|Local 157 Leadership attending UBC Convention with Supervisors Ballantyne and Spencer|
Apprently, the leadership would rather keep us, and thousands of other members, in the dark and silent.
On September 27, I faxed a letter (see below) to Recording Secretary Mitch Sonntag, making the request, stating “by having a printed copy of the meeting minutes handed out before the meeting the membership would be better informed.”
Approximately 100 members attended the meeting. In reading the minutes of the executive board meeting, Recording Secretary, Sonntag reported the e-board voted no to the request of both the meeting minutes and open mic.
Disagreeing with the e-board's decision, I addressed President/De Facto Carpenter Boss, Lawrence D’Errico, and made a motion “that a copy of the previous month's meeting minutes be distributed to each member before the start of each meeting,” which received a second, and D’Errico stated the motion.
As D’Errico was stating the motion Financial Secretary/Regional Manager, Paul Capurso, immediately left his seat on the dais, joined the assembly on the right side of the room to protest the motion.
It had already been stated that the e-board had voted down the motion, this is just another example of our representatives using scare tactics to hold the membership down. This action was to suppress the proponents of the motion.
When the e-board voted down the mic they voted down our voice.
NO MIC NO VOICE, NO VOICE...BUSINESS AS USUAL.
Capurso stated among others things, the “Obligation” in the UBC Constitution does not allow for the meeting minutes to be distributed.
He then read the “Obligation stating that “I, do under my own free will and accord, solemnly and sincerely promise--on my scared honor--that I will never reveal--by word or deed--any of the business of this United Brotherhood--unless legally authorized to do so.”
Brother John Guerriero, who attended the 3-Day evaluation hiring program this past weekend, aligned himself with the leadership and forcefully spoke out opposing the motion. Guerriero, among other things, stated that the previous month's meeting minutes are read at each meeting and there is no need for members to have the minutes, he also made comments personally attacking my creditability.
In very heated debate both Cupurso and Guerriiero seemed frustrated and did not have any real argument, they instead used scare tactics against the membership, somehow implying that by having the meeting minutes in your hand you run the risk of violating some secret sworn oath you made and could be brought up on charges.
Their rants reminded me of a scene in the mob movie "The Valachi Papers," where Joe Valachi becomes the first wiseguy to violate the Mafia's code of silence, and betrays his associates and "Capo of Capos."
I debated the issue informing the membership they are being misled by the leadership and the leadership is trying their best to scare you. I stated there is "nothing in the law, our constitution or bylaws that prohibit the leadership from giving you the minutes." The minutes are not some type of "Top Secret" government document that if revealed, you get locked up.
“General President McCarron, is not going to come in with stormtroopers and haul you off to some remote location because you revealed to your wife the “business” of the brotherhood."
The debate went on for some time, I made a last appeal to the membership stating that if you want the meeting minutes all you have to do is vote yes, it's that simple.
"No-one is forcing you to read them, you can throw them out if you wish or you can take them home to read, it's up to you. You have it in your power right here and now to oppose the leadership and vote to have a copy of the meeting minutes. By having a copy of the minutes you would be empowering yourself and be better informed union members if you vote yes to the motion."
The leadership also made their appeal having several members strategically placed around the room, opposing the motion relying heavily on scaring the membership into submission.
D’Errico put the motion to a vote and the membership voted no and the motion was lost.
“A second grader can figure out the meeting was rigged, the same guys who are always working show up to shut down any critical debate for the e-board and oppose any motion,” said a carpenter who voted yes.
Brother Hercules Reid, believed the vote was closer than we think "the noes vote was just a lot more louder than the yea vote.”
After the meeting a council representative told me I did a good job, keep it up and do not to lose faith.
He reminded me that John Quincy Adams was a strong opponent of slavery and used the various positions he held to promote abolition of slavery.
But it was not until the election of President Abraham Lincoln who abolishes slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.
Lets hope we don't need a civil war in order for members to have meeting minutes and an open mic!