Friday, June 30, 2006

"it's hard to change a leopard's spots"

The third time's charm as they say, so the third president of CMAW in a year (with no vote of the members) is Jan Noster. Jan is shown here in a photo from the 1999 Carpenter magazine where he was the UBCJA International's Organizer of the year for Alberta.
Jan has had quite a career so far; below is a humerous excerpt from a recent Alberta LRB decision concerning Mr. Noster and the Alberta Regional Council of Carpenters:
Alberta LRB Decision November 28, 2005 GE-04860
Was their decision to deny him membership unreasonable? Put into context with the known histories of the parties, this is almost a rhetorical question. The Respondents had a legitimate concern he could have turned his talents against them in the same fashion he fought against CLAC. They had cause to be concerned he would attempt to sow dissatisfaction, perhaps leading to dissension, among the membership of Local 1325 and the Regional Council. They also had cause for concern that Mr. Noster would advocate for the separation of Local 1325 and the Regional Council from the International Union. After all, to coin another phrase used by Counsel for the Respondents, it's hard to change a leopard's spots.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

CEP 1123 Online: VP Coles Attends Special Meeting ...

CEP 1123 Online
VP Coles Attends Special Meeting ...
Plenty of Questions - Not Many Answers...
As most of you know we had a Special Meeting on May 23rd with brothers Dave Coles and Bob Hughf in attendance. We invited them and offered them an opportunity to give their explanation for the CEP 470 Agreement to our membership. We had an excellent turn out from our members and I would like to thank everyone who came and expressed their opinions of the Agreement.

Brother Hughf gave everyone an overview of some of the history of contractors and the Code of Ethics in the Pulp & Paper industry. For me it was nice to see that in some aspects both Bob and Dave at least now have a partial understanding of what the Code of Ethics means in our Collective Agreements because it was quite apparent at Wage Caucus they had no idea what the language meant. They certainly did not alleviate any of the concerns from the membership that this deal will have a negative impact on the Code of Ethics.

The feeling from the membership was quite strong that this is bad deal for everyone concerned. There was a lot of frustration over how the deal was developed and the fact that it did not involve any on the Catalyst locals input or opinions. I think it is safe to say given the reaction from all the Catalyst locals that happened intentionally. There was definitely a lot of anger over the potential impact this is going to have on our members from both the trades and labourers. It is nice to see that people are taking the time to understand the impact this could have on them and the union movement.

Both Dave and Bob explained their positions and reasons for the agreement and tried to alleviate some of our concerns and fears of the whole deal. I don’t believe they were able to achieve that as many of our members still believe that the deal is bad for both our local and the trade union movement. Dave consistently answered all of those questions with "I don’t believe that but you are entitled to your opinion and only time will tell who is right". He believes the deal is good for our local, the CEP and the union movement and that over time we will all see a benefit from this agreement. I am not so sure and I only hope we all have the chance to still be employed under decent collective agreements while watching how all this develops over the years.

The great thing about the union movement is that we don’t always have to agree with what the leadership tells us. If I know only one thing, it’s that this local will continue to fight to protect the members in local 1123 & 630 no matter what inferior agreement is signed with any union or non union group. The sad thing is we may not have any friends left in the trade union movement if Brother Coles and Hughf keep undercutting our brothers and sisters in the union movement.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

"Rump" group wins in BC Supreme Court

Judge rules Provincial Council cannot rule by adjournment.
Members democracy rights upheld.
Judge Myers decision to follow - (check comments for more info)

Friday, June 16, 2006

Shades of McCarron: vote of delegate majority called "illegal coup d’état" (as compared to a legal coup d’état?)

CMAW – United and Strong
Open letter to the membership

CMAW members,

Over the past few weeks there has been a power struggle within the BC Provincial Council of Carpenters. The Council is the last remnant of our ties to the International and was set to close so that your Canadian union CMAW could take its place. A founding convention for CMAW was scheduled for June 7th in Vancouver.

On that day, a rump group from some local unions representing a minority of the membership but having a majority of delegates in the room, adjourned the convention before it got going and re-convened on their own as the Provincial Council two days later. They are now claiming to have fired Provincial Council President Len Embree and Secretary Treasurer Pat Haggarty, even though these duly elected leaders have about a year left on their 3-year term.

This group does not say they represent CMAW – they only make claims on the Provincial Council. This illegal coup d’état of the Provincial Council does not affect CMAW or its operations and both the BCPCC and CMAW elected leadership are confident this internal scrimmage will not affect representation for our more than 5000 CMAW members and their pension and benefit plans.

Some people want power, while we want progress. It is time for us to go forward with our fight for Canadian autonomy not turn back to the past. CMAW and the BC Provincial Council belong to the members, not to a group of some 50 dissidents, none of whom are from Local 1995, our largest Local Union.

We will keep you updated.

Len Embree
Pat Haggarty

PS: Click here for the letter this group sent telling employers they are now in charge. Click here for our response.
blog note: both links open as pdf downloads

Thursday, June 15, 2006

"...I think the honourable thing to do would be to resign." - 2003 Convention Archives

BCPC Convention Opening Address by Len Embree, April 10, 2003 excerpts:

"We've got decisions to make at this Convention; the resolutions are there. Even (United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America General President) Douglas J. McCarron had to admit, under cross examination, that if this convention passes resolutions and gives the officers and the Executive Board direction, we're obligated to follow them. Out of the great man's mouth.

So, whatever this group decides, and that we take out to the members and they decide, not only will we support it, we're obligated to carry it out. If we don't do that, then I think the honourable thing to do would be to resign.

I think our membership is absolutely determined to govern their own affairs, to elect their own officers, to vote on any mergers - those are the principles we started with six or seven years ago - and we will do that with the support and help, probably, of a number of Canadian unions. And I don't see anything but success down the line.

So I welcome you to the Convention. I am looking forward to the debate. And I'm looking forward to the results of this coming year."

Tuesday, June 13, 2006



WHEREAS: The BC Provincial Council of Carpenters and their Local Unions have been in a struggle for autonomy from the United Brotherhood of Carpenters of America and the 33 mandatory bylaws; and

WHEREAS: The BC Provincial Council of Carpenters has negotiated a collective agreement with CEP Local 470 and JVD Mill Services, which severely undercuts our present collective agreement with CLRA:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That the delegates to the BC Provincial Council of Carpenters' 62nd Convention demand the immediate resignation of the President of the BC Provincial Council of Carpenters.



WHEREAS: The Resident Officers of the BC Provincial Council of Carpenters do not have any authority to sign any documents without full disclosure to the entire Executive Board of the BC Provincial Council of Carpenters:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That the Resident Officers are disavowed the ability to sign any documents without full disclosure to the entire Executive Board of the BC Provincial Council of Carpenters.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Betrayal of the Union by the Resident Officers

Resolutions Passed at the 62nd Convention BCPC Carpenters

WHEREAS: The Resident Officers have chosen not to conduct referendum ballots within the time frame allowed by the Constitution and Bylaws; and

WHEREAS: This is the first time in the history of this organization that the Resident Officers have chosen to ignore the Constitution and Bylaws that the membership of this union has voted on; and

WHEREAS: The shame the Resident Officers have brought upon the once respected offices of President and Secretary-Treasurer:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That the Resident Officers of the BC Provincial Council of Carpenters be removed from office immediately.


WHEREAS: The Executive Board is responsible for the supervision of any organizing work under the jurisdiction of the Council, including supervision of any organizers employed by the council; and

WHEREAS: Those organizers who are employees of the Council have negotiated and promoted substandard agreements on behalf of other unions that are harmful to our own members; and

WHEREAS: The Resident Officers are responsible for directing the activities of the Council employees:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That the Resident Officers tender their immediate resignations.


WHEREAS: The President and Financial Secretary of the Provincial Council of Carpenters have signed off on the amended Trust Document concerning the pension Plan; and

WHEREAS: The President and Financial Secretary of the Provincial Council of Carpenters neglected to inform the members of the Executive Board of the Provincial Council of Carpenters of this fact:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That the delegates to the 62nd Convention of the BC Provincial Council of Carpenters demand the immediate resignation of the President and Financial Secretary of the Provincial Council of Carpenters

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Roast or Toast? A Convention editorial

Resident officers have approximately two days to decide their legacy - heroes of the struggle for Canadian autonomy or King Coles' toadies who tried to transform our union into a cult of insufficient personalities. While time and tide may have kept the Council President away, there is no defensible excuse for the actions of the Financial Secretary-Treasurer when faced with a majority of elected delegates representing a majority of locals that showed up for the BCPC Convention prepared to engage the desperate few who tried to hang on to power by manipulating the Resolutions Committee. It became clear to even the Kingsway gang that the voices of the majority was gathered to democratically unseat the pompous pilots who have been at the helm during the disastrous flirtation with the industry sub-standard JV Screwdriver agreement, also known as the Pulp Fiction Survival Agreement. Haggarty's limp-wristed attempt to illegally cancel the convention at the 11th hour while delegates were already assembled in Vancouver is a new low in corporate unionism.

It remains to be seen whether the turfed Resident Officers will do the right thing, or continue to imitate the sleaziness of McCarron's International. I strongly suggest that the Resident Officers have their resignations handed in at the office by the end of shift on Monday, June 12.

If not, then their legacy may no longer reflect the long march to Canadian autonomy, but rather be characterized by featherbedding, favouritism, partisanship and ignominy.

signed dave livingston, carpenter delegate

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Taking Back Our Union

As the assembly opened this morning, George Jalava went to the microphone and said "Brother Chair, I rise to a question of priviledge affecting the assembly."

Bill Duck as the chair recognized the member at the microphone. It was not without some serious shucking and jiving by the Chair and Haggarty but the following motion was read (several times actually):

"Brother Chair, I move that this assembly adjourn and that the Executive Board unanimously approve a Constitution which will in turn go to the entire membership for approval by a referendum vote prior to reconvening in April of 2007."

Other members attempted to make comments but Brother Duck admonished them that they were not recognized and asked for silence as the Chair and CEP usurpers attempted to evade the inevitable. A standing vote was called and by a majority vote of 53 to 45 it was decided to adjourn the assembly until a constitution was taken to the membership for a referendum vote.

This was truly democracy in action at its finest. The membership through the elected delegates took back our union to a rallying chant of "vote vote vote" reminiscent of when the lights went off on McCarron and a clear message was sent to King Coles that his undemocratic dictates were not going to fly with the Carpenters.

Haggarty was heard to call for the mics to be cut off and he made a cutting motion across his throat as he attempted to wrest control back to the CMAW/CEP pretenders to no avail. How like McCarron he appeared; he was unsuccessful as well in his blatant attempt to thwart democracy.

After the assembly left the meeting room, this question was asked: What is your reaction to observing union democracy at its finest?

"It's the first time I've felt we've had a union in 10 years." Steve Borho, delegate

"We will take our direction from the membership. They are the basis of union democracy." Paul Wilkinson, delegate

"Fu*k off, Doc" by Jan Noster, organizer

"Yahoo." Tony Heisterkamp, delegate