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Fines: No - John Mortimer, Canadian Labour Watch Association

Discussion about the issue of Unions fining their members.
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Fines: No - John Mortimer, Canadian Labour Watch Association

Postby NC » Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:12 pm

John Mortimer says "No, and they're not endorsed by a court"
The Canadian HR Reporter
John Mortimer - Guest Commentary

A shakedown of union members to pay intimidating fines for crossing picket lines during strikes is underway. Some unions are flexing their financial and legal muscles by sending teams of lawyers and staffers to pursue defenceless union members. Their message: pay up or go to court.

Recent court “wins” have emboldened unions to trumpet the idea that Canadian law actually supports this heavy-handed tactic. Nothing could be further from the truth...
If you want to read the whole piece you can go here.



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Postby Admin1 » Thu May 11, 2006 8:24 pm

Wow I loved that article. How are the fines going anyways? Have people used the lawyer?



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Postby NC » Fri May 12, 2006 9:34 am

Hi Honey! Welcome home!

the fines issue has gotten much more interesting on the Federal side with PSAC, that is where all the current focus is, though the Telus folks provided some excellent fodder for that fight without realizing it.

I know that no Telus fines have been taken to court, that would refocus the light, but I think... believe it or not, the TWU is smarter than PSAC in that regard.

Nycole (Who wrote the Yes article) issued a letter from her position as President, telling her locals that fines could not be upheld, so the union should not support them. Seems she did not take into consideration that contempt of court (not showing up for your trial) will make you loose every time. But that won't happen twice, - read this

:lol:



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fines

Postby barb » Fri May 12, 2006 2:07 pm

Just to update you. After fining me thousands of dollars, suspending me from the union and demanding a public apology for the president of the local, I haven't heard a word.
If they take me to court they will be embarrassed so it will be interesting to see what happens. I can't get into specifics but their own constitution was not followed, not to mention basic common sense things like dates, addresses and signatures. After the lawyer I talked to stopped laughing he assured me not to worry. But if they do take me to small claims court I will go, so they will not win by default.
The fact that they called a fellow "scab" to verify my crossing makes it even more interesting, and potentially embarrassing. So we will see.


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Postby NC » Fri May 12, 2006 2:31 pm

Beautiful! Well I look forward to hearing how it all turns out. What does the Lawyer think they are doing right now?

Other than taking wages.



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Postby green1 » Sat May 13, 2006 7:18 pm

I know that no Telus fines have been taken to court, that would refocus the light, but I think... believe it or not, the TWU is smarter than PSAC in that regard.
I wouldn't attribute this to "smart" but more to "disorganized" I suspect at some point one local or another will be stupid enough to take someone to court.

the only "smart" thing the TWU did this way was offload the fines to the locals, this way when they fail the TWU executive can say "it wasn't us, just some renegade local"



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Postby NC » Sat May 13, 2006 9:00 pm

I'm still trying to find out which brainless piece of crap within the TWU thought those four "fines cases" were valid. The Solly et all group. Does anyone have any idea who would be in charge of deciding that sort of think at the TWU braintrust?



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Voting Rights

Postby finian » Thu Jun 29, 2006 3:32 pm

Me thinks there are two issues on the table. An employee's right to cross a picketline and a Union's right to discipline it's members. Getting a court order forcing an employee to pay unrealistic fines for crossing a picketline would be difficult IMO. As I mentioned before, fining them once a thousand dollars or fining them once for every occasion - that's the debate. Fining them is one thing and forcing them to pay so you can garnish their wages is another. The latter would be unwise IMO.

My understanding is that the intent is to impose a consequence for the breach of the constitution. Something the Union has a right to do. If the union chooses to impose a fine then so be it. If the member chooses not to pay the fine, then so be it. The next course of action is IMO the real intent: the member is then expelled from the Union and loses their voting rights.

That my learned friends is the key. If those caught crossing a picketline lose their right to vote on the next contract it would be harder to cram the devil's deal through again. The case law on losing the right to vote on a contract for crossing a picketline exists in a provincial order but not a federal order: http://www.cupwnewvision.org/slrbscabs.htm

Cheers.



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Postby NC » Thu Jun 29, 2006 6:06 pm

Trouble is, any time any union member breaks the rules then they must be fined, or the union risks being hit with a Section 95 Unfair Canada Labour Code. So there would be a whole lotta fining going on.


Find - Desiderata - read it

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Postby finian » Thu Jun 29, 2006 8:15 pm

Trouble is, any time any union member breaks the rules then they must be fined, or the union risks being hit with a Section 95 Unfair Canada Labour Code. So there would be a whole lotta fining going on.
Any rule is pretty ambiguous. I'm sure every Union rule book has a lot of dumb rules that aren't enforced. For example, it was against the rules for letter carriers to work straight through their lunch but they did it anyway so they could go home early instead of taking a lunch. The Union could have disciplined them but using your logic they would have to do it to everyone not just a few which was correct. However, your claim that the TWU must enforce the fines consistently has some merit but is limited. All the TWU has to do is say that yes it fined every member that was charged. Not every member who crossed the picketline was charged but every member that had charges brought against them by a witness were fined. Me thinks that would satisfy their obligation to administer the rule equally. The TWU can't observe everyone but they can respond to written complaints and written charges. Nevertheless, this still leaves the one fine or one fine per documented offence up for debate. I guess time will tell how the board decides that one.



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Postby NC » Fri Jun 30, 2006 11:40 pm

95 is pretty straight forwad, no treating anyone in a discriminatory fashion. that means, you fine one, you fine them all. Laws are desgined not to have any grey areas, that's the joy of law.

The CLC is an ACT and no union constitution can recind that. You fine one person for contrivention, you fine them all or get hammered with an unfair labour practice, no maybes, it will happen. There are squadrons of lawyers standing in line to make sure it does, trust me on that.


Find - Desiderata - read it

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Postby finian » Sat Jul 01, 2006 4:50 am

you fine them all or get hammered with an unfair labour practice, no maybes, it will happen.
I guess we'll see. Like I said the one fine or fine per offence is debatable but I think the Union might have an out if it fines everyone who was charged. If some locals didn't charge or document an individual crossing then that likely would fulfill their obligation to be fair so to speak. I guess time will tell.



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Postby green1 » Wed Jul 05, 2006 5:13 pm

a note on voting rights... EVERY employee (not just members in good standing) is allowed to vote on a strike vote (which is what most ratification votes are)

as such, the union CAN kick you out, and can stop you from voting on the day to day running of the union, but they can NOT stop you from voting in a strike vote...



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Postby finian » Thu Jul 06, 2006 8:23 am

the union CAN kick you out, and can stop you from voting on the day to day running of the union, but they can NOT stop you from voting in a strike vote...
They can in Saskatchewan: http://www.cupwnewvision.org/slrbscabs.htm
Correct me if I'm wrong, but every strike vote I have ever attended they check off whether or not you are a member in good standing first. Rand members aren't admitted to the meeting and can't vote. How can you vote on a contract ratification if you are not a member in good standing? That mail order ballot was not the norm nor was it done properly.



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Postby NC » Thu Jul 06, 2006 10:33 am

Don't try to figure this one out folks.

Each province has its own Act, and federally regulated employers and another. Telus is Federal, as was Ekati (Territory) which is why we all knew so much.

Also, different Collective Agreements can contain language relating to this item. Rand employees can vote on ratification and strike votes in some cases, but not in others.

If you want to see the best system, go type "Work Choices" and Australia into Google. The unions hate it but to my understanding, an employee MUST have a contract with their employer and certain minimum's must be contained therein (Employment Standards), and if an employee wants out of a union they can get out, and have their own agreement. The unions HATE it... but read the unions input too. I think this is where Canada will likely end up in the next few years.

THIS is why PSAC spent a million dollars in member’s dues trying to try to win the Ekati thing, they are fighting the long war against this type of legislation. They want to ban replacement workers, which is a step away from the "Work Choices" program. To do this, PSAC must be in the media’s eye, and to do THAT, they needed the strike to keep going. Watch for Union’s dragging out strikes to keep the media’s eye on them.

This will be a fight worth being involved in.


Find - Desiderata - read it


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