By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 03/11/15, 8:08 PM PDT

The San Bernardino Public Employees Association will mail out ballots today so members can vote on whether the county’s largest labor union should affiliate with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

Last month, the SBPEA announced to its members that the union’s board was voting on an affiliation agreement, which has since been drafted into a 9-page document posted on the union’s website.

The union said in its announcement that the reason for pursuing affiliation with the Teamsters was to strengthen its position at the bargaining table to achieve better labor contracts for members, but some believe the move was an attempt to improve its bleak financial situation and block the poaching of SBPEA members by Service Employees International Union Local 721.

Dozens of SBPEA members, dissatisfied with the representation they were getting from their union, began seceding last year, pushing for SEIU representation and prompting the expulsion of about 30 members in August.

Richard White, a systems support analyst for the county Information Services Department and one of the dissenting SBPEA members who wasn’t expelled, is against Teamsters affiliation. He said the agreement is unclear about the dues structure under Teamsters partnership.

“There are some people that think it’s a good idea, but I’m against the move,” White said Wednesday. “The main reasons are it keeps the same SBPEA management, board of directors and general counsel in place, and those are the same people who got SBPEA into the mess that it’s in. They’re just doing this because they’re in financial trouble.”

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