To whom it may concern,

National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) Local 2554 represents approximately 600 Border Patrol agents that work in Calexico, El Centro, and Indio, California. Local 2554 cares about our members, our members’ families, and the communities they live in.

We are members of the American Federation of Government Employees affiliated with AFLCIO. As such, we are members of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council. But the San Diego dominated Labor Council does not represent us or the interests of workers and their families who live in Imperial County.

The Labor Council offered its endorsement to a distant second place IID candidate Ryan Childers, despite the letters of support that our union wrote in support of JB Hamby, the first place winner of the March primary election who defeated both Childers and incumbent Bruce Kuhn by 16 points each.

Bruce Kuhn, who voted to sell our Valley’s water to San Diego damaging the Salton Sea and hurting the health of our agents and their families, endorsed Ryan Childers. Childers has on multiple occasions publicly refused to oppose the San Diego Pipeline, which if constructed, will permanently transfer water away from Imperial County hurting your health and quality of life.

USBP Local 2554 believes that the Labor Council, which includes no working residents of Imperial County whatsoever, has a vested interest in receiving more water from Imperial County at the expense of our communities and the Salton Sea. This is shameful and dishonest.

It is our belief that in the unlikely event that Mr. Childers is elected he will be beholden to San Diego interests and political aid over the health, quality of life, and future for Imperial County workers and families.

To us, this endorsement shows that the San Diego controlled Labor Council believes that Childers is the candidate most likely to make deals with the San Diego County Water Authority for more of your water, and they are right.

Childers is the handpicked San Diego candidate. However, what we need in Imperial County is someone who will be unwavering in the protection of your water and your children’s health. NBPC Local 2554 believes that this candidate is JB Hamby.

Imperial County can no longer afford to sell our most precious resource to San Diego. The children around the Salton Sea are suffering from the effects of IID’s last decision to sell water to San Diego. These health effects will continue to get worse as the Salton Sea shrinks affecting all of our families that actually live here in Imperial County.

NBPC Local 2554 is a union that is not beholden to San Diego. We care about the children and families of Imperial County because we live in Imperial County and breathe the air here.

On November 3, join us in defending your water rights and your children’s health by voting for JB Hamby for IID Director Division 2 for El Centro, Heber, and Seeley.

Respectfully,

Michael R. Matzke

President NBPC Local 2554

El Centro Sector

(2) comments

Nate Fairman

This entire article is false and shows NO understanding of the structure of worker led organizations like the Labor Council. The Council is structured in a way that gives autonomy to its geographical groups like the Imperial Valley. That is the case with endorsements for any office in Imperial Valley. For example, all decisions and endorsements are conducted by the “Imperial Valley Labor Coalition”. Groups like IBEW 465 partake in those interviews because we represent almost 1,000 Imperial Valley families. The NBPC did not show up to the interviews and have never attended a coalition meeting. 1 out of every 4 households in the Imperial Valley are Union. Teachers, Utility Workers, Social workers, farm workers, grocery workers, home health care professionals and yes, Boarder Patrol Officers. We all have priorities and we all represent workers in the Imperial Valley. Imperial Valley Workers have spoken and the working class candidate who has our support is Ryan Childers.

IBEW Local 465 is proud to represent 900 frontline workers at the IID. Union members who risk their lives to keep the water flowing and the power on for hundreds of thousands of Imperial Valley families. For Mr. Matzke to say that we or the council ‘do not represent us or the interests of workers and their families who live in Imperial County’ is a grossly inaccurate and shows absolutely no understanding of the structure of other unions in the valley. IBEW Local 465’s office is located in the city of Imperial. We have two full time Business Representatives on staff and are proud to represent not only the 900+ workers at the IID but also close to 100 line clearance tree workers at Utility Tree Service in Imperial Valley. Mike is again 100% WRONG when he says that the Labor Council “includes no working residents of Imperial County whatsoever”. This is 100% false. IBEW 569 represents hundreds of electricians and power professionals in the Valley and have an office in the Valley as well which has 4 full time representatives representing hundreds of families in the Valley. Teachers, United Domestic Workers, Teamsters, Building Trades are also strong worker led organizations who have offices in the valley and represent tens of thousands of families in the valley.

Mike and the Boarder Patrol Council seem to have NO INTEREST in having conversations about finding common ground or building worker coalitions only spreading fake news and politically charged rhetoric similar to that of the current occupant of the oval office. We will not take the bait. Instead we will correct the record and offer a seat at the table. Mike and the Boarder Patrol Council has every opportunity to join the Imperial Valley Labor Coalition and have the hard conversations over these difficult issues we all face; protecting our water, keeping our families safe, and creating and protecting of good paying union jobs. Those things cannot be done by writing an op-ed or sending a letter. We have to be intentional with our efforts and invest real time to understand the priorities of each group. That is impossible if the NBPC refuse to be at the table.

The Imperial Valley Labor Coalition interviewed both Mr. Childers and JB. Dozens of the people on the interview panel lived in the Valley and jointly represented tens of thousands of Valley Families. Childers was the candidate the group felt had the most real world experience, had first hand knowledge of collective bargaining with his time on the school board in the valley, and seemed to relate more to the working class issues our members face. Childers is Educated as attorney and accountant (important to have strong knowledge of region and laws and experience as IID is currently tied up in litigation over control of access to Colorado River). He served for 12 years on the Centro Elementary School Board and Central Union High School Board of Trustees (significant governance exp). Childers is a Leader that believes in collaboration and coalition building. Childers supports keeping IID decision making power with Imperial residents by not diluting the board with Riverside County residents. He was the clear working class candidate and he got the most support in the endorsement process from Imperial Valley Workers.

We also had REAL CONCERNS about JBs questionable past: his work for ANTI-UNION Uber, his Walmart video that mocked and ridiculed the intelligence of Latino members of our community, and his history of condescending remarks. JB absolutely could be a changed man who no longer carries those values or positions, but they are still fresh in the mind of many of our members who were really turned off by them.

We are affiliated with the Labor Council because we understand the importance of sitting at the same table with other workers led organizations (like carpenters, utility workers, farm workers, iron workers, school teachers and yes, boarder patrol officers) to listen to their issues and build solidarity. It is at these tables that consensus is built, difficult conversations are had, and working families voices are elevated. The clear choice in November is Ryan Childers. He stands with workers, will protect our water, and will fight for all of us, not just rich farmers.

Mike Matzke

Nate Fairman lives in San Diego. He cites the IID union which benefits from the one hundered and twenty million dollars a year that goes into the IID Budget. This money flows into the IID budget because they sold your water to San Diego. Nate tries to say that my statement is 100% false. You know what is not false, the children around the Salton Sea are suffering from chronic nose bleeds because IID sold your water to San Diego. Chronic nose bleeds are caused by exposure to lead, hydrogen sulfide, and chromium 6, all of which are found in the Salton Sea. As the sea shrinks your children are exposed to the poluted airborne dust. Nate Fairman does not have children that live by the Salton Sea, and Childers will sell more of your water to San Diego, exposing your children to more polluted dust. We need to pipe water into the Salton Sea to protect your children from polluted dust. What are Childers and the San Diego unions studying? A pipe line to take more of your water to San Diego. Vote JB Hamby November 3rd.

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