Sunday, January 27, 2008

Question From Brother Daniel J. Franco about The Supervision of Local 157

On January 26, in response to a post by Patrick Brennan on the supervision of Local 157 brother Franco asked the following questions, which I will attempt to answer.

Daniel: From whom and/or how did you get the information? Are you certain that it is accurate?

John M: Patrick and I are in touch with the supervision team led by Eastern District VP Frank Spencer.

Daniel: Who will be preparing the newsletter? Who will the contributors be? In addition to the very important Local 157 financial information, what other information may be included in the newsletter, if any?

John M: Patrick was informed that a newsletter will be going out from the supervision team, explaining among other things, the status of local 157 finances and the progress that has been made since the supervision on November 26, 2007.

Daniel: When will the DC begin interviewing? Or, have they already begun? Who should be contacted to arrange an interview? Who will be doing the interviewing?

John M: Patrick was also informed that the district council will be conducting interviews to fill the vacated positions of local 157, a letter will be going out to members in the near future explaining the process.

Daniel: Who are the "we" in "We also will be remolding local 157’s headquarters"? Will it be Local 157 member volunteers and/or will it be contracted-out to a (union!) company or companies? When will the remodeling begin/end? What work is to be done? What is the projected cost? By whom will the remodeling be paid and how?

John M: At the December 18, hearings Eastern District VP Frank Spencer testified and said among other things that the appearance of local 157’s headquarters is “atrocious”. The supervision team will lead the remodeling effort when we have more details we will post them.

Daniel: Will the current 157 website URL continue to be used or has a new address been selected? Who will be working on the website? When is the new/renovated website scheduled to be available?

John M: Patrick was informed that the supervision team will put up a website to keep members better informed. When we have more information we will post it.

Daniel: Have there been any changes as to who currently are representing Local 157? Just to verify, currently who exactly is representing Local 157 and what are their positions/titles?

John M: Eastern District VP Frank Spencer is in charge and has full supervisory authority over Local 157.

Daniel: Lastly, I thought that Local Delegates were supposed to be “democratically elected” and “chosen by the rank and file” [NYCDCC By-Laws, Powers - Section 3]. If any one knows where it is stated that Local Delegates can be appointed by the General President or any other person or persons, please state where this information can be found. Thank you.

John M: On November 26, 2007 General President McCarron placed local 157 under supervision and granted Eastern District VP Frank Spencer full supervisory authority over Local 157. Under the UBC Constitution Section 10(h, m) he has the power to assume and exercise full and complete authority over the conduct of Local 157, which would include the authority to enforce collective bargaining agreements, the authority to administer all of the locals assets, the authority to appoint conduct and cancel meetings, the authority to remove and hire any and all offices, delegates, stewards and employees.

As a result of the supervision all elected officers have been removed. Under Section 10 of the UBC Constitution General President McCarron will appoint new officers to local 157 and normal democratic elections will take place as schedule.

I thank you for your post, if you have any other questions let me know.

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  1. I wish the Local 157 members all the best and I hope for their sakes McCarron does not bust the Local and destroy their Pension and Health Funds as they did to our Brothers Upstate at Local 229 in Glensfalls NY. They took that Local over and fired it President because he would not play ball with the Empire Council. They dissolved the local after 18 months of supervision and split up their assets as they saw fit.

    Since they have controlled their Health fund since 12/2003 the members have seen it slowly destroyed under the Empire Councils management. The members have just been sent letters telling them they must take a 47% increase in their premiums. A participant in the fund has told us he must work 2900 hours to get family coverage. The President of Local 370 who the members are now a part of at the last meeting blamed the OUTRAGEOUS increase on the members themselves and held the Empire Councils mismanagement blameless. It stated that the increase was due to members having catastrophic illnesses which drained their fund. How ludicrous is that since the Empire Councils welfares funds bottom line was 76 million to the plus on their last 5500. The Empire Council has filled Federal documents detailing a merger of agreement of the 229 and 370 funds into the Empire Councils fund in 2005.
    The pension fund of 229 when taken over in trusteeship was $83 dollars a credited year. That fund under the control of the Empire Council was driven down to $20 a credited year. This is what the Brothers at 229 who toiled for all those years are rewarded with.
    This is a shining example of what the International on behalf of and at the request of Council Officers can and will do to a local if they do not "Play Ball" One can only hope Local 157 is not a victim of a Council Officers power trip as was Local 229. It is difficult not to suspicious when Mike Forde who himself has legal issues and accusations against him and is himself milking the cash cow points the finger at others and tells the International THEY are bad guys. How does he have any credibility at all? Let’s hope Brother Spencer has good intentions for Local 157. Somebody in the International allowed our Brothers at 229 to become victims.

    Let me ask another question that perhaps you can look at. I am doing it because the timing is perfect for it to be asked. You keep quoting the UBC Constitution and McCarron and Spencers rights to Legally control all aspects of Local 157.There appears to be somewhat of a conflict. I am hoping you will pass this on and maybe Brother Spencer will answer this in a public forum. You tell us that the International has the legal power under yet the International has told a Federal Court that they do not have Legal Authority over the Locals or Councils and that the Councils have no legal authority over the Locals. So I am confused how they can legally do these things on behalf of or to Local 157.

    A Union Brother in California ahs filed a case in which McCarron is named as a defendant. McCarrons lawyers want him removed as a defendant. The basis of the case is that since McCarron and the International control the Councils and the Locals and the Councils control the Locals as any rank and file members knows is a fact then the International can be held liable for polices they have created and policy's created and implemented against rank and file members by councils. We have heard everyday about Council bylaw this and council bylaw that. We have heard over and over that the District Council has decided this and the District Council has decided that. Our own mailings no are a reflection of our loss of Local identity and the District Councils domination of our Locals even in our Locals letterheads. So you would figure end of story. Not so. McCarron and the International lawyers have declared to a federal court that the powers you keep quoting do not exist

    In Case No. 07-=15574 US District Court Northern California. Gustave Link-vs- David Rhodes ,et al

    Page 8 and I quote. "Link continues to misunderstand union structure and law governing common law agency relationships. Local, intermediate and international unions are legally separate entities and liability for a local unions actions does not attach itself to the International" and the kicker "Unions generally adopt a three-tier structure: the international union, various intermediate bodies and local Unions. Though they are affiliated by a constitution these organizations are SUCH SEPARATE ENTITIES that they can and do sue each other and THEIR AGENTS HAVE NO LEGAL BINDING AUTHORITY OUTSIDE THEIR OWN UNION ENTITY" So now we have to ask how the UBC has written a bylaw that says it can do exactly what you have been quoting but they tell a federal court they cannot. How are they taking the action over Local 157.Why are they telling a federal court that the District Councils have NO LEGAL BINDING AUTHORITY over the locals. How are we victims of Council bylaws then??? And on that line we must ask that if again according to the International we are "AFFIILATED" with the District Council and "NOT MEMBERS OF" the councils how locals are governed by Council bylaws in direct violation of the UBC Constitution which allows locals to have their own bylaws (Section 25 B) and allows for District Councils to write and impose bylaws only for MEMBERS of the District Councils (Section 26B). How are District Councils allowed write bylaws that include sections that restrict Local members rights guaranteed by the UBC Constitution, allow officers to hold multiple offices in violation of the UBC Constitution, engage in trial procedures that are violation of the UBC Constitution and so on.

    In closing may I say that it is one thing for the International and District Councils to say they have the Legal right to control and do with our locals as they see fit .It is another to determine if they actually do. I would hope that after the example of Local 229 the Brothers of Local 157 learn their legal rights and not turn their back on the intentions of the International. I would hope they will not allow themselves to become victims of another Council power play. I would hope that the members of Local 157 realize that if the International and District Council do not act in the best interest of Local 157 that the rank and file members have the LEGAL right to see that they do. It appears that there is some discrepancy as to the LEAGL BINDING AUTHORITY of the International and the District Councils over the Locals. It would be in the best interest of the Local members to determine exactly what power is held over their locals. It might come in handy the next time a council Officer wants to steal more of your wages or food off your table to play golf in Florida for a week at the Weston Resort in Hollywood Florida. I am curious. When the entire NYC District Council was playing golf at the Labor Management Convention in Florida or Jack Simmons of the Empire Council was getting comp room upgrades at the Hilton in Hawaii was the International checking their phone records as well.

  2. Heard on the street, George D has hired a lawyer and is going to sue the council for firing him. Can you believe this guy!

  3. George D should hire a lawyer. Mike Fraud is a convicted felon - and he was not removed from office - why was George removed - because he did not turn in his report - was he notified of that.

    The union is a union, except for its workers - even teh UBC has denied its staff from joining any union.


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