The Scales Of Justice Move Slowly But Surely! You Be The Judge!
April 9, 2019
To: BEST Staff Union
From: William Murray President, BEST
I am writing to all of you about an issue of grave concern and urgency to our Local Officers, our national staff, and members of NABET-CWA around the country. As many of you know, even though I am retired, I am still the President of BEST, the NABET Staff Union, and I want to make you aware of recent events within CWA.
On December 5, 2017, CWA President Chris Shelton announced to Printing Sector President Dan Wasser his desire to merge the PPMWS into existing CWA Districts. PPMWS is one of the three media sectors within the CWA, and it has a merger agreement dating back to 1987. PPMWS representatives entered into talks with CWA knowing that they still had a merger agreement in case the talks broke down.
During the course of the talks, issues regarding the pension plan, a separate scholarship fund, and staffing levels arose. Due to the positions taken by CWA, the PPMWS representatives felt that they had to take legal action to enforce their rights under their merger agreement and their plans. CWA informed them they could not use their own Sector funds to enforce these issues, and would not agree to arbitrate disputes as called for under their merger agreement. Despite this, Sector President Wasser and PPMWS saw no other way to enforce their rights and went ahead with the lawsuits. President Shelton ordered Wasser to withdraw the lawsuits. The PPMWS proceeded with the lawsuits to maintain the Sector's rights under the signed and binding agreements between PPMWS and CWA. President Shelton gave them a final offer on merging the PPMWS into CWA, a final offer in talks to modify an existing, binding agreement with no expiration date.
On March 15, 2019, PPMWS Attorney Gilardi filed a lawsuit in federal court to enforce the rights guaranteed to the PPMWS under the Merger Agreement. Notice of this filing was sent out to all PPMWS members.
On March 21st, President Wasser was suspended and accused of misappropriating funds (i.e., for using his own Sector's funds to protect the PPMWS Merger agreement, staffing levels, and the members’ rights). His office was then seized, his email account was turned off, and information he was providing his members was removed from the PPMWS website, and President Shelton has initiated a recall election against Sector
President Wasser. Sector President Wasser has started a new website to communicate with his own members.
Under CWA’s proposed final offer, the PPMWS locals would be merged into existing CWA Districts and their funds turned over to those locals. The PPMWS staff would become CWA reps assigned wherever the CWA decides to transfer them, their wages cut, and all seniority lost.
If President Shelton decides he wants to unilaterally rip up our Merger Agreement and dissolve NABET-CWA, the same thing could happen to our locals and staff. The existence of a merger agreement means nothing if we are not allowed to spend our Sector funds to enforce it. The actions taken against Sector President Wasser were approved by the CWA Executive Board, including NABET-CWA President Charlie Braico and TNGCWA President Bernie Lunzer.
One more current area of concern is that merger talks have been going on between NABET-CWA and The NewsGuild. Statements have been made that this is only for the two Sectors to share resources, however, other sources report that a document for an actual merger is being negotiated between Braico and Lunzer, and will be taken up after the elections this summer. One member of the CWA Executive Board asked what would happen if other Sectors had problems similar to those of the PPMWS, and they were told by President Shelton that “They could live with it or leave CWA.” I don’t see where PPMWS was given the option to leave.
When I was a Local president in the 1990s, I voted to merge with CWA. I spent 22 years as a Staff Representative and I am very concerned about the future of our Sector, our members, our locals, and our Staff Reps. I invite you to read both sides of the story on this ongoing situation at the CWA website and at https://danwasser.com/
Be prepared to ask tough questions about these issues at our Sector Conference.
Fraternally, William Murray President
Response To Bill Murray From Art DeIanni, President of New York Typographical Union, CWA Local 14156
From: New York Typo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Tuesday, April 16, 2019, 03:11:18 PM CDT
Subject: Wasser suspension
Dear Mr. Murray,
We are deeply disturbed by your letter entitled BEST STAFF UNION. You are relying on the one-sided view of someone who has another agenda. You failed to look at the real issue behind Wasser’s suspension, the “Union Printers Home Foundation!”
Are you aware that Dan Wasser sold the Union Printers Home and set up a $7,000,000.00 Foundation that he alone controls without any accountability to the membership! Here are some of the hard facts which are well documented:
The ITU, which is now the Printing, Publishing and Media Workers Sector (PPMWS) established the Union Printers Home (UPH) in the early 1890’s for the benefit of the ITU members. The members were assured in the Deed establishing the Home that, if the Home were sold the money would go back to the Union.
Wasser sold the UPH in 2014 and used the proceeds ($7,000,000.00) to set up the Union Printers Home Foundation (UPHF) incorporated in Colorado where the Home was originally located. Those Articles of Incorporation included the ITU and the PPMWS as retaining control over the trustees which are elected by PPMWS members.
In 2018 Wasser fired Bobby Maida, an elected trustee of the Home, because he, Wasser, lost confidence in Maida. Presumably Maida did not agree with what Wasser was planning.
On November 1, 2018 Wasser moved the UPHF from Colorado to Pennsylvania and in the new Articles of Incorporation filed in Pennsylvania, Wasser removed all references to the PPMWS and the Union. The Foundation is now set up giving Wasser total control and the ability to remove and replace trustees at will with no accountability to the Union. He has even removed language requiring the money to be used for the exclusive benefit of the PPMWS members.
In an email to the CWA this past December Wasser wrote: ... “PPMWS holds no interest, property, or otherwise in the UPH.”This statement indicates that Wasser believes that the Union Printers Home assets no longer belong to the PPMWS and its members.
Wasser has since retained his sister and his former high school classmate as new Vice Presidents of the Foundation.
The reason Wasser was suspended had nothing to do with the reorganization of the PPMWS, it is because Wasser has systematically removed the members' rights to oversee the UPHF and the nearly $7,000,000 in proceeds from the sale of the Home.
Do you truly believe, as a trade unionist, that the monies which came out of members’ dues to establish the UPH should no longer be in control of the members? Do you support that?
Well the CWA does not! They are attempting to get the money back, not for the benefit of the CWA, but on behalf of the PPMWS membership.
You also make a number of false statements regarding the reorganization of the PPMWS into the Districts. Here as well, you have been misled. Wasser has been stalling for time and holding up an agreement to give himself the time he needed to move the UPHF from Colorado to Pennsylvania and change the Articles Of Incorporation.
Here are some of the facts:
- Wasser approached CWA President Shelton well over two years age to open discussions to move the PPMWS locals into the Districts. Wasser wanted the transition to take place over a three year period and he wanted a buy-out package.
- After some delays, talks with the CWA and the PPMWS commenced. The CWA has agreed in principle to all the important proposals made by the Sector.
- The CWA agreed that all the assetsof the PPMWS, including the UPHF, would be controlled by PPMWS locals. The Strike Fund and Operating Account monies (approximately $5,000,000.00) would be divided among the Sector locals on a per capita basis. Wasser objected to including the Home in the assets of the PPMWS and, as stated above, wrote the CWA ...“PPMWS holds no interest, property, or otherwise in the UPH.”
- The CWA agreed to offer jobs to the three PPMWS employees (Wasser, a staff representative and the office clerical) in the Districts in which they are now located with no cut in pay. The CWA is against using members dues to give someone a buy-out when a job is offered to them. Here again Wasser did not agree because he wants a buy-out. (see his proposals)
- The CWA agreed that PPMWS Locals may retain their Local Union independence, names and numbers if they so desire. All PPMWS members and locals shall continue to have all the same rights and privileges (i.e. governance, strike fund, etc.) as defined by the CWA Constitution as all other CWA Locals have.
All the important items have basically been agreed to in principal. So what is the problem?
- The CWA refused to allow Wasser to run away with the $7,000,000 in the Printers Union Home fund.
- The CWA will not agree to drag out the reorganization of the PPMWS for another two years which would be a waist of Sector assets and reduce the distribution to the locals.
- The CWA would not agree to a buy-out for Wasser when he is being offered a job.
Wasser can post whatever he wants on his website but he can’t change the facts!
We suggest that you talk to NABET and the GUILD about those issues.
Art DeIanni, President of New York Typographical Union, CWA Local 14156 and a member of the Printing Sector’s Laws and Finance Committee. Union member for over 40 years.
Robert C. Maida Jr. (Bobby), the past President (21 years) of CWA Local 14430, Chicago Mailers Union No. 2, and the elected Vice-President and trustee of the Union Printers Home Foundation. Bobby was suspended and then terminated from that position by President Wasser and Don McConnell.
William J. Boarman, past President of the PPMWS (22 years), past President and trustee of the Union Printers Home for 30 years.
April 18, 2019 E-Mail Letter From CWA President Shelton
April 18, 2019
RE: The recent letter from William Murray concerning the Printing Sector
Dear Sisters and Brothers:
In recent days, William Murray sent an undated letter, on BEST Staff Union
letterhead, to some number of CWA members and local officers. I am providing
this response to all local officers and staff because I do not know to whom he
sent his letter. BEST Staff Union is not an affiliate of CWA. It represents the
staff of NABET-CWA, and Mr. Murray is its president. Mr. Murray decided to
use his union’s name to weigh in on the recall election of Dan Wasser as
Executive Officer of PPMWS, spreading a narrative that purposefully ignores
the reason for the Executive Board’s important actions in March to suspend
Mr. Wasser from office.
Mr. Murray’s letter conveyed terribly misleading information. It obscured the
real issues at hand: our Union’s efforts to stop the misappropriation of
members’ money. The letter, unfortunately using BEST Staff Union resources
and its good name, appears designed to sow confusion and division within our
Union as a distraction from those efforts.
Here is what prompted the CWA Executive Board to take action in the PPMWS
· For over a century, members and locals of the International
Typographical Union (ITU) contributed millions of dollars to the Union
Printers Home – a nursing facility for infirm and retired union printers.
This home was a trust created by the ITU. It was governed by and
accountable to ITU members.
· In 1987, the ITU merged with CWA, with ITU matters administered by
the new Printing Sector, or PPMWS.
· In 2011, Mr. Wasser became president of the PPMWS. By virtue of
becoming President of PPMWS, he also became President of the Union
· In 2015, the Union Printers Home was sold by Mr. Wasser and his fellow
Union Printers Home trustees. This sale was a big deal, worth millions of
dollars. While the Home would no longer be in service to the union and
its retired printers, Mr. Wasser told PPMWS members that the proceeds
from the sale of this Home, which members and locals had long
sustained with contributions, would be used for a new foundation that
would provide educational scholarships to PPMWS members and their
families. When the new foundation was created, its articles of
incorporation did indeed promise that its activities would be for the
exclusive benefit of PPMWS members and their families.
· The new foundation took control of $7 million. PPMWS members were
never given a vote on what to do with the money. The new foundation’s
rules were different from the rules of the Home. Its distinguishing
features were less membership governance and less accountability to
members. PPMWS members were stripped of nearly all voting rights in
the foundation, and the foundation was no longer required to provide
financial reports to the union. PPMWS members were not given a vote on
how the new foundation should be structured.
· In July 2018, Mr. Wasser unilaterally suspended one of the three
foundation trustees, Robert Maida, elected by PPMWS members to
oversee the Home and its successor Foundation. Mr. Wasser’s only
stated reason for the termination, according to Mr. Maida, was that Mr.
Wasser had lost confidence in Mr. Maida. Mr. Wasser and the other
remaining trustee, Don McConnell, then permanently fired this trustee –
a trustee who, again, had been elected by the members. Mr. Wasser and
Mr. McConnell by themselves then appointed a new trustee to replace the
· A few months later, in October 2018, without informing PPMWS
members or CWA, Mr. Wasser and his cohorts moved the foundation
from Colorado to Pennsylvania, where he resides. The articles of
incorporation were changed as part of this move. The new articles of
incorporation remove any mention of PPMWS, stripping PPMWS
members of every membership and voting right they had in the
Moreover, the new articles remove the requirement that the funds be
exclusively used for the benefit of PPMWS members and their families.
Now, the foundation, holding $7 million from the Home, can use the
money for any charitable purpose, including a purpose that has nothing
to do with PPMWS members. The new articles of incorporation name Mr.
Wasser and Mr. McConnell, along with Matthew Theodore, the third
trustee that they selected after firing Mr. Maida, as the directors of the
foundation. Their terms are not defined, and there is no provision for
PPMWS members ever electing new trustees. Again, PPMWS members
were not given a vote on these changes to how their money would be
used going forward. Indeed, they were not even told about these
· Then, around February 2019, the foundation announced new staff on its
website, installing Mr. Wasser’s sister as a Vice President and Mr.
Wasser’s former high school classmate as another Vice President.
· Today, four years after the Home was sold and this foundation was
established, not a single scholarship has been awarded to any PPMWS
member or their families. Only after CWA began looking into these
matters did the foundation announce it would award scholarships this
year, of some unknown number and unknown amount but no more than
$100,000 total, for PPMWS members and their families, chosen by a
lottery system. Meanwhile, the foundation’s staff was expanded to
encompass three directors, two lawyers, two vice presidents, two web
designers, and a fundraising coordinator.
Because of these and related actions and because Mr. Wasser was also
spending union resources on an unauthorized, meritless lawsuit in the union’s
name that also was forcing a deeply underfunded pension plan to expend
resources defending itself, the Executive Board had to act. Regarding the
pension lawsuit, every dollar Mr. Wasser forced this plan to spend defending
this lawsuit brings the plan – which provides pensions to PPMWS members –
closer to insolvency. Per the Constitution, by the Executive Board’s motions,
Mr. Wasser is referred to the members for a recall election, and he is
suspended from office pending the outcome of that election.
The Executive Board was very clear that these recall and suspension motions
do not reflect in any way on any other Sector and its relationship with CWA.
Mr. Murray’s letter ignores these issues for some reason, presumably to run
interference for Mr. Wasser. Nor does Mr. Wasser’s website address these
issues. The closest Mr. Murray comes to addressing the misappropriation
issue is a vague reference to “issues regarding…a separate scholarship fund.”
Give me a break. Mr. Murray’s communication is an absolute disservice to
PPMWS members and all members of CWA.
You should know that the suspension and recall action are not the only efforts
undertaken to protect PPMWS members’ interests in light of these
developments surrounding the foundation. CWA filed suit last month against
the foundation and its directors for breach of fiduciary duties and breach of
Mr. Murray’s letter seeks to exploit the question of the reorganization of
PPMWS to sow discord among different sectors of our Union. Such division
would certainly serve as a perfect distraction from the question of
misappropriation. The fact is, I’ve never been prouder of how united our
leadership is, from every sector and district, in taking action to protect PPMWS
members from the potential theft of $7 million of their money.
Mr. Murray’s efforts at division fall flat in the face of the facts. We have indeed
been discussing a reorganization of PPMWS. The Printing Sector has become
unsustainable as a separate administrative arm of CWA. This is not in doubt.
It’s a reality. Its membership has dropped by 90 percent since the merger, and
it cannot balance its financial sheets. Both the Laws and Finance Committee
of PPMWS (its elected advisory board) and my office have already agreed to
provisions consolidating the PPMWS administration with the districts. This
consolidation will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the services we
provide PPMWS locals and members. And we have agreed to provisions to
disburse all of the funds sitting with PPMWS to all the PPMWS Locals on a per
capita basis to serve the members. CWA would not get a penny of this money.
The consolidation itself is not the issue. No reasonable, financially responsible
person thinks the PPMWS can continue with its own separate administrative
Disagreement on the final reorganization is mainly focused on two details: (1) a
demand for a severance package for Mr. Wasser paid for out of funds that
would otherwise go to locals to serve members (despite the fact that CWA was
offering him and everyone else continued employment in the geographic areas
where they work) and (2) our demand that all parties will cooperate with CWA
in ensuring the proper disposition of all union property.
This latter demand should be a no-brainer. But Mr. Wasser balked at it. What
we did not know at the time we proposed this simple provision was that Mr.
Wasser and his cohorts at the foundation, after firing the trustee elected by
members, had already quietly changed the foundation rules to exclude the
PPMWS membership from its governance, mission, and exclusive benefits. A
full examination into all potential PPMWS-related property would lead to
uncovering the truth about the foundation – and that $7 million. I could not
agree to provide a golden parachute to Mr. Wasser. And I could not agree to
never look behind the $7 million curtain of a foundation that was supposed to
exclusively benefit our PPMWS members. In sum, the sticking points around
reorganization have had to do with Mr. Wasser’s personal financial interests
and projects, not the members’ interests.
To further kick up dust to obscure these issues, someone has apparently fed
Mr. Murray misinformation about NABET-CWA and TNG-CWA engaging in
some sort of secret, imminent merger talks. Mr. Murray appears to rely on
unfounded rumors and makes no attempt to educate himself with the facts. If
Mr. Murray was interested in the truth, he could have queried NABET
President Charlie Braico directly. Instead, Mr. Murray chose a provocative
path which appears designed to stir emotions and bring disrepute upon this
Union and its officers.
I know PPMWS members are not Mr. Murray’s members, so he may feel he
owes them no duty. And that lack of duty comes shining through in his
missive. But they are our members. And the entire Executive Board stands
united in protecting their rights.
Thank you for your attention and for all you do for our Union.
Christopher M. Shelton
Cc: CWA Executive Board
From: Dan Wasser <email@example.com>
Sent: Wednesday, April 24, 2019, 11:09:55 AM CDT
Subject: Shelton's April 18th Letter
The continued support you are giving all of us is truly overwhelming and I thank you for all the kind words and actions. Please find attached a response to Shelton's April 18th letter to all CWA locals. His letter is riddled with errors and I ask that the attached be shared with your members, on your websites, Facebook, Twitter, and emailed out to everyone you know. I also ask that you print the first page and put it on all your union bulletin boards. There will be additional documents released over the next several weeks, so please continue to check danwasser.com and refer everyone to danwasser.com. Together, our voices will not be silenced and the facts will prevail...
If your ship doesn't come in, swim out to it.
PPMWS FACT SHEET
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.
Stay informed at www.danwasser.com
SHELTON’S CLAIM: “…the real issues at hand: our Union’s efforts to stop the misappropriation of members’= money.”
RESPONSE: There has been NO misappropriation of members’ money. As a matter of fact, Wasser’s letters of 10/3/18 explicitly stated to Shelton: [Wasser] would be amenable to discuss with you [Shelton] how we could …ask the DOL to look into all practices of the PPMWS and CWA to ensure this [misappropriation] is not happening anywhere within this organization. If there’s misappropriation going on, let’s get the DOL involved! That was Wasser’s position then and it still is TODAY! We need the DOL to investigate ALL aspects of Shelton’s handlings and the Negotiated Pension Plan (NPP) over the years. Wasser has always been transparent with the members and he will always be transparent to the members. See the letters at www.danwasser.com
SHELTON’S CLAIM: He wants you to believe that the Union Printers Home Foundation’s money belongs to the members and you should get the money. He repeatedly states it’s your money in an attempt to persuade you that it is.
RESPONSE: Shelton does not know the law or the facts surrounding the Foundation. The Foundation’s resources do not belong to the members, to Wasser, or to the Board - they belong to the Foundation just like any other charity’s resources, like The United Way or even EHDOC. As a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization, it is governed by the Internal Revenue Code. Its resources can only be used for charitable purposes and not for the benefit of the PPMWS, CWA, or their members. Former PPMWS president Bill Boarman tried to sell the Home years ago and deposit the money into the Sector’s account but legally couldn’t. Legal Counsel also advised Maida, Al Rudy and Wasser that this was prohibited by law. The Foundation’s attorneys have also advised that the law does not permit the Sector to take over the Home’s assets. As required by the Internal Revenue Code, the Home’s Articles of Incorporation state that the Foundation’s assets shall be used exclusively for charitable, religious, scientific, or educational purposes. Find documents here: https://www.sos.state.co.us/biz/BusinessEntityCriteriaExt.do?resetTransTyp=Y The Foundation looks forward to the court’s decision(s) on CWA’s unfounded lawsuit. Remember, Maida and Rudy wanted to sell the Home for $100 to EHDOC, and Shelton is Chairman of EHDOC! Interesting…
SHELTON’S CLAIM: He wants you to believe that Wasser’s sister and former classmate are paid positions with the Foundation.
RESPONSE: As stated previously, they are 100% volunteer positions and they are professionals in their respective fields agreeing to help the Foundation for FREE. No one on the Board is paid! If we look for conflicts, just look at the attached LM reports of NY Typographical Union and former CWA employees – Art DeIanni and his son; and Bill Boarman and his daughter. We could only hope for transparency there.
SHELTON’S CLAIM: Wasser was spending union resources on an unauthorized lawsuit against the NPP forcing the Plan to defend itself and bringing it closer to insolvency.
RESPONSE: The lawsuit was fully authorized by the Laws & Finance Committee, and DeIanni’s and Maida’s own actions are responsible for the lawsuit, as the PPMWS’s attorneys clearly stated to Shelton. If we look at the NPP’s costs, just view Wasser’s letter of 10/3/18 where it states that DeIanni and Maida are using NPP funds to go to resort retreats. On top of lush get-a-ways, the pension trustees meet for a mere 1.5 – 2 hrs. on average per day so they can hit the golf courses by noon.
NOT JUST WORDS – FACTS THAT ARE BACKED UP
Download Dan Wasser’s Response to Shelton’s April 18, 2019 Letter and LM reports under Article Files