Setting the Record Straight on Alex Hernandez
If you have been hearing the term union-buster associated with the name Alex Hernandez lately and think that is fact, it’s time to set the record straight.
Alex Hernandez was one of the most active and successful organizers in Local 1000 from 2002-2008. During the mid-2000’s, opposition groups across California were gaining influence and power against the creation of mega-unions being spearheaded by SEIU International. At Local 1000 that group was CSEUnited, and it was led by Alex Hernandez.
The delegate elections in 2008 sent a clear message to the leadership just how much influence these loyal opposition groups had. Of the 61 delegates for Local 1000, CSEUnited contested 49 slots and won 33. Hernandez himself finished eighth with a clear majority. In comparison, then Local 1000 Vice-President Cathy Hackett and President Jim Hard came in twelfth and seventeenth, respectively.
At an emergency CSEA General Council meeting in 2006, the delegates voted to increase union dues from 1% to 1.5% (with a $90 cap), the first permanent dues increase since 1990. Local 1000 leadership pointed to their battle against a 2005 ballot initiative that would have required unions to obtain written permission to use member dues for political purposes as the reason for the $6.7M budget deficit. In contrast, Local 1000 opposition groups attributed the shortfall to financial mismanagement and the top-heavy expenses that sent approximately 20% of the Local 1000 budget to SEIU International.
SEIU International saw the local unions as cash cows, to which local leaders, like Hernandez, stood in strong opposition. Another dues hike to 1.75% (with a $125 cap) was scheduled to go into effect but wasn’t approved at the CSEA General Council Convention due to rumors of decertification, which never materialized.
In 2007-08, Local 1000 was hemorrhaging over $20M per year, placing the union in financial strife. On multiple occasions Hernandez requested the leadership to produce financial transparency, and each time Hard and Hackett refused. This wasn’t an isolated occurrence confined only to Local 1000; the same type of events played out across the entire state of California. This is the problem that loyal opposition groups, like CSEUnited, had with Andy Stern and the International.
What was happening in California in the mid-to-late 2000’s is too long for one article. Books have been written about SEIU International tactics, the hostile takeovers of local union halls, and elected leadership literally being locked out. Fortunately, these tactics are no longer practiced by SEIU International.
In 2008, Local 1000 had approximately 64,000 dues paying members. Today there are roughly 56,000. In 2020 there were less-than 800 job stewards in a union representing 100,000 people. Fewer dues paying members and less job representation — the numbers literally speak for themselves.
Alex Hernandez stands accused of, among other things, being an anti-union organizer. This is FALSE. However, if fighting for the membership and avoiding dues increases is a crime, then Alex Hernandez is guilty as charged.
The detractors will also tell you that Richard Louis Brown is here to break the union. This too is FALSE. They will tell you he is hiring a bunch of union busters. WRONG AGAIN. They will continue to lie and fabricate stories until you, the represented employees, reject these false narratives. Local 1000 is bringing back some of the strongest leadership it has ever had, and once again putting our Union on the right track for success.