Monday, February 26, 2007

What are they smoking?

PPWC Local 2 Editorial - Summer 06
What are they smoking?
The latest insidious trend is the new JV Driver agreement. This agreement with an outside contractor may well have a serious impact on the next set of negotiations in 2008.

What is really troubling about the agreement is that a supposedly legitimate union, helped usher in this essentially substandard agreement.

The agreement allows JVD to become the “Contractor of Choice” for all the Catalyst mills. Its gives JVD the first shot at any work the company intends to contract out. I assume that means that work that used to go through a bidding process to get the best contractor and best deal, will now simply go to JVD. And why not, since JVD with its “Pulp Mill Survival collective agreement” and it’s new employees is allowed to pay substantially less money and benefits to those employees, they should have a much lower cost structure. They are able to pay labourers almost $10 an hour less than labourers in our mill, and certainly much less than similar positions in other building trade certified contractors. They also have a clause that offers more money to their workers if they have no accidents over a certain period of time. So if you have an accident while working for them, you do not get the safety incentive bonus, and your accident may affect the pay of the other people you work with. That certainly is a big incentive to report your injury! This deal can make it harder for us to keep work in our mill as the company now has a cheaper alternative ready just outside the gate. Not only are they sitting outside and waiting for our work, they also have an onsite contact to help them plan on getting our work.

The distressing thing about this whole deal is the fact that another union helped broker this whole deal with JVD and Catalyst, a union that we used to partner with in province wide negotiations.
Continued on back page... (click here and scroll to very bottom to finish editorial)
Page 3
Summer ‘06
PPWC Local 2 website


Anonymous said...

The other "union?" that helped with the JV DRIVERS PULP MILL SURVIVAL AGREEMENT,(AKA RAT UNION AGREEMENT) that you mention in the article is the "CARPENTERS UNION LOCAL 1995".(AKA THE KINGSWAY RATS)
Pop in and say hi to the "RATS" when you can!

Anonymous said...

Say hi to the rats? I here Jim Smith is sending in the exterminators to get rid of them.

Anonymous said...

Hey Randy, hey Pat, hey Jan lets see pied piper Coles get you out of this mess.

Anonymous said...

What were upset about with the Internation?
Ratifying our agreement.
Electing our leaders.

What has CEP done

Signed a CLAC agreement which i never voted on

Did anyody out there get to vote for our CMAW leaders.

But its ok, because the CEP gave us Canadian Autonomy. every thing is good as long as that maple leaf keeps flying

Anonymous said...

The PPWC live in a glass house,
they shouldn't throw stones.

Anonymous said...

The crumbling of Dave Cole's power equation

By A. Vendetta

Dave Cole's power equation is based upon two main components: resources and strategy. The resource side of the equation is based on his control over the C.E.P's funds. In past years this income has been of the order of millions, a good portion of which has been utilized by Coles to build a corporate style union against what he calls "the empire," the Building Trades.

The strategy component has been largely provided by three main advisers: Phil Hochstein independent contractors czar and mentor who convinced him to run for president and was the brain behind the manipulations of the past few years that actually converted a democratic Provincial Council of Carpenters into an authoritarian state; Josh Coles, his main political operator, who over the years has kept the rank n file essentially fragmented; and Russel J. Horner, Catalyst president and chief executive officer who has guided him along the path to convert our contracts into toilet paper and transform the greedy Dave Coles into the current leader of the whore like union camp in Canada.

The equation started looking like it was working well, with both components on the rise. Since his electoral victory in October 2006 Coles has gone into a ruling mode beyond simple strategic action, into the realms of what some authors such as anonymous, from CMAW web log call "instrumental action." Whereas strategic action in politics is the ability to persuade or the ability to manipulate others to do what you want, instrumental action is the imposition of your will by sheer brute force, treating people like if they were cattle. The style of Dave Coles has started to look closer to that of Kim Jong Il or George Bush.

To the casual, superficial observer of the C.E.P situation, it would seem that Dave Coles is now reaching the peak of his power. The monetary resource base at his disposal has allowed him to buy the loyalty of much of the provincial council's top brass, practically all of the top members of the local 1995 top bureaucracy guarantying their cooperation allowing him to sell out the members to the more important group of local owners and industrialists. It has also allowed him to shower millions of dollars in concessions on multi national oil companies extracting Canadian resources to supply the U.S. It has made it possible for him to believe he can justify his shamelessness. It has also allowed him the means to engage in a policy of handouts to contractors that has given many unemployed brothers the sensation that he is the man who will end their problems when, in fact, he is only adding to their problems by reinforcing their dependence on a paternalistic state that might not be able to continue lowering its standards down the road sometime soon.

In contrast to his human resource-based disadvantages his political strategies had been, until recently, extremely successful, as dictated by mentors like Hochstein. He had been able to project himself as a defender of autonomy. He had been able to support initial political triumphs and contribute to Noster and Dekker electoral victories in B.C. and Alberta. All in all he looked unstoppable.

In the last year, however, his power equation has been weakening significantly. This is becoming evident, not only inside the union but also the house of labour. Two factors account for this: one, the increasing financial disarray of his regime that is leading to a rapid deterioration of the union's social situation, and, the other, the loss of the International boogey-man.

A financial mess

The financial problems leading to a rapid deterioration of social conditions inside are the result of the massive and uncontrolled spending of Dave Coles, combined with a drop in market share and less money coming into the union due to inferior collective agreements. With the mill closures that have cost many C.E.P members there careers Dave Coles was establishing commitments to supply workers to the Alberta oil patch that far exceeded his inventory. His objective of leading a C.E.P crusade against the Building Trades has proven to be extremely costly. He is said to have spent one million dollars in trying, unsuccessfully, to undermine construction collective agreements in B.C. and Alberta. However, what he was attempting to do by means of his money he destroyed with his mouth, when he gave a speech against the building trades that amused delegates in public while convincing them in private that he was a vulgar and unreliable clown. He has already spent a million and is planning to spend more, in order to protect his authoritarian regime from a rank n file "vote." He is giving away our money in an effort to gain the contractors and owners loyalty in his fight against the Building Trades. In an effort to keep the bosses happy, he is cutting important funds, traditionally funded by the employer from the contracts, to pump into massive schemes of handouts to Catylst and Driver, a strategy that is reinforcing the corporate greed of these beggars but is not solving the deep seated, structural problems of unemployment and ignorance in the members. As he does this, the Alberta state oil company CNRL is receiving inadequate workforce and is losing its capacity to stay on schedule. As a result CNRL is bound to provide less money to the Coles regime in the future. In parallel, due to his handouts inside and outside B.C., he is establishing a framework of increasing social expectations and political expectations that no union leader can fulfill in the longer term.

At this moment there are serious problems being created for workers by the C.E.P shortages in contract terms are obvious as he has increased executive control over our union and established unrealistic contract concessions. Inflation is running at 1.3% for the year. At the same time, unemployment and inflation rates are the largest for C.E.P members. In the national scene, the Eastern Provinces are starting to feel that Coles is mostly talk, as he is lagging in his promises to supply employers with a cheap workforce while Westerners, like Horner and CNRL, impatiently get in line to ask the rewards for their "loyalty."

The results are inevitable. The 2007 C.E.P budget shows a pronounced fiscal deficit, the same as last year’s. This gap can only be closed through a large volume of market share for less, just like the Wal-Mart model. Accordingly, Catylst and others are currently in the market for jumbo concessions. Coles is allowing the company to become the most important and loudest voice in the room. Corporations love nothing better than to keep on juicing a union, leading to its financial collapse.

As strategy falters there is less money and more mistakes are made

As Coles makes faulty strategic decisions and as they have negative economic and social results he is under increasing pressure to keep making flawed strategic choices. This is becoming a vicious circle, leading to further deterioration of his power equation. As concessions and unemployment increase, support and market share declines, as his sources of income become less abundant, he feels obliged to take drastic, unpopular measures such as adopting Clac agreements in B.C. and Alberta a measure conceptually retarded taken as an emergency step to increase income. By trying to control not only maintenance but also the industrial and construction sectors, he is costing everyone immense amounts of money and is acquiring a very heavy burden of managerial responsibility, something that he clearly does not possess.

A fragile outlook

Unnecessary partnerships, alignment with CLAC, an alliance with the FTQ to supply a workforce; acquisition of offices ; welfare program for officers; the request for injunctions leading to Cole's unlimited re-election as president; disregard for the rank n files needs, rendering the rank n files power useless; the fiscal problems; the collapse of C.E.P reputation; the explosive increase of concessions; the growing impatience of Cole's political clients such as Driver and Catlyst the corporate poor; internal rumblings inside CMAW; the paralysis of commercial inactivity; the highest unemployment rates in construction; the proliferation of popular protests all over the net, all of these factors speak of an increasingly weak Dave Cole's power equation.

It is not improbable, therefore, that a change of regime in B.C. could take place in the not too distant future.