Thursday, June 30, 2005

IF WE CAN'T ENFORCE LAWS ON THE BOOKS, THEN WE'LL JUST DO A CAR WASH SWEEP. Becky Monroe recently brought the DLSE to the carpet about the Carwash Worker Law [AB1688] that has been on the books since 01/01/04 that DLSE has blatantly ignored. Well, not really ignored; they did pull garment enforcement agents (trying to enforce AB633 regulations!) to assist in this week's car wash sweep. The Labor Commissioner's boss, Jose Millan, is quite the political veteran of state service. He was Labor Commissioner back in the days of Howard Hernandez, the 1999 DLSE convicted extortionist. The current Labor Commissioner, Donna Dell, was watched on television stating DLSE's car wash position with a, "we're working on it" response. It's a shame that Becky Monroe doesn't know how things work at DLSE: little or nothing is done at DLSE unless someone complains to or involves the media. Then, in a rush to cover their collective posteriors, they'll offer some useless sound bite. Afterwards, they'll scratch their heads and come to the wrong solution. By then, enough time should have passed to ignore it. If it can't be ignored, then a new puppet-head replaces the old puppet-head and the "changes-are-a-comin" sound bite reappears (think about TIPP in the 90s and EEEC in 2005, both spearheaded by Mr. Millan). It's amazing to see the speed of DLSE's knee-jerk reaction. On 05/16/03, NBC investigative reporter John Grover did a story on dirty secrets at the car wash <>. After former Labor Commissioner Art Lujan took his lumps, Mr. Grover did a follow up story discussing the citations & fines issued by DLSE staff, but you can know more details. Request a Public Records Act (PRA) and mail it to: Thomas Grogan-Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, PO Box 420603; San Francisco, CA 94142. Specifically, you'll request the car wash sweep citation amounts, citation types, and the citation dispositions (dismissed at hearing, sent to collection, money collected?). Fast forward to 2005. Bet Tzedek criticizes DLSE on June 21st, and the DLSE responds with a sweep 8 days later. Instead of addressing the issue of not having car wash businesses regulated and licensed, DLSE falls right back into their old habits with the "stop-what-you're-doing-and-start-the-sweep" mentality. Shortly, I believe that Mr. Millan will issue some lame press release about how his unit issued a million citations for a total of a billion dollars! Then, he'll want a pat on the back for a sweep well done! Unfortunately, it's the aftermath of those citations that really tell the tale.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Assistant Chief Greg Rupp & bathroom codes: to give you a glimpse of Greg Rupp's caring & compassion for his female subordinates, someone gave a female stranger the bathroom code to the 4th floor LA employee bathroom, and the employees raised holy hell about it. He then sends this email about how the code's being changed and no employees are to speak of this new bathroom code to anyone. This email was sent months ago, and the women's bathroom code is still the same. The females stopped complaining because it's useless, and this was something as small as a bathroom code. Can you imagine something that bears real responsibility to the People of California (who aren't his subordinates), and he's in charge of it?

Monday, June 20, 2005

A different kind of tax: back in the day, DLSE investigative staff (LSI, SSI, DLC, IRR, MST) went out and did audits of companies. If they found that wages were owed to the employees, then reparations would be made. None of those wages is ever kicked-back to the government, but sometimes they go into the unclaimed wage fund. Time and resources must be devoted to this type of investigation. Nowadays, there is a different priority, and that priority is issuing the maximum amount of citations. When citations are paid, it goes into the government's general fund. The same amount of time and resources must be devoted to this: issuing the citations, preparing for & attending citation appeal hearings, payment & citation reconciliation, and civil judgments entered for failure to pay the citations. When management issues their priorities, it's not up to us to challenge it: we just do what we're told. What is disturbing is the high number of citations that are appealed, then lost by the government. What is even more disturbing is the high amount of citations that go uncollected: either they go to appeal and are lost, or they're not appealed and ignored. Want proof? Request a Public Records Act (PRA) and mail it to: Thomas Grogan-Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, PO Box 420603; San Francisco, CA 94142. Specifically, you'll request the amount and types of citations within a given time period, like two years. This will give you the total monetary amount issued via the citation. Next, you'll request the amount of money that has been recorded on the DLSE Form 994 during the same time period and compare the citation amount issued to the citation amount collected. You can also request which citations were entered as civil judgements and compare that to the citations that were originally issued. If you really want to compare, then you can request which citations were appealed and subsequently upheld in the government's favor. You can compare peace officers to non-peace officers, but don't be surprised at what you'll find. This type of priority can assist Arnold's budgetary constraints (money actually comes into the state's coffers), but the flip side of this coin is that Californians who need their wages might not ever see the wages owed to them.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

DLSE has five (5) field enforcement positions: Labor Standards Investigator (LSI)-peace officer, Senior Special Investigator (SSI)-peace officer, Deputy Labor Commissioner I (DLC), Industrial Relations Representative (IRR), and Management Services Technician (MST). All of these positions are the same, but the paygrades and retirement benefits vary greatly. The peace officers work the same cases that the non-peace officers do, but they don't pay into Social Security and their retirement is 3% @ 50. That means they earn 3% of their salary for every year they work, and they can retire at 50. It's a really good retirement; it's too bad that the peace officers in Los Angeles don't have a majority of criminal cases. After all, what are the People of California paying the state to administer peace officer benefits to those that are not taking cases criminal to the prosecuting attorneys? Would you like proof? Request a Public Records Act (PRA) and mail it to: Thomas Grogan-Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, PO Box 420603; San Francisco, CA 94142. Specifically, you'll request the employees who are assigned to the Bureau of Field Enforcement (BOFE) and who are also current peace officers. Next, you'll request the amount of cases files assigned to them (both opened & closed for the last three years). Then you'll request the case files that were submitted for criminal prosecution and compare that list to the list of opened/closed cases. If you really want to compare, you can do the same PRA for all the other classifications and compare the peace officer handiwork to the non-peace officer handiwork. When the DLSE's peace officers have this bad habit of losing admistrative hearings, it's easy to imagine the really tough time they'd have when trying to meet a higher evidentiary burden (beyond a reasonable doubt) that goes with criminal case files. Do you think anything happens to them when these DLSE peace officers lose their administrative hearings? That's right! It's swept right under the rug. "Accountability" is not in DLSE's dictionary.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

DLSE Performance Evaluations: these are done only under court order or not at all. There are DLSE employees that have not been evaluated in over 5 years! It's been my experience that in America, companies often evaluate their employees as the performance evaluation is the arena where the employee learns valuable feedback (things done right/wrong, areas of improvement, etc.). Some companies, not the DLSE, review their personnel a couple of times in a year. Once again, Labor Standards Enforcement has no labor standards of their own! After all, California has more people than any other state, so why should our agency set the example for other states to follow? This is the big joke: we are the agency charged with enforcing California labor standards, but don't look to us to set the example.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

DLSE Training & Development: to summarize, it doesn't exist. DLSE manangement would rather spend money sending themselves to ineffective meetings instead of training their staff. Training amounts to them tossing you a copy of the Labor Code book, then directing you to come to them if there are any questions! The is the labor standard of the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. Information is never shared and compartmentalized like we worked at the NSA. Their philosophy is that information is power, so never tell anyone what you know.