Canadian Labour Outlook

A Concerned Citzen's Prospective

December 1998

LIUNA: Corruptions Continues in Canada

Some Canadian members say that despite the extraordinary amounts of money being spent on a so called reform program within the Labourers' International Union of North America, the corruption continues to grow.

For at least 20 years LIUNA Rank and File Members have felt like they have been without control of their organization and their money which is held in trust by LIUNA's elected officers.

Some of these rank and file members have been subjected to violence and intimidation including loss of opportunity to earn a living to support their families.

That's right LIUNA appears to have grown with the changing times; In the early days of Unions violence and physical intimidation were used to control the members, but now they don't need to beat their members everyday just every now and then instead it appear that some LIUNA Officals prefer to hit their members where it really hurts in the pocketbook or should we say the kitchen table.

Yes, times have changed but some things never change even the reformers families are discriminated against.


A Sarnia Man who has been a member of LIUNA for over 40 years was pulled away from his job duties this week. He was asked why he wasn't wearing a LIUNA Sticker on his hardhat. When he

responded by saying that because the sticker says honesty on it & he didn't believe that LIUNA Officals have always been honest with him, he was told to either put the sticker on his hat or he would lose his job. He was the only person to be reprimanded for not wearing the sticker, yet no one else on the job site was wearing the LIUNA sticker either.

Coincidentally, this member had sent a letter via fax the day before this incident to Mr. W. Douglas Gow, LIUNA Inspector General outlinging numerous concerns especially regarding Local & International Union Officals.

Recently a member of LIUNA Local 1089 attended a LIUNA monthly membership meeting and requested yet again a copy of Local 1089's 1997 Financial Statement which according to the OLRB Act should have been available to the membership much earlier this year.

Not only was this member refused a copy of the financial statement but it was also suggested by a Local 1089 Executive Board Member that perhaps this member hadn't learned his lesson.

The following day the member was laid off by the unionized contractor which he had been employed for.

The Contractor claimed the lay off was due to work shortage but then requested an additional four labourers form Local 1089.

The worst part is that Local 1089 provided these other labourers to the contractor with no regard for the member that had been laid off.

Where LIUNA Local 1089 Officals using influence with the contractor as an attempt to "teach this member a lesson " ? Or is it just coincidence ?

This week that very member was served with charges laid under LIUNA Constitution. These charges were filed by Robert Leone, Local 1089's Business Manager.

In these charges Leone claims Laura Portiss contacted the contractor in question, in regard to this matter and therefore the wrongfully dismissed member is in violation of LIUNA Constitution as well as the collective bargaining agreement. So now Leone wants this innocent member penalized for Laura Portiss' actions, because Leone has denied Portiss a LIUNA membership application Portiss is not subject to the LIUNA Constitution and therefore can not be penalize under it so instead Leone will penalize an innocent member.


Some people say Leone is calling the kettle black. How is it a Business Manager who has so frequently failed to abide by LIUNA Constitution and EDP can charge an innocent member ?

Prior to the member being served with the charges Portiss contacted LIUNA Inspector General's office and was advised to attempt to resolve this matter with Leone.

When Portiss attempted to contacted Leone, he didn't return Portiss' call. Portiss then faxed a letter to Leone excepting responsibility for her actions and clearly stating that if charges were filed against this member, the facts wouldn't be true or accurate. Once again Leone didn't respond.

Now the charges have been served so it appears more of LIUNA members money will be spent on a Trial Board which is being used for malice purposes.


In November 1995 Rick Vani, President of Local 1089 was convicted of Sexual Assault. Regardless of how many members have launched complaints to LIUNA GEB and various members of LIUNA's so called reform program, Mr. Vani remains as President of Local 1089.

Carl Booker former assistant to LIUNA General President Arthur Coia, was recently elected by LIUNA GEB to serve as LIUNA's General Secretary-Treasurer. It appears that LIUNA finds Mr. Bookers history of Criminal Sexual Offenses acceptable.

However, another LIUNA member was convicted of sexual assault more thatn 13 years ago as recently expelled from LIUNA for such convictions. More details are available in the latest issue of the The Laborer, a magazine published quarterly for LIUNA members.


In October 1998, a man by the name of Ronald Pink sent correspondense to the Portiss family claiming that Pink was the LIUNA Canadian GEB Attorney, however last week a source from LIUNA Inspector General's office says Pink doesn't hold the position of GEB Attorney, he is defense counsel for LIUNA.

Pink himself admits that he has represented LIUNA in the past.

How can LIUNA's rank - and - file members have faith in LIUNA's reform program when LIUNA's legal counsel makes such a blantant attempt to mislead the rank-and - file ?

Of course, Pink's response is that he will become the Canadian GEB Attorney in the future. So if you believe you may become Prime Minister of Canada in the future is it okay for you to say you are now ?

You can email Laura Portiss at :

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