Local 225 HOTLINE
for December 4, 1997
Thank you for calling Local 225's
"Union Issues" Hotline. Its purpose is to keep our members
informed of any issues threatening their rights as union workers.
Your hotline is updated every afternoon. You can access the previous
day's message in the mornings.
Here's, the latest: As you know, efforts
currently are underway to transfer control of Local 225 from its
dues-paying members. The LIUNA General Executive Board Attorney
has filed a complaint to put the local in the hands of a trustee.
What does that mean to you, as a Local
225 member? How does it affect your workplace? Your paycheck?
Your say-so in how your local operates, who it hires and how it
spends its money?
COUNT ONE of the trusteeship complaint
states that, quote, "the G-E-B Attorney has formed an opinion
that it is necessary to place Local 225 under supervision for
the purpose of restoring democratic practices of the union and
guaranteeing the statutorily protected rights of the union members
to speak out, to raise matters of importance to the Executive
Board and question the actions of its leaders."
If you'll check your copy of the Complaint,
you'll see what appears to be the basis for the attorney's opinion.
It's in the section called "Background". Here, the G-E-B
Attorney cites a disagreement that occurred at a union meeting.
According to the records, the incident he mentions lasted only
a few minutes, involved one union member and the business manager.
As you see, no other incidents are cited in the Complaint. And
no pattern of undemocratic practices is alleged.
Ask any member who attends the union
meetings every third Friday: They can verify that they actively
participate - under Robert's Rules of Order - in all decisions
that affect the local. Those who are actively involved in union
affairs also can verify that each dues-paying member has an opportunity
to vote on all union actions - whether it's hirings, salaries
or budget items.
At each meeting, Local 225 members
receive a detailed accounting of all expenditures. They can approve,
deny or question any line item in an open forum. They will tell
that, ain any democratic proceeding,
the majority rules. Notice of all Local 225 meetings are posted.
Proceedings are recorded. Detailed minutes also are available
for the members' review.
In accordance with the LIUNA Constitution,
Local 225 leadership contends that the local operates as a democratic,
self-governing body. The membership is in control.
But what if the local is turned over
to a trustee? Will your meetings be run differently? Let's look
at what occurred at another LIUNA local. In that case, the same
G-E-B Attorney who rendered the opinion about Local 225 appointed
a Supervisor to replace the Executive Board.
After taking control, the Supervisor
advised the local's dues-paying members in writing, that they
no longer would have the right to democratic, self-government.
They would be, he wrote, "powerless to make decisions on
behalf of the Local or to set organizational policy."
Further, he wrote; and I quote: "Not
only is the Supervisor free to disregard the results of any (member)
votes he may decide to allow at such meetings; the Supervisor
is free to cancel or suspend these meetings altogether."
Those of you who regularly or even
sporatically attend Local 225 meetings know first hand how they
generally are conducted. Is there no democracy? Is the incident
mentioned an aberration - or business as usual at Local 225? Is
it in the best interest of the Local 225 membership for an outsider to
take control of the local?
We want to hear from you. Please leave
your comments, at the end of this hotline report.
In the meantime - Remember to mark
Monday, December 15 on your calendars. That's the date the hearings
begin. If you are concerned about how trusteeship will impact
your rights as a member of Local 225-- and how it may affect your
ability to work, your safety on work sites and your paycheck--you
must attend these hearings.
And please, encourage other members
of the local to call this hotline everyday for the latest updates.
This union is your livelihood. Its fate is your fate. You should
know what's going on.
Again, we invite your comments and
your questions. Please record them at the sound of the tone. Speak
slowly and clearly. Always leave your name and social security
number, so we can verify that the comments are those of a Local
225 member. If you want us to respond to your message, please leave
your telephone number and a time when it would be convenient to
Take Pride in Union Labor! Stand up
for what's best for Local 225!
Have a great day!
Laborers for JUSTICE ©1998 (All Rights reserved)