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Fines: No - John Mortimer, Canadian Labour Watch Association

Discussion about the issue of Unions fining their members.
green1
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Postby green1 » Mon Jul 10, 2006 5:34 pm

eligible to vote based on the criteria in the act, not on the union's criteria, the criteria in the act says you have to be in the bargaining unit (my grandmother can't vote on the collective agreement, she's not a telus employee, she's not eligible)

unions like to twist the laws, and they usually get away with it, but when you push the laws too far, too often, eventually people do stand up for their rights.



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Postby Cat Lady » Sun Dec 17, 2006 9:26 am

Just reading through this thread and thought I would bring it back on topic.

Here is an article that was posted in another thread, but was not the correct venue to fully discuss the issue of unions that fine members that cross picket lines.
Court backs union fines against workers who crossed picket
Vito Pilieci, CanWest News Service; Ottawa Citizen
Published: Friday, February 24, 2006

OTTAWA -The Public Service Alliance of Canada is making good on threats to fine members who refused to walk the picket line during the massive 2004 federal strike, marking the first time a union in Ontario has levied such fines.
So far, four members have been ordered by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice Small Claims Court to pay the union thousands of dollars in fines. And PSAC says this is only the beginning of the legal action _ as many as 196 more Ontario members will be hauled before the courts in the coming months.
``This shows we can fine people who chose not to respect the picket line,'' said Chris Aylward, PSAC's regional vice-president with the Union of Taxation Employees. ``The judge ruled that the fines are collectable.''
Aylward said one ruling was made by a judge against a member in early January. Three more rulings were rendered this week. The three latest cases made it through court without the members showing up to argue in their own defence.
PSAC members Suzanne Fillion, Terry Roy and France Maranda, all members of PSAC Local 70030, will now have to pay the fines. Fillion was levied $1,087.56, Roy was charged $117.38 and Maranda was levied $1,003.66.
Aylward said the amount of the fines reflects the wages the members would have earned on the days they did not show up to picket, plus court costs and interest. PSAC now has the ability to garnish the wages of those who the court has ruled against, according to Aylward.
The fines were created after PSAC's major strike in 1991, when the union's constitution was amended to include the levies because some of the union's workers were frustrated with others who wanted to go back to the job instead of picketing.
More than 125,000 PSAC members walked picket lines as part of the October 2004 strike.The recent rulings put to rest any doubt that the union mandated fines would be enforced by a court of law.
This is the first time PSAC has imposed and enforced the fines on members in Ontario. The union has had mixed results trying to enforce the fines in other province's in the past.
Some members in Alberta and Saskatchewan have been successfully fined, while courts in Manitoba have sided with members who decided not to picket and did not allow the union to follow through with its levies.
Jeff Birch is one PSAC member who has been particularly vocal against the levies. During the 2004 strike he felt the pinch of picketing financially. Striking members are only paid about $50 a day. As a result he decided to cross the picket line so he could collect a full paycheque and pay his bills.
He said the union has sent him notice of a court date on March 22, when he is expected to be in small claims court to defend his decision.
Birch is not disheartened by the recent rulings, saying he is well prepared to argue his case.
``I feel very confident. But, anything can happen,'' he said.
Ottawa Citizen

Link to story:
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/new ... dab&k=6550



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Postby Cat Lady » Wed Dec 20, 2006 5:17 pm

the amount of the fines reflects the wages the members would have earned on the days they did not show up to picket, plus court costs and interest.
This is interesting. It would seem that fines equal to the wages earned during the crossing period are in order. Lets not forget to add in the court costs and interest.

Do you think that the interest would be calculated from the time of crossing or from the time the fine was levied?



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Postby dante666 » Wed Dec 20, 2006 9:22 pm

the amount of the fines reflects the wages the members would have earned on the days they did not show up to picket, plus court costs and interest.
This is interesting. It would seem that fines equal to the wages earned during the crossing period are in order. Lets not forget to add in the court costs and interest.

Do you think that the interest would be calculated from the time of crossing or from the time the fine was levied?
Acctually that would not be in order according to the TWU constituion. The constatution states up to $1000/event. PSAC constituion is different than ours.

Now what the "event" stands for is open to dispute. is it every time you saw someone cross? 13 witnesses = 13 fines? or is it, you did not support this strike/lock out/clusterfruck so you get fined. One strike one fine.

Now if it is 13 wittness saw you cross the line 13 times, do they need to hold 13 trials (obviously they are not doing this). If the witness don't show up are you off the hook (like in a real court)?


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Postby Cat Lady » Fri Jan 05, 2007 1:49 pm

Regardless of how the fine is calculated, I am lead to believe (from the article) that as long as the fine does not exceed the amount earned while crossing a picket line, the Judge will award in favour of the union.

As it will be going to Alberta Small Claims Court, I am also lead to believe that the fine amounts will not exceed 25, 000 dollars.



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Postby green1 » Fri Jan 05, 2007 3:53 pm

I am lead to believe (from the article) that as long as the fine does not exceed the amount earned while crossing a picket line, the Judge will award in favour of the union
As of yet, no judge has ever ruled in favour of the union when the other side has shown up in court....



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Postby dante666 » Fri Jan 05, 2007 6:39 pm

Regardless of how the fine is calculated, I am lead to believe (from the article) that as long as the fine does not exceed the amount earned while crossing a picket line, the Judge will award in favour of the union.
Cat Lady, I may have misunderstood you here. but I read a great example of what is horribly wrong with the TWU.

"It dosn't matter what's in the Constatuion. We are gonna do what we want, and you will pay it, and will shut up and like it because we are the union and we can do no wrong cause we are the union Hear Us ROAR"


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Postby Cat Lady » Fri Jan 05, 2007 8:31 pm

Poor choice of words on my part. Rather than saying regardless of how fine are calculated, I should have stated "not knowing how the fines are calculated."



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Postby NC » Sun Jan 07, 2007 8:22 am

I have been away on a much needed vacation and am so just catching up.

Regardless of how the fines are calculated, or not knowing how the fines are calculated still does not abrogate the fact that the fines are not legal. They are fines, as in "punishment" and the courts do not recognize "punishment" as a finiancial injury to the union, so no judge would reward the union with a judgement. HOWEVER: Contempt is considered a finaicial hardship on the parties involved, including the court systems, so if your union is stupid enough to haul you infront of a judge you must attend or risk contempt charges and having the courst find in favour of your union.

It is within the courts rights to throw you in jail if you miss your court date with no notice. Awarding againest you can be the lesser of two evils.


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Postby dante666 » Sun Jan 07, 2007 11:18 am

Of course you need acctually Fine us first... so far we are over a year since the end and I've still heard nothing (oh exept 1 letter to choose my jury back in November when the picket lines were still up that I recived by regular mail)

CatLady, I'll accept your poor choice of words! we all do that once in a while! :P


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Postby Koot » Tue Jan 30, 2007 8:47 pm

Rest assured, that no court in the land will side with the TWU on this matter.
The TWU constitution makes it quite clear that a member can be disciplined and fined for crossing or working behind a picketline without authorization from the Executive Council. Now this sounds like straightforward language.
:!: However, even though it is not specifically stated, the picket line has to be legal, otherwise the TWU is aiding and abetting the members to break the law. Any part of a contract which contravenes your legal right will be declared void by the courts. e.g. a clause in your contract that spells out you can not join a union, would be squashed by the courts.
:!: Now the first problem the TWU faces in court is to establish the fact that there was a legal picket line. This seems very difficult, actually impossible to me. The TWU has always maintained that the dispute was a lockout. Of course they had to, as there was no legal strike vote in place. The last vote was taken two years prior and the mandate must be exercised within 90 days or it expires. The TWU did not give the employer the required 72 hours notice. Instead it tried to surprise the employer by pulling out on that fateful day in July 2007.
:?: So was it a lockout then, as the TWU contends? That is a very difficult position to argue, the very fact that people were able to go to work, disproves the lockout theory. In the end one could argue it was a combination of the two STRIKEOUT
The company had initiated, what they called, Soft lockout Measures and informed the TWU they would enforce a new contract by July 22 2007. Now under the labour law the employer had the right to do so, as all collective agreements had been terminated in 2002. The TWU decided to initiate the job action one day prior and I would argue that this was akin to a wild cat strike. So as the TWU will have great difficulty in establishing the legality of the picket line, no court in the land will want to touch this hot potato by declaring the picket line legal. If the picket line is not deemed legal, then no one can be disciplined for refusing to acknowledge the legality of this non legal line.
In short, it all goes directly to the question about who pulled the plug, the TWU or TELUS? and no judge in his right mind will want to make that decision if he does not really have to.!


And Carthage must be destroyed!


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