Thursday, November 24, 2005

When the Union is the Boss

Fired union whistleblower wins job challenge in Supreme Court
Private sector Business Unions in the building trades are notorious for being bad employers especially for their female support staff. Women workers have faced abuse and harassment in the workplace, due to the sexist attitudes of craft/trades men. You know the attitude I work and the little woman stays home. In Alberta OPEIU which represents women office workers in private sector unions filed charges against several building trades unions over this.

A woman who was fired from her job after blowing the whistle on alleged misspending by her superiors has won her case in the country's top court and now wants to go back to work. In a 6-1 judgment released Thursday, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of Linda Merk, who was ousted as bookkeeper and office manager for a Saskatchewan local of the Iron Workers Union.

The Iron Workers Union like other private sector business unions like the Labourers International, Carpenters, Hotel Employee and Restaurant Employees (HERE), Teamsters, etc. have alleged connections with organized crime. And their officers often act as if they were Padrones.

In the last decade in Alberta the HERE Local was involved in a scandal over Executive board members, a Father and Son, who embezzled pension funds.
As business unions these organizations view the workers as their source of cash and capital, much like the boss does.

And with big pension and benefit funds the temptation for these business agents, International Reps and local executives (who are often appointed by the International or if elected are part of the good old boys network) to dip into the cash drawer can be a bit overwhelming.

After all they are only doing on the local level what the big wigs in Washington with their shady connections have been caught doing.

And being good ol' boys they figure that the little woman should know her place, in this case she did, she exposed the rats that stole from the rank and file. The rats in the union executive did what all rats do, they covered up their crime and canned a worker who was doing what was in the best interests of the members (remember them they are the reason the union exists).

Merk's drawn out legal battle began more than four years ago when she complained about salary and expense payments to two union officers According to the set of facts the high court used in its ruling, Merk first took her complaint to her supervisor and was rebuked.So Merk's father, a former union employee, and three other members wrote a letter to the general president in Washington to complain. After the matter was investigated internally, the local executive authorized Merk's firing. Merk said her family has a long history with the union and she wants to go back to work. "I love my job," she said. "I liked being with the members and the members liked me."

Good for her, time to clean house and as the Wobblies say "dump the bosses off your back," including the union bosses who view our unions as their personal fiefdoms and cash cows.

1 comment:

wedgie said...

Eugene you are right all these union reps/agents excutives/organizers are all crooked and wannabe gangsters. A good example is your pal Jan Noster of the BC CEP a wannabe carpenter/gangster/agent. After being fired by the Alberta carpenters because he got punched out by an old man he was trying to intimdate into organizing, got covered in his own blood, and tried to bill costs for a new suit to replace the 10 year old sweatshirt he was wearing. Has since been hanging around Vancouver coffee shops and promoting BC canadian autonomy from the carpenters US based international. Since CEP chartered a construction maintenance local in partnership with the BC carpenters autnomists, Jan figured it would be a good time to come back to Alberta and take revenge on the Alberta carpenters. Except that he had the carpenters dispatcher forge his membership documents and falesly witnessed them. After extensive investigation the dispatcher was implicated and promptly fired but not before he downloaded the personal information of all 10000 members of the alberta union. Needless to say Jans application was denied. So whats the next move? The CEP is almost broke the new maintenance charter is dysfunctional, a sweetheart deal for time and a half couldn't be brokered with CNRL in fort macmurray who already have CLAC. Apply for an International Reps position with the labourers union in Alberta. Probably to bring canadian autnomy ;) i am sure. Or maybe just steal a pay check or anything else thats not nailed down. Once a convicted bank robber always a convicted bank robber I always say. But why do they have to become our union reps?