Hey everyone. I got some time to do the latest update to the board software, but it meant that all the old modifications and styles wouldn't work anymore. So, here you have the newest iteration of LabourTalk. Please let me know by Private Message if you run into any issues with the new styling. Some new features on the board are:

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We hope you like the changes!

I see a trend...

I don't intend that this be filled with daily news items but feel free to put things in here that you think will interest us, or generate discussion.
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I see a trend...

Postby NC » Thu Sep 27, 2007 8:51 am

Please, some one tell me this is a trend, I need to know that Unions are going to be held accountable for the actions of their members.
Judge finds union liable in sawmill attack
United Steelworkers to pay $323,000 in punitive damages

Gordon Hamilton
Vancouver Sun

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sawmill workers assaulted by a renegade local of the United Steelworkers union during the 2003 forest industry strike have been awarded $553,250 in damages by B.C. Supreme Court.

The judgment condemns the union local for its "malicious, oppressive and high-handed misconduct" and includes $323,000 in punitive damages set out to discipline the defendants.

The amount is the highest ever imposed against a B.C. union, said Allan McDonell, counsel for the 33 sawmill workers.

"It appears to be a very strong message that the court is giving against violence in a union context," McDonell said.

At the time, the forest workers' union was IWA-Canada. It was merged into the United Steelworkers a year later.

In her judgment, Justice Barbara Fisher noted punitive damages are the exception, not the rule. But in this case she found the union was liable because it condoned and ratified a Dec. 16 attack at Mainland Sawmills in Vancouver by members of Local 1-3567. The Mainland employees were members of another IWA local who had immediately returned to work following the settlement of the 2003 strike.

"Punitive damages are available in exceptional cases for malicious, oppressive and high-handed misconduct that offends the court's sense of decency," she stated in her 129-page judgment.

Justice Fisher describes what happened the night of Dec. 16 when the union local, headed by disgraced leader Sonny Ghag, gathered outside the Mainland mill at the foot of Heather Street and entered the sawmill, some carrying sticks and peavey handles. Peaveys are heavy tools used to handle logs.

"The strangers were noisy and intimidating. Many scattered throughout the mill and forced the afternoon employees to leave their posts.

"In the process, a number of Mainland employees were surrounded by groups of people and were pushed or struck. Some were physically injured. All of them feared or apprehended for their safety."

She concludes from testimony given by witnesses that Local 1-3567 members assaulted and battered the 33 plaintiffs. Ghag was involved in threatening one plaintiff, she said.

Justice Fisher finds the union liable because the leadership under Ghag organized the Mainland assault and six weeks later, on Jan. 24, 2004, union officers supported his leadership at a meeting despite having enough evidence about the event to justify an internal investigation.

"The union is vicariously liable partly because it authorized a highly risky event at Mainland on Dec. 16, 2003 and it subsequently ratified what took place," she said.

The court breaks down liability, finding Ghag 40 per cent responsible for the damages.

Ghag was later investigated and expelled from the union after the merger of the IWA with the Steelworkers.

He is currently working at a non-union sawmill in Surrey.

Local 1-3567 first vice-president Manjit Sidhu said Wednesday the local has not had time to read the judgement yet. Steelworkers regional director Steve Hunt also said it is too early to determine how the union will respond.

© The Vancouver Sun 2007

Find - Desiderata - read it

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Postby green1 » Mon Oct 01, 2007 6:21 pm

in this case she found the union was liable because it condoned and ratified a Dec. 16 attack at Mainland Sawmills
(emphasis mine)
wow... how stupid do you have to be? most unions at least CLAIM to have nothing to do with this sort of thing...

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Postby NC » Mon Oct 01, 2007 6:54 pm

I just found this great little bit in the Saskatchewan Labour Code... nice.
Acts done by two or more members
28 An act done by two or more members of a trade union, if done in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute, shall not be actionable unless the act would be actionable if done without any agreement or combination.

Find - Desiderata - read it

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