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Membership Matters
By CAPS President Patty Velez

Thank you! I am repeating this once again to every CAPS member who signed a card – hard copy or online – that pledges membership in CAPS. If it wasn’t for our dues-paying members, the essential work that your volunteer leaders and staff professionals perform on your behalf simply wouldn’t get done. We would all be worse off for it. So thank you for your commitment.

Thank you to Future Members! If you aren’t yet a full member of CAPS, I strongly urge you to join. You can sign up easily at http://www.capsscientists.org.  Still not sure if you’re a full member? Check your paystub, if it says “CAPS-FS,” you’re not.

Achieving Success Requires Membership Support. Your 12 CAPS officers and directors are elected every two years to represent YOUR employment and professional interests. We listen carefully so that our goals and objectives reflect your needs – no one else’s. We depend on you to tell us what’s important, and we use every penny we receive from dues and fees to achieve success based on what you tell us. Success at the bargaining table, in the legislature, and at the worksite requires membership support.

Unions Are Under Attack. There is no shortage of union critics. Many are extremely well-funded and focused on watering down or eliminating collective bargaining rights, reducing union funding, and generally preventing rank-and-file employees from engaging in legal, collective representation. This effort has largely succeeded in the private sector, where unions, once at their zenith in the 1950s, have diminished in size and influence. Plant closures, relocations to foreign countries, “right to work” laws, and relentless bashing from the right has substantially reduced the influence of unions in the private sector. Now our well-funded critics are after public sector unionization.

What would things look like without CAPS? The unions – CAPS and others — are the ONLY groups dedicated to pushing for competitive wages, first tier benefits, and a sustainable retirement. Without CAPS you’re dependent on the altruism of the Governor and the state legislature. We know what that looks like because that’s how things operated before collective bargaining. So if you think things are tough now, consider how things would work without the hard work of CAPS and other unions. I don’t trust any Governor or any state legislature to put my employment interests before others. You shouldn’t either.

Lower Dues, or None At All? Many people wish for this very thing. They should carefully consider what they wish for. State employees are unionized because our predecessors saw the importance of having the legal right to organize, to select an exclusive representative to speak for us on pay and benefits, and to gain access to the state’s payroll system to voluntarily fund union activities. The dues charged by unions can vary – CAPS dues remain among the lowest – but all unions are responsible for representing their members’ employment interests with the Governor.

What Has CAPS Done For Me Lately? It starts with giving you, all State Scientists, a strong collective voice with the Governor at the bargaining table, with state lawmakers in the legislature, in the courts, where we have important litigation still pending, and with the media to promote the important work being done by State Scientists.

I’m now in my 27th year as a state scientist, and in my 22nd year as an elected CAPS leader. I have been through too many battles to recount, starting with Governor Pete Wilson in the 1990s. As I near the midpoint of my last term as your CAPS President, I look forward to handing off a healthy, vibrant union to future leaders. And there are many outstanding State Scientists among your current CAPS officers and directors, all of whom are well-equipped to carry on this important fight for competitive wages, quality benefits and a sustainable retirement.

CAPS is the only reliable voice we have on salaries, benefits and working conditions. Please support us in that effort. Retain your membership. If you aren’t yet a full member, please join.

Membership Matters. California State Scientists.