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    Archived pages: 439 . Archive date: 2014-08.

  • Title: the Members for Democracy Archive
    Descriptive info: .. Web.. m-f-d.. org.. Members for Democracy Archive.. contact.. about.. browse.. home.. About this site.. Between the years 2000 and 2006, the.. Members for Democracy.. (.. MFD.. ), a rag-tag group of labour union reformers, ran a web site at the domain address.. www.. ufcw.. net.. In November of 2005, at the conclusion of a 5 year legal dispute with the.. United Food Commercial Workers International Union.. , the Supreme Court of British Columbia issued a decision ordering.. to stop using the.. ufcw.. domain name.. read more.. Most popular articles.. Mondo Condo: A history in Pictures.. Understanding Last Chance Agreements.. Changing Unions - The Straight Goods on Mainstream Labour's Biggest Taboo.. Real Canadian Superstores: The UFCW's Low Wage Wasteland.. The Straight Goods on the Duty of Fair Representation - p.. 01.. The Haunted Houses of Labour.. Sins of the Father.. Full Disclosure :: the UFCW Canada Pension Plan :: 02 :: The Best Laid Plans.. The Swiss Chalet Workers - p.. 01 - Mainstream Labour's Best Kept Secret.. Concession Bargaining - How Not To.. Most  ...   The Tools of Disempowerment - Unplugged - p.. The 21st Century Workplace: R_evolution.. Mediation - Inside - p.. Full Disclosure :: the UFCW Canada Pension Plan :: 00.. The Inevitable End of an Era.. Knowledge is Power - Interaction is Action.. The Future for Workers.. Part 04 - The Snake's Keep.. Most popular weekly.. Invisible men: Union corruption in Canada.. Our Brother's Rights.. You have the right to remain silent.. 'When did you become a labour relations expert?'.. Manufacturing Controversy or Manufacturing Consent?.. Knowledge is Power Knowing How Little You Have Is Not.. Freedom for our People.. Vice Chair Strangelove: How he learned to stop worrying and love the bomb.. Sweethearts or Biz-Unions?.. How to Bargain: Chuck the Rule Book, Farley.. Most popular topic.. Loblaws/RCSS.. Song For The Week.. zehrs 1977 offer.. Regulator in the Sack with UFCW Pension Crew?.. Absenteeism - Culpable or Non-Culpable.. Terminated while Disabled: Labatt's Dirty Little Secret.. Maplegrove Warehouse Workers.. Supercenter vs.. Superstore.. Reformer to visit Loblaws 'flagship'.. Checking in: What's Up At the Travelodge?.. top.. 2014 Members for Democracy..

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  • Title: the Members for Democracy Archive
    Descriptive info: Contact Us.. Fields marked by a.. red asterik.. *.. ) are required.. Your Contact Information.. your name:.. your email:.. Your Comments.. comments:.. submit.. reset..

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  • Title: the Members for Democracy Archive
    Descriptive info: This site is an archive of all the content; news posts, articles, and discussions, created by.. contributors between the years 2000 and 2006.. The archive contains approximately 5845 items broken down into 15 categories: news, topic, weekly, Trough, CCWIPP, Backroom Chronicles, CUPE, HJ Finnamore, General, Opinion, Swiss Chalet, Teamsters, toolkit, United Association.. You can browse the archive by visiting the.. browse page.. and optionally setting the browsing criteria which includes the categories listed above and also provides an option to browse by author.. Alternatively, we've also included a Google Site Search utility, found at the top of every page, so you may search the entire archive for whatever keywords you choose.. The.. front page.. of the archive contains 4 sets of dynamically updating lists and one set of.. MFD's.. favorite content items.. Each dynamic list contains the 10 most popular items from their respective categories as measured in page hits.. Although we've done our best to ensure the integrity of the archives content, you may find some broken links scattered throughout.. About MFD.. ) was founded in 1997 when a small group of.. United Food Commerical Workers Union.. UFCW.. ),.. Local 1518.. , members in British Columbia decided that it was time to challenge the ineffective leadership of their Local.. In late 1999,.. ran an effective reform slate in.. Local 1518's.. executive election but ultimately lost under suspicious circumstances.. Alleging ballot tampering,.. challenged the election results.. In response to the challenge, the.. seized the ballot box and removed it to Ontario.. Thus would begin the first of two courtroom dramas between.. and the.. website was launched in the spring of 2000 and almost immediately drew in a small but diverse, outspoken, and, for the most part, intelligent audience.. The common denominator seemed to be.. democratic unionism.. , or rather the lack thereof in the predominately business oriented labour movement of the time.. message was simple:.. Fully democratic unions are essential to improving the lives of working people today and in the future.. To that end,.. sought to engage and empower working people by providing news information, an outlet for discussion debate, and, most importantly, support for those who would step up to challenge the status quo.. Despite the big ideas and bold intentions, the following year, 2001, was almost the end of.. That Summer, lacking the funds to continue the court battle with the..  ...   one was safe.. Frequent targets included unions like the.. Canadian Union of Public Employees.. CUPE.. ), and misguided leader.. Andy Stern.. and his.. Service Employees International Union.. SEIU.. ).. Not even.. Ken Georgetti.. , the high priest of the.. Canadian Labour Council.. CLC.. ), escaped unscathed.. went after them all and, in doing so,.. grew.. Soon.. was entertaining members from all kinds and types of unions.. Steel Workers, Auto Workers, Pipe Trades, Hospital Employees, Office Workers.. the list goes on.. also suffered their fair share of labour consultants, greasy lawyers, and union staffers and executives.. For the most part, those that fell into the latter group didn't stick around for very long.. It can be said, however, that those that did had something in common with the rest of the gang: an interest in.. and a desire to see that concept put back into practice.. During this same period of time there were a number of interesting developments in and around the labour movement.. The world witnessed the.. Italian General Strike.. of 2002, the.. California Grocery Workers Strike.. in 2003-2004, the first unionized.. Wal-Mart.. in Jonquière Quebec in 2004, and who could forget the messy, and altogether impotent, break-up of the.. AFL-CIO.. in 2005.. It seemed to.. that the times, they were a changing and with that in mind,.. was eager to change too.. In November of 2005, at the conclusion of the 5 year legal dispute with the.. In her ruling, the Judge stated:.. It is only the bare use of the acronym ufcw in the domain that is objectionable.. Should the defendants chose to use ufcw as part its of domain name such as using the domain name like ufcwmembersfordemocracy or ufcwmfd or some other name which incorporates but is not exclusively comprised of the plaintiff's acronym, this may well not amount to a misrepresentation.. It was like music to.. ears.. Now free of the five-hundred pound gorilla and only $100 and a usable domain name poorer,.. was free to get back to what they do best;.. engaging the future.. You can now find a number of the.. contributors doing their new thing at their new home at.. uncharted.. ca.. would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed or participated in.. over the years.. We sincerely appreciate your patronage and we look forward to more of it at..

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  • Title: the Members for Democracy Archive
    Descriptive info: Browse the archive.. Browse Options.. category:.. all.. news.. topic.. weekly.. Trough.. CCWIPP.. Backroom Chronicles.. HJ Finnamore.. General.. Opinion.. Swiss Chalet.. Teamsters.. toolkit.. United Association.. author:.. 135steward.. 4218 Cc.. about unions.. about unions and remote viewer.. about_unions.. atuuschaaw.. Aware.. Bernie Hesse.. Bill Pearson.. BillPearson.. Blackcat.. blasdell.. BOBO.. boxcutter.. brotherwolf2.. ByeByePinebush.. charlie.. ChottoMatte.. chrb.. cmartin.. cointoss.. concerned citizen.. CUPE_Reformer.. Dan.. Dan Cadeau.. Darryl Gehlen.. David Brighton.. DeMoN.. DGSUCKS.. Dougle.. Downeaster.. DOWNTRODEN.. DuffBeer.. Duncan Brown.. eagle_one.. edelio.. Elise Grace.. Fed Up.. fjohns.. Freedom of Expression.. gbuddy.. globalize_this.. go girl.. Hambone.. HB.. hellraiser.. helltopay.. HJFinnamore.. Hugh Finnamore.. infidelagent.. Info..  ...   Legal_Beagle.. licatsplit.. Ma'at Egyptian Goddess.. Martha.. MJPR.. Mulligan.. Night Stocker.. NIGHTS 046.. ozone333.. peace_out.. press.. redhotchilipeppa.. remote viewer.. remote_viewer.. retailworker.. reuther.. rgoule01.. Rich.. Richard.. robbie_dee.. rogead.. rubber made steel.. saymore.. Scab.. scathands.. Scott Mcpherson.. Scott_ufcw_Lester.. Secret Agent.. Shadow.. sheila.. Sid.. siggy.. skaramangas.. Slaveway Dave.. sleK.. sofslave.. Sophie.. Steel Strawberry.. Steel Trap.. stewjack.. Strongman_Robby.. syncruzerbase.. The Third Element.. the_hound.. timidsumo.. Todd Jordan.. Troll.. tug.. UFCW out west.. ufcwsucksdotdah.. unionnow.. Valubia Szeznetovich.. Wanda Marie Pasz.. WayneCoady.. Webgypsy.. weiser.. wm pasz.. yankeebythewater.. yoda.. order by:.. date.. author.. title.. DESC.. ASC.. results per page:.. 5.. 10.. 15.. 20.. 25.. 50..

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  • Title: the Members for Democracy Archive
    Descriptive info: Mondo Condo Makeover a Looming Nightmare for UFCW.. 02 - The Duty to Go Through the Motions.. Mondo Condo Makeover P.. 05 - Cleaning Out The Closet.. None To Command Control.. From Labor Racketeer to Labor Activist - Is the RW-UFCW sanitizing Sean Floyd?.. Lomans - D.. I.. Y.. Banner Brigade.. 04 - Deconstruction.. So You Want To Be Free?.. Part 00 - Prologue.. Mondo Condo Unplugged..

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  • Title: Mondo Condo: A history in Pictures
    Descriptive info: email.. print.. authored by Members for Democracy.. A Pictorial History of the UFCW Pension Trustees' Haunted House.. A few weeks ago shocking revelations about the UFCW's Canadian Commercial Workers Industry Pension Plan appeared in a detailed series of stories in the.. Toronto Star.. The word on the street is that the explosive feature sent shock waves through the tightly knit circle of labour-management cronies who are responsible for the pension plan - and the mess that it's in.. The pension gurus are having.. Hissy Fits.. about the feature and crying loudly about a.. Pension Regulator's Report.. which, they say, is filled with unspecified inaccuracies.. As the scale of their.. Betrayal.. of millions of working people becomes evident, well-oiled palms are getting sweaty, manicured fingers are being pointed and escape routes plotted.. It's a good time to reflect back on where it all began: The UFCW pension trustees' own.. Haunted House.. , the west end Toronto hotel where their adventures in trustee-directed pension investing began in good - or bad -  ...   hotel, now part of a condo conversion scheme financed in part by the pension plan, has been the subject of our ongoing Mondo Condo feature.. In this our 9th installment, we bring you the Mondo Number 9 - a pictorial history of the hotel from the time of its purchase in 1992 by the notorious.. x-Father Kelly.. to its closure earlier this year.. Most of the photographs in this pictorial were taken by workers at the hotel or were rescued by workers following their layoff from the hotel in April 2005.. This is where they contributed years of their lives and were betrayed by their employers, their union and their pension trustees.. Like the mess the labour-management cronies created, it isn't going away.. page.. 1.. of 31.. next.. The Mondo Condo Series:.. P.. 01: Looming Nightmare for UFCW.. 02: The Plot Thickens.. 03: When Two Tribes Go To War.. 04: Deconstruction.. 05: Cleaning Out the Closet.. 06: Cooked Turkeys.. 07: Who Jacked Your Jobs?.. 08: Pension Gurus Just Can't Get Enough..

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  • Title: Understanding Last Chance Agreements
    Descriptive info: published Tue, Nov 11, 2003.. Workers who have been fired from their jobs and are grieving their dismissal may hear the phrase "last chance agreement" (or LCA), used by their union representatives during discussions about possible settlement of their grievance.. Union representatives sometimes recommend that a member accept or pursue an LCA where they feel that the member's chances of getting reinstated at an arbitration hearing are slim.. LCA's come with pro's and con's and it's important that workers understand what those are before leaping headlong into one of these deals.. The "up" side of signing an LCA is that it will get the worker reinstated.. The LCA gets the worker back to work quickly and avoids the risk of having an arbitrator uphold the firing.. The downside of an LCA is that it makes it very easy for the employer to fire the worker again and, if that happens, makes it very difficult for the worker to seek reinstatement through the grievance and arbitration procedure.. Many LCA's severely limit a worker's right to file further grievances (if he or she is fired again) or have those grievances heard and decided in a way that takes into account all the relevant considerations.. Signing an LCA means that you understand and agree with its provisions.. There is no going back at a later date and saying that you didn't know what you were signing or that you did not anticipate the real impact of the LCA on you.. About the only way you could backpedal on an LCA is to establish that you were somehow mentally impaired at the time you signed it and so, didn't know what you were getting into and you don't really want to go there unless it's true.. Your union's signature can and, if push comes to shove, will be construed as an acknowledgement that you can be treated differently than other workers.. A last chance agreement is a written agreement between the union and the employer (often the worker involved is required to sign off as well) giving a worker who has been accused of engaging in some kind of serious misconduct, one last chance to keep his/her job.. Last chance agreements are common in cases involving discharge for alcohol or drug abuse, workplace misconduct like harassment, fighting or insubordination but have also been known to turn up in cases of innocent absenteeism, unsatisfactory work performance or repeatedly violation of workplace rules.. LCA's typically provide for the reinstatement of a worker on certain strict conditions and state that the worker will be terminated if s/he breaches any of those conditions.. The worker may, for example, have to agree to stop drinking, submit to random or periodic drug testing, meet specific production quotas or maintain a certain level of attendance.. In the event that the worker resumes using alcohol or drugs or fails to meet production quotas or is absent or late, he or she will be fired.. If that happens, a typical LCA will say something like:.. "In the event that the dismissal becomes the subject of a grievance it is agreed that an arbitrator's jurisdiction will be limited to determining whether or not the Grievor breached this agreement [the LCA].. In the event that an arbitrator finds the Grievor in breach of [the LCA], the arbitrator shall have no power to alter or vary the discipline imposed by the employer.. ".. Another common variation of this kind of clause is even more vague but means exactly the same thing:.. "The parties agree that in the event of a breach of this agreement, an arbitrator's jurisdiction shall be limited only to making a finding of fact (a finding that something did or did not happen).. Should a finding of fact be made, the arbitrator shall have no authority to modify or vary the discipline imposed by the employer.. What do these long and wordy clauses mean?.. Suppose that after returning to work, the worker is fired again and grieves his or her dismissal and the union takes the grievance to arbitration.. The arbitrator will not have the power to decide whether the employer had "just cause" for the dismissal.. The arbitrator will only have the power to decide whether or not the worker breached the LCA.. If the arbitrator finds that the worker breached the LCA, the firing stands.. This differs drastically from the powers that arbitrators have when dealing with dismissal grievances.. Arbitration hearings into grievances about discipline and dismissal are often an uphill battle for the employer.. This is because, in these kinds of grievances, the employer has the onus (or burden) of proof.. In order to win the case, the employer has to clear three hurdles.. The employer has to prove that:.. The alleged misconduct actually happened.. The misconduct was culpable (blameworthy), and.. The punishment fit the crime.. Hurdles (2) and (3) are really important to workers who have been dismissed (or otherwise whacked with some sort of disciplinary penalty).. Not all workplace "offenses" are.. culpable.. Innocent absenteeism is probably the best example of this.. If a worker is off work frequently because of illness, that's not culpable absenteeism.. The worker is sick and has no control over the illness.. It is very difficult to dismiss workers who are off due to innocent absenteeism for this reason.. Culpability issues can also arise in other situations.. Workers dismissed for poor performance may sometimes have a defense if they were denied proper training, tools or equipment, given arbitrary standards or impossible quotas to meet or otherwise put in a position where it was impossible for them to do their job to the employer's satisfaction.. A word to the wise: A lot of workplace misconduct.. is.. considered culpable.. Incidents of fighting, theft, harassment, insubordination, failure to follow rules will more than likely be found to be culpable.. The reason for this is that it's difficult to claim that these kinds of activities (if you've actually been engaging in them)  ...   with relapses.. Most workers only get one shot at rehab from an arbitrator.. If you need help dealing with drug or alcohol addiction - get it.. If training will be required to enable you to perform your job at a certain level, the LCA should set out what training will be provided and when.. All too often, these agreements are signed, things fall through cracks, managers don't live up to their commitments and workers are left to fall flat on their faces.. It is vitally important that an agreement not limit your ability to grieve a subsequent discharge if you breach some other rule not associated to the LCA.. Arbitrators tend to interpret last chance agreements strictly so it is very important that your union write up the LCA correctly.. If you are unsure of the legality of an LCA, take a copy to your own lawyer and ask for an opinion.. The LCA must be written and adopted in good faith by both the union and management to fulfill a specific goal or purpose.. No last change agreement can be written so as to take away a member's legislated rights.. More specifically, neither employers nor unions can contract out of human rights legislation.. A last-chance agreement that requires the abandonment of a right conferred by a human rights statute or is tainted by an inequitable term may well be unenforceable.. If you suffer from a medical condition and are periodically absent from work because of that condition, your employer can't just fire you for that, even if you've signed an LCA that says you will be fired for.. any.. future absenteeism.. (Well, they can fire you but you've got a good defense for your absence and a good argument that the LCA is unenforceable: Because your human rights legislation requires your employer to accommodate you, as you are a disabled worker).. Your employer doesn't have to accommodate you forever but they must show that they have exhausted all reasonable efforts to accommodate you up to the point of undue hardship.. This is tough for employers to prove, especially for larger employers.. "Undue hardship" has been defined by some Canadian human rights agencies as the point at which the business is in danger of going under.. Understanding and interpreting last chance agreements can be complex and should best be left to outside legal professionals or to an arbitrator.. While a LCA may be a good option for you, you don't want to get stuck with something that will almost guarantee you a boot out the door in the not too distant future.. Nor do you want to give yourself up to unfair treatment just because doing so will save your union and your employer a day or two at arbitration.. The impact of an LCA on you can be significant.. How it is interpreted and applied can also make a big difference in your life.. Depending on how an LCA is worded, you could be fired for very insignificant things - things that would not even get your coworkers a slap on the wrist.. You should get legal advice about the LCA and how best to structure it to protect the your interests before signing off.. If you are not comfortable with the advice you're getting from your union rep, get independent advice from a lawyer who is familiar with this area of the law.. It's really important to understand that once you sign off on a LCA, you are legally bound by its terms.. There is no going back and saying that you didn't really understand the implications.. Once you sign on the dotted line, make it work.. Don't play fast and loose or give the employer a reason to fire you.. If you are concerned that you may have breached the agreement, talk to your union representative immediately and ask how you can best protect your interests.. What if it's management that is proposing an LCA to resolve your grievance? This sometimes happens and all the same considerations should apply.. It may also mean that management has become aware that its case isn't so rock solid.. If that's the case, you probably don't need a last chance.. You need your job back because they took it from you without just cause.. Given the severe consequences for the worker in the event of a breach of the agreement, last chance agreements should be approached with caution and should not be entered into unless a worker has truly run out of other options.. Here's a good example.. of what can happen what can happen when a worker agrees to an LCA that is too broad.. It didn't take long for the second firing to take place.. The worker's union declined to grieve his dismissal (on the basis that they weren't likely to win because the of wording of the LCA).. The duty of fair representation complaint he filed was dismissed because the LCA gave his union an excuse for not fighting for him.. The LCA that you'll find in.. this arbitration decision.. is quite long and detailed.. It contains a clause, however, that takes away the worker's right to grieve if he's fired and makes a vague statement that he can "dispute the facts" if he's dismissed.. Should the Grievor fail to comply with any of the conditions set out in these Minutes of Settlement, the Grievor's employment with the Employer shall be deemed terminated immediately and the Grievor shall not have the right to grieve his discharge or otherwise challenge his termination, other than to dispute the facts upon which the termination is based;.. He.. grieve his subsequent termination.. Read the decision and see what it got him.. He got hung by his LCA even with his union on his side.. Here's.. a somewhat shorter last chance agreement.. which specifically allows for the worker to grievance any future discipline or dismissal.. This LCA doesn't contain any restriction on the arbitrator.. More about LCA's..

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  • Title: Changing Unions - The Straight Goods on Mainstream Labour's Biggest Taboo
    Descriptive info: Changing Unions.. The Straight Goods on Mainstream Labour's Biggest Taboo.. Hang on to your seats reformers because we're going to discuss a subject that's just oh so.. off limits.. Changing unions.. seems to be the ultimate taboo discussion topic for union members.. The mere mention of the subject sets mainstream labour honchos and their supporters screaming about disloyalty.. Reformers who dare go there are accused of weakening the movement and causing internal dissention.. Disaffected union members, who dare discuss the possibility of voting with their feet, are chastised for not trying hard enough to sort out their internal problems.. Well, we say it's time we got over it people.. It seems to us that in a free and democratic society where restrictions on our liberties are to be kept to a minimum, the right to say "adios" to a bargaining agent that isn't cutting it should be respected and union members should be allowed to make informed choices.. This means having access to information.. The fact is that union members have the right to boot out one union and bring in another.. That right exists in the laws governing labour relations from one end of our country to the other.. Union members can and do change unions.. The problem is that the leaders of the mainstream labour movement and its unions don't like it when this happens and so they try to discourage it by agreeing to "no raiding" rules among themselves and by making members feel guilty - like they're letting the "team" down - about contemplating such a thing.. Considering that in our free and democratic society restrictions on liberties are supposed to be kept to a minimum, individuals are free to get out of all kinds of oppressive circumstances (you can get out of a bad marriage, you can leave an unhealthy home environment, you can get out of debt, heck, you can even get out of jail); it seems quite incomprehensible that you can't or shouldn't say "so long" to a bargaining agent that you no longer have any confidence in and replace it with a union of your choice.. It's really pretty sad that, although labour relations legislation right across the country gives workers the right to join a union of their choice, some unions and their umbrella orgs insist on treating members like property.. So that said, we think it's time to clear the air about the process involved in changing unions.. We should point out that we are not advocating that you should rush right off and do this.. Changing unions is a big step and should be thought through carefully.. If, however, you decide that this is what you want to do, then you should understand that it is possible and know basically how the process works.. Please note that we are not advocating that you join any particular union, nor are we advocating that you simply decertify your union and have no representation at all.. All things considered, in all but the most extraordinary cases, you are probably better off with a union than without one.. It should, however, be one that is doing a good job for you and that puts its members interests (rather than those of its officials or of your employer) first.. This then, in a very general sense, is the process as we understand it.. Specific requirements vary among the provinces, so your first step in learning more about how to change unions is to contact the Labour Relations Board (LRB) in your province and ask a lot of questions (we've included a few later on in this article).. The Process.. The legal side of changing unions is quite simple.. Each labour relations act or code in Canada allows union members in a bargaining unit (the group of workers covered by a collective agreement) to change unions during a specific period of time.. This period of time is frequently referred to as the "open period".. The open period is a window during the term of a collective agreement when another union can apply for certification for the group of workers covered by that collective agreement.. You do not have to justify your decision to want to change unions to the LRB.. All that the LRB is concerned with is that the application for certification of the union you want to join is made during the appropriate period and that the LRB's processes and regulations are complied with.. The timing of the open period varies from province to province.. Normally it is a period of several weeks or months some time during the term of your collective agreement.. In certain provinces there are additional "open period" windows during a strike or lock out, where a collective agreement has expired, or where the union got recognition through a voluntary recognition agreement with the employer.. Again, contact your LRB to get specific information.. In order to become certified, the new union (to keep things simple we're going to refer to the union you want to get in as the "new union" and the union you want to get rid of as the "current union") needs to file an application for certification (sometimes called a "displacement application") with the LRB in your province.. In order to be successful, the new union will need to show the LRB that it has a certain minimum level of support from the workers in the bargaining unit.. (Keep in mind that the application has to be for the entire bargaining unit - not just a part of it.. ) The new union submits proof that it has this level of support by filing membership cards signed by the workers (just as it would if it was applying for certification in a non-union workplace).. The minimum level of support varies from province to province (in Ontario, for example, it's 40%) so, again, ask your LRB for the applicable minimum in your province.. When the new union makes its application for certification, the current union is notified of this development and will file a document with the LRB indicating that it holds bargaining rights and wishes to dispute the new union's application.. The Employer will also be notified since it is an interested party to the proceedings.. It is possible for the current union and/or the employer to object to the new union's application on various grounds - the LRB can tell you more about what typically happens in your neck of the woods and can also tell you whether or not objections area dealt with prior to or after a representation vote.. If the new  ...   hard time saying "no" to potential members, and will on occasion chuck the rulebook.. First Steps & Considerations.. If you're considering changing unions, here are a few things you may want to do:.. Contact your provincial Labour Relations Board.. They will be able to tell you what the law says about changing unions in your province.. Ask about:.. What is/are the time frame(s) during which a change in unions can occur?.. What protection do members have under the law for participating in an attempt to change unions?.. What is the percentage of support that a new union will need to show in order to file its application for certification and get a vote?.. Will a representation vote be held between the two unions only? Does the employer have a right to have "no union" put on the ballot?.. Under what grounds can your current union or your employer object to the new union's application? Are these objections dealt with before or after the vote?.. If the new union is unsuccessful in its attempt to get certified, how long will you have to wait before you can try again?.. 2.. Talk to your fellow members about the possibility of changing unions and get their views.. Tell them what you already know: that it's possible and what will need to be done to make it happen.. Organize meetings, discussion groups, listservs; whatever means of communicating will work best.. Keep in mind that you're going to need a certain level of support for what you're doing.. The more people you can involve the better.. On the other hand, if the majority are not interested - the democratic principle says you should respect their choice.. 3.. Decide which union(s) you are interested in joining.. Get information about them.. You can get a fair amount of information on the web, but some direct contact will likely need to happen.. It's a big step but one that someone will need to take sooner or later.. Possibly, you could test the waters anonymously at first to see if anyone is willing to talk to you and to get an assurance that your confidentiality will be respected.. Committed activists should, however, have the courage of their convictions, so you'll need to stand up and be counted sooner or later.. Keep in mind, though, if you have a large list of names and phone numbers of your co-workers, the union you contact may be willing to use the list to test the waters to see if there is an interest.. 4.. Do you tell your current union what you're doing? That's really up to you.. However, if your union and the employer are particularly cozy, be careful in sharing information with either one of them.. The law doesn't require that you give either of them any kind of notice.. On the other hand, letting them know up front, may have certain advantages.. If they try to penalize you for what you're doing, it will be more difficult for them to plead ignorance ("We didn't know s/he was behind it!") later on.. It may be that you've already made known your dissatisfaction with your current union - maybe even tried to engage them in discussion about your concerns and those of your fellow members.. There's no law that says you must do this, although, in fairness, it's worth trying (you are not required, however, to wait forever for your concerns to be addressed).. If you've gone this route, though, your next move probably won't come as a big surprise to your union.. Lastly, whatever the outcome of your attempts to get a new union, sometimes the possibility that members may be looking elsewhere for representation, can be enough to get your union and its reps to pull up their socks.. At the end of the day, it's up to you if, when and how much you tell your current union.. Their long-term track record will give you guidance about whether to give them another chance.. Are they sincere, or are they just scrambling for the moment in an effort to put down an insurrection?.. If you think the CLC "no raiding" rule is going to be a problem, contact the CLC and get information about its "justification" process.. How does it work? What would the members and/or the union you want to join have to do to meet the justification requirements? Who presides over the justification proceedings? What kinds of outcomes are possible? What kinds of outcomes have other groups of workers achieved? What does the CLC do to protect the rights of disaffected union members (like you) who want to use justification as an argument to change unions?.. 6.. Once you have a union that is committed to going ahead with an organizing drive for your bargaining unit, the union itself will do a lot of the ground work required to get a campaign under way, get card signing happening and get the necessary paperwork to the LRB.. The union of your choice will work with you to make it happen, but they can't make it happen without help from you and the people you work with.. Be prepared to do some work.. 7.. One last thing: It is really, really important that you do not involve any member of management in your activities or your plans.. The LRB can dismiss an application for certifications on the basis of management involvement so don't let this happen.. If managers, supervisors or corporate office staff ask you what's going on, it's fair to tell them that you're "examining your representation options" or "exercising your right to choose a union" but don't go into details.. Also, politely decline any offers of help from management.. The employer is supposed to stay completely neutral in these situations but let's face it, when it comes to unions, employers have been known to have their preferences.. It's a fact that in some cases, your management is extremely happy with your current union.. They don't want a union that will vigorously represent your interests.. If your union and your company are particularly cozy, don't share any information with your employer.. Tell curious or helpful managers that the LRB will let them know how it all ends up.. In general, play by the same rules that apply in any organizing/certification drive as far as communicating with your fellow members and raising support is concerned.. Find out from the LRB and from the union of your choice how far you can go in terms of engaging in organizing activity in the workplace.. Good luck.. Tell us what you're up to..

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  • Title: Real Canadian Superstores: The UFCW's Low Wage Wasteland
    Descriptive info: published Sat, Nov 27, 2004.. Part 1: Wages of Hypocrisy.. Imagine working in a job where you:.. Can earn minimum wage for up to two years.. Can be assigned to your Department Manager's job without an increase in pay.. Must make yourself available for work on certain days of the week with no guarantee that you'll be scheduled.. Must work a minimum of 3 years to qualify for benefits.. Lose your benefits if you get sick.. It's time to air the ugly truth about the deplorable deal that the hugely spineless UFCW gave the hugely profitable Loblaw Companies for its Real Canadian Superstores in Ontario in the summer of 2003.. The deplorable sellout was necessary, UFCW leaders said, to allow Loblaw's to compete with Wal-Mart which, UFCW leaders.. believed.. was about to.. invade.. the Canadian retail market with its mammoth Supercenter Stores (stores that sell food.. and department.. store merchandise).. The invasion never happened and that really shouldn't surprise anyone.. Wal-Mart officials themselves stated publicly that they had no intention of opening any Supercenters in Canada.. Industry analysts said that it made no business sense for them to do so.. In 2003, Wal-Mart announced plans to build a number of.. Sam's Club.. stores in Canada but those were warehouse type stores that would whose direct competitor in the Canadian retail market would be Costco - not Loblaws or any other grocery chain.. But that didn't stop the UFCW from rolling over.. Loblaw's officials told them.. they believed.. that Wal-Mart Supercenters (WMSC's) were coming to Canada and they planned to create their own low wage wasteland so they could go head-to-head with the Evil Empire.. The corporate boys' word was good enough for the UFCW (hey, who can ya trust if not a bunch of management guys looking to make another few billion in profits?).. And so the UFCW agreed to give the Loblaw's boys a gutted version of its existing collective agreements at the new RCSS's which would over a period of time replace most if not all of its conventional supermarkets.. The gutted contract contains such provisions for wages and benefits for part time employees (who, considering that between 80% and 90% of retail food industry workers are part-time will ultimately make up the vast majority of the RCSS workforce) that are so deplorable that it made our heads spin just looking at them.. If Wal-Mart Supercenters were actually coming to Canada, the deplorable RCSS deal would give Loblaws a wonderful competitive advantage.. Since the Supercenters are nowhere in sight, the deplorable RCSS deal gives Loblaws an enormous competitive advantage over.. other.. Canadian food retailers.. It allows Loblaws to set itself up as the Evil Empire - North Chapter.. With it's new RCSS's Loblaws can now do unto others what Wal-Mart has been doing in the US, including all the stuff that has been the focus of heated criticism by unions like the UFCW - like exploiting the crap out of the working poor.. How Low Did They Go?.. Just how bad is the RCSS deal? Earlier this month, we brought you the shocking news that workers in the lowest paying jobs in RCSS's in Ontario will actually be.. earning.. less.. than their counterparts at Toronto area Wal-Mart stores.. This information was based on a Wal-Mart wage schedule from 2002 - the year that Loblaw officials first met with their UFCW bedmates to chat about gutting the existing collective agreements for the new recruits at the RCSS's.. Call us cynical, but it's quite probably that the labour-management buddies knew fully well what Wal-Mart was paying at the time and decided to undercut those rates by.. dollars.. per hour in the jobs that are most likely to employ the largest numbers of workers.. Mainstream labour cheerleaders don't want us to talk about this disturbing aspect of the RCSS deal so here's a more in-depth look at what the UFCW - the union that wants to organize Wal-Mart workers, bargained for its most vulnerable members at the Real Canadian Super Sores.. WARNING: This article contains disturbing facts, naked truths and coarse language.. It may not be suitable for spineless union machine heads.. Reader discretion is advised.. Our analysis of the RCSS deal will focus on what the UFCW negotiated for part-time workers at the RCSS's.. Given the high percentage of part-time workers in the retail industry in general, it's safe to assume that corporate Canada's answer to Wal-Mart isn't going to be overrun by full-time staff.. We're going to zoom in on part-timers employed in the RCSS.. department store type merchandise.. (DSTM) area where the work performed by the UFCW-represented part-timers most closely resembles that performed by workers in Wal-Mart's lowest wage category.. We'll start with a look at their wages and, in the next three installments, at the benefits that these UFCW-represented workers will be receiving (or not) and at the management-friendly language the UFCW agreed to - all of which pretty much assures that the RCSS's will be a low wage, high turnover retail wasteland.. just like Wal-Mart.. but maybe worse.. you be the judge.. We'll cap off this feature with a look back at the spin doctoring the UFCW did to "sell" its done deal to its members.. This.. a copy of Wal-Mart's pay scale.. (pdf) for Toronto area stores effective September 7, 2002.. We don't know if this scale has been adjusted since then.. For purposes of this analysis, we'll assume that it hasn't and that these rates are still in effect.. The pay scale covers 4 "job groups".. We're going to focus on Group 1 which includes:..  ...   they received "good" performance ratings in each of their 2 years of service.. Worse yet, these RCSS part-timers will.. stay at minimum wage.. anywhere from 1 to 2 years depending on their weekly hours.. The Wal-Mart scale provides for pay-for-performance increments that workers are to receive - the RCSS deal doesn't:.. You may be wondering why we're including the pay-for-performance component of the Wal-Mart pay scheme in our comparison, given that such things are very uncommon in collective agreements.. Hold on to your stomachs, here comes Article 13.. 03!.. 13.. 03 The Company may, from time to time, introduce incentive programs in addition to the prevailing wage schedules.. Nothing further is said about these "incentive programs" in the RCSS deal.. That being the case, the company can introduce whatever kind of incentive pay program it wants and pay whatever it wants to whichever workers it deems deserving based on whatever criteria it chooses to use - just like in a non-union workplace.. The likelihood that this.. can.. happen under the RCSS deal is reinforced by a rather unusual header above the wage scales for these part-timers:.. "The following shall be the minimum part time rates of pay for [these] employees for the duration of the collective agreement".. The use of the word "minimum" suggests that higher rates.. be paid although there is no reference to when, where or under what circumstances it can do so.. Then there's this innovative clause:.. 02 When the Company.. pays a new employee more than the starting rate.. in his classification, such employee shall (for purpose of wage progression only) receive wage increases in accordance with the wage schedule and be deemed to have the appropriate service.. (emphasis added).. In the absence of any qualifiers about just when the company can pay new employees more than the starting rate, this means that store managers are free to hire employees at higher rates and those employees are treated as if they had actually worked the hours required to get to that rate while the rest of the peons have to bust their humps for several years to get there.. Just like in a non-union workplace.. It takes longer for RCSS Workers to Get Raises than Wal-Mart Workers:.. Wal-Mart Group 1 workers reach $9.. 00 per hour after 5 years of service (without performance pay) or after 2 years of service (with pay for good performance).. Part-time DSMT workers at the RCSS's reach $9.. 00 per hour after 6501 hours - a little over 10 years for those working 12 hours a week and a little over 5 years for those at 24 hours a week.. It can take RCSS workers about as long to reach the top rate for their jobs as Wal-Mart workers - sort of:.. A Wal-Mart worker in Group 1 reaches a top rate of $10.. 00 hour after 10 years of service (without pay for performance) or 4 years with pay for "good performance" in each year.. A part-time DSTM worker working 12 hours per week will take just over 14 years to reach a top rate of $10.. A part-time DSTM worker working 24 hours per week will reach the top rate in just over 7 years.. The high end is where things begin to equalize between workers at the two Evil Empires.. We think that's because few workers are expected to stay that long (or wanted to stay that long) with either company.. Front End Service Workers Get Less at RCSS.. According to one of the numerous Letters of Understanding attached in the RCSS deal, part-timers who work in front end service (bagging, carry out, parcel pick up, buggy retrieval, clean-up, sweeping and washing, replenishing bags, bottle and can sorting, price checks, assembly of grocery orders and product returns), are to be "paid according the part-time wage progression as specified in Article 13.. 04 to a maximum of.. $9.. per hour".. LOU #55 doesn't say.. which.. of the wage schedules is the applicable one, so we don't know whether it's the one for Food Department or the DSTM Department.. Neither of those schedules actually has a rate of $9.. 50 per hour.. (Maybe that's to make the front end workers feel even more special.. The kind of work described as Front End Service in the RCSS deal fits pretty well into Wal-Mart's Group 1 which pay a max of $10.. 00 per hour or $13.. 00 per hour with good performance ratings.. RCSS Part-timers Get To Pay The UFCW For This Amazing Contract.. On the heels of the RCSS deal in July 2003, UFCW Local 1000a jacked up its union dues.. Local 1000a members, including the minimum-wage-earning RCSS part-timers will pay:.. $5.. 72 per week - those working up to and including 12 hours per week.. $6.. 97 per week - those working more than 12 hours up to and including 24 hours per week.. $7.. 47 per week - those working over 24 hours per week.. When you slice these dues off the pay checks of minimum wage earners, their pay nets out to less than minimum wage but the labour-management cronies get fattest off of the poorest of their workers and members.. Notice that the company can keep the 12 hour per week part-timers at minimum wage the longest? Notice how two 12 hour per week part-timers generate more dues revenue for the UFCW than one 24 hour per week part-timer and how any two part-timers bring in more than one full-timer?.. With the RCSS deal, everybody wins! Except the workers.. It's craptastic.. Coming Up Next:.. Benefits You.. Won't.. Get..

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  • Title: The Straight Goods on the Duty of Fair Representation - p.01
    Descriptive info: The Straight Goods on the Duty of Fair Representation.. part 1.. "A trade union or council of trade unions, so long as it continues to be entitled to represent employees in a bargaining unit, shall not act in a manner that is arbitrary, discriminatory or in bad faith in the representation of any of the employees in the unit, whether or not members of the trade union or of any constituent union of the council of trade unions, as the case may be".. 1995, c.. 1, Sched.. A, s.. 74.. This is the Duty of Fair Representation as set out in the.. Ontario Labour Relations Act.. It requires unions to act fairly when representing their members.. Similar "DFR" legislation exists in other Canadian jurisdictions (provinces).. In the US, a similar principle has evolved from NLRB case law.. The premise behind DFR is that, once certified, a union has complete authority to act on its members' behalf and to make decisions that have a significant impact on their lives.. Given this high level of decision-making authority, it is only fair that the union exercise its authority fairly.. DFR in Theory.. Those who don't know a whole lot about DFR - including most union members - believe that it provides union members with a guarantee of good representation by their union and its officials.. It's commonly believed that DFR requires the union to put its members' interests first and that it provides members with recourse (a place to go for help) in the event that those interests - individually or collectively - are not being served.. It's believed, for instance, that DFR protects members' interests during collective bargaining, that it forces unions to consult extensively with their members on issues that affect them, that it requires unions to adopt democratic internal procedures, that it protects members from intimidation and coercion by union officials and helps keep unions free of corruption.. Union organizers often refer potential members to DFR legislation to assure them that they will get good service.. Union leaders speak of it, officially, with reverence.. Politicians, law enforcement officials, academics and just about anyone else with an interest in organized labour believe it keeps unions democratic and help prevent corruption.. This is an excerpt about DFR legislation from a textbook used in the administrative studies program at a major Canadian university:.. One reason why [corrupt] labour leaders.. have been rare in Canada may be most Canadian jurisdictions' duty-of-fair-representation provisions - something that does not exist in American legislation.. The possibility of an aggrieved member taking the union before the labour board very likely acts as a brake on seriously undemocratic union conduct.. In contrast, under a system where a members' only recourse is a cumbersome internal review procedure, followed by the courts, leaders might be more willing to engage in undemocratic behavior, knowing there is little likelihood they will be called to account.. Canadian Industrial Relations, Jon Pierce, 2000, page 182.. This is how DFR is understood - or misunderstood - by just about everyone who doesn't know much about it.. and Practice.. Those who are familiar with DFR and how it is administered know that nothing could be further from the truth.. The sad reality is that Canadian DFR legislation provides union members with nothing beyond an assurance that their union will.. consider.. issues of its members that relate to the interpretation of their collective agreement.. What this means is that a union is required to consider filing a grievance where a member believes his or her rights under a collective agreement have been breached.. Note that.. is the operative word.. Beyond considering its members' issues, the law requires nothing further from unions.. The Duty of Fair Representation applies to a narrow range of situations, members who want to pursue complaints must do so at their own expense, the legislation is interpreted such that it's almost impossible for a union member to win and the legislation is as toothless as it is misunderstood.. Let's set the record straight.. What it's all about: Mostly grievances.. As we have already stated, DFR legislation only applies to a very narrow range of representation issues - primarily, those that involve the filing and processing of grievances.. DFR legislation does not apply to undemocratic governance, corruption, misuse of union funds, refusal to provide information (other than a financial statement), backroom deals or any other such activities.. Workers who wish to address these kinds of issues have recourse only through the union's internal process and after that, the courts.. So - if their union is run by crooks, if their dues are being squandered, if they haven't had an election since anyone can remember, if their local isn't complying with the national or international constitution - union members have nowhere to turn except civil litigation, something that can take years and which few union members can afford in any event.. Even when it comes to filing grievances, DFR doesn't provide union members with much.. Provincial legislation gives unions control over virtually every aspect of the grievance process.. Unless a union's constitution gives a member the right to initiate a grievance, a member has no such right.. A member who believes that his or her rights have been breached can bring this to the union's attention, but it's the union that makes the decision to file or not file the grievance.. The reason that this is OK is that the right to file a grievance flows from the collective agreement (from the article that provides for a grievance procedure).. The collective agreement is between.. the employer and the union.. Union members themselves are not parties to the agreement and so, can't exercise a right provided under the agreement directly.. The union does that on their behalf - where and when it chooses.. Some union constitutions give members the right to file grievances but, in all but a few cases, the union retains control or.. carriage.. of the grievance.. This means that the union retains the right to decide if the grievance will be settled, withdrawn or taken all the way to an arbitration hearing.. A union member's consent is not required for his or her grievance to be dropped or settled.. Nor do decisions about such matters need to be made with the member's interests uppermost in anyone's mind.. All the member is entitled to is "fair consideration" or "honest consideration" depending on which province he or she is in.. What does that mean? It means that in arriving at decisions about filing, settling or withdrawing grievances, a union needs only to act in a manner that is not arbitrary, discriminatory or in bad faith.. This excerpt from a.. FAQ.. posted by the Ontario Labour Relations Board, pretty much sums it up:.. Q:.. What rights do I have with respect to my grievance?.. A:.. You have the right to have the matter honestly considered by the union.. What if they will not talk to me?.. The union is expected to discuss the merits of the grievance with you to ensure that it takes into account the relevant considerations.. Can I insist that my grievance be processed on to arbitration?.. No.. The union and not a griever make the final decision on how far a grievance should be processed,  ...   proven to be bad.. To constitute a breach of labour relations legislation, a union's conduct must be more than just wrong.. It must be arbitrary, discriminatory or in bad faith.. Members are on their own.. A further problem for union members who are concerned about the kind of representation their dues dollar is getting them, is their lack of access to information and advice about their rights under their labour relations legislation.. In Ontario, union members who want advice about pursuing a DFR complaint must get it at their own expense.. The OLRB will not advise them on anything other than what the law says.. This, according to the OLRB is because it wants to be "perceived as neutral" by the workplace parties (translation: it doesn't want to upset unions by helping their members file complaints).. Workers who decide to pursue DFR complaints are on their own.. Few union members can afford a lawyer even if they can find one that is willing to take their case.. Many labour lawyers represent either employers or unions and will not touch DFR cases.. Practitioners in the legal and paralegal communities who are willing to take these cases are, in some instances, quite unfamiliar with labour law and OLRB proceedings but workers looking to file DFR complaints have no way of knowing who will or won't be a fish out of water when it comes to their hearing - if they ever get one.. Due process? Not for union members.. Here's another problem: For union members in Ontario, it is becoming increasingly difficult to even get a day in court on a DFR complaint.. The LRB can and often does, dismiss DFR complaints without a hearing based solely on the member's written complaint and the submissions of both the union and the employer (which has standing in these complaints as an interested party).. Those whose complaints make it past this initial screening are still not guaranteed an actual hearing.. A couple of years ago, the OLRB introduced a process called a.. consultation.. - something in between a mediation meeting and a full hearing.. During the consultation, a Vice Chair of the Board holds a conference with the parties (the union, the employer and the member) during which he or she can ask questions, get the formal or informal submissions, hear sworn evidence or not - whatever he or she wants - and then can dismiss the complaint without every having conducted a hearing.. Don't believe it?.. Check this out.. :.. "A consultation is a Board proceeding without all the trappings of a full fledged hearing.. In some cases, the Vice-Chair will conclude a matter based only on written submissions.. In others, the VC may ask to hear.. viva voce.. evidence on only some of the issue in dispute, or may limit the extent of parties' oral submissions to certain questions or issues.. The provisions of the.. Statutory Powers Procedure Act.. do not apply to consultations.. The process looks a little like "med-arb".. Consultations were first developed in response to the manner in which litigation was carried on in jurisdictional disputes between trade unions.. It was felt that written submissions were a more efficient way of determining these overwhelmingly fact driven disputes was by way of written submissions.. If oral submissions were required to clarify a question, the Board convened a much briefer and more focused hearing.. This approach was remarkably successful.. The LRA expanded the Board's ability to apply the consultation process to include duty of fair representation and duty of fair referral cases.. As a practical matter, these complaints are almost never sustained, but because complainants are often unrepresented and there is no costs disincentive to proceeding, these cases settle with less frequency than others which come to the Board.. As a result, we sometimes had a protracted proceeding at considerable cost to the parties and the public for cases that pass a.. prima facie.. threshold test but are almost always dismissed in the end.. The consultation (where the VC in effect identifies and responds only to those issues which may properly ground a complaint) has permitted the Board to provide the complainant with his or her "day in court", but in a manner which makes better use of resources, and which focuses the litigation on the rights and remedies available through the Board.. Subsequent legislative initiatives have expanded the Board's ability to apply the consultation process to a variety of case types including disputes under the PSLRTA, essential services applications under CECBA, appeals under the OHSA, decisions about the Board's jurisdiction in ESA matters, and the specific areas identified in subsections 110(18) and 99(1) of the LRA.. The OHSA setting may be particularly ripe for "consultations", but the Board has yet to experiment with its new powers.. It's just like a hearing but without all the trappings of due process.. A member who has filed a DFR complaint and isn't happy with the result that's been dished out by the OLRB may ask for reconsideration of this decision but.. should be aware that.. "The Board will normally reconsider its decision only if there is new evidence that would influence the proceeding's outcome, that was for some reason not available to the parties at the time of the original hearing.. Reconsideration is not an opportunity to present the same evidence again, or to make the same arguments with a new approach.. Unfair Representation gets your union a slap on the wrist.. Finally, even in those rare cases where a member is successful in proving that the union acted in a manner that was arbitrary, discriminatory or bad faith, the best that he or she will get by way of a remedy is an order that the union take file or advance his grievance.. That's it.. There are No fines or penalties.. Apart from having to pay its own legal expenses and Beyond filing or arbitrating a grievance that by this time may be a couple of years old, there is no other price to be paid by the union or its officials - no matter what the effect of their arbitrary, discriminatory or bad faith conduct has been on the member.. Here's an.. example of a real live DFR case.. that involved a UFCW member.. It's not getting any better.. DFR complaints are the fastest growing source of labour relations litigation.. A source at the OLRB reports that the number of DFR complaints has risen by 50% since the mid 1990's and those DFR complaints now outnumber unfair labour practice complaints filed by unions against employers.. Union officials attribute the dramatic increase to members being more aware of their rights or being unrealistic in their expectations, or being put up to it by rival unions - anything but the truth.. Rather than looking for the underlying causes the government agencies that administer DFR legislation are simply finding faster more expedient ways of dismissing the complaints.. So what can you do?.. So if you are a member who believes that you have not been well served by your union should you just give the whole DFR thing a miss? Not necessarily.. In certain situations you may be able to use it to your advantage.. Stay tuned for.. Part 2.. where we'll tell you how..

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  • Title: The Haunted Houses of Labour
    Descriptive info: If the mainstream labour movement has any haunted houses, they must surely be the real estate interests of some of its biz unions and the tangled spider's web of relationships among union officials, corporate executives, pension plan administrators and businessmen that these have spawned.. The following story should, in our opinion, scare the hell out of anyone who is concerned about the community of workers.. A word of warning: This is one long and convoluted tale and - out of concern for your health - we're only giving you the short version.. Our intention is to use this story as a basis for discussion about the questions it raises - questions the Power Source need to consider and put to those who claim to represent its interests.. Hotels are one segment of the service industry with a long history of unionization and a relatively high proportion of organized workers.. The unionized workforce within the Canadian accommodation industry is about 20% (compared to 8% for the entire service sector).. Until the early 1990's, the Hotel Employees, Restaurant Employees Union was the largest of four unions that represented the majority of workers in the industry.. The others were the CBRTGW, the USWA and the Federation du Commerce.. The UFCW wasn't even on the map.. It was around that same time that the UFCW decided that it was time to change all that - it wanted a piece of the action.. Rather than organizing workers at non-union hotels, however, the UFCW found another way in which to penetrate this.. market.. A Really Wicked Strategy.. Starting in the early 1990's the UFCW began investing funds from its Canadian Commercial Workers Industry Pension Plan (the CCWIPP - a jointly trusteed multi-employer plan), in financially troubled hotels.. Over the next ten years, senior officials of the UFCW and CCWIPP Trustees facilitated the investment of millions of dollars from the pension fund to a number of hotel businesses in which either UFCW officials or CCWIPP Trustees had an interest.. In some cases, one of which we will explore in some depth, the UFCW obtained voluntary recognition from the hotel companies, obtaining from the businesses in which it had invested heavily, a stream of new members.. The CCWIPP also invested heavily - it is a majority shareholder in fact - in a hotel management company that is responsible for the day-to-day operation and labour relations of various hotels.. In some cases, workers at these hotels are represented by the UFCW.. The way the investment strategy worked was that funds from the pension plan were invested in the hotel businesses through a series of corporations called I.. F.. Propco.. Currently there are 53 I.. Propco's registered in Ontario alone.. Three names appear with regularity among the Officers of these I.. Propco companies: Clifford Evans (former UFCW National Director and current Chairman of the CCWIPP Investment Committee), Howard Preston (an employer Trustee on the CCWIPP Board of Directors) and Eugene Fraser.. The earliest records of incorporation of "Propco" companies date back to the late 1980's when I.. Propco's 1 and 2 were incorporated in British Columbia.. Their principals included Cliff Evans (at that time UFCW Canadian Director), Victor Pinchin (an Executive with Safeway Corporation), Bernard Christophe (President of UFCW Local 832 in Manitoba and a union Trustee on the CCWIPP Board) and Howard Preston (an employer Trustee on the CCWIPP Board).. The purpose that these early Propco's served is unknown.. Presumably they were vehicles for the investment of funds from the pension plan.. Certainly, Propco's that were set up a few years later were used for that purpose.. The concept of investing pension funds in business ventures was part of an overall strategy discussed by UFCW's Canadian Director, Tom Kukovica, in a 1993 interview with labour-oriented magazine,.. Our Times.. Besides putting money directly back into the pockets of the membership, the joint trusteeship of pension plans between the UFCW and its various employers has permitted the union to control the investment destiny of millions of dollars.. "With the pension funds we've been mainly concentrating in real estate, such as affordable housing projects," says Kukovica.. This month the UFCW, with an equity stake of over 50 per cent, helped to re-open the Triumph Hotel in suburban Toronto, "It was in receivership.. Now the hotel will be unionized, so we've created (union) jobs at the same time.. A Triumph of Biz Unionism.. The union's hotel investment strategy first came into the public eye in 1992, when a Toronto hotel known as The Skyline Triumph went into receivership and closed in the summer of 1991.. A company called Kelloryn, a business registered to a Toronto area entrepreneur named Ronald Kelly, purchased the Triumph several months later.. Kelloryn's acquisition of the hotel was assisted by $15 million in financing obtained from the CCWIPP.. Loans of $7 million and $8 million were facilitated through I.. Propco 14 and I.. F.. Propco 16 respectively, in 1992 and 1993.. Propco 16's registered address was at the offices of Ahee, McMahon and Meikle, a law firm connected with the CCWIPP.. Among the Directors of both Propco 14 and Propco 16 were Alexander Ahee, a partner in Ahee McMahon, Clifford Evans, Howard Preston, Bernard Christophe and Victor Pinchin.. These men, all of whom had a connection with the CCWIPP, were involved in facilitating the movement of millions of dollars from the pension plan to businesses in which some of them also had a stake.. In the fall of 1992, just prior to the re-opening of the hotel, Ahee, Evans and Preston became officers of Kelloryn along with Edward McConnell (an investment manager with a firm used by the CCWIPP, former business partner of Ron Kelly), Ronald Kelly himself and Hubert Kelly (Ron's brother).. So, a number of CCWIPP trustees were now officers of a business that would benefit from the investment of CCWIPP monies.. They also controlled the I.. Propco companies that would facilitate the investment of those monies.. Prior to opening for business, Kelloryn entered into a franchise arrangement with the Howard Johnson's chain through a company called Accommodex Franchise Management - a hotel management company that holds the Canadian franchise rights for a number of hotel chains including Howard Johnson's and Ramada Inns.. Kelloryn also retained Accommodex to manage the operation of the hotel.. Accommodex appears to be a division of a company called AFM Hospitality Corporation.. At some point during the 1990's AFM became a recipient of considerable CCWIPP assistance - the web site of AFM Hospitality www.. afmcorp.. com (.. com.. ) tells us that the UFCW pension plan is one of its majority shareholders.. So, a company that provided management services to hotels, was funded in a big way by a union that represented hotel workers.. Managing the day-to-day operation of the hotel included, among other things, managing its personnel and labour relations functions.. This excerpt from an OLRB that explored the UFCW-CCWIPP-Kelloryn relationship in some depth gives an indication of the scope of AFM's management responsibilities in this area:.. "Accommodex retains complete control and discretion in the management of the operation in all its aspects - including labour relations.. Accommodex is responsible for the selection, employment, termination or employment, supervision, direction, training and assigning of the duties of all employees, and may enroll those employees in pension plans, benefits arrangement (including multi-employer plans) as it considers appropriate.. Accommodex conducts all labour relations activities, including grievance and arbitration proceedings, and collective bargaining negotiations.. ".. The company that was built in large measure on union members' pension funds was in the business of representing employers in labour relations matters.. It made decisions as to who would be hired, fired, trained, and enrolled in multi-employer pension plans.. It would represent management in grievances and at negotiations.. By 1995, Wayne Hanley, currently President of UFCW Local 175 became a Director of AFM Hospitality Corporation, a position he continues to hold.. As the grand re-opening day for the Toronto hotel, to be called the Howard Johnson Plaza, drew near in the fall of 1992, more than four thousand desperate job seekers lined up to apply for 150 jobs paying between $8.. 00 and $15.. But the desperate were not the only people who were enthusiastic about the grand re-opening.. A week or so before the reopening, Kelloryn Hotels Inc.. entered into a collective agreement with UFCW Local 206.. Among Kelloryn Hotels Inc.. 's officers was Cliff Evans who, although by this time retired from his position as UFCW Canadian Director, continued on as a Vice President position with UFCW International and continued to sit on the Board of the CCWIPP.. The hotel's newly-hired workforce were required to join  ...   at raiding did not produce results and the group appears to have disbanded sometime in 1995-96.. Belanger is reported to have returned to Montreal to work for a local supermarket.. At least two of his supporters were hired on business reps by the UFCW - one of them, Jerry Jones, currently works as a business rep with Local 206.. Now, we are not saying that the UFCW was involved somehow in Local 75's attempt to part company with HERE International.. We are not even suggesting that the UFCW was supporting the efforts of the former Local 75 officials to raid the HERE hotels.. All that we're saying is that there were some very unusual things going on indeed.. Meanwhile back at the AFM Corp.. At some point, Kelloryn became a business unit of AFM, looking after the hotel ownership side of the business.. AFM's 1997 Annual Report.. describes Kelloryn Holdings Inc.. as a subsidiary responsible for hotel purchases.. Presumably, when AFM acquired Kelloryn, it also acquired Kelloryn's various hotels.. By 1997, according to its annual report, AFM was busy selling them off.. This excerpt from AFM's 1997 Annual Report describes the scope of its business:.. The company's business activity is organized into 4 units; hotel franchising, hotel management, hotel ownership and hotel purchasing services.. The hotel franchising is conducted by two subsidiaries; Accomodex Franchise Management Inc.. , (Accomodex), which holds the master franchise rights for Canada of the Howard Johnson and Villager Lodges brands, and Ramada Franchise Canada Inc.. (RFCI), which holds the Canadian Franchise rights for the Ramada brand.. Hotel management services are provided by Accomodex; the hotel ownership is through Kelloryn Holdings Inc.. (Kelloryn) which in turn has seven subsidiaries which formerly owned the seven individual hotels; the purchasing company services, HFS Purchasing Services - Canada, are provided by Accomodex and operates under a franchise license from Cendant Corporation (formerly HFS Inc.. Despite the scope of its operations, AFM's financial performance appears to have been less than impressive during the mid and late 1990's.. In 1996 and 1997 it posted losses in excess of $5 million dollars in each year.. More recently, in October 2000 it was the recipient of more assistance from the CCWIPP.. In exchange for some 800,000 shares, the CCWIPP appears to have swallowed some $2 million dollars worth of AFM's debt in a debt conversion scheme that allowed AFM to convert $2 million worth of debt to $2 million of equity.. We do not pretend to be experts in analyzing corporate financial performance.. This link will take you to.. information about AFM's financial performance.. and that of some of its industry competitors.. Come to your own conclusions.. A list of UFCW-represented hotels can be found at the end of this article.. We note that a number of these are part of the AFM family.. In the case of those hotels it would seem that the UFCW represents the workers, AFM represents management and the UFCW pension plan supports the company that represents management.. The Textile Processors and other unraveling mysteries.. Ultimately the Toronto Howard Johnson Plaza and a number of other hotels were acquired by the UFCW.. In 1996 HERE's bargaining unit at the hotel was successfully "raided" by the Textile Processors union.. The Textile Processors Union merged with the UFCW later that year bringing with it a sizable number of hotels in addition to its laundry industry members.. In the wake of the UFCW's merger with the Textile Processors, a few other property transactions have come to light.. At the time of the UFCW-Textile Processors merger, Ralph Ortlieb, a UFCW International Rep and Textile Processors Canadian leader, Tommy Corrigan, were Directors of a company called LHWF Holdings.. LHWF sold the Textile Processors office building at 34 Madison Avenue in Toronto to John Evans, son of Cliff Evans for a price that looks like a bargain to anyone familiar with the Toronto real estate market.. Ortlieb went on to become the President of UFCW Local 351 - the UFCW incarnation of Textile Processors Local 351.. UFCW Local 351 is now based at 412 Rennie Street in Hamilton, Ontario.. The building is connected to RHK Capital Inc.. ; a company registered to Ron Kelly, of the Kelloryn businesses.. Occupying 412 Rennie are also some Teamsters offices.. The spiders' web is large and tangled.. We'll leave off here for the moment.. This story is still evolving as is our understanding of it and we'll be back to you with more scary details in a future report.. What we have presented so far, however, raises some very critical questions - ones that need to be discussed openly and constructively.. These questions cover a range of different issues from the prudence of the kind of investing that's taking place to the relationships that are evolving between union leaders and the entrepreneurs looking for new sources of capital to relationships between unions themselves.. The key question, in our minds at any rate is: Whose interests are being served?.. Let's start the discussion.. Sources for this article:.. AFM Hospitality Corporation Approves Debt Conversion and Extension, AFM Press Release, October 30, 2000.. AFM Hospitality Corporation.. AFM Hospitality Corporation, Annual Report, 1997.. Canadian Commercial Workers Industry Pension Plan.. Desperate' thousands wait in cold for 150 jobs, Toronto Star, November 7, 1992.. Food Union Acted Improperly, Toronto Star, June 9, 1994.. Hotel Employees, Restaurant Employees Union, Local 75 v.. Westbury Hotel v.. Hotel Employees, Restaurant Employees International Union OLRB 1406-94-M, August 5, 1994.. Hotel Employees Restaurant Employees Union, Local 75 v.. Accomodex Franchise Management, Kelloryn Hotel Inc.. , OLRB 2424-92-R, April 20,1993.. Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC).. Introducing Tom Kukovica, Our Times, December 1992.. Labor Dumps on Belanger's Union, Toronto Star, June 18, 1989.. Michael McDougal v.. Hotel Employees Restaurant Employees Union, Local 75, Ontario Labour Relations Board, March 25, 1994, 2239-93-R.. Mob's Casino Interests Run Deep, Toronto Star, July 6, 1993.. Mobster's hotel tab paid by union, Toronto Star, December 31, 1989.. Ontario Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations records.. Ontario Ministry of Labour.. Opportunity Knocks, MFD Articles, Scott McPherson (ed.. Statistics Canada.. Toronto Stock Exchange.. Union Grievance, The Fifth Estate, aired November 15, 1983.. United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 206 v.. Kelloryn Hotels (Ottawa) Inc.. v.. Hospitality and Services Trades Union, Local 261, OLRB 1029-93-R, 1235-93-R, 1104-93-R, July 19, 1993.. Workers' pension fund backs hotel chain employer, The Toronto Star, July 3,1993.. UFCW Hotels - Ontario.. Airlane Motor Hotel, Thunder Bay.. Best Western Motor Inns, Dryden.. Best Western Continental Inn, Windsor.. Caswell Motor Inn (985899 Ontario Ltd.. ), Sault Ste.. Marie.. Central Hotel (619750 Ontario Ltd.. ), Dryden.. Comfort Inn (Travelway Inn Barrie Inc.. ), Barrie.. Comfort Inn (824332 Ontario Ltd.. ), Belleville.. Comfort Inn (680247 Ontario Ltd.. ), Toronto Airport.. Compri Hotel (Riverside Management Ltd.. ), Windsor *.. Days Inn (WHRB Realty Co.. Days Inn (541907 Ontario Ltd.. ), Toronto Downtown.. Delta Meadowvale Resort, Mississauga.. Embassy Suites Hotel, Markham.. Four Points Hotel (Caswell Management), Sudbury.. Four Seasons Hotel (Yorkville), Toronto*.. Hallmark Hotels, Hornepayne.. Hallmark Hotels, White River.. Holiday Inn (Commonwealth Hospitality), Oshawa.. Holiday Inn (Commonwealth Hospitality), Sault Ste.. Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza, Toronto Centre *.. Howard Johnson Hotel (Machell Park Terrace Inc.. ), Aurora.. Howard Johnson Plaza (WHWW Hotels, Ottawa), Ottawa.. Kewadin Inn (1138806 Ontario Ltd.. ), Orillia.. Journey's End Hotel (824332 Ontario Ltd.. Journey's End Hotel (496458 Ontario Ltd.. ), London.. Journey's End (1386914 Ontario Ltd.. Journey's End (537670 Ontario Ltd.. ), Windsor (p/t only).. Journey's Ends Properties II Inc.. , Windsor.. Lakeside Inn, Kenora.. Minden Manor Motor Inn, Simcoe.. Quality Inn (Altadore), Woodstock.. Rainy Lake Hotel, Fort Frances.. Ramada Inn (Chip Reit No ll Operations), Sault Ste.. Ramada Inn (Commonwealth Hospitality), Sudbury.. Ramada Inn (1392165 Ontario Ltd.. ), Timmins.. Red Dog Inn (988512 Ontario Ltd.. ), Fort Frances.. Regal Constellation Hotel, Toronto*.. Regal Constellation Hotel, Toronto (security guards).. Sheraton Fallsview (Romzap Ltd.. ), Niagara Falls.. Sheraton Parkway (Captain Developments), Richmond Hill*.. Super 8 Hotel (Sudbury VI Purchaseco), Sudbury.. The Hotel (843547 Ontario Ltd.. ), Windsor*.. Travelodge Ingersoll (Capital Properties Ltd.. ), Ingersoll.. Travelodge Chartwell, North Bay.. Travelodge Suites (Major Contracting Algoma), Sault Ste.. Valhalla Inn (Valbay Hotel Ltd.. ), Thunder Bay.. Westin Hotel (Winvest), London.. Westin Harbourcastle, Toronto *.. Formerly with Textile Processors.. Textile Processors - Ontario Hotels.. Although the Textile Processors formally merged with the UFCW, MOL records show these hotels as represented by the Textile Processors Union, Local 351.. Cambridge Suites, Etobicoke.. Chateau Laurier Hotel, Ottawa (guards).. Howard Johnson Plaza, North York.. Quality Suites, Whitby.. Quality Suites Journey's End, Etobicoke.. Radisson Plaza Admiral Hotel, Toronto.. Town Inn, Toronto.. Travelodge Woodbine, Etobicoke.. Westin Harbourcastle, Toronto (guards).. Source: Ontario Ministry of Labour, Office of Collective Bargaining Information..

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