Monday, March 26, 2007

Carpenters Union using email and txt-ing to mobilize members

read full text at Politics and Technology
Why text messaging? Because they're on the job site - where cell phones are king, not laptops.

With cell phones now as ubiquitous as hammers on carpenters' tool belts, the union has used text messaging to bring campaign captains together for meetings. As negotiations progress, the union might use text-messaging to send out updates, ask for input on specific contract proposals, and notify members about job-site rallies.

And of course, a key strategic goal is reaching younger members - who haven't experienced this before:

'It will be about the money when it comes down to the contract,' he said, 'but we have to address the fundamentals.'

That's particularly true for the younger members, who don't feel the same kinds of bonds to the union that their parents and grandparents did, Franklin said.

'In the carpenter's union, and in the building trades in general, young members are a minority,' Franklin said.

About two-thirds of the Northwest Carpenters' members are 45 and older. Nationally, the average age of construction workers is in the mid-50s, according to a survey last year by Chicago-based outplacement company Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc."


Anonymous said...

Does this story sound much different then the situation we are in? The pension mismangent, flunkies,incompetence,etc,etc........

Corruption allegations hit RCMP chiefs
By Kathryn May, CanWest News Service
Published: Wednesday, March 28, 2007
OTTAWA—The Commons public accounts committee is holding an emergency in-camera session on Thursday after shocking testimony on Wednesday on Parliament Hill about corruption, cronyism and coverups at the force’s highest levels concerning the RCMP pension plan.

Five RCMP officers and a whistle-blower who lost her job accused the force’s senior management, led by former commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli, of corruption, and of derailing an investigation into the misappropriation of funds from the Mounties' pension plan.

One MP, Liberal Borys Wrzesnewskyj, said in an interview that the Liberals will be calling for a public inquiry into the allegations.On Wednesday night, officials said the Mounties’ acting commissioner, Beverley Busson, announced deputy commissioner Barbara George had stepped down as head of RCMP human resources, as well as the senior executive committee.

At the same time, an RCMP deputy commissioner has resigned her post as head of the forces’ human resources department.

MPs on the committee sat stunned Wednesday as witnesses played a recording of telephone calls and painted a picture of investigations that were delayed, meddled with and eventually stopped as allegations reached too close to the senior executive suite. They heard allegations of executives using their power to override rules to tap into the pension fund, delays, obstruction, punished investigators, sidelined whistle-blowers, buried evidence and wrongdoers rewarded with improper payouts.

"Let me say how shocked I am to hear the statements by senior members of the RCMP who have come forward and condemned their own organization for corruption, fraud, mismanagement, incompetence and the list goes on," said Tory MP John Williams.

"This is an icon of Canadian culture, a beacon around the world and there looks to be something seriously wrong at the core of the organization that shocks me, I’m sure it shocks Parliament and if we don’t get to the bottom of this, we have to be part of the process that does."

The five Mounties were called as witnesses following disturbing suggestions at earlier meetings that management wanted to derail investigations that could throw a spotlight on mishandling of pension and insurance funds.

Opposition MPs on the committee, led by Wrzenewskyj, pushed for Wednesday's hearings, which were originally opposed by Conservative MPs who argued the committee shouldn’t be sticking its nose into a closed criminal investigation.

All committee members, however, agreed the allegations raise worrisome questions about the integrity of the national force’s senior ranks.

Witnesses told MPs that anyone who stuck their neck out with complaints or raised concerns about abuses were quietly shuffled aside or moved. Denise Revine, the original whistle-blower who first stumbled on irregularities in the books of the pension plan, took her concerns to her boss, Chief Supt. Fraser Macaulay. Ms. Levine lost her job, and Supt. Macaulay was reassigned to a job in National Defence.

The handling of the pension has been the focus of four separate investigations, including two criminal investigations, an internal audit and probe by Auditor-General Sheila Fraser, but no one was every charged or disciplined.

The whole affair has caused a rift within RCMP ranks, with some officers lobbying MPs behind-the-scenes for months to step in and ensure such a foul-up doesn't happen again. They alleged the investigation was dogged by deliberate foot-dragging and obstruction at the most senior levels — including Mr. Zaccardelli.

The hearing on Wednesday emerged out of Ms. Fraser’s report, released last November, which concluded the administration of the pension fund was wracked with spending abuses, nepotism and money was improperly diverted from the find to pay for costs that should have been covered by the force's budget.

George had earlier testified she had nothing to do the removal of Staff-Sgt. Mike Frizzell, a lead RCMP investigator on the Ottawa police criminal probe who pulled off the case days before the investigation was terminated. Mr. Wrzeswskyj, however, said he had e-mails, which he tabled with the committee, suggesting she had asked assistant commissioners to have Staff-Sgt. Frizzell removed.

"This was a situation where the investigators were reporting back to the some of the people being investigated, so let’s clean this mess up and put in the mechanisms where this can’t happen again," Mr. Wrzesnewskyj said.

The complaints about the mismanagement of the pension fund goback to May 2003, when the RCMP first launched its own investigations. Then-commissioner Mr. Zaccardelli cancelled that investigation a couple of days later and called an internal audit instead. That internal audit eventually led to the Ottawa police investigation into the affair, but only after officers threatened to go public with their concerns. That also led to the resignations of the chief human resource officer Jim Ewanovich, and Dominic Crupi, director of the force’s National Compensation Policy Centre.

Ms. Fraser and her audit team picked up the case on the heels of an internal audit and the 15-month Ottawa police investigation, which uncovered spending abuses, nepotism, waste, inflated bills and management overriding controls in the running of the force’s pension and insurance plans. Her report questioned the independence of the Ottawa police investigation, which was stacked with RCMP officers and led by an investigator who reported to an assistant RCMP commissioner. Charges weren’t laid because Crown attorneys concluded in June, 2005, there was no "reasonable prospect of conviction." The problems were "administrative" rather than criminal.

Several Mounties were targeted for internal discipline, but the force had to abandon that course because the one-year time limit for action had lapsed.

Anonymous said...

At least the mess in the
RCMP is being investigated by outside authorities. Who is investigating the CMAW mess? The current executive? Not likely!