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 reach you.

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)

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