Mickey Kasparian outlines the purpose of the new San Diego Family Workers Council.
Mickey Kasparian outlines the purpose of the new San Diego Family Workers Council. Photo by Ken Stone

By Chris Lopez

An open letter dated March 20, 2018, to Marc Perrone, international president of the United Food and Commercial Workers union and all UFCW leaders of the UFCW International Union and affiliates and labor organizations.

As of today, I have not received a response from your office. Your silence seems to indicate that you are condoning the actions of Mickey Kasparian and his unacceptable behavior and possibly choosing to sweep the incidents under the carpet.

SILENCE IS COMPLICITY. Is it possible that you want to avoid embarrassment of the UFCW because of Mickey’s actions? Mr. Perrone, IF YOU CAN’T HELP US, WHO DO WE TURN TO? Due to your nonaction, I have copied our plea for help to labor organizations and other groups in hopes that somebody will step forward and help us.

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I was very angry about these issues that plague our union, including your inaction and silence about Mickey Kasparian. I am no longer angry. I am now able to objectively and clearly see the whole picture affecting our union and the labor movement.

I am now focused and speaking from my heart with true conviction. Justice will always prevail and an honest investigation plus discussion of how this is affecting us may restore integrity. Justice will reign in the union. The members of UFCW Local 135 have spoken, and will continue to speak until our voices are heard!

Kasparian’s current actions to conceal, mislead and lie to us, the rank and file members, about these lawsuits is extremely disturbing and disappointing.

Those who support Mickey and lie for him are also guilty by association. The union rep of my store, Darryl Fountain, came in and said the cases were dismissed and the women lost the cases, a clear and obvious falsehood that is easily discredited by a quick Internet search.

Chris Lopez at an anti-Mickey Kasparian protest outside UFCW Local 135 offices in Mission Valley.
Chris Lopez at an anti-Mickey Kasparian protest outside UFCW Local 135 offices in Mission Valley. Image via Facebook

Mickey Kasparian’s decision to settle all four lawsuits and pay out the plaintiffs is not normal behavior for any innocent person.

So this brings me to ask you: How much of our union dues money was paid out to make these lawsuits go away?

Mr. Perrone, as UFCW’s international president, you should have these numbers readily available. My co-workers and I feel even a single penny spent is too much, because one cannot pay any sum of money that would restore Mickey Kasparian’s credibility and integrity. I ask you, Mr. Perrone: What would you do in a situation like this?

Mr. Perrone, I implore you again to please help us members by removing Mickey Kasparian from any position of management or leadership positions by suspending him indefinitely, pending a REAL investigation, or terminate him.

Mr. Perrone, your nonaction will imply that possibly you too are guilty by association by condoning Mickey Kasparian’s violations of human dignity. I love the UFCW and with your inaction and silence I want you to truly think, understand and recognize the seriousness of the issues destroying our Union Local 135 and the labor movement.

Let me tell you about what is happening to the labor movement in San Diego. The ignorance and self-serving actions of Mickey Kasparian have destroyed the labor movement in San Diego, possibly pushing us back decades.

The AFL-CIO Labor Council is broken up, fighting each other because of Mickey Kasparian and his so-called Working Families Council. Mr. Perrone, I’m really curious as to what you think of this?

Do you think this is OK considering the crisis and assault on labor in this country today? Mickey needs to resign and consider the union and its membership’s interest instead of his personal agenda.

If you were in Mickey Kasparian’s shoes, wouldn’t you step down and resign for the greater good of the union? Again, please help us and take action.

Here I want to address all Labor organizations: Teamsters, SEIU, UNITE HERE, OPEIU and others. PLEASE HELP US!

We are desperate because our contract is nearing expiration and public perception is so important during contract negotiations. How can the public support us knowing what Mickey Kasparian has done?

Our union is tainted by the union president with his indiscretions. How will labor be able to organize with this black eye, when anti union groups will have a field day with this? With the recent news of him paying off the #metoo plaintiffs of the lawsuits that he vehemently denied is very revealing.

How can the company management or anybody take our union president Mickey Kasparian seriously during negotiations? We have lost countless things from our contract over the years under his management and now minimum wage is catching up with us and will surpass many of us union members.

The poor negotiation ability of Mickey Kasparian has revealed itself, especially in paying off the lawsuits, which creates the impending fate of our diminished union contract. An innocent man, who would win such sexual harassment lawsuits, would not willingly settle and have to pay.

Mickey’s actions are only those of a guilty man, even though he continues to deny it, still to this very day. PLEASE HELP US! My co-workers and all members of UFCW Local 135 including all Southern California UFCW Locals 324, 1167, 1428, 770, 8, and 1442 need your help. Please, please help us save the labor movement, I beg of you!

The other #metoo perpetrators — like Harvey Weinstein, James Franco, Paul Haggis, Ben Vereen, Peter Martins, Charles Dutoit, Morgan Spurlock, Tavis Smiley, Marshall Faulk, Ike Taylor, Heath Evans, Ryan Lizza, Mario Batali, James Levine, Garrison Keillor, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Glen Thrush, Russell Simmons, Jefferey Tambor, Al Franken, Matt Zimmerman, Andrew Kreisberg, Roy Moore, Louis C.K. and many others — have been either terminated or rightful action has been taken.

Why hasn’t the UFCW acted in such a glaring and obvious case with Mickey Kasparian? How can he settle the lawsuits with union funds and get away with it, if the person suing isn’t even a member of our union to begin with?

Shouldn’t he be held PERSONALLY liable, and pay for the lawsuits from his own personal funds? My union representative told people that insurance has paid for it. So who pays for the insurance, and won’t the premiums go up?

The obvious answer is that Mickey Kasparian’s misconduct — he is directly responsible for this moral and financial fiasco — lands directly at the feet of innocent workers and union members who have had NOTHING to do with it.

We simply CANNOT have a union president represent us in the public eye when he is accused of sexual harassment, sexual assault, gender discrimination and other violations of human dignity by four Hispanic women. His actions are a brazen slap in the face to the members and the publicity is unacceptable.

I’m sending this to the press because we need help and we are desperate. Hopefully somebody can help us.

Thank you for listening.

Chris Lopez, a UFCW Local 135 member, works at Vons.