Judge to be asked who should lead Telus union - By Fiona Anderson, Vancouver Sun
Published: Friday, November 24, 2006
The contract dispute between Telus Corp. and its union may have ended a year ago but the bitter aftertaste remains, with union representatives scheduled to be in court today looking for a judge to decide who should be their leader.
An application started in the name of the Telecommunications Workers Union is asking the court to keep president Bruce Bell from acting or purporting to act as president of the union. Bell, on the other hand, is claiming the TWU has not authorized the action against him. Bell is also seeking an injunction to stop the disgruntled union executive members from interfering with his ability to do his job.
The court action comes a year after the union ratified a new contract after almost five years of often acrimonious negotiations and four months off the job.
The work stoppage -- called a lockout by the union and a strike by Telus -- led to divisions within the union, some of it along geographical lines. In Alberta, Telus reported that more than half of its unionized employees crossed picket lines to go to work, while B.C. workers stayed off the job. Before the new contract, workers in the two provinces were covered by separate collective agreements.
The move to oust Bell is supported by TWU's vice-president responsible for Central and Eastern Canada, John Carpenter. Carpenter has been acting as president of the union since July, when members of the TWU's executive council purported to oust Bell for dereliction of duty. Bell successfully appealed that decision to an ombudsperson appointed by the Canadian Labour Congress and was reinstated in October. In the current application before the court, the TWU alleges that the ombudsperson was biased and his decision should be overturned.
The Vancouver Sun 2006