For those of you who are wondering what happened, here we explain the chain of events that occurred, leading us to where we are today, and below this, the timeline with all the facts.
There was a mass exodus at the union. Many people asked what happened and why did everybody leave all at once? We’re sure each of them had their reasons but there is a common thread as to why they had made their decisions to suddenly all retire at the same time. The timeline below occurred after all of those union staff (Rosalyn Hackworth, Ed Kramer, German Ramirez, Guy Andolina, Terry Hunt, Isabel Vasquez and Mike Radov) vacated. We recognize that things were not quite right and felt that the membership was not getting their full representation of services that our union has promised to provide. Too much money and resources were spent on politics that were not relevant to our membership and our industry, thereby not allowing that funding and resources to be utilized as it should be, to help us, the members. This could be just some of the many reasons that would influence their decision to retire.
Then there were the lawsuits against Kasparian, charging him with sexual harassment, gender discrimination, wrongful termination and a gender violence case against a non-employee non-member that he settled and paid off with our union dues money. That last lawsuit and unusually fast settlement ( only 2 months!) of the gender discrimination suit was disturbing, we had more clues to look into. The comptroller Brian Kelly (as well as us) had investigated the details of the sworn depositions. When you look at the sworn deposition testimony from Melody Godinez (sexual violence lawsuit against Kasparian), you uncover many other pieces of evidence that show other disturbing things have also happened. We find this to be unacceptable and highly inappropriate behavior for anyone, but especially so for a Union president.
Fast forward a bit: a merger announcement between our Local 135 and Local 1167 Riverside suddenly shows up in a concealed and covert way, hidden in a minuscule 2×3″ square on the second to last page of the union newsletter The Worker. Then allowing only one day and one time, 6pm, during peak traffic hours, to come vote! We feel this was a deliberate attempt for Mickey Kasparian to guarantee that no one comes out to vote, while barely skirting the legality of the notification in the first place. Many have stated that this is voter suppression and a scam. He didn’t want us to be able to get there to vote, so the ones that were personally invited and would approve such scheme would be the only ones to vote and pass the merger. Such shameful and deliberate sneakiness proves to us that he clearly does not have YOUR best interests at heart. His willingness to pull such a devious plan, especially for something so extremely critical for our membership, speaks volumes about his character and is evidence that he is trying to save only his own skin. Something this impactful should NOT be hidden from us, the voting members!
We couldn’t let this happen – the membership has to know the facts, truth and all information that pertains to a potential merger. The union representatives were threatened with termination and told that it was insubordination and would be terminated if they opposed this scheme! They were given a script that they had to pitch to the members. Again, such a one sided mandate does nothing to benefit our sisters and brothers. Todd Walters was bold enough to reveal the truth and facts about the merger via social media, and therefore was terminated for speaking the truth to the membership.
Over the last 15 years, we recognize that Kasparian’s strategy of fear mongering and keeping you fearful has allowed him to get away with negotiating substandard contracts. If members are entrenched in fear, the acceptance of a substandard contract seems like relief to avoid the scary potential job losses or strikes that may occur. Think about it: the economy and market has been rising but our union standards are declining thanks to Kasparian’s consistent failure in contract negotiations over the years. How is it our pensions are in a decline? Stuck in a stale status that Kasparian can’t negotiate out of? The economy is on the rise, and this August we receive a letter from the pension fund notifying each one of us members of the pension being in critical status and decline in funding! Where is that money going?? Our pensions’ future and our future is in critical condition if Kasparian maintains power and continues his track record of failure and questionable ethics. For example, if you retire in a year or so and receive your pension, and the fund drops below a certain level of funding, your pension payment is reduced 50-80% – this would be catastrophic for you! Kasparian’s failures have set off the countdown clock of doom, we have to stop this and change the trajectory of this scenario. We cannot afford this risk to you, our membership, your pensions or your retirement.
It is time for us to boldly step forward and make a change to stop the failure in negotiations year after year, loss after loss. We will restore honesty and integrity to this union and implementing true negotiating power and intelligence back to our union. Together we stand strengthened, united, uplifted and determined. On election day please help others get to the polling site to vote for this change and restoration of this union! With our combined power and support, we are proud to once again have a union that is FOR the people, for YOU!
Here are some of the documents that show all of the charges that are shown below in the timeline. You will be able to see how over time, Mickey’s behavior becomes more and more erratic, nonsensical, vindictive and punishing towards anyone that doesn’t follow what he says blindly.
- Summary of LM-2 document showing dues monies used for lawsuits [reference #s match with 2018 financials below] (PDF)
- UFCW Local 135 LM-2 report to Department of Labor for 2017 (PDF)
- UFCW Local 135 LM-2 report to Department of Labor for 2016 (PDF)
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Here is a timeline of the past few years showing evidence of actions that we do not condone.
12/9/16 – Sandy Naranjo was fired from her position at UFCW Local 135 by President Mickey Kasparian after just being awarded Organizer of the Year.
12/15/16 – Sandy files a lawsuit claiming gender discrimination; retaliation for political affiliation; wrongful termination and other complaints.
12/19/16 – Retired UFCW Local 135 staff member Isabel Vasquez files a lawsuit claiming, among other things, sexual harassment.
- Voice of San Diego Article (Everything we know about the lawsuits..) 12/26/16
- San Diego Reader Article (Union Leader denies sexual charges) 12/27/16
12/27/16 – Democratic Party activist and writer Shawn VanDiver is the first prominent Democrat to come forward in support of Sandy and Isabel with an op-ed in Voice of San Diego.
12/28/16 – San Diego County’s Building Trades Unions sends a letter to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka sharing concerns about Kasparian’s leadership of the San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council.
1/6/17 – San Diego Council member David Alvarez is the first elected politician to come out against Kasparian stating “I am disgusted by the allegations that Mickey Kasparian harassed women and abused his power. Harassment and mistreatment of women is wrong. I will always use my voice to stand up against harassment, no matter who or how powerful the harasser might be.”
- SD Free Press Article (Councilman David Alvarez, “I am disgusted..) 1/6/17
- Photo of David Alvarez with saying
1/6/17 – UFCW Local 135 organizer Anabel Arauz, and former Organizer of the Year, is demoted to “internal research organizer” and isolated from the rest of the staff after showing support for Sandy and Isabel.
1/7/17 – Friends and allies of Sandy and Isabel organize a picket at Machinists Hall in Chula Vista for the ADEM election. Sandy ran for a delegate seat and community came out to support. Sandy gained the most votes and her slate swept denying Kasparian’s handpicked candidates a seat at the convention.
- San Diego Reader Article (One stop vote and Kasparian Protest) 1/09/17
- Channel ABC 10News at 11 report 1/8/18
- SD Free Press Article (We stood with..) 1/13/18
1/18/17 – Activist protest membership meeting at Local 135 office.
1/25/17 – Anabel is pulled by Kasparian as a delegate to the San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council for supporting Kasparian’s accusers. Later that night she is interviewed in a scathing video attacking Kasparian for violating her rights.
1/25/17 – Supporters of Sandy and Isabel protest Kasparian outside the Labor Council’s monthly meeting. Former Councilwoman Donna Frye and Irene McCormack, a victim of ex-Mayor Bob Filner, attend the protest and release a letter calling for an investigation of Kasparian by the Labor Council, UFCW and Democratic Party. They proclaim that “Doing nothing is not an option for people of good conscience.”
- Times of San Diego Article (UFCW worker pickets labor boss..) 1/26/17
- Video of Donna Frye interview
- Video of Anabel Arauz speaking out
- San Diego Reader Article (More pressure on..) 1/26/17
- OBrag Article (Campaign against..)
1/30/17 – The Democratic Women’s Club of San Diego votes in favor of sending a letter of support of Kasparian’s accusers to the San Diego County Democratic Party.
1/31/17 – After speaking out against Kasparian, Anabel is retaliated against and sent on special assignment to the cold winter of Utah for ten days away from her children.
- Times of San Diego Article (Utah trip is punishment..) 1/31/17
- Anabel Arauz complaint to State Department of Fair Employment.. (PDF document)
- Image of Anabel’s post questioning retaliation by Kasparian
2/1/17 – Prominent San Diego Democrats send letter calling for an investigation into the allegations against Kasparian to UFCW Local 135, the Labor Council, San Diego County Democratic Party and the California Democratic Party.
- SD Free Press Article (Time for him to go..) 2/1/17
- Times of San Diego Article (Letter to Labor) 2/2/17
- KPBS Article (Calls grow for Kasparian to step down) 2/13/17
- KPBS Roundtable Article News Cast (Labor troubles) 2/17/17
2/1/17 – Supporters protest Kasparian at the New Members Meeting at Local 135.
2/3/17 – New lawsuit accuses Kasparian of conspiracy with union workers labor union F.A.I.R
- Times of San Diego Article (Kasparian conspiracy with..) 2/3/17
- Sandy Naranjo lawsuit filing documents (PDF)
2/6/17 – American Federation of Teachers Local 1931 calls on Kasparian to resign his position as President of the Labor Council.
- OBRag Article (Not to be the..) 2/6/17
- East County Magazines Article (faces lawsuits..) 2/7/17
- Sandy’s complaint document (PDF)
- Isabel’s complaint document (PDF)
- Anabel’s complaint document (PDF)
- Donna Frye/Irene McCormick Letter (PDF)
- Dems Womens Club Letter (PDF)
- Post by Sara Kent , Coast Law Group
2/16/17 – San Diego Building Trades Business Manager Tom Lemmon filed formal charges against San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council President Mickey Kasparian and Secretary Treasurer Dale Kelly Bankhead for activities that were “hostile or contrary” to the best interests of the Labor Council.
2/22/17 – Supporters protest Kasparian at the Labor Council E-Board Meeting where the AFL-CIO sent investigators to investigate the charges against him.
- Times of San Diego Article (Protest..) 2/22/17
- Times of San Diego News cast 2/22/17
- Photo of protest
- Video of protest
2/22/17 – Supporters protest Kasparian at the monthly Labor Council meeting.
3/2/17 – Kasparian is removed as President of San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council by AFL-CIO and the Labor Council is put on limited trusteeship.
3/6/17 – Due to community pressure Kasparian backs out of speaking on a panel at the San Diego Society of Professional Journalists’ Report Card on the Media event.
3/9/17 – Nohelia Ramos Campos files a DFEH complaint against her employer Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment Action that stated ACCE “demanded complainant express support for Mickey Kasparian and denounce the lawsuits filed against UFCW Local 135 and Mickey Kasparian.”
3/17/17 – The Democratic Women’s Club of San Diego sends letter to the San Diego County Democratic Party demanding Kasparian’s removal from the Central Committee.
3/21/17 – Supporters protest San Diego County Democratic Party Central Committee Meeting demanding they remove Kasparian as an alternate member.
- Photos of protest
- San Diego Union Tribune Article (Accusations against..) 3/24/17
- Mickeys attempt call David Alvarez image of Twitter tweet
3/24/17 – Anabel Arauz is terminated via mail when out on sick leave.
4/8/17 – Supporters protest the San Diego County Democratic Party’s annual Roosevelt Dinner outside the Hilton Bayfront demanding the removal of Kasparian.
4/12/17 – Anabel files a lawsuit against Kasparian and UFCW Local 135 claiming gender discrimination, retaliation, and more. And Las Tres Hermanas are born.
4/19/17 – Supporters protest Kasparian at the New Members Meeting at Local 135.
5/1/17 – After being protested throughout the May Day March Kasparian is confronted, heckled, and forced to leave the rally at Chicano Park early by supporters Brent Beltran, Mark Lane and Rafael Bautista.
- Video of interaction
- Photo of March as dirty union reps behave improperly representing Local 135
- Photo of other groups protesting union sell outs
5/8/17 – AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, after having Keith Maddox complete an internal investigation, placed the San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council under full Trusteeship and removed all of its officers, including Kasparian and Secretary Treasurer Dale Kelly Bankhead.
5/9/17 – After Kasparian is fired from the Labor Council supporters protest him at the press conference announcing the formation of his splinter labor group San Diego Working Families Council. He at first denies Times of San Diego reporter Ken Stone from attending due to his coverage of Kasparian. Another reporter calls him on it and he relents.
- Times of San Diego Article (Announcement of splinter group) 5/9/17
- Times of San Diego News Report Video 5/9/17
- KPBS Article (Formation of new splinter group..) 5/9/17
- San Diego Free Press Article (Protests continue..) 5/9/17
- Times of San Diego Article (New group..) 5/10/17
- San Diego City Beat Article (Oh Mickey you’re so blind..)5/10/15
- San Diego Free Press Article (My way or the highway) 5/15/18
5/16/17 – Supporters protest the San Diego County Democratic Party’s Central Committee Meeting demanding they remove Kasparian as an alternate member.
7/18/17 – Supporters again protest the San Diego County Democratic Party’s Central Committee Meeting demanding they remove Kasparian as an alternate member.
10/18/17 – Supporters protested Kasparian at the annual UFCW Local 135 Golf Tournament in Mission Valley.
11/15/17 – Las Tres Hermanas supporter Brent Beltrán is named one of San Diego CityBeat’s 2017 Persons of the Year for his work on the campaign to remove Kasparian.
11/20/17 – The San Diego Reader reports from lawsuit depositions that Kasparian has two large moles on his genitals. And Mickey the Mole jokes circulate San Diego labor circles.
12/11/17 – Kasparian denies accusers claims in R-rated deposition as trial looms
12/13/17 – Melody Godinez, a member of SEIU 221, files a lawsuit against Kasparian accusing him of sexual assault and gender violence. This case created the space for more people to come forward to condemn Kasparian.
- Union Tribune Article (..sexual assault, seeking foresome) 12/14/17
- Kasparians statement to press with denial of accusations (PDF)
- Times of San Diego Article (New Lawsuit..he may take out a gun) 12/15/17
- Melody Godinez sworn deposition document (PDF)
12/15/17 – Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, a former ally of Kasparian, calls on him to step down from the Democratic Party’s Central Committee and any community boards after allegations of sexual assault and gender violence come out.
12/20/17 – After months of pressure Kasparian resigns his position on the Central Committee of the San Diego County Democratic Party.
12/27/17 – Kasparian attempts to impose a gag order on victims to silence facts. Consider the money used to pay the attorneys to facilitate this hearing.
- Times of San Diego Article (criminal investigations and gag order..) 12/27/17
- Document of Request of Gag Order (PDF)
- Rosy Minor Sworn Deposition (PDF)
- Brian Kelly Sworn Deposition ( PDF)
- Sarah Saez Sworn Depostion (PDF)
- Channel 7 San Diego News cast
1/4/18 – Nathan Fletcher, Ken Malbrough, Omar Passons, and David Alvarez say Kasparian should step down
1/5/18 – Isabel Vasquez and Sandy Naranjo settle their cases against Kasparian.
1/20/18 – Supporters of Las Tres Hermanas walked together in the Women’s March SD.
2/20/18 – Anabel Arauz and Melody Godinez settle their cases against Kasparian.
- Times of San Diego Article (Kasparian settles last 2 lawsuits..) 3/9/18
- San Diego Union Tribune Article (Kasparian settles..) 3/9/18
3/13/18 – SEIU 221 leaves Kasparian’s Working Families Council in a dispute over primary election endorsements. Teamsters are soon to follow.
- San Diego Union Tribune Article (County Employees..) 3/21/18
- Photo of SEIU happy after leaving Kasparians group
3/19/18 – Politics in D4 a train wreck and Kasparian is roiled right in it.
3/20/18 – Local 135 member Chris Lopez sends an open letter to UFCW International President Marc Perrone asking why nothing has been done about Kasparian.
4/3/18 – San Diego Union-Tribune states that Local 135’s legal bills quadrupled in 2017.
4/4/18 – UFCW International President Marc Perrone responds to member Chris Lopez’s letter with lies and distortions. Straight from Kasparian’s playbook.
4/5/18 – An op-ed was published in Times of San Diego by two prominent Democratic Party women calling out the party for not doing more to oppose people like Kasparian.
4/6/18 – Former UFCW Local 135 employees Rosy Miner, Isaura Garcia, Odett McAdams, and Debbie Principe write op-ed in San Diego Free Press explaining what it was like to work under Kasparian and the need for his removal.
4/9/18 – All sworn deposition documents revealed.
- Videotaped Deposition of Michael Kasparian in Vasquez v. UFCW Local 135
Taken August 24, 2017
- Videotaped Deposition of Michael Kasparian in Naranjo v. UFCW Local 135
Taken September 7, 2017
- Videotaped Deposition of Terrence L. Hunt in Vasquez v. Mickey Kasparian; UFCW Local 135
Taken October 5, 2017
- Deposition of Lindsey Bensinger in Naranjo v. UFCW Local 135
Taken on October 11, 2017
- Videotaped Deposition Volume I of Michael Kasparian in Arauz v. UFCW Local 135
Taken October 19, 2017
- Deposition of Richard Barrera in Arauz v. UFCW Local 135
Taken on October 23, 2017
- Deposition of Richard Barrera in Naranjo v. UFCW Local 135
Taken on October 24, 2017
- Deposition of Rosangel Miner in Vasquez v. Mickey Kasparian; UFCW Local 135
Taken October 27, 2017
- Deposition of Francine Woods in Vasquez v. Mickey Kasparian; UFCW Local 135
Taken October 30, 2017
- Deposition of Brian Kelly in Vasquez v. Mickey Kasparian; UFCW Local 135
Taken November 6, 2017
- Videotaped Deposition Volume II of Michael Kasparian in Naranjo v. UFCW Local 135
Taken November 17, 2017
- Deposition of Lori Kern in Naranjo v. UFCW Local 135
Taken on November 20, 2017
- Deposition of Melody Godinez in Vasquez v. Mickey Kasparian; UFCW Local 135
Taken December 7, 2017
- Deposition of Sarah Saez in Arauz v. UFCW Local 135
Taken on December 13, 2017
4/20/18 – State Assembly candidate James Elia releases an official statement on campaign letterhead that says: “Mickey Kasparian is an asshole.”
4/23/18 – Supporters of Las Tres Hermanas went to Las Vegas to protest Kasparian and International President Marc Perrone at the UFCW Convention. Their presence was felt by all.
- Guardian Article (Union leader faces members protest..) 4/22/18
- Copy of the protest flyer
- Protesters see Kasparian and protest continues
- 2 of the members are very creative
- 2 of the protesters
- Video of 2 protesters getting escorted out
- activist video
- Other protesters including UFCW Canada helping out
- Protest banners
- Hotel security trying to remove members video
- Other protesters get into convention hall
5/11/18 – Kasparian goes right back into politics after settling lawsuits and starts spending lots of money for political positions that do not have any return on investment for UFCW Local 135 members except for his personal agenda of political self promotion and ego.
- San Diego Free Press Article (National City’s Fetid Mess..) 5/11/18
- Times of San Diego Article ( Saldana gets..) 5/16/18
- UFCW Pac dollars given to Saldana
- Union Tribune Article (Kasparian during the dispute, made a $10,000 contribution to the party)
5/31/18 – Supporters of Las Tres Hermanas walked in National City to oppose Measure B that would allow anti-union Mayor Ron Morrison to subvert term limits. UFCW Local 135 was a major funder of this measure as retaliation against councilwomen Alejandra Sotelo Solis and Mona Rios who called on Kasparian to resign. B failed and Kasparian wasted tens of thousands of member dollars.
- San Diego Union Tribune Article (Kasparian loses big in all races..) 5/15/18
- Image of Measure B spending by him
6/2/18 – Supporters of Las Tres Hermanas walked again in National City to oppose Measure B.
June Primary Season – Kasparian spent over $100,000 of member money on Lori Saldaña’s failed Supervisor campaign. In an act of vengeance Kasparian had hoped to spoil Nathan Fletcher’s bid to become Supervisor due to he and wife Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher’s call for Kasparian’s removal.
- San Diego Union Tribune Article (Kasparian gives Saldana $150,000.00 of..) 5/3/18
- Channel 7 San Diego news cast 6/8/18
6/27/18 – Labor Council comes out of trusteeship and elects Doug Moore (UDW) as President, Brigette Browning (Unite HERE) as Executive Vice President, and Keith Maddox as Secretary Treasurer.
7/1/18 – After denying it for over a month, an official notice appears in UFCW Local 135’s magazine, The Worker, declaring a special membership meeting to merge Local 135 with Local 1167. There is only one polling station and one day and time to vote for 135 members.
7/2/18 – UFCW Local 135 E-Board Member and Grievance Director Todd Walters comes out in opposition to the merger even though Kasparian says he will fire anyone that opposes it.
7/3/18 – The retaliation begins against Todd Walters. His work phone was taken away and access diminished.
- Todd’s statement in regards to the attempts of being silenced
- Todd’s statement to the event of diminished access
7/6/18 – Retired UFCW Local 135 Organizing Director German Ramirez comes out in opposition to the merger in a letter to Locals 135 and 1167 members.
7/7/18 – Retired Shop Steward Local 135 Retiree Club VP Karie Lasko shared a letter stating her opposition to the merger.
7/11/18 – Due to overwhelming opposition by members from both Locals 135 and 1167 the merger was called off.
7/16/18 – Kasparian fires Grievance Director Todd Walters. No cause is given.
- San Diego Free Press Article (In the wake of another..) 1/17/18
- San Diego Union Tribune Article (Grocery union vice..) 1/16/18
7/16/18 – Local 135 Comptroller Brian Kelly resigns in disgust.
- Daily Torch Article (Embattled UFCW Boss..)
- Times of San Diego Article (Comptroller quits..) 7/16/18
7/16/18 – The scheduled protest against the merger has become a protest to remove Kasparian from power at Local 135. Members start a petition to demand an election.
- Todd Walters explains in detail..
- Channel 7 San Diego News Cast (Members protest, calling for a fair election) 7/16/18
7/25/18 – Kasparian hires at least seven armed security guards for the quarterly membership meeting. The reps that are Mickey’s lackeys, who condone the sexual harassment, gender discrimination, gender violence, and wrongful termination by working to stay in his favor, get out front bullying and intimidating members by pointing, gesturing aggressively shouting at members to shut up. Mickey lightly asks them to stop and then continues to evade and dodge questions. He gets aggressive when members ask the hard questions over again wanting to know the answer. When members become upset at his display of deceptiveness, he shouts meeting adjourned, jumps off the stage and has security guards surround him as he anxiously scurries his way out of meeting hall and directly into his office without answering member questions.
7/28/18 – Former UFCW Comptroller Brian Kelly releases statement to membership calling Kasparian deceitful, his behavior shameful and that he lied to members regarding lawsuits being fully covered by insurance.
7/30/18 – Todd Walters informs Kasparian and UFCW International President Marc Perrone that he will run for President of Local 135 with a full slate of candidates, including a new Secretary Treasurer.
- San Diego Union Tribune Article (Ousted grocers..) 7/30/18
- Times of San Diego Article (Unfazed by..) 7/31/18
8/8/18 – Kasparian attempts to correct failed website problems and alters factual historical documentation to hide his disastrous merger subterfuge. The announcement for this was hidden in extremely small print, on the last page of the Union Worker publication so nobody would see it. The details specified that only allowed one time, 6pm on a Monday night, was the only time to come to vote. This is during the toughest time to travel to Mission Valley to the Union hall. Members immediately recognized this as clearly an act of voter suppression. Good thing members rose up, putting pressure on those involved and stopping it, otherwise it would have been catastrophic for our future and our future contracts.
- See the photo examples of the new Kasparian altered document on the left, and on the right the physical hard copies that were sent to members homes.
12/15/18 – Kasparian loses re-election! – Union Boots Kasparian Off Labor Perch; Todd Walters Elected UFCW Local 135 President ready to come on
- Times of San Diego 12/15/18
- 10 San Diego Progressives Who Brought Down Mickey Kasparian
- 12/16/18 SD Union Tribune
- 12/17/18 SD Union Tribune Editorial