Is Our Union Broke?
Your Right To Know Where Your $$$ Go
Finding Out Where Your Money Goes
Recent Financial Reports
Watch Congressional Hearings
Are you union officers doing their jobs?
Financial Secretary Treasurer
Goofygate: What Did President Ada F. Torres Know And When Did She Know It?
She New All About Unsafe Working Conditions At Disneyland Hotel Four Years Ago, Former Members Allege, But Failed To Act
HERE & NOW has learned from former Disney Cast members who worked at Goofy's Kitchen in the Disneyland Hotel that H.E.R.E. Local 681
president, Ada F. Torres, was fully informed about alleged unsanitary and potentially dangerous working conditions at Disney's cash cow restaurant four years ago.
At that time Torres was the Union's
business representative at the Disneyland Hotel.
In 1998 a meeting was held between 20 Goofy's workers worried about unsafe and unsanitary working conditions. Virtually all the
employees at the meeting expressed concern about mold, backed up sewage and rats in their kitchen work area.
In 1999 another meeting was held and this time about 40 employees in addition to
Disney management personnel attended. Workers brought up concerns about bad smelling mold, water leaks, sewage backup at side stations in the kitchen, employees injured from falls on the slippery floor, lack
of cleaning supplies, lack of ventilation, use of unsafe chemicals, pesticide use in an enclosed and non ventilated area and other related issues.
Torres was present at both meetings, the
sources say, but asked another business rep not to inform then president Mary Ann Mahoney about either of the meetings.
Also present at the 1999 meeting was Michael O'Brien, presently employed by the
union as a business representative, who was a union steward working as a bartender at the Disney Hotel at the time.
The sources say that many Disney workers are afraid to speak out about the alleged unsafe
working conditions because they have lost confidence in the Union's desire to protect them from harassment or job termination.
A Failure In The Duty Of Fair Representation: Rats and Mold At Goofy's Cafe President Torres Sacrifices Workers' Health To Appease Disney Management
"… in making a grievance decision, a
steward or union may not consider a worker's race, gender, nationality, age, religion, politics, unpopularity, union membership, or dues paying status. The union must equally represent all members of
the bargaining agreement."
"The obligation of an employer to provide information is extremely broad. It includes relevant documents, data, and facts. Information is considered relevant if it might
be useful to the union or could lead to the identification of useful information."
"If you are grieving an unsafe substance, request the material safety data sheet (MSDS) supplied by the maker of the substance,
copies of any OSHA citations, studies by the employer concerning the substance, and statistical or aggregate medical data concerning employee illnesses of laboratory findings. If
necessary, arrange for an outside specialist, such as an industrial hygienist to conduct an inspection of the workplace."
(From The Legal Rights Of Union Stewards by Robert M. Schwartz; work rights press, 1999)
Agreement Between Walt Disney
World and Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union, Local 681 AFL-CIO
Health And Safety
"The Employer and the Union jointly recognize the importance of maintaining a safe environment. The Employer agrees to comply with all State and Federal OSHA requirements.
"The Employer agrees to continue present
practices regarding floor slats and mats, and to review all new facilities with regard to such present practices.
A Local 681 member complained for over a year to the union's President, Ada F. Torres, about the presence of rats, worms, cockroaches, toxic mold and sewage soaked floors at her workplace, Goofy's Kitchen in the Disneyland Hotel. She also reported to
Torres that Disney management had harassed workers and illegally threatened to fire them or shut down the restaurant if they insisted on upholding the Health and Safety section of their union contract.
After the member became seriously ill and had to stop working, she demanded that the Union file a grievance to get reports Disney had on mold samples taken from the kitchen area so that her doctors could properly
evaluate her illness. The member was also concerned about the health and job security of other members who had reported similar illnesses or had been harassed for complaining about the mold and vermin at Goofy's.
Despite the member's repeated requests, Torres refused to file a grievance, stating, incredulous ly, "I don't now what to file a grievance under." On several occasions Torres told the member that a grievance had been filed, but
refused to give the member a copy. It seemed clear that, in fact, no grievance had been filed. Finally, in desperation, the member went to John Earl, a former Local 681 organizer, for help.
Earl, a former investigative journalist, examined extensive documentation provided by the member and spoke with other former and current Disney cast members. While researching the potentially severe effects of
toxic mold and rat infestation on human health, he learned of a similar case at a HERE Local 5 union hotel in Hawaii. Instead of appeasing management by ignoring overwhelming evidence and risking the health
of their union members as President Torres had done, Local 5 forced the hotel owners to clean up the mold and insisted that hundreds of hotel workers be examined by physicians for toxic mold related illnesses.
In order to protect against further negligence by President Torres, and acting to protect the health of our members, Earl contacted an award winning investigative reporter who writes
for the Orange County Weekly. The Weekly published an article on the case in its September 12, 2002 edition. You can also read the article on the Internet at: http://www.ocweekly.com/ink/03/02/news-sch ou.php and you can view pictures of the mold and other information at
After Torres learned of their meeting, and after a year of stalling while the member's health
declined and the health of scores of other union members was threatened, a grievance was finally filed. A meeting was held with the member and her union representative, but
some vital materials that she had requested the union to acquire from Disney were still missing. During that meeting the member found that President Torres, who had assumed primary jurisdiction over the case
during the past year, had withheld vital information from the member's union representative. The member also discovered that during that time the Union had also withheld what her workers compensation
attorney called important corroborative evidence.
The conduct of President Ada F. Torres begs this question: Is the responsibility of a union president to protect management or the rights of union members?
For information on how HERE Local 5 protected their members from toxic mold: http://www.mold-help.org/submenus/mold_and _the_workplace/hilton_asks_mold.htm http://www.bizjournals.com/pacific/stories/200 2/07/22/daily52.html
More information about mold in the workplace and its potential harm to workers:
Toxic Mold News:
Vice President Urges End To
Bylaws Delay By President Torres. "It is Torres and Torres alone who is
responsible," says VP Luis Sanchez.
President Says No To Financial Accountability
What Is She Hiding From Our Members?
President Ada F. Torres continues to deny members of H.E.R.E. Local 681 the right to
know how their dues money is spent by officers and employees of the union. In a letter denying a member's request to examine the union's financial books in accordance with the Labor
Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA), Torres stated:
Dear Brother Earl:
This is in reply to your June 30 letter. You have not identified any just cause, within the
meaning of the LMRDA, for the inspection you demand. The inconsistencies you perceive in statements that I have made about the Union's finances do not meet the statutory standard. Therefore, I will not divert attention
of the Union's staff from their service to the members to supervise a review by you of what amounts to every piece of paper relating to the Union's finances.
Ada F. Torres
This is the second time that President Torres has refused a legitimate attempt by a member to exercise the legitimate and legal right to review the Union's finances.
Dear Sister Torres,
What do you have to hide?
I have read your August 12 letter rejecting my request to see the financial records of the Union. Your sweeping rejection, which prohibits even the most cursory inspection of
the union's financial records by its members, is arbitrary, unethical and illegal. Furthermore, your ongoing fear of financial disclosure is increasingly suspicious.
When Angela O'Keefe was president of Local
681, our members could make an appointment to see the credit card receipts. They didn't have to go through hoops to exercise that right because even the president believed in democracy enough to hold herself
and fellow union officers or employees accountable to the members. President O'Keefe showed her commitment to democratic accountability when a close look at the credit card receipts raised suspicion
that your husband, Jaime Torres, had repeatedly stole money from the union by using the union gas card to fill up your car, and after another employee of the union caught him in the act. What would our
members find if they looked at your credit card or other union receipts today? You say it would "divert attention of the Union's staff from their service," but you may also wish to divert
attention away from your own wrongdoing or incompetence—or the same for your husband.
What greater service can be offered to our members than accountability? If members don't have access to raw financial information,
how can they control their union? Since union democracy can't exist without accountability, it's unfortunate that Local 681 members are spending their hard earned dues money on a president who shows little if any
understanding of the law or ethics and who is bereft of any concern for the most fundamental rights held by union members. It is also sad that you recently asked the members to pay almost $9,000 a year for
insurance to protect the union against lawsuits which, ironically, you are instigating with your irrational behavior.
H.E.R.E. IU President Saves Torres From Trial Verdict -
Charged with wasting thousands of dollars in dues money and abandoning immigrant workers, President
Torres won't have to stand trial, thanks to HERE International President, John Wilhelm, who dismissed the charges without an investigation.
Wilhelm's letter of dismissal
What's Your Opinion?
"Daymocrowsee? We doan need kno steeenken daymocrowsee!"
- Agenda Surprise
- Members never know what's on the agenda until they walk through the door.
- Public elected officials can't get away with that, why should union officials?
- Like Bees, "Ada's people" obey their queen without question, appoint her prized puppets, three on union payroll (= conflict of interest, duh?) as Labor Council delegates.
- Sergio Contreras, rising political hack (running for school board) posing as President's Assistant.
- Martin Lopez, number 2 (of three - can't our $60,000 per year president do anything herself?) paid presidential assistant.
- Michael O'Brien, back from near (job) death experience and ever so grateful to his keeper!
- Union Job Openings (no equal opportunity or accountability at this union):
- Members need not apply, says Ada.
- But friends and puppets are welcome to apply.
- Just give me the money. Who's it for?, "I don't have to tell you that," says President.
- (Save Us From) Davis endorsed
- President Torres Might Get Union Sued, rams through $8,500insurance purchase to protect against "founded" and "unfounded" lawsuits. Here are some likely contenders:
- Violation of Labor Management Act, Section 105
- Sexual harassment
- Campaign fundraiser for Gov. Davis to be held at El Torrito non-union restaurant.
- $250 from Local 681
- Ada will decide who eats with the pols. Gee, wonder who, don't you?
- Stupid reason given by President Ada Torres: Davis, who already raised $56 million, can't afford a union restaurant.
Message to Ada Torres: Stop Trying to Bribe Us! Give Us Our
Money's Worth. Take Your Husband Back!.
Queen Ada's Decree: "At the
Disney Grand Hotel My Husband Jaime Shall Represent Thee, For A $47,000 Fee, Though Almost No Experience Hath He."
A Sad Fact:
We Don't Always Get What We Pay For.
Meet our newest business rep, Jaime Torres. We pay him $47,000 a year from our hard earned dues mony to organize non-union hotels in Orange County.
Jaime Torres failed to organize a single worker.
NOW HE"S OUR UNION REPRESENTATIVE at Disney's Grand Hotel.
What's Your Opinion?
President Torres has decided to pay her husband, Jaime Torres, $47,000
a year to be a union presentative at Disney Grand Californian hotel (where
he and the president are widely disliked), even though he has almost no experience in that capacity. What's Your Opinion?
Why didn't President Torres let workers from the Grand or other union houses apply for the job? Our members are more qualified than Ada or her husband. What's Your Opinion?
Shouldn't the members of Local 681 at least be given an equal chance, or should hiring practices at the union be based on nepotism and other favoritism? What's Your Opinion?
Who knows more about the Grand Hotel than the people who work there?
What's Your Opinion?
"Ho Ho Ho!" Ada Torres to Members: Merry Xmas! That's right,
President Ada F. Torres wants to wish members of HERE Local 681 a jolly ho ho Christmas, no matter that the wonderful holiday is almost 8 months past or 5 months ahead, depending which way
you want to count. Don't believe it? Just check out the official Local 681 web site to read her special Christmas message, or you can read it right here:
- But after 14 failed organizing campaigns, including two where 65% of the workers signed union authorization cards,
I want to wish all of our members a merry Christmas and a very happy new year! We have made some wonderful accomplishments and there is much more to do with your continued help.
What are some of the "wonderful accomplishments" Torres has made for our members since Christmas last? What's Your Opinion?
Union Busting And Financial Mismanagement:
After spending up to $60,000 of our dues money on organizing during the Torres administration, two major (hot
) organizing campaigns were dropped and not a single hotel worker has been organized. Meanwhile, the Local 681
organizing department is a shambles. What's Your Opinion?
Union Busting: Brought in an organizer from the International Union (Manuel Pascual) who made a plan to sell out our Hilton members during next year's contract negotiations (no wage
and benefit increase in return for card check agreement with three much smaller hotels). What's Your Opinion?
Financial and administrative mismanagement:
- Kept a $48,000 IU refund to the Local secret from members, while they suffered through the 9-11 crisis. What's Your Opinion?
- Has three presidential assistants: Sergio Contreras (approximately $43,000 per year), Martin Lopez (($ unknown, president refuses to disclose), Manuel Pascual ($57,000 by IU with your dues
money), where previous presidents only had one. What's
- Has Local 11 rep negotiate contracts for Local 681 members (violates bylaws, and what are we paying her $56,0000 for anyway?). Members say she colored with crayons and didn't understand
what was going on during recent Disney negotions. What's
- Misstated information on financial reports to members.
What's Your Opinion?
- Refuses to permit members to see financial books. What's Your
- Refuses to allow members to see credit card receipts amid members' allegations that she has misused the union credit card to influence members to support her. What's Your Opinion?
Poor representation of members:
- Secretly deleted right to vote on contracts from union bylaws (was later forced by union reformers to reinstate this provision). What's Your Opinion?
- Made other bylaws changes without informing members.
What's Your Opinion?
- Refuses to inform members of their Union Bill of Rights as required by Federal Labor Law. What's Your Opinion?
- Refuses to protect members from sexual harassment by obeying state and federal laws.What's Your Opinion?
- Refuses to hire professional bilingual translator for membership meetings. Accidentally and deliberately mistranslates or refuses to translate comments made at membership meetings by her opponents. What's Your Opinion?
- Violates Robbert's Rules of Order (and thus union by-laws) at membership meetings by allowing her friends to speak out of order. What's Your Opinion?
- No longer has organizers and business reps give monthly reports at membership meetings. What's Your Opinion?
- Tried to abolish financial reports to members (this was another attempt to violate our union bylaws). What's Your Opinion?
More Union Busting:
- Out of touch with members and their problems. What's Your Opinion?
- Nepotism: Chose her husband, Jaime Torres, as the business rep at the Grand Californian, even though he is not qualified for the position and is disliked and considered incompetent by
many of the members there. What's Your Opinion?
- Refused to allow members to apply for business rep opening, thus eliminating potentially qualified applicants in favor of friends and political allies. What's Your Opinion?
- Tried to interfere with right of members to choose their shop stewards.
- Favoritism: gives special attention and help to her political supporters. What's Your Opinion?
Local 681 Reformers In The News (July 26)
VICTORY: (July 10) Union Reformers Beat Union Busters In First Round
President Ada F. Torres forced by members to restore bylaws text on right to vote for contracts
President refuses to accept blame, despite evidence.
President's puppets bash reformers in front of president, later admit they did it out of fear
PRESIDENT ON UNION JOB OPENINGS: Insiders okay, but members need not apply for jobs at the union. "The bylaws give me the power to do that, and that's the way we do it," says president. What's Your Opinion?
PRESIDENT SAYS NO TO SPANISH-ENGLISH INTERPRETER AT MEMBERSHIP MEETNGS: Despite inaccurate, biased translations by Torres, resolution defeated in stacked vote. What's Your Opinion?
OOOOOPS! "I Didn't Read It," Says Torres-- Blames Predecessor And Poor
Proofreading Skills For Secret Bylaws Cut: (July 5) Speaking at an emergency staff meeting, president Ada F. Torres, responding to members' bewilderment over the secret and recently revealed deletion of probably the most important provision of their union
bylaws--the right to vote to approve or reject all contracts--attributed the revision to her presidential predecessor, Mary Ann Mahoney, and piss-poor proofreading skills: "I didn't
read it," said Torres, referring to the copy she used to prepare a revised edition of the union's preeminent document.
- Fired or laid off 4 employees for exercising their collective bargaining rights after intense harassment over a long period of time. What's Your Opinion?
In stretching credulity like silly putty,
Torres apparently failed to mention that Mahoney didn't issue any bylaws changes during her administration. In fact, copies of the bylaws version containing the right to vote on
contracts were available to members at the union office until the last month or two of Mahoney's administration. Torres would have been able to refer to a master copy in any case. (Editor's update:
In a conversation with HERE & NOW, Mary Ann Mahoney denied that she ever made any bylaws changes. The last bylaws changes before the Torres adminsistration were implemented under Angela O'Keefe.
Other knowledgeable members agree).
The professional responsibility to provide accurate copy always lies with the proofreader and, ultimately, the
publisher. In this case, the proofreader was most likely presidential assistant Sergio Contraries and the publisher was, of course, the president herself.
More Where That Came From
The surprise bylaws revision was just one of many made by Torres without the knowledge of union members. HERE & NOW will have a complete report on those changes later in the week.
Whether due to incompetence or malfeasance, if the revision goes uncorrected it would allow the president complete control over ratification of contracts, regardless of
the concerns of rank and file union members affected. That power would make it much easier for the president to make secret deals with management that would take away benefits or wage increases for workers
in return for other concessions from management--despite the wishes of the members.
Luis Sanchez, current vice president and former organizer for the union, claims that IU organizer Manuel
Pasquel, assigned to Local 681 for almost a year so far, ordered him to remain silent about a sweeheart deal in the making with the Hilton Hotel. (See below) What's Your Opinion?
Plan To Sell Out Hilton Workers:
Learn About IU Organizer's Plan To Deny Hilton Workers A Better Contract.
Your Right To Vote For Contracts Is Now Gone!!!! IN SECRET, Without A Vote By Members.
After learning of charges, Torres Changes Bylaws Without Telling Members.
President Torres protects IU organizer from sex harassment? Stops membership meeting when asked. Says union has no sexual harassment policy--a violation of California law.
HERE Locals To Merge:
Secret Plan To Merge Local 681 And Local 11 Revealed?
Money Appears, Disappears: $60,000
Secret Fund Disclosed By President Ada F. Torres, Now Only $48,000.
President Torres Sat On Secret $48,000 Stash Of Cash While Members Went Hungry: Why didn't Torres let hungry members know that more money was available after 9-11?
More Disappearing Dues Money:
President Torres Trashes Tens of Thousands of Dollars of Your Dues Money, Faces Charges.
Quick, Hide It From The Members!:
President Torres & Former Local 681 President Move To Hide Financial Reports From Members.
Show Me Where The Money Is: Request to see financial records.
What Does Ada F. Torres Do Every Monday At Local 11 And Why Doesn't She Tell The Members?
Ada's Heroes Department, #1:
Who Is Maria Elena Durazo?
Ada's Heroes Department, #2:
Who Were Juan And Eva Peron?
Bill Of Rights:
Torres Fails To Inform Union Members Of Their Rights As Law Dictates.
Bill Of Wrongs:
Who Is Ada F. Torres Taking To Dinner With Your Union Credit Card, And Why Won't She Tell The Members?
Do You Know Where Your Union President Is Right Now?: Other Union Officials Have To File Daily Reports With The President, But Who's Watching Ada F. Torres?
Local 681 Reformers Receive Statement Of Support From Co-founder of National HERE Reform Group
What's Your Opinion?
Michael Rose, co-founder of Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees To Insure Change (H.E.R.E.T.I.C.) issued the following statement in support of Local 681 reformers
on July 5, 2002 (his statement is consistent with statements made by other HERETIC co-founders Jon Polawicz of Local 2, San Francisco, and Ed Simadris, Local 6, New York and is a reminder that suppression of
free speech is unpatriotic and anti-union):
"'One man plus the truth equals a majority.' 'I
am a Jew because wherever I hear cries of pain and suffering, I weep also.' We are all in the fight for justice and liberty. Estamos unidos en la lucha para justicia y libertad. In a
democratic union, we wouldn't have to fight the people who are theoretically elected to serve the members rather than servants to themselves or the bureaucracy. Now is the time for all good members of Local 681 to
come to the aid of their union. The members, not those who have hijacked the office, are the union. If the
international union by amendment of its constitution has effectively taken away the members' right to remove tyrannical and
politically corrupt officers, that provision is of no force or effect because it is in conflict with the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act which is also known as the Union Members Bill of Rights. If the union will not conduct a trial for these morally reprehensible if not criminal acts, the people should take to the streets and protest as
some of my bretheren in Local 226 here in Las Vegas have. Members of Local 226 aggrieved by contract concessions and back room deals that vitually eliminated their jobs have formed a picket line at the office of their
union. If I were not knee deep in another fight at this moment, I would be proud to walk with them. As the author of an editorial cited by my brother Jon P. said, 'loyal criticism of
one's nation is the energy that recharges our democracy. Dissent is not unpatriotic. Dissent is what Americans do. Happy Independence Day.' Amen brother, nothing is more patriotic than dissent."
A Rat's Secret Tail ...
After four years of covering up unsafe and unsanitary conditions at Disney's Goofy's Cafe,
and under instense pressure from Local 681 union reformers, President Ada F. Torres finally orderd a grievance to be filed on July 31, 2002.
Still, as of that date, Torres had not asked Disney for test results on alleged toxic mold found in the Goofey's kitchen. But the grievance does reveal for the first time in more than a year suppressed corroborating
evidence of other members' claims of unsanitary working conditions at the Disneyland Hotel's most popular restaurant.
This is what the grievance says about rats: "On July 26, 2001 it was brought to
the Union's attention that the Company had to take a pipe out of the wall in station one (1) to get a dead rat out. The rat was so deteriorated when it was pulled out it's tail fail (sic) off. This incident took place
while servers and bushelp were still working. There is no ventilation in tw0 (2) of the three (3) side stations."
Why did the union
keep this report secret when other members had complained of unhealthy working conditions due to rats and mold?
County Fed Hed Sells Out Thousands Of Workers To Corporate Buddies
New Rank & File Union Reform Group Vows To Fight For Union Democracy And Workers' Rights
After Tens Of Thousands Of Dollars Of Your Dues Money Is Spent, HERE Local 681
Organizer Jaime Torres Announces Abandonment Of Union Organizing--Despite Retention Of $45,000 Per Year Staff.
What 's Happening To Your Union?
Membership meetings are the second Wednesday of each month:
10:00 A.M. & 7:00 P.M.
Union Reform Links
Who Is This Man And Is He Doing A Good Job?
Article 9, Section 4 of our union bylaws
states that, among other duties, the union's financial secretary shall:
(b) ... make a financial report to the membership at each regular meeting, giving an official accounting all monies collected
and expended by the Union...
(c) ...when feasible, keep regular office hours for the convenience of the members, as well as the employers, and perform such other duties as may be required.For a complete duties of the Financial Secretary, please click here.
What's Your Opinion?
President Ada F. Torres announced at the June, 2002 membership meeting that
internal organizing was taking place at the Anaheim Hilton Towers, pictured above, in preparation for contract negotiations a year from now. HERE International Union organizer Manuel Pascual and Local 681
business representative Maria Cervantes would be doing the organizing, she reported,
to make sure that the workers are ready to take on management when the time comes. It looks like a particularly tough campaign ahead, said Torres, as the union will face a "national union busting campaign" by the Hilton
corporation. "It looks like they're going to attack our health and welfare," warned Torres.
What Torres should have said is that the Hilton Corporation need not bother hiring a
union buster if her own new lead organizer, Manuel Pascual, has his way. His plan, based on what could only be characterized as bad intentions and poor research, consists of selling out the Hilton workers'
health benefits and wage increases in return for permission to organize three near Garden Grove hotels, according to Vice President and former organizer Luis Sanchez.
Sanchez says he was ordered by Pasquel
not to tell members about the plan, just as he was allegedly ordered prior to the Pascual plan to falsely inform members that the union had stopped organizing due to lack of interest by workers at Garden Grove
and Anaheim hotels.
That the plan is unethical is obvious on its surface, but a closer look into the stategy behind it reveals that somebody, most likely Pascual, didn't do his research. If he had,
he would know (as in fact this writer and former researcher for Local 681 once told him) that the Hilton Corporation does not own any of the targeted Garden Grove hotels, and acts as the operator for one (the
Embassy Suites), making it unlikely that such a plan would succeed.
Nevertheless, internal documents anonymously presented to HERE & NOW seem to back Sanchez's allegations.To comment on this story, please click this sentence with your mouse.
Miguel Contreras, Husband To Torres Trainer and HERE Local 11
President, Sells Out Thousands Of Workers to Corporations:
Find out why sucking up to Democrats and corporations is NOT good for union workers, or any workers.
What's Your Opinion?
... And A Tale Of The Burning Rat In Goofy's Pizza Oven
(These rats are not from Disney, but are served at another restaurant)
A true story written and signed on April 17, 2002 by
Mike O'Brien, Business Rep for HERE Local 681
(Document on file. Verified members of Local 681 can see this and other
documents by appointment. Email firstname.lastname@example.org)
"I was employed as a bartender at the Disneyland Hotel from Sept. 1987 until Dec. 1999. I worked for 10 + years as (sic) the Service Bar (sic) in the Goofy's Kitchen kitchen area.
During this time, I witnessed many, many events of rodents (rats) present in both the kitchen area and the bar area.
After closing when I would walk through the darkened guest area
I would hear and sometimes see 1 or more rodents scurry across the floor.
Two separate incidents remain vivid in my memory.
1) During operating hours a dead flaming rat was removed from
the inside of a pizza oven.
2) One of the cooks in the Pantry area had managed to stab a rat with one of the food prep knives and was waiving the yet dead creature aloft to the merriment of all.
The rats were as much a part of the kitchen as the oven or the salad bar. Although I no longer work for Disney I have had occasion to visit Goofy's Kitchen a few times in the past 2 or 3
months. I saw traps set in several locations in and surrounding my old work location. I spoke with a few of my past coworkers who informed me that "the situation had become much worse." I was
told stories of how rodents were trapped on adhesive or in traps and could be heard scratching and squealing for hours before someone would remove them from side stations.
I left disgusted, but not surprised.
April 17, 2002
Union Busting Victim #4
Heads Are Really Rolling Now
Luis Sanchez IsWhat's Your Opinion?
Latest Head To Roll
Statement by Vice President Luis Sanchez to Local 681 Executive Board re: job termination by President Ada F. Torres:
July 9, 2002
This is not a resignation. On July 2, 2002, I was fired from my job as a Local 681 organizer by president Ada. F. Torres. My job termination followed approximately 6 months of continuous and intense
harassment by president Torres, her husband Jaime Torres and Manuel Pascual [IU organizer]. During that time, I endured to the best of my ability depsite frequent verbal abuse, spying into my private business, unjust suspensions and threats of termination made without just cause. Instead of receiving the
respect that I should have received as a member of the union, as its vice president and as its employee, my dignity was insulted by the treatment described above. I have also seen my fellow employees,
brothers and sisters of Local 681 and the employees' union, OPEIU Local 537, treated to the same type of abuse by the same people. Because of this, like my brothers and sisters, I have suffered from much unnecessary
stress. But now it's over, because I have been fired. I repeat, this is not a resignation. I have been fired from my job as an organizer with the union and I intend to find other work. I will, of course,
retain my position as vice president of the union and will represent our members to the fullest of my abilities. I have no further comment at this time on my job termination. If you have any questions, please address
them to my union representative.
Update: (July 5) President calls emergency staff meeting, denies she fired organizer.
Causing members to wonder if the president was having a relapse of her Easter Bunny
crisis, our leader, Ada F. Torres claimed that she had actually not fired organizer (and vice president) Luis Sanchez but had put him on "investigative suspension."
The claim is ludicrous, however,
because Sanchez was forced to surrender his gas cards, provided to staff to cover travel expenses, and cell phone, items that are required to be returned only when an employee is discharged.
Not only that, but Torres also said the words "you're fired" in Spanish.
(July 2, 2002)
Luis Sanchez, paid Local 681 organizer and the union's vice president, was fired today after months of intense harassment by President Ada F. Torres, her
husband (organizer Jaime Torres)
and IU ("on loan") organizer, Manuel Pasquel. Sanchez had been a union organizer since the start of Torres' administration a year ago and was elected VP on the Torres slate.
Sanchez is the latest victim among four staff who have been fired in the last seven months as part of President Torres' apparent attempt to break the employee union, OPEIU 537. That campaign
has been punctuated with almost daily intimidation, including verbal abuse, threats, suspension or termination of employees as retaliation for exercising their collective bargaining rights and for trying to
protect the rights of union members.
Sanchez often infuriated Torres by meeting with fellow union employees to discus mutual grievances and by pointing out misconduct by the president and
her aides at staff and executive board meetings.
Although Sanchez abided by his duty as an elected union official to protect the best interests of the members, Torres, along with her
husband Jaime--and Pasquel-- pressured him repeatedly to maintain secrecy and misinform members about union activities. Some examples, according to Sanchez:
- Sanchez was harassed for questioning why organizer Jaime Torres ordered a stop to a major hotel organizing campaign in which another organizer had gathered authorization cards from over 60 percent
of the workers at a large Orange County hotel.
- Sanchez was refused access to the union's financial records when he attempted to investigate claims by Torres that the union was broke.
- Sanchez was scolded by Torres for pointing out at a meeting that the president mishandled a sexual harassment claim made by a member against against Manuel Pasquel.
- Sanchez was ordered to make the false claim to members that all external organizing campaigns had to be dropped due to lack of worker interest.
- Sanchez was ordered by Manuel Pascual to maintain secrecy about a plan to acquire additional hotel workers in Garden Grove a year from now by offering the Hilton Corporation a deal that
would surrender wage and benefits improvements during contract negotiations in return for additional Hilton properties.
Sanchez has 17 years of experience in the hotel industry and will go back to work in the room service department at the Grand California Hotel. Fellow union employees and rank and
file members alike were angered by Sanchez's dismissal.
His dismissal occurred after an office tirade by Torres triggered over her anger at the presence of former organizer (and publisher of this web site) John Earl at an Anaheim city council meeting attended by Torres and other
members of the union.
At a staff meeting on Wednesday, Torres demanded to know who had invited Earl to Tuesday's council meeting. Nobody answered, but Torres, apparently assuming that Sanchez was
guilty of the heinous crime of inviting another member to show solidarity at a union event, stormed after Sanchez and confronted him in his office. There she demanded to know "How many house visits did you
Sanchez answered that he had completed one house visit and politely asked, "Why?"
In front of a startled member, Torres angrily accused Sanchez of attempting to argue with her
before a member and told him he was suspended. Torres ordered Sanchez to her office where, with his shop steward present, he demanded to know why he had been suspended. Torres indicated that she was angry that
he had gone to lunch with Earl the previous day. When Sanchez insisted, once again, on knowing the reason for his present suspension, Torres told him to turn in his gas cards and cell phone and to take everything out
of his desk. "Get out of my office," she ordered. "Get your things and leave."
Sanchez remains vice-president of the union.
What's Your Opinion?
Union Busting Campaign Leaves Victim #3
Nelson Rivas, Local 681 Business Rep, Fired By President Torres In
Ongoing Union Busting CampaignWhat's Your Opinion?
Following months of intense harassment by President Ada F. Torres, Local 681 business representative/organizer Nelson Rivas was fired on Tuesday, May
21, 2002. Nelson is the third employee of Local 681 fired or laid off for exercising his collective bargaining rights as a member of the Office & Professional Employees International Union, Local 537. As
our shop steward, Nelson fought hard to protect our collective bargaining rights against a daily onslaught by union buster Ada F. Torres.
In what can only be described as a pathetic attempt to intimidate workers who exercise their collective bargaining rights,
various scabs employed by Local 681, and acting on behalf of President Ada F. Torres, have used company time to spy on their brothers and sisters who are off work. The company spies are:
Manuel Pasquel, Michael O'Brien and Rosario Espinoza. They are pictured below.
To comment on my hair style, please click this sentence.
Mike and Rosario: Spies undercover
Experienced Union Buster
The King Of Garden Grove
Is King No More
What's Your Opinion?
Garden Grove mayor Bruce
Broadwater, once aptly named "King of Garden Grove," is king no more. So said 700 city residents, who came to the January 26 city council meeting to tell him and four other members of the council
to take their plan to replace homes with a theme park and more subsidized hotels and put it where the moon doesn't shine.
Cowering before their new found masters, city council members,
who up until minutes before the vote were holding ground (councilman Mark Leyes was telling a group of Latino residents in a break 5 minutes earlier that he would make sure they were
relocated with all possible assistance and fairness), declined the option of certain political suicide and voted 5-0 against displacing hundreds of mostly low to moderate income residents.
The chief proponent of redevelopment expansion was Broadwater. In the past, along with council members Mark Leyes and Mark Rosen, Broadwater has taken tens of thousands of dollars from
developers who benefit from redevelopment. Broadwater and Rosen, two supposed friends of organized labor, have ignored the interests of poor hotel workers in the city's notoriously anti-union
hotels--which they helped to pay over $100 million in free land and tax subsidies.
For an understanding of the link between Garden Grove redevelopment and HERE Local
681, go to the following web sites: