Reprinted with permission from the Edgar County Watchdogs. The deeper they dig the more interesting this story becomes.
Algonquin Township Road District – Unionization had nothing to do with Rabine Group – Ed Komenda missed the facts, Editors failed the public.
One of the primary issues that created all the legal turmoil for the Algonquin Road District was the secret unionization of the Road District prior to Bob Miller’s departure as Highway Commissioner.
Ed Komenda with the Northwest Herald claimed this unionization was because: “The Rabine sighting scared them”. Rabine being a paving company that was contacted by the current Highway Commissioner prior to taking office. The reporting attempted to bolster that position by quoting similar claims from a union representative and former Road District employee Derek Lee, son-in-law of the former Highway Commissioner Bob Miller.
The evidence we have obtained and will lay out in detail in this article will expose key facts that paint a much different picture than the one being “told” by Komenda and the Northwest Herald.
Key quotes of interest from Ed Komenda in the NWH:
- “That is exactly why they unionized,” Fahey said. “They were afraid of the privatization and outsourcing of their jobs. He had Rabine on the roads.”
- “Why did the Algonquin Township Highway Department employees unionize? In short, the answer is simple: The Rabine sighting scared them.”
- “We had heard his plan was to completely privatize the road district, meaning we would be out of jobs,” Lee said. “We saw Rabine driving around and assumed he was putting together a quote of what it would cost to do the roads. It made us all a little nervous.”
- “Between Feb. 28, 2017, and May 15, 2017, a group of Algonquin Township Highway Department employees spotted a red Rabine Group vehicle driving roads, stopping and surveying at certain intersections.”
The above statements have no evidence to support them. What we have obtained actually disproves them!
We have always asked, Says Who and With What Proof? To us, the proof is not just some person’s word, as their word is nothing more than the first part of our two-part criteria. Let this be an example why reporting quotes without supporting facts is not a good idea.
Rich Fahey, Local 150’s business representative is quoted that the exact reason the Road District unionized is they were afraid of the privatization and outsourcing of their jobs because he (Gasser) had Rabine on the roads. Komenda echoes that position with his quote: “The Rabine sighting scared them”.
According to Komenda and apparently his Editors, these claimed sightings of Rabine is the reason for unionization of the Algonquin Township Road District.
100% totally false!
The paper trail and timeline!
Let’s start with Komenda’s claimed timeline of February 28th through May 15, 2017. It would appear the paper was unable to identify the actual dates this paving company was on the road so they threw a broad timeline out there to support their narrative that just happens to be from the date Gasser won the primary to the day he took office.
Let’s work backward from May 15, 2017, and show how this fabricated timeline crumbles under a basic analysis of facts, as does the employee and union representative’s quotes.
- Considering the effective date of the collective bargaining agreement is May 1, 2017, how would sightings after that date have anything to do with unionization?
Alleged timeline now narrows to February 28th – May 1, 2017?
- The collective bargaining agreement was signed, in secret, April 25, 2017. That being the case, how could sightings after that date have anything to do with unionization?
Alleged timeline now narrows to February 28th – April 25, 2017?
- April 21, 2017, Derek Lee emails Bob Miller with suggested changes to the collective bargaining agreement, (called contract in the email), as suggested by his wife, Miller’s daughter, Rebecca Lee. Changes to the CBA point to it being well under way by this date, thus sightings after that date would have nothing to do with unionization.
Alleged timeline now narrows to February 28th – April 21, 2017?
- On April 10th, the Illinois Labor Relations Board certified the bargaining unit, as reported here.
Alleged timeline now narrows to February 28th – April 10, 2017?
- March 15, 2017, letter from Union 150 to Bob Miller informing him they are filing a representation petition for employees in the Highway Department.
Alleged timeline now narrows to February 28th-March 15, 2017?
- March 9th, 2017 email from Bob Miller to Ron Lukasik, husband of current Township Clerk Karen Lukasik, with a subject of Warren Township local 150 contract and Vacation wordage on page 10. Thus, discussions of unionization appear to be in the works.
Alleged timeline now narrows to February 28th-March 9, 2017?
Alleged timeline now narrows to February 28th-March 7, 2017?
- March 6, 2017, Bob Miller receives an email with an attachment. The subject is “Warren Township Union 150 contract.”. That clearly indicates Bob Miller is working on this unionization process and looking at contracts or possibly collective bargaining agreements.
Alleged timeline finally narrows to February 28th-March 6, 2017?
As you can see, the subject of unions was under Bob Miller’s awareness as early as March 6, 2017. The fact he is obtaining a union contract from another Township raises many questions as to who really started this process but before we dive into that, which is worthy of its own article, look at the timeline.
Facts have narrowed the Komenda narrative from forty-six days to 7. Yes, 7 whole days are all that is left to support the narrative that the reason the employees unionized was that of Rabine vehicles being spotted out on the road. How did Komenda and his Editors miss eight key points that clearly dispute the Komenda timeline?
When was Rabine actually on the road?
That is a question that should have been confirmed before publishing a bunch of quotes that now are disproven with an actual paper trail.
Rabine Group was actually on the road doing their study for three days, April 12-14th, 2017.
So if Rabine, according to their own letter, was on the roads three days in April, 12-14th, the entire narrative pushed by the union representative, Road District employee and the local reporter and Editors absolutely crumbles because the decision to unionize was locked in place no later than March 15, 2017, a whole month before Rabine was ever even on the roads doing the study.
What did they say?
- He had Rabine on the roads.” – Well after the unionization was locked in place!
- “The Rabine sighting scared them.” – Scared them? Why were they scared since unionization was locked in place before they ever saw them?
- “We saw Rabine driving around and assumed he was putting together a quote of what it would cost to do the roads. It made us all a little nervous.” – Really? Made you a little nervous? Why would you be a little nervous when you were emailing key contract points to your father-in-law before you could have ever seen Rabine driving around at Gasser’s request?
- “Between Feb. 28, 2017, and May 15, 2017, a group of Algonquin Township Highway Department employees spotted a red Rabine Group vehicle driving roads, stopping and surveying at certain intersections.” – The only time they could have spotted Rabine doing this study was April 12-14th, 2017, thus blowing their fabricated timeline out of the water, as do all the facts that point to actual unionization long before any Rabine vehicle was on the road!
The entire narrative presented by Komenda appears to be based on false information that is clearly disputed by the paper trail created by some of the very people involved in the unionization process.
It would appear there is an attempt to create a narrative that draws attention away from the actual self-dealing that took place in the entire collective bargaining process. When the person in charge is secretly getting emails from his son-in-law, an employee, who presents suggested changes to the collective bargaining agreement based off of suggestions from his wife, the daughter of the person in charge, it makes it clear this was not a fair and proper negotiation process.
Rabine being on the road doing their study had absolutely nothing to do with the Road District employees unionizing. Ed Komenda got it wrong as did his Editors. They should print a retraction and apology for such a blatant disregard for the facts.