them the directive of reviewing current litigation including the suit mentioned above which involves the misuse of member information. It has already been suggested by members of Membership First that this suit be dropped. Now that they have won the election, we have every reason to believe that they will attempt to do just that, and that evidence crucial to protecting our elections will be lost.
We ask that the DOL take jurisdiction immediately and take all appropriate steps to investigate and determine misuse of member information. We know you can get information from the Guild that we have been unable to obtain. It has gotten so bad that those of us who are officers on the National Board cannot get complete information from our own attorneys.
Obviously! If they had gotten complete information from a good attorney, they wouldn’t have filed this Bonehead Challenge!
Our hope is that the DOL can return our institution to the democratic level playing field that traditionally had characterized the political debate and prevent a spiraling disintegration that almost always accompanies cover up and misconduct.
Now that’s funny! Coming from the folks who consistently voted against a Minority Report, had several election violations of their own, refused to go on record on most of their boardroom votes, and hid so much from the members that SAG was being referred to as the Secret Actors Guild!
Please contact Sam Freed as to what the next steps should be.
“Dear Sam, after reading your bonehead challenge here is what your next steps should be! Put your left foot in, Your left foot out, Your left foot in, And shake it all about. You do the hokey pokey, And turn yourself–and the get the hell out of here!”
Sincerely; Sam Freed, Eileen Henry Paul Christie
A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief
Because the DOL keeps filings confidential until they have been decided upon, the Ol’ Dog was not able to verify if the BH Three actually even filed this challenge! But assuming it will be denied, I have been assured that if it has been filed, once there is a decision, usually within 30/60 days, I will have access to it through the Freedom of Information Act. And of course, when the Ol’ Dog has access, you have access “And that’s what it’s all about!”