We teach our children that bullying is unacceptable in our society.
Stand up to bullies, is the mantra used in the anti-bullying public service commercials.
This is a story of what happened when longshoreman Eric Aldape stood up to Local 13 International Longshoremen and Warehousemen Union President, Chris Viramontes, a notorious bully.
In 2008 the parties recognized that the Industry Arbitrators were not qualified to decide discrimination and harassment cases under Section 13.2 of the PCLCD and agreed to change the contract as follows:
Page 12, item VII A, of the July 1, 2008 Memorandum of Understanding states:
Section 13.2 Addendum shall be amended as follows:
“A panel of neutral professional labor arbitrators shall hear all Section 13.2 cases. Appeals shall continue to be filed with the Coast Appeals Officer. The use of professional arbitrators shall be subject to review and continuation upon JCLRC agreement annually.”
For unexplained reasons, the agreed to changes in the Section 13.2 discrimination procedure did not make it into the published contract document and to-date the parties have failed to implement the agreed to language.
According to CLRC Meeting No. 13-10, page 6, item 20, the Parties have been unable to agree on a process for selecting arbitrators and therefor unable to implement the agreement to replace the unqualified ILWU/PMA Area Arbitrators.
There is no way that a neutral professional labor arbitrator would ever allow a union official to use the grievance procedure of the collective bargaining agreement to prosecute an internal union election complaint.
During the Fall 2012 elections at ILWU Local 13, union member Eric Aldape posted and handed out his union election flier at the union dispatch hall in accordance with the union’s election rules.
Local 13 Secretary/Treasurer Chris Viramontes did not like Mr. Aldape’s election flier and political cartoon so he decided to use his position to process a Section 13.2 discrimination complaint against Mr. Aldape using the PCLCD grievance procedure, knowing that the matter has nothing to do with dispatching or working.
Chris Viramontes filed his complaint under the labor agreement because he knew that if he had filed an internal union complaint, it would have gone nowhere. He used his position as Secretary/Treasurer and his knowledge of Eric Aldape’s history with Arbitrator David Miller, to prosecute Mr. Aldape for engaging in Section 7 activity.
Arbitrator Miller, himself a union member, not only allowed a union official to use the grievance procedure of the collective bargaining agreement to prosecute an internal union election complaint, he went out of his way to help his friend Chris Viramontes do so.
PMA acknowledges that they have a problem with the Section 13.2 procedure in a letter dated November 27, 2012, sent to the Union members of the Coast Labor Relations Committee.
PMA’s letter contains the following assessment of the grievance Chris Viramontes filed against Mr. Aldape:
“As previously stated, it is the Employers’ position that Mr. Aldape’s initial action did not in any way violate Section 13.2. The Employers find it disturbing and, certainly contrary to the Special Procedures for Section 13.2 Complaints, that the Coast Appeals Officer has now increased the penalty for Mr. Aldape when no violation of Section 13.2 even exists in this case.”
The PMA letter goes on to request that the grievance filed by Chris Viramontes be dismissed, Arbitration Decisions SCGM-0009-2012 and CA-10-2012 be vacated, and no penalty action be taken against Mr. Aldape.
The Union refused PMA’s requests and called Arbitrator Miller to force PMA to implement Aldape’s 6-month time-off penalty, which he did effective 5PM December 18, 2012.
The manner in which Union Arbitrators Miller and Rubio have behaved in prior cases involving Mr. Aldape, and the refusal of the Union to address the documented concerns of the Employers, combined with the fact that the Agreement was amended to eliminate the Union Arbitrators in the 2008 MOU, but never implemented, leads to the conclusion that it is reasonably foreseeable that Section 13.2 of the parties grievance-arbitration system regarding discrimination and harassment, as it exists, could, will, and in this case has, infringed on employees’ Section 7 rights.
The “grievance” filed against Aldape was found by the Employer not to, “in any way”, violate Section 13.2 of the PCLCD, including “publishing statements with reckless disregard for the truth” as alleged by the Region.
Aldape’s “published statements” related to Chris Viramontes running football cards and owning Port Medical are based on statements made to him by Chris Viramontes.
A few weeks after the incident in the alley, FBI investigator, Special Agent Jill Mansfield, and US Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, Special Agent Marcus Valle, visited Eric at his home related to their investigation into Medical fraud and the ILWU.
On July 16, 2014 the DOJ US Attorney, Andre Birotte announced the 1st Grand Jury Indictment related to the fraud perpetrated against the ILWU/PMA health care benefit program, alleging fraud dating back to 2006, during the terms of Chris Viramontes and his star witness Health Benefits Officer, Jerry Avila.
Local 13 President, Chris Viramontes, is a bully who has a history of getting into fights with members who disagree with him. His standard tactic is to get all huffy and in his intended victim’s personal space, then after poking them in the chest with his forefinger, he invites them to “go outside.”
Chris Viramontes invited Eric into the ally, across the street from Local 13’s offices, because he did not like Eric’s union activity, and he was upset about Eric working at another Local while on the 6 months no-dispatch he had received as a result of Chris’ 13.2 discrimination grievance regarding Eric’s election flier.
Chris Viramontes’, and Local 13’s, animus toward Eric is demonstrated by their involvement in unlawfully influencing Local 23 to deny Eric employment at a non-PMA rail ramp operation, and is the subject of Case 19-CB-107522, which was found to have merit.
Eric filed these ULPs because ILWU Local 13 and PMA placed Eric on no-dispatch without any Complaint then lied to him and processed false charges against him with a corrupt Arbitrator who altered evidence, then exceeded his authority by banning him from all dispatch halls, just to keep him from working at the non-PMA rail ramp operated by Pacific Rail Services at the Port of Tacoma.
Eric went to the Local 13 office on July 3, 1013, to submit information requests related to his ongoing pursuit of equalization of earnings between hall men and steady men. He had just returned from Tacoma, WA, where he had been working at a non-PMA rail ramp operation during his 6-month non-dispatch penalty.
Shortly after being placed on non-dispatch to PMA jobs, it came to Eric’s attention that Local 23 had a non-PMA rail ramp operation, so with the help of a couple of his union brothers he was dispatched to drive hustler at Pacific Rail Services’ SIM yard, at nearly longshore pay, and able to provide for his family.
When Chris Viramontes, Dan Imbagliazzo, and the bully union officials at Local 13, found out that Eric was working at a non-PMA rail ramp operation through Local 23, they called Local 23 President, Scott Mason, and tried to convince him to stop dispatching Eric.
It was not enough for them that Eric was on 6 months non-dispatch to PMA, they wanted to destroy Eric and his family, so they convinced Scott Mason to go along with them, and stop dispatching Eric.
Scott Mason called a meeting of the Local 23 officers and tried to convince them to deny Eric dispatch to the non-PMA rail ramp job. But just like Harry Bridges said, when the workers get all the information the will do the right thing 99 times out of 100, and by a vote of 10-1, Local 23 officials rejected Scott’s motion to deny Eric dispatch to the SIM.
That did not slow down Scott, who decided to bring the union’s lawyers to the next meeting and he tried for a second time to convince Local 23 officials to deny Eric, and others on non-dispatch to PMA, dispatch to the non-PMA rail ramp, and once again the Local 23 officials did the right thing and rejected Scott’s motion.
Undaunted by the E-board’s rejection of his proposed new union rule which states if you are on non-dispatch to PMA, you cannot be dispatched to the non-PMA rail ramp operation, Scott decided to put the matter before the rank-and-file at the next Union meeting. According to the Advice memo, Local 23 President Scott Mason was angered by a blog post alleged as the discriminatee’s, despite the affidavit that states the blog is mine and I am the only person authorized to post on longshore-labor-relations.com.
At the April Union meeting in Tacoma, while preparing to discuss dispatching Eric to the non-PMA rail ramp operation at the South Intermodal Yard, one of the members asked if they could talk about Eric while he was present. The response from President of Local 23, Scott Mason, was NO, and Eric was ejected from the meeting, and Scott’s motion was passed.
Section 4 of the SIM Rail Ramp Agreement states:
“Selection of applicants for referral to jobs shall be on a non-discriminatory basis and shall not be based on, or in any affected by Union membership, by-laws, rules, constitutional provisions or any other aspect or obligation of Union membership, policies or requirements.”
Eric’s 6 months non-dispatch was over on June 15, 2013. On June 17, 2013, he was dispatched to work at the SIM Rail Ramp in the Port of Tacoma through the ILWU Local 23 Dispatch Hall, as he had been for the last 6 months.
Upon arriving at the job he was informed that his name had been scratched from the dispatch list and he was sent home. According to witnesses in the hall, the dispatchers and business agent picked up the slip and scratched Eric’s name after he had been dispatched and left the hall.
Local 23 Officers and or dispatchers removed his name from the dispatch slip for arbitrary and invidious reasons, in violation of the National Labor Relations Act.
On June 24, 2013 Ed Morgenthaler, VP for Rail Management Services, the parent company of Pacific Rail Services, agreed to pay Eric for wages lost on June 17th as quid quo pro for withdrawing the charge against the Employer.
Ed Morgenthaler submitted an affidavit from his Manager saying the union told them that the company had nothing to do with the matter; they said it is on the union.
When Eric went to the Local 13 office on July 3, 2013, to submit information requests related to his ongoing pursuit of equalization of earnings between hall men and steady men, Chris engaged him in a conversation while passing him on his way to the front door and Chris did invite Eric to take it “outside”, but there was no loud talking and there was no profanity, and there was only 1 member and his son in the lobby.
There is video of Eric and Chris’ encounter showing a short calm exchange and proves that there was no loud talking and no profanity. The video shows Chris getting out of his truck, which was parked on the street not in the ally as he claims. It shows Chris come into the Union office and walk right past Eric on his way to the restroom, and it shows Eric trying to avoid Chris.
The video also shows the short interaction between Eric and Jerry Avila, the Local 13 Health Benefits Officer, who according to Advice provided “testimony that the discriminate had made statements attesting to his anger over his September 2012 suspension and indicating that he held the Local 13 President responsible for that suspension – concluded that the discriminatee’s attack was premeditated.” All in a 15 second conversation, that is on tape.
According to the video, Chris approached Eric, after coming out of the restroom on his way out, where he accused Eric of telling members that the FBI came down to the Local office to arrest him and according to his statement, he was upset about what he claims to be; “another fabrication in a long list of lies that Brother Aldape cites and writes about me.”
Chris attempted to intimidate Eric by inviting him to take it “outside”, but there was no loud talking and there was no profanity. According to Advice, the Local 13 President testified that the attack was unprovoked, even though he admitted he invited Eric to go across the street, but lied about where he parked and why he extended the invitation.
Eric does not take kindly to people who try and bully and intimidate him, so he accepted Chris’ invitation to go “outside.”
When they got outside, Chris continued his attempt to intimidate and bully Eric by accusing him of “talking shit” while getting in his personal space and poking him in the chest with his finger, just outside the camera’s view.
Eric listened to Chris’ attempt to bully him and then responded in a quiet tone; “you’re a little bitch”, a response that upset Chris even more as demonstrated by his invitation to move the conversation across the street into the ally.
There was no loud tirade, no profanity, and there were no members on the sidewalk in front of the Local. The video shows a couple of members coming and going but none paid any attention to Chris and Eric.
At 3:00PM on July 3, 2013, the JPLRC had a Special meeting to discuss an alleged assault between 2 longshoremen with no Employer Complaint, with no 13.2 complaint, and without following the procedures spelled out in the minutes of CLRC meeting #21-12, item 3, which require the Employers to “reasonably investigate the allegation and, if sufficient probable cause is determined, the Employers should file and prosecute a complaint under Section 17.81.”
The JPLRC agreement to immediately place Eric on non-dispatch to all Employers based his history as it pertains to past 13.2 decisions could not have been implemented under the authority of the Special Grievance Handbook, as Chris did not file his Section 13.2 complaint until 6 days later on July 9, 2013.
When the JPLRC was reviewing Eric’s history as it pertains to past Section 13.2 decisions, did they consider the letter from PMA dated 11-27-12 regarding Area Arbitration SCGM-0009-2012 and Coast Appeals Officer Decision CA-10-2012 wherein they wrote;
“As previously stated, it is the Employers’ position that Mr. Aldape’s initial action did not in any way violate Section 13.2. The Employers find it disturbing and, certainly contrary to the Special Procedures for Section 13.2 Complaints, that the Coast Appeals Officer has now increased the penalty for Mr. Aldape when no violation of Section 13.2 even exists in this case”.
The Special JPLRC was held without LRC representatives from Local 13 and without any complaint or witnesses to the alleged assault, then the JPLRC placed Eric on non-dispatch, without any investigation, for past 13.2 decisions, without a 13.2 complaint; something clearly not under their jurisdiction.
A reasonable investigation by the Employers would have uncovered the video showing Chris lied about his claim that Eric was shouting profanity and a reasonable investigation would have uncovered the testimony of the office worker, who stated there was no loud talking or profanity as claimed by Chris.
A reasonable investigation by the Employers would have found that what happened at the Local 13 Union offices is between 2 union members and subject to internal Union grievance procedures, not Section 13.2 of the PCLCD.
According to page 18 of the transcript of the SP-0009-2010 grievance hearing involving an alleged Section 13.2 violation, Arbitrator Miller stated:
“I mean, you can’t take your Union disagreement to the dispatch hall. You know why you can’t do that? Let me explain it to you.
The dispatch hall is in the 13.2 and it says you can’t do it there. You can’t do anything there, zero. That’s what it says.
You know what you can do at the Memorial Hall? You can kill each other, literally, and not come up for a 13.2. You can do assault there and not come under the Contract. You can go into your Executive Board meeting and do whatever you want to do, ‘cause you’ve got the right to do that as a union.
What you don’t have the right to do is to go to the dispatch hall or any other place of work, and it says so.”
What happened at the Local 13 Union offices on July 3, 2013, is Union business, under the Union tent, involving 2 union members and is not covered by Section 13.2 of the Contract.
Chris went all in July 19, 2013, in the 13.2 Arbitration before his buddy, Arbitrator Miller. He still thinks he can lie and bully his way out of the mess he created when he invited Eric into “the ally,” and assaulted him.
Chris committed perjury by submitting a statement to the Courts that he knows not to be true. He compounded his problem when he lied about what happened, again, during the dog and pony show known as the Special Grievance Procedure 13.2 Arbitration hearing.
Chris put on his case, which seemed to be as much about what is posted on the longshore-labor-relations.com website as what happened at the Local on July 3rd. Chris and his representative whined and cried about his restraining order and 13.2 complaint being posted on the website and claimed that it was Eric’s website and violated the confidentiality agreement of the 13.2 procedure.
Chris found it possible to submit all kinds of new charges and information about what Eric was allegedly doing with the Daily Breeze and the website, but never identified any of the witnesses at the Union offices, or the 2 guys he claimed helped pull Eric off him, and he could not say what profanity Eric was supposedly shouting at him or how what happened was related to 13.2 retaliation.
As soon as Eric found out he was on no-dispatch he started asking Secretary/Treasurer Mark Williams for information related to why and he asked for a copy of the video of the inside of the Union offices.
Mark Williams lied to Eric for over a week, claiming he did not know why Eric was on no-dispatch and refused to respond to Eric’s requests for information. On July 15, 2013, Mark wrote to Eric to tell him he could not have a copy of the video, but he could view it 1 hour before the Arbitration, and he provided Eric a copy of the Minutes of the JPLRC Meeting showing that he, Mark Williams, agreed to place Eric on no-dispatch on July 3, 2013.
When the video was presented to Arbitrator Miller, on a 4-inch screen, rather than enter it into evidence he said he was going to describe what he was seeing for the record and said he was not going to provide a copy to Eric as he requested. Eric was told if he wanted a copy he would have to subpoena it.
When his Attorney, Thomas Armstrong, did subpoena the video the Union’s Attorney requested the attached Confidentiality Agreement be signed before releasing the evidence and when Mr. Armstrong refused and suggested the matter go the Judge, the Union withdrew their petition and sent a letter dated August 14, 2014, stating they were no longer threatened by Eric.
Gillian Goldberg, ILWU Local 13 attorney, used the Courts to perpetrate a fraud against Eric Aldape by filing false claims against him to get a temporary restraining order, which Local 13 President, Chris Viramontes, used against him in the PCLCD grievance procedure to persuade Arbitrator Miller to find Eric guilty, then she withdrew the petition so as to avoid being called on the lies and deception at the hearing that was scheduled for August 29, 2013.
On August 14, 2013, the day after being notified by the NLRB that a request for a 10(j) injunctive relief was being processed, and 7 days after Eric’s refusal to sign the Union’s Confidentiality Agreement, Gillian Goldberg sent the attached letter to Eric’s attorney, Tom Armstrong, stating that Local 13 had decided to file a dismissal of its petition against Eric.
Gillian states Local 13 decided to file a dismissal petition “in light of the fact that Mr. Aldape has been put on suspension and will have no reason to interact with ILWU, Local officers and staff for some time. Additionally, the ILWU, Local 13 officers are reassured by the fact that Mr. Aldape has not engaged in threats or violence directly to its officers and staff since the July 3, 2013 incident.”
The fact is, Eric has never engaged in threats or violence directed toward Local 13’s officers and staff. Not before July 3rd, not on July 3rd, and not since July 3rd.
The fact is, Eric has had more grievances processed in the last 3 years than any other member of Local 13, and has never threatened anyone or even raised his voice.
The fact is, Local 13 officer, Mark Mascola has threatened Eric with violence and when he reported it, nothing was done. (See NLRB charge 21-CB-088124 Confidential Witness Affidavit)
Local 13’s officers are upset with Eric because he was able to work in Tacoma, Washington, when he was on his 6-months off due to the last 13.2 complaint filed by Chris Viramontes, and because of the grievances he was, and is, processing related to equalization of earnings between hall men and steady men.
The fact is, Gillian Goldberg withdrew Local 13’s petition because they did not want to produce the video footage of the July 3, 2013 incident.
The video of Eric and Chris’ July 3rd encounter shows a short calm exchange and proves that there was no loud talking and no profanity. The video shows Chris getting out of his truck, which was parked on the street not in the ally as he claims. It shows Chris come into the Union office and walk right past Eric on his way to the restroom, and it shows Eric trying to avoid Chris.
According to the video, Chris approached Eric after coming out of the restroom on his way out and shows Chris inviting Eric to take it “outside”, but there was no loud talking and there was no profanity. The video also shows that there were no members on the sidewalk in front of the Local. The video shows a couple of members coming and going but none paid any attention to Chris and Eric.
Eric’s representative pointed out that the video showed that Chris was lying when he said Eric was being loud and disruptive and that there were no members in the lobby as claimed by Chris as his reason for inviting Eric outside.
The video also shows that Chris parked on the street, and not in the ally, as he claimed, as his explanation for inviting Eric into the ally.
When the video evidence impeaching the statement and testimony of Chris was called to the attention of Arbitrator Miller; he asked how that was relevant.
Gillian Goldberg’s most blatant lie is the last sentenced of her August 14, 2013 letter where she states; “If the court clerk signs the dismissal before the hearing date, I will let you know right away.”
The court clerk signed the dismissal on August 13, 2014, the day before she wrote her letter, yet she did not send it to Eric’s attorney until August 26, 2013.
Gillian Goldberg intentionally waited until after the deadline set by the Coast Appeals Arbitrator for interested parties to submit responses to the appeal before providing the documents showing the Court’s approval of Local 13’s petition for dismissal.
Gillian Goldberg is trying to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes with her restraining order shell game. She used her lawyer’s skills to get the restraining order, Chris used it to get Eric during the Arbitration, and then she withdrew the order before she could be challenged.
Real, trained, Arbitrators allow evidence to be submitted without altering it. Miller actually decided to describe the video, the way he wanted to, and not allow the video to be part of the record, then asked either side if they had a problem with his decision, like it would have mattered to “Judge Roy Bean” if they had objected.
Arbitrator Millers’ sole qualification for being selected as the Union’s pick to be the ILWU/PMA Area Arbitrator is that he was, and still is, a registered clerk and member of the ILWU, and it shows in the way he runs his hearings.
According to Item 8, of the attached CLRC Minutes from Meeting No. 01-13 held January 10, 2013: “The Employers maintained that it was vitally important that this Committee take immediate action in securing and employing professional neutral arbitrators for Section 13.2 grievances. The Employers stated that the Union’s lack of action in concluding this issue increasingly places the Parties at risk.”
Chris was able to present his case without interruption, but when Eric’s representative was presenting his case, Arbitrator Miller allowed Chris’ representative to interrupt Andy several times to argue about the relevance of the exhibits that were being submitted.
Then Arbitrator Miller went into full blown “Roy Bean” mode when he went off about his Decision dated July 10, 2013, wherein he blessed the JPLRC placing Eric on no-dispatch on July 3rd. He made a big show of pulling out his Decision and challenged anyone to explain how his decision to allow the JPLRC to place longshoremen on no-dispatch is not allowed by Special Grievance Handbook (Section “B” Section 3, Subsection 2, on page 9).
Eric’s representative pointed out that it was not possible to invoke Special Grievance protection on July 3rd for a 13.2 grievance that was not filed until July 9th. The language says what it says, but their needs to be a grievance filed, and on July 3rd there was no grievance of any kind. No Section 13.2 Complaint and no Employer Complaint.
Arbitrator Miller used both of Chris’ prior Section 13.2 Decisions along with 3 complaints that were ruled “Not a valid 13.2”, in determining Eric’s penalty of 540 days off work.
To add injury to insult, Miller added that: “Mr. Aldape shall be prohibited from all work sites and dispatch halls.” He did this to deny Eric the ability to be dispatched to the non-PMA rail ramp through the Local 23 dispatch hall in Tacoma, WA, something clearly beyond his authority.
Pacific Rail Services were informed about what was taking place and told me that they did not have any problems with Eric. Eric poses no threat to any Local 23 member and Local 23 has filed no complaints of any kind against him.
Please send this complaint back to Region 19 for further processing in conjunction with 19-CB-107522.
We are so disappointed in the way Advice responded to this case, that we are sending a copy of this appeal to President Obama along with a request to have the matter reviewed by his Office.