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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving

Dear Handlers

We would like to wish you and your families a very blessed Thanksgiving, and wish you safe travels while visiting family and friends.

Bill Beaury

Monday, November 11, 2019

Veterans Day

Every year on November 11th we recognize Veterans Day as a time to honor our country’s military veterans, past and present,who fought to protect our freedom and ensure our safety. This year being no different please join us in thanking our nation’s heroic veterans, who have sacrificed so much to keep our country free, including our many MSA employees who currently serve or have served in our nation’s military.

Thank You For Your Service,

Bill Beaury

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Comment from an Anonymous Handler

The canine stipend, much like the handler salaries at MSA Security have been frozen in time, but when management decided to make a change, instead of increasing the stipend as a responsible company would, they butchered it. Whenever the topic of a raise came up management was quick to point out that we were getting $400 a month tax free and that $400 should be considered part of our salary. At one time we were threatened with getting a 1099 for the stipend. There was a proposal that the stipend would increase yearly and cap out at $1000/month. It would have been fair, but as we have come to learn, nothing about MSA is fair when it comes to the handlers. Same old story, they kept the salary and held the ESOP over our heads, all the while telling us we were "employee owners" and would someday own the company and have a seat on the Board of Directors but of course that never happened and now we have to fight just to be treated with some dignity. Imagine what this place would be like without the union? Scary. Arrogant and egomaniacal managers rule MSA and we are expendable to them, they expect us to be loyal but that loyalty is not a two-way street. The State Department contract for the validation center as a matter of public record is almost $100 million dollars where does all that money go? $80.00 stipend what a joke. $100 million from the State Department yet MSA allowed dogs to go overseas and is complicit in the canines suffering and the deplorable conditions they had to endure. The dogs I'm most cases were starving, dying of thirst, infested with fleas, feces and worms. The poor dogs probably welcomed death. No oversight, no assurances that the dogs would be cared for properly, a black eye for MSA, but no accountability, no discipline. I would say the Virginia guys have it pretty good and go along with "business as usual", while around the country we look forward to another cold winter with a leash in our hands. What's been done in Virginia Glenn? What steps have been taken to make sure something this tragic never occurs again? MSA Security has become a joke in the working dog community thanks to our leadership.

Thanks for the update Bill and thanks for fighting the good fight, God knows it can't be easy.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Union Update

Dear Fellow Handlers,

As the Holidays quickly approach I wanted to give you a quick update of what’s going on and what your union is up to. We have been to several hearings at the NLRB standing up for the handlers that have been mistreated, suspended and wrongfully terminated. We are fighting for the $400 stipend MSA has wrongfully taken from you, replacing it with a paltry $80 dollars.

The math used to justify an $80 stipend just doesn't add up. We know it, MSA knows it, and every handler being forced to spend their own money for MSAs benefit knows it. Did you know if you rent a car from any of the National car rental companies and bring it back with dog hair in it, much like your personal vehicles, they will charge you a $175 surcharge to clean the dog hair out of their vehicle? The top hotel chains will charge you an $125 surcharge to clean your room that has a dog in it . That’s $300 right there. Also, when was the last time you were able to take public transportation to work? I bet MSA would be proud if you took their dog on the subway or the bus during rush hour. They require you to have a car to transport their dog, so they should be responsible for a car payment, car insurance, car maintenance, and parking the vehicle.

How much is that worth to many of you? About $750 a month? Let's add this up, $750 plus $300 for cleaning. Then add dog food, biscuits, beds, toys, kennel fees, tolls, plus the time you and your family spend making a well rounded stable canine that MSA will threaten to take away from you and your family at the drop of a hat for imaginary rule violations. They will then tell you to abide by the code of conduct as management continuously breaks every rule threatening you if you don’t work every tour they throw at you and your canine. 

So let your supervisors, district managers, and upper management know $80 dollars doesn’t cut it! We'll continue our legal battle for the return of the $400 stipend and continue to demand it be increased in our negotiations. Let MSA management know it’s time to stop dragging their feet and give you and your partner a fair contact.

Bill Beaury

Friday, September 27, 2019

Lawsuit Update

Dear Clients:

As you are aware, the first of four payments to each of you is scheduled to be disbursed October 8. Please keep in mind that this is when disbursements will commence, and not necessarily the date that your payment will be disbursed. Over seven hundred checks will be disbursed each period, one year apart.

We have instructed Rust Consulting to send a specific statement to each of you explaining what the payment represents. This statement will be customized to explain your specific payment in as much detail as is possible, including an explanation of the net settlement amount to be distributed for the period to the class, and the number of work weeks MSA has reported for you from which the payment was calculated. For the reasons explained in my prior emails, it was not feasible to get this information to you beforehand, but it will accompany your first payment.

While the payments can only be as accurate as the payroll records we have been provided with, please know that MSA has represented to us, by contract, that they are accurate. While that does not necessarily guarantee that they are, we have established a modest "reserve fund" in the settlement to account for any errors that might occur. If you believe that any error was made, you can report this to me, Paul Aloe, Fran Curran, or Rust Consulting at (877) 906-1609. We have consistently reported changes of address to Rust, and we do not anticipate that any major errors will occur. However, keep in mind that we will all be monitoring this for the next three years in order to ensure that any errors are corrected.

The first payment MSA was obligated for has already been received and is being held in escrow. All future payments have also be secured by a Letter of Credit in excess of 10 million dollars.

Be aware that Rust Consulting has thousands of clients it is servicing, so don't be surprised if your emails to Amanda are not automatically responded to, or if you have to send information more than once. You will find that I will be responsive to any of your inquiries, as will Paul or Fran.

Regards,
David Aboulafia

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Lawsuit Update

Dear Clients:

I am now advised that payments will commence on or about October 8.
Please check your notices for the tax treatment of your payments:

* NY EMPLOYEES 7/18/11 - 11/10/18 OR CA EMPLOYEES 7/18/14 - 11/10/18:
25% of your payments are considered back wages and normal payroll taxes will be deducted. The other 75% will be considered non wage income and no deductions will be taken.

* ALL OTHER HANDLERS 5/22/14 - 11/10/18:
50% of your payments are considered back wages and normal payroll taxes will be deducted. The other 50% will be considered non wage income and no deductions will be taken.

Please be reminded that I cannot offer any tax advice. Provide your accountant with the notices you were provided with, or have him/her review the final settlement agreement in the Court file.
Regards,

Dave Aboulafia

Friday, August 9, 2019

Lawsuit Update

LAWSUIT UPDATE

The settlement has been approved by the judge.  We're hoping that within 60 days, the first payment will be issued. Our lawyers will be monitoring all and as things progress, I’ll keep you updated. 

Bill Beaury

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Lawsuit Update

Dear Clients:

On August 8, the District Court will have a final hearing to approve the settlement in this case. The last time I checked, there was not one objection to the settlement by any class member.

After this hearing, I anticipate that the Court will formally approve the settlement with a written Order. While I cannot predict when the Judge will do this, he is known for acting quickly in this regard. Technically, 30 days thereafter, payments to all class members should commence. All class members will receive 4 equal, separate payments over a three year period. We have only been able to give you a general formula for how the payments will be calculated.

A company by the name of Rust Consulting will be administering these payments. Amanda Myette (amyette@rustconsulting.com) is our main contact person there. Paul Aloe and I will be available for the duration to handle any issues that may arise.

It has been my privilege to serve you in this matter.

Regards,

Dave Aboulafia

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Memorial Day

Dear fellow handlers, 

On Monday May 27th, we pause as a nation to honor and remember the heroic men and women who served bravely to protect our freedom and lost their lives in service to our country. We are all eternally in their debt for the sacrifice they've made.

Negotiations have begun to move forward with MSA. Earlier this month, we spent several hours with MSA's representatives and attorneys discussing proposals to improve working conditions for the handlers. The proposals included $35 an hour for all handlers, the reinstatement of the expense stipend with an eventual increase to $1000 a month, and guaranteed shelter and breaks for EDC teams at every post. We are fighting hard to make management realize that you are the face of MSA, you are the ones keeping MSA's contracts alive, and you are the ones keeping them in business!

In addition, we've been getting reports across the countries of field supervisors inventing new policies and rules and disciplining handlers for violating them. When your MSA supervisors invent mysterious unwritten rules, always ask where it is written, when it was enacted, and who enacted it? Then call us! These imaginary rules and policies do nothing but demoralize the men and women who work so proudly next to their EDCs and the only way to stop it is to hold those doing it accountable.

In closing, I would like to extend my appreciation to each and every MSA employee who has served or currently served in the United States Armed Forces. God bless you and God bless America.

Bill Beaury and your Union team.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Service Contract Act Payments

Good evening,

Over the next few days, many of you will be receiving a letter from the Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division's Enforcement Bureau. These letters will inform you how much is owed to you by MSA Security for failure to properly compensate handlers who have worked on Federal Government contracts covered by the Service Contract Act.

The investigation was initiated by our Union Secretary, Tom Brown, after first bringing it to the attention of MSA's executives. You can read more about that here.

The Department of Labor has obtained the full amount owed to the handlers and the funds are on deposit with the U.S. Treasury. To obtain the funds owed to you, you must fill out the WH-60 form and follow the instructions included in the envelope. If you have any questions, contact us at info@nopaymsa.com.


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Letter from an Anonymous Handler

Below is a comment left by an anonymous handler on a recent post. 
We thought it appropriate to share.

"Toxic leadership is a combination of self-centered attitudes, motivations and behaviors that have adverse effects on subordinates, the organization and mission performance. The leader lacks concern for others and the climate of the organization which leads to short and long term negative effects. The toxic leader operates with an inflated sense of self-worth and from acute self-interest. Toxic leaders use dysfunctional behaviors to deceive, intimidate, coerce or unfairly punish others to get what they want for themselves". Forbes Magazine

The above quote is taken from an article written about the U.S. Army, but it captures exactly what has happened at MSA Security and the kind of leadership we have been subjected to as employees. If I have to read one more time that MSA can't discuss it's canine policies because it is a matter of national security, I think I'll vomit. They discuss the policies when it suits them, when they are sitting on a sound stage with Megyn Kelly, but they go radio silent when confronted with a simple question about Mattie. We all know that the decision to send Mattie to Texas was vindictive and an attempt to hurt Seamus and his family more. What kind of treacherous person working at MSA makes that call? Glen? I would think it has to be Glen and he makes all the decisions now, no matter how cruel and destructive they may be. What happened to those great leaders we had from law enforcement? They sit on their hands while a CEO with no law enforcement/military/security experience runs roughshod over us. It really is sickening, but it gives us a clear picture of what happens in the executive suite at 9 Murray, and shows what a dim view they have of us. I don't think I would be going out on a limb by saying the owners of MSA Security, PWP are very smart people - highly educated, but are they completely blind to the reality that is MSA Security now? Doesn't one owner ever think how bad the optics are on taking Mattie away from a combat veteran and his family, telling him to shut-up and maybe he'd get her back and then twisting the knife by sending the dog to Texas? Let's not kid ourselves, the only reason Mattie was shipped off to Texas was to punish Seamus because he stood up for himself and his family and he believed that MSA was capable of doing the right thing. After a few tours downrange with bad guys shooting at him, it was not likely that Seamus could be bullied by Mike and Glen, but they tried their best. I think at one point they even told him to "get control of your wife". Very sad. Why wouldn't PWP call Glen and Mike and all the executives and directors at MSA and ask a very simple question "What the hell is going on"? "How did we get to this point"? That is what a company that cared about it's employees would do. Perhaps PWP only cares about money - and as long as MSA brings money in, they have no regard for the employees, the dogs and the once great reputation MSA enjoyed.

Glen and Mike you had a chance with Mattie to be generous, kind and magnanimous. You should have allowed Mattie to retire. It would have sent a message to all of us that it was time to heal, time to move forward, time to work together in the best interests of MSA Security. Instead you took this as an opportunity to be petty, harsh, cruel and vindictive. Your ego and arrogance, your contempt for us was never more obvious. You lost the Union fight, you lost in court so you decided to use Seamus as an example, to show us just how tough you are, but you only demonstrated how weak you really are. Business as usual at MSA Security. We know the truth and now the public and our clients are beginning to know the truth and see MSA for what it really is. Let's see what happens May 1st, and if anyone from PWP has the courage to come down from their office and hear what we have to say. Bring Mattie Home. UNION - count me in!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Fight for Mattie

Tonight at 6pm, PIX channel 11 news will be airing an interview with the Fennessy family about their upcoming protest of MSA's newly adopted unwritten and unseen policy of separating senior dogs from dedicated handlers. The protest will be held on May 1st from 11am to 3pm outside Perella Weinberg's headquarters at 767 5th Avenue (the GM Building) in New York City. All handlers and family members are encouraged to attend.

Click here to live stream the broadcast.

Demonstrations against work policies are considered protected concerted activity under the National Labor Relations Act. We will file charges against MSA for anyone who believes they were targeted or retaliated against for attending.

We've also been asked to provide the complete letter that was written to Mike O'Neil by Seamus Fennessy that is quoted in the following article. It's a powerful letter that we believe expresses the frustration many MSA handlers experience.





Sunday, March 31, 2019

Lawsuit Update

This week, all parties signed an agreement to settle the lawsuit. Information concerning the individual amounts owed and dates of payment will be mailed to each handler in the near future.

In addition, handlers that were hired from April 6th to November 10th, 2018 will be mailed paperwork informing them of their addition to the New York class, the California class, or how to join the FLSA collective.


We'd also like to thank the several handlers that reached out to us and the city of New York about retaliation for using sick leave. The Department of Consumer Affairs is currently investigating the reports. We will post updates as we receive the information.

We've also recently begun discussions with the NYC Human Rights Council in regards to possible discrimination and harassment committed by MSA management. If you've ever felt harassed, intimidated, or discriminated against by anyone from MSA, please reach out to us ASAP at info@nopaymsa.com. All reports are confidential.

Monday, March 25, 2019

News From the Front

Weingarten Rights



In the landmark case NLRB v. J. Weingarten, Inc. 420 U.S. 251 (1975), the Supreme Court upheld a National Labor Relations Board decision that employees have a right to union representation at investigatory interviews. These rights have become known as the Weingarten Rights.

There are three rules to the Weingarten Rights.
  1. You must make a clear request for union representation before or during the interview. You cannot be punished for making this request.
  2. After the employee makes the request, the employer must choose from among three options:
    1. Grant the request and delay questioning until the union representative arrives and (prior to the interview continuing) the representative has a chance to consult privately with the employee;
    2. Deny the request and end the interview immediately; or
    3. Give the employee a clear choice between having the interview without representation, or ending the interview.
  3. If the employer denies the request for union representation, and continues to ask questions, it commits an unfair labor practice and the employee has a right to refuse to answer. The employer may not discipline the employee for such a refusal.
If any member of MSA's management team approaches you to discuss discipline, suspension, termination, or anything that could affect your personal working conditions, politely respond with the following statement and then contact us immediately:

If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated, or affect my personal working conditions, I respectfully request that my union representative be present at this meeting. Until my representative arrives, I choose not to participate in this discussion.

If anyone from MSA management attempts to question or discipline you, email us at info@nopaymsa.com or call (888) 864-6601 before you answer any questions.


Lawsuit


The lawsuit is close to settlement. We are currently awaiting signatures from the named plaintiffs and defendants. The signatures are due on March 27th. Judge Gorenstein will then have to approve the settlement. We've also been hearing reports from handlers that members of MSA's management team have allegedly been making remarks that discourage being a party to the lawsuit. If any member of MSA's management attempts to discuss the lawsuit with you, record the conversation if possible, and contact us as soon as you can.

Sick Leave


We've initiated an investigation into MSA's sick leave policy with the City of New York, Department of Consumer Affairs. We have received several reports from handlers that supervisors allegedly required they come to work when they attempted to use sick time, that supervisors allegedly demanded notes from doctors detailing their illnesses, and that supervisors and managers have disciplined and suspended handlers for using or attempting to call in sick. This is all against the law. If you have ever experienced any of these situations or have ever had trouble calling in sick, please email us ASAP at info@nopaymsa.com. We are in current contact with an investigator from the City and can arrange to have them take a statement. All statements given to the investigator will be kept confidential.

Paid Family Leave


If you work in California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York, Washington State or Washington D.C., you are eligible for paid family leave benefits. You can use these benefits for a variety of reasons such as to care for a family member who is ill or to bond with a newborn child. Your benefits will vary by state. Feel free to select your state from the list below for detailed explanations. If you've attempted to use these benefits in the past and were denied or retaliated against by MSA, contact us for information.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Update

Lawsuit

On February 21st, MSA's attorneys filed a request for a settlement conference to discuss the following disagreements:

  • Whether individual defendants will bear responsibility for the settlement payments if the $14.5 million settlement is not paid in full.
  • The amount of any default penalty in the event payment is not made and a letter of credit Defendant MSA Security is posting is not honored.
  • Whether settlement funds will revert to the defendants if: (i) certain class or collective members yet to receive notice of the case decline to join the case; or (ii) plaintiffs fail to cash their settlement checks.

The individual defendants are Mike O'Neil, Glen Kucera, and George Harvey. The judge has scheduled conference for March 8th. A settlement agreement will now be due on March 18th.


Union

The first negotiation meeting between the UFK9H and MSA occurred on February 13th. MSA's lawyers were provided with a long list of what handlers all over the country have requested. They will be reviewing the list with their clients and will be in touch soon.

The National Labor Relations Board continues to investigate our charges against MSA which you can find here. They have also decided to dismiss the charges filed against us by MSA which you can find here.

The NLRB has also found merit to our charges that the implementation of the new Canine Home Care Policy and the reduction of the expense stipend were violations of the National Labor Relations Act. The NLRB is currently in the process of preparing an informal settlement agreement. We will continue to fight for the return of the $400 expense stipend, backpay for the months it was reduced, and the ability to negotiate the terms and conditions of the home care policy.

Service Contract Act


Many of you have received the following email from our new "Chief HR Officer" Peter Capizzi.

Dear Handler,

You recently received a notice from the MSA HR Department notifying you of the prevailing wage and fringe benefits associated with posts you work under the McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act (SCA). Due primarily to your paystub not previously breaking out your total pay on SCA projects that you worked on, you will be shortly notified by the US Department of Labor that you will be receiving compensation for the breakout omission. Your SCA work is now broken out separately on your paystub.

As a rapidly growing international company, we always strive to meet all legal and regulatory requirements.  Therefore, when we found we had made administrative errors, we corrected them.  More importantly, we introduced longer-term solutions, such as EPAY and UltiPro, to make certain the errors are not made in the future.  Our commitment is to always act with integrity and continue to find ways to enhance our business for our clients and our employees.

Should you have any questions on this matter please feel free to send a note to HR@msasecurity.net.

Sincerely,
Peter Capizzi | Chief HR Officer

This is Mr. Capizzi's first communication with us and it seems like he's been fed some incorrect information. MSA did not correct an administrative error as soon as they had found it. MSA was first informed in July 2017 that there was a possibility they weren't in compliance with the Service Contract Act. They did nothing except respond with hostility. We filed a complaint with the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor which then conducted an investigation of MSA. Now 160 handlers will be compensated nearly $250,000 in unpaid fringe benefits. Here is a link to our original post about the Service Contract Act in April of 2018.

As always, if you have any questions feel free to email us at nopaymsa@gmail.com or leave a comment on this post. Stay strong, stay united.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Business as Usual

My fellow handlers,

Tomorrow will mark one week since our fellow handler, Seamus Fennessy, surrendered his partner Mattie to MSA. Since then, there has been an outpouring of support for Seamus and his family. On Friday afternoon, Senator Sam Thompson of New Jersey's 12th District wrote a letter to Mike O'Neil and Glen Kucera in support of Seamus. You can find the news story regarding the letter and comments from Senator Thompson here. He has yet to receive a response.

 

We've also received confirmation that Senator Thompson has reached out to Governor Phil Murphy's office, briefed them on the situation, and discussed possible actions this afternoon. Senator Bob Menendez, a staunch supporter of animal rights, has also been in contact with the Fennessy family and has conveyed that they "have his office's full attention."

It would seem that all eyes are on the third floor of 9 Murray Street. As of now, there is silence, yet the walls continue to close in. With growing interest from the public, MSA can not continue to claim that their policies are top secret. We all know these policies simply don't exist. Policies are created and forgotten on a daily basis and the handlers in the field are never informed. If MSA is worried their policies could incriminate the company, perhaps they should develop policies that don't result in public outcry. Business as usual unfortunately. It's the same business as usual that has cost MSA over $15 million in legal settlements, the same business as usual that results in a 30% turnover rate every year, and the same business as usual that has tarnished MSA's once legendary reputation.

Glen, we have a challenge for you. If you truly want to fix this, do not surround yourself with the same yes men that were the cause of all these problems in the first place.  These are the same people that claimed they didn't have to pay us overtime, the same people that claimed they were in compliance with the SCA, and the same people who have ruined our relationships with the clients. Talk to the handlers who are reservists, get their opinion on the matter, then develop a policy that proves MSA is as military friendly as it claims. You could even go one step further and sit down with us and discuss a plan that would apply to all handlers and their partners if they choose to leave MSA. Better yet, work with us to make MSA a company that handlers won't want to leave in the first place.

No matter what, do not rely on business as usual this time. Do the right thing, reach out to Seamus and his family, and make this right.

In other news, a settlement agreement is close to being reached. The January 16th letter sent to Judge Gorenstein by all parties expressed hope that we will have a final settlement agreement within the next week. Updates will be posted as they happen.


Sunday, January 13, 2019

Happy New Year

Fellow handlers,

I am hoping this will find all having a happy and healthy New Year. As the New Year moves forward, we will also be moving forward with negotiations with MSA to get a contract in place. We've been in communication with MSA's lawyers and are working on establishing a set negotiation schedule. The following links are current charges filed against MSA. Case 29-CA-230696 are the charges we filed in response to the reduction of the expense stipend and the implementation of the Canine Home Care Policy; both of which are mandatory subjects of bargaining under the National Labor Relations Act.

29-CA-22318729-CA-23069621-CA-23209102-CA-23131215-CA-23213615-CA-232787

The lawsuit is still awaiting finalizing and signatures. The government shutdown has hampered this process. It should move forward by the end of the month. A status update on the settlement agreement is due to the court on January 16th and the motion for approval of settlement is due from both parties no later than February 22nd.

 



I would also like to inform you about a New York handler, Seamus Fennessy, who has recently been called to active duty. MSA has been adamant about taking his seven year old partner even though he is able to work part time while on active duty. His petition currently has over 3500 signatures and his page has over 1100 likes. It seems MSA only considers our partners family members when they're being interviewed on national television. Please like his page and share it when you have time.

https://www.facebook.com/SaveK9Mattie/

Finally, I would like to thank all of you for your patience over the last few months. Right now progress is slow, but there is progress. In the coming months, we hope to see the court ordered reinstatement of the $400 stipend, a fair negotiation of the Canine Home Care Policy, and a vast improvement to working conditions all across the country. Eventually, MSA will realize our goal is not to harm the company but to ensure that handlers are compensated fairly and treated with respect. MSA was once a great place to work. Soon, MSA will be great again.

Stay Strong, Stay United
Bill Beaury