December 22, 1997

Thank you for calling Local 225's "Union Issues" Hotline. Here's your final update on the Trusteeship Hearings that ended on Thursday, December 18th.

If you attended December's membership meeting, you heard the Local 225 Attorney's opinion that the General Executive Board Attorney did not prove his case against Local 225. As a result, he feels, the membership should not lose its control over the Local.

Specifically, on the charge of financial malpractice, he explained that the G-E-B Attorney couldn't say how many meals constitutes too many. But he did establish that there should be a limit. Is failure to establish a limit grounds for trusteeship? He doesn't think so.

There was another issue that arose in the hearings that was not mentioned in the Complaint. That was the matter of the Local spending money to train non-union workers, so they could be job-ready when the Chicago Public Schools started their environmental clean-up work. As you may recall, Schools Chief Paul Vallas announced last summer that the school system was going to spend more than 70-million dollars on enviromental waste removal.

On the final day of the hearings, a contractor and a 225 member who planned to become a contractor praised the Local's effort to speed up the release of those contracts and the plan to prepare community members to do some of the work.

But, as you know, the membership overruled that plan proposed by two Local officials and refused payment of any bills associated with it.

The Local feels that the handling of this controversy is further proof that the practice at Local 225 is to resolve matters in a democratic manner -- contrary to the Complaint's accusation that the Local engages in undemocratic practices.

On Thursday, the Local also responded to charges leveled by Michael Palmieri of A-K-W Environmental. Palmieri -- who did not appear at the hearings -- allegedly told investigators that the Local repeatedly took legal action against him, because he wouldn't pay a bribe.

In response, the Local brought in a volume of records showing that A-K-W Environmental committed a large number of violations --ranging from the hiring of non-union labor to failing to forward Health and Welfare benefit payments for union workers. The Local contends that all actions taken against A-K-W were appropriate and in the best interest of Local 225 members and denies that a payoff was requested.

Now that the testimony has ended, the next step is for both sides to prepare written statements summarizing their cases and validating their positions. Those documents are due on January 20th. At that point, the hearing officer will review everything and make a ruling. His decision is expected on or about the middle of February.

Of course, we will keep you posted on any new developments. By the way, if you felt this hotline was helpful to you, please let us know.

If you would prefer a printed newsletter, instead, let us know that too. Or, perhaps you feel a combination of the two would be more effective: a telephone hotline for important, time-sensitive issues that can't wait for publication -- and a newsletter for standard communication.

Now, more than ever, it's important to keep the membership informed. We need to know how best to do that.

Until next time, have a great holiday! And best wishes to every member of Local 225 for a safe and prosperous New Year.

Laborers for JUSTICE ©1998 (All Rights reserved)

Return to