Thursday, March 01, 2007

CEP/CLAC Attack and International Amnesty

James E. Smith
Vice President, Canada

Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Our wages are under attack in the construction sector!

  • In British Columbia, the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union (CEP) have signed low wage agreements covering five pulp and paper mills.

  • In the Alberta tar sands, the CEP is signing sweetheart deals adopting CLAC's collective agreement that undercuts our standard agreement rates and opens the door to temporary foreign workers.

  • The CEP has announced that it intends to enter the construction market across the country and that means undercutting our wages nation-wide. (They have signed a cooperation agreement with the FTQ in Quebec.)

  • This calls for an immediate and decisive response!

  • All construction members are put on notice that they are not to work for companies signed to CEP/CLAC.

  • If you assist CEP/CLAC in undercutting our wages and benefits, you will be held liable. Names of those working CEP/CLAC will be sent by the Canadian Office to your home Local. You may be required to appear before the executive and membership to account for your actions.

  • If you are currently working under a CEP/CLAC agreement, advise your union representative immediately to qualify for an amnesty.

  • Remember that your good wages, benefits, reciprocity and mobility, for which you have fought long and hard, are at risk. Unite in our fight to retain them.

  • Thank you for your cooperation in this important battle. If you have any questions, please raise them with your regional council.

    In solidarity,
    James E. Smith
    Vice-President -- Canada
    5799 Yonge Street - Suite #807 - Willowdale, Ontario, Canada M2M 3V3 - Phone (416)2258885 - Fax: (416)2255390


    Anonymous said...

    As a member of the CEP I have to say is that the CEP never should have gotten involved with the construction. We should stick to maintence. If I ever get laid off Im going to the UA.

    Anonymous said...

    jeez, do NOT tell anyone in Alberta that you are a Cep carpenter!

    Anonymous said...

    hey bud im a fitter not a carpenter

    Anonymous said...

    When the carpenters of B C moved to leave the international, I don't feel they expected to loose the real meaning of union. we now have no say in who is pres. or election , or work togather anymore.We have lost binnys like travel time and working cond. may be time to vote again.....

    Anonymous said...

    I heard yesterday that James Smith FIred David Wright,International Rep for Western Canada.

    Anonymous said...

    Note to anonymous #4
    Did you vote for your local rep?
    I voted in my area.
    If you listened at the meetings about negotiation reports you would know that the pattern was set by the metal trades by the time Labour Relations Board took away the conditions you are talking about and imposed contract language that was in line with what the metal trades sold out for.
    We were pushed to the back of the bus until the boss had us right where he wanted us.
    As an armchair observer of the working class and unions in general, the bosses tactic of divide and conquer worked again.
    When will we ever learn?

    Anonymous said...


    Anonymous said...

    With the recent labour board decision regarding CMAW and CHC bargaining rights you better get your head out of your ass and read it.

    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.

    Anonymous said...

    Wow, great analysis! well done! Keep up the flow of information for all rank and file members to read and learn.

    Anonymous said...

    The change of regime in B.C is not going to happen fast enough.

    Anonymous said...

    No name for the CMAW newsletter yet? How about "The Latest News From The Lackeys"?

    Anonymous said...

    do you really think that Randy Smith and those dirt bags at local 1995 care about you carpenters are you brain dead they raped your pension fund and local to the point of extintion along with the drywallers now the painters local 38 is after the drywallers that prick coles and his daddy pulled off the biggeast rippoff in history the stole the carpenters local 1995 off Maccron and the men it belongs to.and the carpenters are standing around scratching their nuts wondering what went wrong. You had a chance to elect someone that would have fought for the men but you wrote him off as a loud mouth he would have had the police fraud investigation squad involved and your pension would have been covered by insurance but you wanted the trash well quit whining.

    Anonymous said...

    jan noster rumninates on his stint as a ubcja orginiazer he could not orginize the crabs that are living on his crotch i guess there no future in bank holdups in alberta as for being the leader of CMAW well i guess if they want to be led into the 16th centuary he's their man Bill Duck is the snake to watch. He can look you in the face and smile and put a knife in your back without blinking and you would not even know it just ask all his brother drywallers he sold out.

    Anonymous said...

    Finally a CANADIAN UNION to be proud of

    Anonymous said...

    what is one supposed to do when there are job stewards in collusion with slimy foremans who want to " fire" a female carpenter just for being female? Leaving the carpenter's union for the corrupt organization that it is is the only smart thing to do. CEP or CLAC seem real good alternatives to the carpenter's union.Listen up, to all females who are considering joining the carpenter union, you will not be represented equally, you will have job stewards who cater to their foremans to keep their cushy jobs, you will not be protected from sexual harrassment, you will have your cars vandalized on site, they will lie about you , they will be betray you , they will not believe you when you are assaulted verbally, and these are only the beginnings, just join the carpenter's union and see for yourself, you will live to regret it. trust me. These things have gotten so out of hand that I have had to check to see if my brake lines had been cut each and every day after work. Would you like this environment? Join another union, just stay away from the carpenter's union, they cater to older men and have little tolerance for women and minorities except to have a few token women and blacks just enough to slip by mostly unnoticed as being more like the KKK than any organization I have ever encountered.