March 19, 2015

Here's one easy way to reduce union corruption in Canada

Brian LilleyArchive

Union leaders are telling us again: "Just trust us." I don't think that's such a great idea.

Canadian unions collect billions of dollars a year from members, then spend it on whatever they want.

In one case, dues were used to rebuild a strip club run by a biker gang.

What about the RCMP investigation into the Ontario Provincial Police Association?

And the Quebec commission investigating links between organized crime and the labour movement?

I explain why it's more important than ever for the Senate to pass Bill 377.

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commented 2015-06-19 02:42:21 -0400
commented 2015-06-19 02:38:14 -0400
I left the meeting and was in the dispatch area outside the meeting doors when I was confronted by Steven Martin who began pushing me and saying that I must leave the building. I asked him to keep his hands off me and he continued by pushing with his body and as I tried to move to where my bag was he blocked me and forcefully pushed me again. As this was happening several members were close by watching including business rep Les Carbonnaro and Greg Cullen, and two or three other members including at least two members that work at the hall.

So in my opinion unfairness and improper procedures are being allowed to go on in local 353 and not being expeditiously addressed by the IBEW international office despite charges being filed on numerous occasions. Intimidation is being allowed in union meetings and practiced by officers at the local 353 union hall, this is not the first incident regarding a member being pushed and abused by a local 353 Representative and is a disturbing trend that I hope will be addressed by someone in authority. It is hypocritical to read out a harassment policy at the beginning of union meetings and then allow political opponents or critics to be discriminated against by double standards and physical abuse.

The local 353 officers have retained a legal firm to send a member (myself) a Notice of Libel claiming defamation and threatening a lawsuit. Members were asked to vote on a bill of $5000.00 in May 2015. Questions for information by members on the union floor related to that bill were avoided by the business manager. Motions to table the bill until comprehensive factual information about the actions was provided were ruled out of order by the unit chairmen.

In June omissions to the minutes offered by members and corrections to errors were refused by two of the unit recorders.

Just the tip of the iceberg.
commented 2015-03-19 19:19:02 -0400
I must say, I’m pressed with the calibre of most of the comments regarding unions! There seems to be a common thread throughout- leadership corruption, aka abuse of power. There is another concern that doesn’t necessarily include the union leadership but even more serious when it comes to people’s right to choose whether they want to join a union or not. It’s generally held that in unions majority rules which sounds like democracy. There are examples where majority rules is not democratic but rather autocratic, in essence an oligarchy. Commercial fishing for example is a business, a business conducted by individuals for their own benefit which by definition, as fish is both a public property and harvested as a private business, translates as requiring individuals to apply their behavior in a manner that benefits the whole in concert with meeting sustainable management delivery. By allowing a union whose sole and exclusive agenda is to push management to conduct a fishery to benefit not the individual/independent fishers to support and encourage innovation but rather the canneries demands alone, “Unions” takes democracy and individual rights out and replaces it with communism! How this can be in Canada under the control and direction of a publicly funded government entity – the Canadian Dept of Fisheries and Oceans, defies logic and explanation!
commented 2015-03-19 15:18:30 -0400
Let me say first that not all unions are corrupt and not all union leaders are self-serving, but some certainly are. While requiring unions to disclose information about how members’ dues are spent is a good idea because any organization that is funded by its members should do that, I don’t believe that it will change what these unions do with members’ money. That’s because the current legal framework governing unions and their relationship with members doesn’t allow members to take any action to stop their leaders from doing whatever they want with their dues. Contrary to popular belief unions do not have to practice democracy. Some do but many only practice the kind of sham democracy you see in places where dictators hold elections and always win (very few practice one member one vote). So members can’t vote the current leaders out. Similarly it is virtually impossible for members to decertify or change unions. The structure of the mega unions with huge bargaining units that span large geographic areas make it impossible for any member or group of members to achieve this kind of regime change. Those who do try to take on the ruling elite often find themselves paying the price through engineered dismissals, sanctions, harassment, lawsuits or worse.

Unless there is substantial change in the laws that regulate unions, their structure, governance model and the rights of their members nothing will change. And even then, there’s no guarantee. In the US, where union democracy has been a legal requirement for decades, the rights of members have statutory protection and the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (which requires the kind of financial disclosure Brian describes) has been in place since 1959, the misuse of dues for political and other purposes continues unabated. It’s time to rethink workplace representation altogether.
commented 2015-03-19 14:46:37 -0400
Here’s a heads up Brian… the Canadian Labour Congress is hosting conferences across the country to prepare members to build, lead and deliver campaigns designed to defeat the Conservatives. The first event was held on Feb. 6-7 at the U of T.
And I quote from the Oshawaworker " we need to elect a party who will help out the working class, as this present gov’t tries to put down the working class by aiding in driving down wages and our pension plans."
I guess they conveniently forgot who propped G.M. up a few years ago when they needed a gov’t handout to keep jobs in Oshawa. This may change again as G.M. is making noises about moving the Camaro out of Oshawa to Michigan, perhaps because of their new union laws…..
commented 2015-03-19 12:54:16 -0400
Time to end the tax free status for unions and the environmental associations. They have hijacked the intended purpose for political and/or social engineering. Only charities involved in helping the truly disadvantaged should be granted tax free status.
commented 2015-03-19 12:34:11 -0400
I’m not a union supporter, but I was a union member when I worked for the BC Government…. I had no choice! So I got involved with the union, I went to the meetings, I was elected a job steward, I was on the union executive council… I got involved. I’ll be damned if they’re going to take union dues from me without me having some say in how it’s spent. I was only one voice, but I made damned sure that my voice was heard! It was almost always the one dissenting voice, so it didn’t affect the outcome, but it was loud enough that they sure couldn’t miss me. Every union member has the right to vote. If ALL grass root members got involved, including those who don’t support the big labor movement’s political agenda, ESSPECIALY those who don’t support that agenda; if that happened, then the member would control the union executive, not the other way around. If they’re going to take your money whether you like it or not, get involved in the decision making process. Have some say in how your money is spent. It may not be much but it’s the only control you got.
commented 2015-03-19 11:45:16 -0400
Data show that generally, 10-15% of union executive are mob. These days, mob does business with foreign terrorist organizations, crime having globalized. They are motivated by profit alone, with no conscience, and will intimidate/harass targets for no reason at all except profit, including for political reasons. The target doesn’t even need to be in a union. If IS or al-Qaeda or MB wants you shut up, they pay mob that pays some unionized schmuck who feels he’s entitled to more to go ‘round to your home, deliver a death threat, assault you, or set a fire. I’ve seen it and witnessed police laugh and turn a blind eye.

Remember what Detective Jacques Duchesneau told Justice Charbonneau? That corruption is worse in Ontario than in Quebec. Not just between politicians and construction firms. That’s classic. But in the system, from cops to judges and every civil service in between, including the oversight agencies. Listen, not every employee is instrumental in the corruption but all feel the intimidation and comply with it just to keep their jobs.

Pass C-377? Hell yeah!!
commented 2015-03-19 11:21:46 -0400
Tara, I disagree with you in one small aspect. Some companies do treat you any way they want. Even with a union. By and large airport employees make low wages in the $11 – $17 dollar range. Of course there are exceptions. Recently the wheelchair service provider finally came to a contract agreement with it’s members after more than 2 years of static wages. The GTAA in matter of weeks gave the new contract for the wheelchair services to another company. Hence the labour contract is now void. Yes, those employees may get work with this new company, but it will be at the low wage level. All perfectly legal. But extremely unfair.
Having said that I do agree that union dues should be only used for the benefit of the employees it represents on not on unrelated issues or events.
commented 2015-03-19 11:02:34 -0400
Unions in Canada wield a mighty big stick! I am okay with the idea of having unions to PROTECT workers’ rights and to improve working conditions. However, unions now have flexed their muscle and have gone far beyond that. They are now interfering in the political process of elections. THAT should NOT be allowed under any circumstance!
commented 2015-03-19 10:34:57 -0400
Thanks for publicizing the union intentions for the federal election. People need to know about this.
commented 2015-03-19 10:21:03 -0400
Nothing will change because the kick back to politicians is too great. Unions collect dues and ensure nothing changes by paying off politicians. Illegal? Fraud? Yep, but this is what decades of socialists do to a country. But here’s something to think about. Rust belt states (the ones near Ontario) are going right to work – Michigan and Wisconsin are the most recent. 25 US states are right to work. Bye bye union control. But once again, lazy Ontario will fk themselves until they wake up to the competition down the street – Michigan, Ohio, NY, Pennsylvania amongst others – the brink of insolvency, much like Greece, should wake Ontario up.
commented 2015-03-19 09:32:47 -0400
Yes 100% agree, union have become like the corporation once was, greedy only they don’t pay taxes.
commented 2015-03-19 09:26:27 -0400
As Captain Kirk said…“Unions are supported by the NDP”…“They always will be, no matter what unethical behaviour they ever do!”…maybe it was Captain Kirk…
commented 2015-03-19 09:11:43 -0400
Unions need to go. They had their place, but in this day and age, unless you live in a 3rd world country, employers can’t just treat their employees however they want to. Besides, unions are only political now, and Idk about anyone else, but if I were a union member, I’d want to know to which party all the money went. I would not want my money going to a party I didn’t support, and if you’re not liberal, sucks to be you as unions are liberal and anti-Harper, through and through. That sucks as much as our tax dollars going to cbc with no choice and I can’t stand them.