the heat is on
It ain't the heat, it's the humidity, and summer finds our leaders in several sticky situations.
Efforts to distance the UBC from the AFL-CIO have led to raiding parties from other internationals, and a temporary truce. McCarron has broken his own amendment, to his own constitution, by allowing local participation in Building Trades Councils, after officially pulling out of the parent body. This backpedaling is only possible from an administration that uses the rules to limit the rights of the members, but not the actions of the employees, of those members.
British Columbian Carpenters have continued their march towards
independence, while Mr. McCarron supports American timber producers, union or not, over
their Canadian unionized Brothers. Atlanta rank and file carpenters elected to the top
offices of their local are pushing back attempts to take away their democratically won
power, with the help of the Department of Labor.
A 20 million dollar lawsuit designed to stifle the efforts of one retired carpenter, who seeks to uncover pension fraud, has been dropped because continuing the suit would allow the carpenter's attorney access to information that would prove his point.
40 years of labor law has finally blossomed into a full fledged right for the members. Through the efforts of a few individuals in the International Association of Machinists, a provision of the LMRDA that requires unions to provide their members with the information regarding their rights provided in the Act, has been confirmed by the courts. All unions are required to provide their members with the information, that they are protected by federal law for free speech, fair elections, due process, and financial accountability. Until this recent development, only the Masters, Mates, and Pilots have ever voluntarily offered their members this information. In an apparent effort to deter a suit, the UBC decided to print the information in the "Carpenter". While this may seem fair and proper, the use of blue ink on blue paper (to prevent photocopying), smacks of unethical behavior. An organization of the members would practice the principles at every meeting instead of hiding them in a sea of gobbledygook (information taken from the AUD's "Union Democracy Review).
THAT CRAZY AFL-CIO THANG
What is he thinking? And Why Now?
by Painters and Allied Trades General President Michael E. Monroe
It was a sad day for the entire labor movement on March 19, when the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners disaffiliated from the AFL-CIO. This was the work primarily of an arrogant and misguided leadership, and particularly President Douglas McCarron, who pushed the Carpenters executive board into this action. After years of promoting predatory raiding policies against his brothers and sisters in the other building trades crafts and AFL-CIO unions, ignoring the wrath and the penalties of the AFL-CIO, McCarron has made a grand display of picking up his tools and going off to work by himself.
But don't let McCarron's protestations fool you. What he's been telling his members about the Carpenters' relationship with the AFL-CIO, and the truth of the matter, are two entirely different stories. McCarron knows full well that the UBC has been violating the AFL-CIO constitution - the rules all the unions made for all to live by - and he knows full well the ramifications of his disaffiliation, for his members and for the labor movement.
Unfortunately, a lot of good, honest and hardworking Carpenters will get hurt in the process. By disaffiliating, McCarron prevents UBC members from actively participating in any state, provincial or local building trades council of the Building and Construction Trades Department, or in any AFL-CIO state or local central body. He has willfully separated them from the movement that links and mobilizes organized workers, for the good of us all.
AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and Building and Construction Trades Department President Ed Sullivan continue working to convince the Carpenters to rejoin the House of Labor, and we support these efforts wholeheartedly. I made a motion to that effect at meetings of both the BCTD and the Metal Trades Department.
We are legally bound, and we will continue to honor, all legal
collective bargaining agreements, PLAs, and International agreements with the Carpenters
at the local union and district council levels.
There will be no chaos on the job sites where our members and the other members of the building trade unions work.
Sadly, the chaos McCarron is causing is with in the labor movement, not on the job sites, and he must pay the price. We will not, we cannot, continue to work with the Carpenters union at any level - local, regional or national. To continue to partner with the UBC at some local levels would only encourage the bullying tactics of McCarron elsewhere. He has chosen to go alone, and must bear the isolation that comes with his decision.
This does not mean, however, that we should not talk with Carpenters members individually. In fact, it is imperative that we talk with all of them. You have good friends among the Carpenters, and so do I. As their brothers and sisters, we must make sure they understand the facts behind McCarron's action, and also understand just how foolhardy and self-destructive his act is for their union and for the entire labor movement.
McCarron has told his members that, he has tried to work with the leadership of the AFL-CIO, but that's not true. He has been "missing in action" before the AFL-CIO Executive Council from the very beginning.
Any good union member understands that the way you work to influence change is to participate in the union - to attend meetings, set forth your thoughts, get involved in debates, be a part of the democratic process. McCarron has not done that. Of the 12 AFL-CIO Executive Council meetings and numerous AFL-CIO committee meetings I've attended since being elected general president of the IUPAT in September 1998, McCarron has attended only one. He did not stay for the entire meeting, and he did not participate in any discussion. He has told his members, (and the press) that he is disaffiliating because the AFL-CIO has raised its' per capita. Well, he missed the meeting in which the Executive Council debated the per capita increase, when the other union presidents were told that, to continue the federation's good programs in education, organizing and political action, the AFL-CIO would either have to raise the per capita or gain 350,000 new members.
When the issue of the per capita increase was raised, the UBC was
two years' delinquent on its per capita payments, and it was paying on fewer than 40,000
members. I told the council then that if the Carpenters were not behind in their
payments, and if they were paying on all of their 400,000-plus members, we wouldn't need
to raise the per capita. The increase that McCarron complained about was due to the fact
that the Carpenters were not paying their fair share. Doug McCarron caused the
per capita increase in the AFL- CIO, not John Sweeney. I was also in a meeting of the BCTD when McCarron, rattling his sabers as a threat to the other building trades union, said that his union could go it alone.
"After I've paid all my bills and all the salaries for my staff," he said, "my profit line is at $50 million."
His profit line? Is he a labor leader or is he a young corporate raider? Perhaps McCarron needs to give UBC members a break on dues, if he's hoarding all that wealth as a "profit line." But no matter how much money the Carpenters stockpile, by overcharging their members or by underpaying the AFL-CIO, the UBC cannot be a more effective organization working by itself. No union, standing alone, can accomplish what a federation of unions can accomplish on behalf of the
members of each federated union. It's called solidarity. It works. And it is needed now more than ever. All true union members and union leaders know that.
If McCarron does not stand with his brothers and sisters in the
labor movement, then who does he stand with? Is he in league with employers? With
the right-wing, anti- union crowd that controls the White House and the Congress?
I say, "yes, he is." Those who know me know that I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican. Our union supports elected officials who advocate on behalf of working people, regardless of their party label. But President Bush is part of the radical right-wing of his party, someone who does not believe that working people should have the benefit of representation. Bush has struck with a vengeance against unions because our movement, in good conscience, worked against his campaign.
McCarron's actions, creating chaos within the labor movement, definitely provides comfort to the enemies of the labor movement, the Republican leadership in the White House and in the Congress. And it raises the question of "why now?" Why has the general president of the Carpenters chosen to purposefully weaken the labor movement at a time when we are under attack by these powerful antiunion forces?
The jurisdictional disputes have been around for decades, and this is not the first time the Carpenters have disaffiliated from the AFL-CIO over jurisdictional issues. It happened in 1910, 1921, 1928 and again in 1953. The solution is not to disaffiliate. The solution is to engage in a dialogue with the other unions and their leaders. I personally told Mr. McCarron that we would help him get his concerns before the entire labor movement, if they were legitimate, and that I would work with him in committee to resolve the issues if he returned to the AFL-CIO. But he refused.
When I was first elected as general president of the IUPAT, I offered to join in total partnership with the UBC on joint political action, joint bargaining and joint organizing. McCarron's response was: "We can work with you in some places, but not everywhere." In other words, we can help him, but he won't help us. Well, my offer still stands and he knows that. IUPAT members may remember that our union introduced a resolution, back in August 2000 at the BCTD convention, that prohibited raiding by affiliated unions and called for all of us, to respectfully support each others' efforts to advance the interests of our members. I noted then, speaking from the floor, that McCarron was not on the dais with the other union presidents. He wasn't even in attendance, even though he was the main culprit. Again, he refused to participate in the democratic process of the trade union movement. Our resolution was adopted overwhelmingly by the delegates who were in attendance.
Working together is the union way. But McCarron refuses to live by the rules all of the rest of us work under. We have done everything in our power to defend our members' rightful jurisdictions, within the AFL-CIO, under the constitutional rules we have supported for every union that was attempting to protect and advance their members, including the Carpenters. I still hold out the hope that the Carpenters will join in that process, which works for all of us in every true union.
McCarron has stated that the primary reason for his disaffiliation
with the rest of the movement is not because of anything John Sweeney has done, but
because of what John has not done. I don't know who Doug McCarron thinks he is, or what he
thinks he has done for the good of our movement. But I do know the honest and diligent
work John Sweeney and the officers of the AFL-CIO have done. Under Sweeney's leadership,
the AFL-CIO has given all union members a reason to believe, a reason to participate, and
a reason to be proud of the collective efforts of AFL-CIO unions, on behalf of their
respective members. John Sweeney's efforts to redirect the labor movement, in my opinion,
are unassailable. To be strong, our movement must build solidarity. By McCarron's action
to disaffiliate, the Carpenters are chipping away at the strength of organized workers
everywhere in every union, including his own. We must stand together, lest we fall
separately. Pass the word.
The NYC Rank and File E-Board Responds
I have read the letter from the G.P of the painters union and asked myself, who really cares what him or Sweeney think? It's obvious, that their focus is on the money they are losing, and not the fact that we suffer under a dictatorship. Why else would they engage "Cash Mac" in a dialogue, and try to get him to return? Are there any prerequisites like restoring an election by popular vote? I doubt it. As far as labor leaders go, at the present time, all of labor is left sorely lacking in terms of men or women who place principles before personalities. We can not look to anyone else to save us, we must make our own way. Take, with a grain of salt, anything said by someone still looking to lay down with the devil, McCarron.
Gary A Lail Sr. Treasurer -local 926
Brooklyn N.Y, The Heart Of The Rebellion
Building Trade Unions in Turmoil
By Sherie Winston
from THE ENGINEERING NEWS-RECORD
Since the carpenters' union's unprecedented defection from the AFL-CIO in March, the picture has been getting fuzzier for the Federation's Building and Construction Trades Department.
The department's financial health is ailing, some believe its' leadership is flailing, and its Heavy and Highway Division is expected to withdraw and become an independent entity within the next few months. Some observers say it is time for BCTD to rethink its mission.
Hampered for years by increasing financial stress, BCTD suffered a sharp blow when it lost the per capita dues of the carpenters' 525,000 members when they left. Other unions reportedly are only paying a portionof their per capita share, which they claim reflects what they are receiving in return from the department. The 14 building trade union presidents also dug in their heels recently, declining to approve a requested increase in the per capita dues rate.
Bob Ozinga, a top aide to BCTD President Edward C. Sullivan, says the issue "is an internal matter to be discussed by the leaders of the building trades." Ozinga refuses to comment on the department's financial situation, but he asserts that BCTD "will remain viable under its leadership."
But Ozinga promises that "some administrative
changes" will be announced within the next two months. He declines to discuss
specifics, but sources say the department's staff may be scaled back to cut expenses.
Other organizational changes also are likely. "It certainly means they are going to have to seriously address their financial situation," says one union source. A discussion of what the department's role and function is may also be necessary, he adds.
It also is expected that BCTD's Heavy and Highway Division will pull out. The division is instrumental in negotiating labor terms for key projects, including a $250-million toll road under construction outside of Denver. With an increase in highway and airport construction scheduled over the next few years, thanks to the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, a viable organization becomes even more important.
Eight unions comprise the division, lead by the carpenters, operating engineers and the laborers. When the carpenters left the AFL-CIO, they had to withdraw from all BCTD activities, including the heavy and highway unit. Weeks later, the operating engineers left the division, claiming the loss of the carpenters' union "will restrict or stymie any efforts to maximize the potential of the heavy-highway operation" (from eng. news rec 5/14/01 pg. 12). With the loss of two key unions, it was only a matter of time until something drastic would happen, industry sources say.
Some argue that the heavy and highway division should never have been a part of BCTD. Over the division's 40-plus-year history, it has been in and out of the building trades. It operated as an independent entity until mid 1996 when it rejoined BCTD. But over the past few years, there has been "nothing but turmoil," says one source familiar with the division. It won't survive if it doesn't pull out of the building trades and change the way it operates procedurally, this source asserts.
Although carpenters' union President Douglas J. McCarron scores a victory
if the Heavy and Highway Division leaves BCTD, sources say that action would be
coincidental and "not [taken] to provide McCarron with a home." Once the
division no longer is affiliated with BCTD, the carpenters could again participate.
It is anticipated that the operating engineers also would rejoin.
The relationship with contractors is key for these unions to
successfully operate the division, says one source. Contractors prefer the division
to be independent and more flexible, says one union official. Through a spokesman,
Sullivan says that the Heavy and Highway Division "has a special and unique mission
and function." BCTD needs to respect the special circumstances of the division and
how that construction market differs from the commercial construction sector, the
(Ed. note; Clearly a lot of action takes place behind the scenes that the average union member doesn't understand. How is the mission of the Heavy and Highway division special and unique from the rest of the construction industry? Is the flexibility, and independence, desired by this group of contractors similar to the "wall to walll" scheme of Doug McCarron, or is it closer to the "Team" concept of the ABC? The scariest part of all of these maneuvers by the leaders of the internationals is; that while the rank and filers pay the bills, we have no input, nor vote in the decisions, but are the ones most directly affected by the outcomes!)
Making Changes Without McCarron
UBC's GP Doug McCarron is slipping farther and farther into obscurity in BC as we modernize without him. Last Tuesday Vancouver Local 1995 held a special called meeting to discuss and vote on local bylaw changes concerning dispatch, organizing, and meeting rules. There was a healthy debate, with both pro-democracy and pro-International forces getting their chance at the mike, and eventually all the changes were approved.
The changes are significant because they start the
implementation of a more fair dispatch system (convert to a telephone bid system), bring
in stricter rules on membership cooperation in organizing (discourage antiunion
Superintendent/Foremen members), and establish new "respect" rules at membership
None of these rules are rocket science but what is important is that members were given a vote on the matters and membership approval essential for any rule's success.
This vote is another victory for the pro-democracy forces because
it proves we can change for the better with the members but without McCarron.
Local 1995 Vancouver,B.C.
A letter to Doug
I recently received the May/June issue of the Carpenters magazine. I am deeply concerned with statements made in the article "Carpenters Grab Some ole-time Union Religion." To read that the Carpenters Union as a whole is part of a coalition that is petitioning the US Government for duties on Canadian softwood is a deplorable act. Your position on Canadian softwood is a slap in the face to every brother and sister in Canada. Your position has divided our Union at the border and further damaged the relationship between yourself and the members of this union. Your actions taken on Canadian softwood are done to please your political allies, not for the benefit of the Brotherhood. This would not have happened, had you consulted with the membership in Canada. Canadians know it goes against your grain to ask the opinion of the members of our union.
Next time you chose a critical path for the UBC, you may want to ask for a second opinion - the members.
Paul R. Nedelec, Business Rep.
Local 2300 Castlegar BC
Another letter to the GP
I have read the article that was printed in the May/June issue of the Carpenters Magazine on the coalition that is being formed with other Unions to petition the US Government for duties on our softwood lumber. I had to read it twice to make sure I understood what it meant because it is with total disbelief that you a so called Brother of mine would endorse and help fight something of this magnitude.
In the article it says that, and I quote, "there could be an extra 4 million to spend a year, it can bring focused clout to issues, the bargaining table, outreach and organizing. At the very least the union has everyone's attention."
Well let me tell you Brother, it sure got my attention. How the hell do you expect the Organizers in Canada to go after the nonunion saw mills and then tell them that once they are in the union their dues will be used against them to fight softwood from going to the US. I also find it appalling that my dues are being used for the same thing.
I wonder in your arrogance, did you forget who you are suppose to be representing? Let me tell you Brother that you are sure not representing me or my Canadian Brothers and Sisters.
Steve Borho ,
Business Manager Local 1719
A Retired Carpenter Fights BACK
As a retired member of Carpenters Local 1506 in Los Angeles and a Beneficiary of the Carpenters Southern California Pension Trust, I am seriously concerned about the abuses by the fund managers and trustees. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been diverted by corrupt trustees and pension fund managers into investments in their own, or related companies, or loaned to entities that will never pay the money back. In my opinion Richard Blum, the husband of California Senator Dianne Feinstein, is one of them.
In January of 1999, I sued the Carpenters Pension trust for misusing and mishandling pension fund money. One of the defendants is Richard Blum who is financial advisor to the Pension Trust of Southern California and to the Pension Fund of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, a fund to which I have also contributed. I have a web site that exposes the pension's mishandling of funds. In one of the articles I wrote the word CORRUPT when referring to Richard Blum. Blum's office wrote to me saying they wanted the word taken out and that a retraction be posted on my site. I wrote back saying I would do that If he would prove to me he was not corrupt, and that I would post the proof on my site. He never answered.
Instead I was sued for $20 million for defamation and libel. Blum has recently decided to drop the suit. I feel he did not want to answer discovery. He first tried to get $100,000.00 from my insurance company, which was handling the case. He did not get a cent from me and I have not changed my site or apologized. In my opinion Blum was not suing me because of the word CORRUPT, he was suing me because I was exposing his corruption.
By the way my web site address is: http://members.tripod.com/unionplainfacts.
Despite $40 million in fees paid to Blum in the last few years, our pension fund has lost over $333 million on $700 million stock investment deals. Out of these deals, we lost $69 million deals where Blum has a conflict of interest, a personal interest, or sits on the Board. It is also my opinion that Blum filters money through multiple layers of entities, skimming profits and pay backs at every level. In many cases he has gained control and looted the very companies he invests in. I believe that certain investment vehicles launder funds and funnel them back. The other thing is that he probably takes advantageof is the Unions' Tax Exemption. We the members receive zero benefits from these transactions that are made with our hard earned money. Criminal charges have already been filed in New York, and suits have been filed in Buffalo, Detroit and mine in Los Angeles.
I believe that Dianne Feinstein has a conflict of interest in this
whole thing. Feinstein is one of these politicians enjoying hefty campaign
contributions from the Carpenters. I have written to her in the past, only to receive a
request to provide my social security number. It would not surprise me if she where
investigating me at the present. Probably looking into my IRS files, to name a few.
She should be ashamed that her husband filed a $20 million lawsuit against a
carpenter that only makes $577.00 , a month, from his pension and a social security
Beneficiary of the Carpenters Pension Fund
Retired Member, Carpenters Local 1506
Los Angeles CA
Rank and File Wins.
Piledrivers Local 578 Chicago had its election for E-Board last week.Our appointed BA ran for President of this Local and for Delegate to our District Council and lost both races. So tell all your members that their vote does count. There is still hope for all rank and file members that want to have imput in there Locals. Would love to hear if any other local are enjoying the fact that rank and file members are in control of their own locals.
R.F.M. Piledrivers Local 578 Chicago
RATIFICATION (Thumbs UP or DOWN)
Saturday morning, June 9th, Seattle's LATHING, ACOUSTICAL, INSULATION,
AND DRYWALL SYSTEMS local #1144 voted on a proposed contract. With more
than 25% of the membership voting, the contract offer was turned down.
533 NO 21 YES
Richard Alabonneheur L.U. 470 Seattle, WA
(Editor's note: in the Southern Wisconsin Regional Council, under the
new bylaws, this vote would not have counted, as 50% of the members must
be present to constitute a quorum. Failing that attendance percentage,
the negotiating committee gets to decide for the members !)
IT'S A GOOD JOB
IF YOU CAN GET IT!
Here are the salaries taken from the LM2 report for the period of 1/1/00
Douglas McCarron $265,823.00
Douglas Banes $298,296.00
Andris Silins $293,515.00
And last but not least, we should all know what Monte Byers a.k.a. Barb
Baker is making these days:
Monte Byers $284,999.00
Salary Before Taxes $166,881.00
Allowances $ 10,000.00
Disbursements for Official $117,118.00
Business (Probably his/hers web site)
(ed. note; Barb Baker flames the reform movement on the web as though
"she" is a concerned "working" member. Clearly "she is working" and now
we know why she is concerned about reform!)
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