MFD Weekend: Watt the Hell?
A couple of weeks ago UFCW Canada did something so breathtakingly stupid that the whole lot of us over here at MFD have been ROTFLOAO ever since. Actually, what the UFCW did wasn't funny at all: They served their former employee, HJ Finnamore, with notice that they are taking him to court in an attempt to have him banned from talking about them - forever.
It's how they're going about it that's got us busting a gut. Attached to the official paperwork that Finnamore received was an affidavit of David W. Watts, Executive Assistant to UFCW Canada Director Mike Fraser. Given the sanctimoniousness of Mr. Watts' affidavit, the magnitude of the restrictions the UFCW is seeking to put on Finnamore and some blatantly wrong assumptions upon which they're relying, we just had to share.
In support of its request for a permanent, lifelong muzzle on Finnamore, the UFCW is relying on a mutual "no tell" agreement they made with him after they booted him out of the fold in 1995. If enforced to the letter, the no-tell agreement would prohibit Finnamore from ever speaking about the UFCW or any other union or from doing labour relations work for the rest of his life and then some.
In his reply Finnamore tells the court that the agreement is unenforceable. The courts themselves have said that agreements of this kind that are too broad or that are not time-limited are just not on. Then there's an email that UFCW Canada Director Michael Fraser sent to Finnamore in 2001 telling him that the no-tell deal is off. Fraser must have neglected to tell Watts about that. Oh well, details, details…
But that's not what got us guffawing. In his affidavit, Watts cites dozens of examples of communications which he states he believes were made by Finnamore. Watts bring these forward as evidence of Finnamore's violations of the long expired no-tell agreement. Included are opinion pieces Finnamore wrote for various media publications over the past four years, a radio interview he gave in 2001 and emails he sent to the Alberta Pension Commission. Watts also cites various articles and forum posts that have appeared on this web site, attributing them all to Finnamore - including a number of posts made by MFD contributors siggyand about unions.
Watts does not state why he believes that all of these articles and posts were authored by Finnamore, he just says, he believes. Well, David Watts has made an Executive Ass of himself big time. So much so, in fact, that he's earned himself the nickname "15-Watts".
In his reply, Finnamore acknowledges those articles and forum posts that he has written. He denies however, having written the whole lot and there's a good reason for that: He hasn't!
Any dyed-in-the-wool UFC-dubya leader (or Executive Ass thereof) knows that MFD forum contributor siggy is none other than the indomitable Sharyn Sigurdur, founding member of the MFD site, member in good standing of UFCW Local 1518, currently a candidate in the election for her Local's executive, a defendant in yet another UFCW lawsuit. Siggy is definitely not Hugh Finnamore. I can attest to that myself.
Assuming that Mr. Watts went over the MFD site with a fine-toothed comb looking for stuff that just had to be written by Finnamore, he would have noticed that MFD contributor about unions sheds enough light on his own identity to persuade even the most suspicious Executive Ass that he is not now nor has he ever been HJ Finnamore.
Then Watts presents (at #40 of his affidavit) a long list of articles which he "verily believes" are also Finnamore's work. The first one, History of Company Warehouses was written by MFD Contributor Darryl Gehlen. His name appears on the "by line" of the original post of that article. So…it's pretty unlikely that Finnamore wrote that one.
The rest of the articles are - mine! Now, I'll admit that they don't exactly have my name on them, but someone who has spent countless hours pouring over the MFD web site should surely have noticed the stylistic differences between Finnamore and me. Come on Dave! I'm much more prolific and sustained in my attacks against business unionists and all their fine works. It pains me that I'm sitting here keyboarding my fingers to the bones day in and day out and there you go giving all the credit to some guy! That's just sooooo UFCW. But I'm not going to let it get to me.
Looking over your long list gave us a great idea for an online book. It will be a sort of "Best of MFD" or maybe "The UFCW's Most Hated" or maybe "21st Century Workers Speak" - we'll get to the title later. We're going to include all the posts that you listed from siggy, AU and HJF as well. There's some really good stuff in there. What an idea!
In the interim, we thought we'd bring you - and the rest of the world - this shortened version of The Collected Works of HJ Finnamore and R Viewer, as selected by David W. Watts, Executive Assistant to the Director of UFCW Canada.
Labour Reform Day: The Union Members' Revolt
Union Governance Lacking in Ethics and Moral Turpitude
Canada's Labour Bureaucracy: Irrelevant and Dysfunctional
The Global Crossing Scandal Shone a Light on North America's Union Elite
A Sweetheart Deal
Bigger is Better? For Who?
It's Labour Reform Day!
On the Long Road to Reform with Teamsters Local 938
Sins of the Father
The Government is not Here to Help You
The Haunted Houses of Labour
Inside the Machine: An Interview with Hugh Finnamore
UFCW Local 777: Part I - From Biz Union to BizPartner
The Swiss Chalet Workers - Mainstream Labour's Best Kept Secret
Thanks UFCW guys! And happy reading.
On a more serious note: We're interested in getting suggestions from all of our contributors and visitors about items that should be included in our forthcoming compilation. This can include any articles, forum post or other item from the MFD site that you found most inspiring, informative, thought-provoking or that you just think, for your own reasons, should be part of the project. Post your picks in the forum or email them if you prefer.