Laborers for Justice & Democracy
1601 Ocean Avenue, #346
San Francisco, CA 94112
We are faced with the brutal fact that 80%
of the construction work in California is being done non union,
because the building trades leadership have failed to do their
job. Years of neglect, "One Job Agreements" and leaders
who are afraid to get out on the job site, has created this terrible
situation. Now we have to organize or die. Organizing cost money.
The next question is where do we get the money?
Certain International Vice Presidents are
proposing that a nickel an hour should be taken out of every members
paycheck to pay for organizing. They are talking about five cents
an hour on top of the heavy union dues our members are already
paying. We think this is a new form of robbery.
It is time for the international to give
back some of the millions they are wasting on six figure salaries,
outrageous expense accounts, junkets to resorts they pretend are
union work trips, etc., etc.
LIUNA says it has 600,000 members, all of
whom pay per capita dues to the international. The working members
pay $10 a month and the retirees pay $5 a month, per capita dues
(in addition to local dues.) This money is collected by the local
and sent to the international office.
We propose that the international earmark
one dollar per month of this money for organizing. That would
be $600,000 a month, over $7 million every. The Laborers International
Union would be able to mount massive organizing drivers with this
kind of money. We fully support the idea of an organizing program
but feel its time for the International Union to pay their share
and not tax the members even more for their past failures.
We just paid $20 million for a "clean
up program" that left Arthur Coia and Max Warren in office
at over a half million dollars a year. Why should the rank &
file, who pay for everything, be ripped off again for an organizing
program? That is what union dues should be used for--not to pay
outrageous salaries and put somebody's dead beat relatives on
On election night 1997, members of Local
270 were planning to picket the Santa Clara Labor Council to bring
attention to the corrupt and undemocratic practices being perpetrated
against the members by Max Warren and his appointed "Supervisor",
These members were approached by Amy Dean,
head of the Labor Council, who begged them not to picket. Dean
promised them that in return she would write a letter to Local
270 inquiring about the members accusations.
But Amy Dan never wrote the letter she had
A few weeks later the same Local 270 members
brought their signs to picket the San Jose City Council meeting
where the Council voted in the Livable Wage Law. They handed
out a flyer supporting the Livable Wage Law and explaining their
problem at Local 270.
Again, The Central Labor Council wanted them
to leave, but none of them had the balls to come and ask. Instead
they sent John Neece from the building trades to deliver the message.
Neece was very fair and said "I can't tell you to leave-this
is America and you have rights. I am just doing what the Labor
Amy Dean was also at the Council meeting
but refused to speak to the members of Local 270 when she arrived.
Laborers for Justice and Democracy called Ms. Dean's office several
time, but she has not returned our calls.
Throughout the world, members of unions routinely
vote on collective bargaining agreements that control their workplace
destiny. Do you?
Under the current L.I.U.N.A. Constitutional
provision (see provision below) regarding Bargaining-- there is
nothing that prohibits you from being given the right to vote
on your collective bargaining agreement.
Article XI of the Uniform District Council
Constitution gives certain rights to the negotiating committee
and the District Council delegates. However, nothing prohibits
the negotiating committee and delegates from waiving their right
under Article XI and presenting a proposed contract to the members
to obtain ratification.
Since nothing prohibits membership ratification,
shouldn't you demand the opportunity to ratify your contract?
Ask your delegate to the District Council
to request the Negotiating Committee to put the proposed contract
to all the members affiliated with the District Council for a
secret ballot ratification vote. Express yourself self,
not only as regards negotiations for a successor Agreement, but
in the future, demand a commitment from persons from your local
union running for delegate to the District Council that they provide
you an opportunity to vote on Collective Bargaining Agreements.
No collective bargaining agreement and
no-side agreements with management(except grievance settlements
that affect only the individual member who filed the grievance)
should be valid unless it has been ratified by a secret ballot
vote of the affected members. Voting on collective bargaining
agreements, mail ballots or in-person, must be conducted in such
a manner that guarantees the principle of one member, one vote.
Proposed changes should be in writing and members should have
sufficient time to review and discuss the proposals before the vote.
In the year 200l when you nominate and elect
delegates to the 22nd Convention for the Laborers' International
Union of North America. Demand their support for a revision of
the Constitution as regards Bargaining. Compare the revised version
below with the current provision.
The revised version guarantees you
the right to vote on future Collective Bargaining Agreements.
Considering how long it has been since you last voted on your
own workplace destiny. Isn't it about time to make your voice
heard and demand that the Rank and File ratify Laborers' Collective
Fax: (203) 335-1261
Bargaining shall be conducted by a Negotiating
Committee appointed by the District Council. The Business Manager
of the Council shall be the chairman ex-officio In the composition
of the Negotiating Committee the District Council shall give due
regard to representation from all the affected Local Unions. Prior
to negotiations the Local Unions which shall be affected thereby
shall submit to the District council their bargaining proposals.
The Business Manager and the Negotiating Committee of the Council,
after consultation with all the affected Local Unions, shall cause
the preparation of the District Council's agreement proposals.
During the course of negotiations the Business Manager shall keep
all the affected Local Unions advised of the progress of negotiations.
If agreement is reached by the Committee,
it shall require ratification by a secret ballot vote of all the
affected members affiliated with the Council. Where a Local Union
negotiates an agreement and thereby serves as the District Council's
Negotiating Committee, that agreement shall require ratification
by a secret ballot vote of all the affected members affiliated
with the council like all other agreements negotiated by the Council
under this Article.
Ratification of all collective bargaining agreements
shall be done by mail ballots, in-person or any combination thereof that guarantees each affected member his right to a secret ballot vote. Changes in the bargaining agreement to be ratified shall be in writing and members shall have no less than 5 working
days to review and discuss the bargaining agreement before casting their ballot.
If the delegates to the Council have given the Negotiating committee the authority to call a strike in the event agreement is not reached, the Negotiating Committee shall be authorized to call a strike only after all affected members affiliated with the Council by secret ballot vote have sanctioned the strike authorization of the delegates to the Council. In all other cases, where the Negotiating Committee has not reached an agreement, strike sanctions can only be authorized by secret ballot vote of the all affected members affiliated with the Council.
Voice of the Rank & File is published by the Laborers for Justice and Democracy<. We are dedicated to winning justice and true democracy for all members of the Laborers International Union of North America, working within the parameters of the LIUNA constitution. If you have an article or other useful information for the members of our Union please mail it to us at:
1601 Ocean Ave #346
San Francisco, CA 94112