• authored by lefkenny
  • published Sat, Jul 27, 2002

Corrupt President Shown Union Solidarity

Corrupt President Shown Union Solidarity

The The American Federation of Musicians has shown support for Quebec Musicians' Guild President Subirana. In this thread Subrina asked the AFM to intervene. We should not be surprised by the AFM's reaction to delay the meeting concerning the future of Subirana's presidency.

There has been much discussion-debate on this site over why some unionist do not believe that unions will change their ways without a rather significant push. The opinion of the American Federation of Musicians Union to delay the meeting is only further evidence of "status quo unions" that resist democracy and any idea that the members decide the outcome of a local. Brother Filiatreault has said:

...the only bosses here are the musicians.

Although progress is slow we the unionists of this world are trying to take our unions back one local at a time. We should offer our sincere solidarity and respect to the members of the Quebec Musicians' Guild's attempt to obtain honor, integrity in their local through democracy.

The approach taken by the AFM is more like an approach of don't fight boys and girls. The AFM intends to investigate and from my personal experiences, that's the first clue to a status quo solution. Why could the AFM not accept the decision of the executives and the members? Why does the AFM find it necessary to support the president of the local, but not the members? How did Subirana know that the american union would support him in his corruption charges? An attack against one corupt brother is an attack against all corrupt leaders. That appears in my opinion to be just another flaw in status quo unions. Why can national or international unions just accept that members are tired of corrupt union leader running the show?

As some members have said in other threads, change or get out of the way. Unions though do not appear reluctant to change, and if that remains the norm, you will inevitably see more and more members break away into their own local organization in which member democracy is the main issue.

Brother Denis Filiatreault, one of the "radical realist reformer" union executive members, said the general meeting will take place regardless of what the AFM says and the results of the meeting will be enforced through the courts if need be.

"This meeting was duly called in accordance with our bylaws," Filiatreault said. "They have their interpretation of the rules and we have ours. It's a matter of principle now. We want to prove to the AFM, to the musicians and to Subirana that the only bosses here are the musicians. They are our employers."

Power to Member Driven Democracy All Around the World


Fate of Subirana can wait: says American Union

From the Montreal Gazette

Saturday, July 27, 2002

The Québec Musicians' Guild should postpone its plans to decide the future of its president, Emile Subirana, the guild's parent union said yesterday.

A general meeting on Subirana's leadership has been called for Monday by a dissident faction of the guild's board of directors, led by vice-president Gérard Masse.

Six members of the 13-member board have publicly challenged Subirana over his request to be paid as a consultant and the amount he is collecting from the guild. Subirana has blocked their attempts to examine the union's internal documents.

The issue will be dealt with, but it's just a matter of doing it by the book, said David Jandrisch, Canadian vice-president of the American Federation of Musicians, the parent union. The AFM wants Subirana to call a board-of-directors meeting, with an impartial chairman, within 14 days. A general meeting would be held within 21 days of the board meeting.

The AFM has appointed an investigator to examine charges each party has laid against the other and a report on the dispute has been promised before the 14 days are up. "It would be preferable, if the members must discuss alleged blame vis-à-vis Mr. Subirana, that they have all the facts as soon as the investigation report has been completed," Jandrisch said.

Jandrisch stopped short of suggesting Monday's scheduled meeting would be illegal, but said it would be considered only as "information for the members." Subirana has said he will not attend.

Denis Filiatreault, one of the dissident members, said the general meeting will take place and the results will be enforced through the courts. "This meeting was duly called in accordance with our bylaws," Filiatreault said. "They have their interpretation of the rules and we have ours. It's a matter of principle now. We want to prove to the AFM, to the musicians and to Subirana that the only bosses here are the musicians. They are our employers."

This link at is good for 14 days

  • posted by lefkenny
  • Wed, Jul 31, 2002 11:14am

Vote on Subirana not valid: parent union

Wednesday, July 31, 2002-Montreal Gazette-ANNE SUTHERLAND

The North American parent union has rejected a vote on Monday by some members and board members of the Quebec Musicians' Guild to oust their president, Émile Subirana.

"In our opinion, the bylaws of the guild were not properly followed," David Jandrisch, the Canadian vice-president of the American Federation of Musicians, said from Toronto yesterday. "We would not consider any decisions of that meeting to be binding."

Giuseppe Sciortino, legal adviser for the AFM and its spokesman in Montreal, was equally adamant.

"What they did on Monday was pointless," Sciortino said.

On Monday, 100 of the 3,500 guild members voted to oust Subirana at a meeting called by six members of the board of directors who oppose his leadership. Subirana and others on the 13-member board did not attend.

The dissenting members and board members accuse Subirana of not acting in the best interest of the guild, specifically regarding his remuneration.

On Friday, the AFM had recommended the allegations be dealt with according to the rules - at a meeting of the board of directors within 14 days, that is, by Aug. 9, and at a general meeting within 21 days after that.

The AFM itself has promised to investigate the allegations and to present a report on both sides before the guild's board meeting.

"It was unfair to discuss Subirana's status at Monday's meeting without the results of that investigation," Sciortino said.

However, dissenting board members Denis Filiatreault and Gérard Masse, who was voted interim president, had said they are proceeding with Monday's decision and taking it to the courts.

Filiatreault said yesterday they are sticking to that agenda.

Subirana, reached yesterday at his guild office, said both the guild and the AFM will contest the decision, adding that to his knowledge no legal action had thus far been taken.


Anybody surprised by the international union stand in protecting the status quo? It does not seem to matter wether it is the American Federation of Musicians protecting the status quo president or the UFCW stealing the ballot box of an election to protect a president from being ousted by pro union reformers. Is that what solidarity is all about, keeping people who the parent unions wants at any expense with any deceitful tactic??

Do the by-laws that most international unions allow locals to construct really legally mean nothing if the international union dislikes the decision of the local? If Quebec Musicians' Guild has followed the rules as set forth, then what is the problem?

It would have been more credible though if more than one hundered members showed up to show interest in the plight of their local. Nonetheless, 100 members did show up.

It will be very interesting how AFM deals with this event. Will they put the local into trusteeship to prevent the situation going to court? With trusteeship, AFM will cut off financial resources to fight in the courts.

Were the executives correct in seeking to oust the president? Is 100 members a sign of democracy or is is just another means for another group to take control, just like a lot of other highly paid union officials do?

How much is a president worth anyway? If the members are making all the decision, a president should only be a " go get it done person". But instead, presidents think they are indispensable and untouchable.

  • posted by lefkenny
  • Sat, Jan 4, 2003 5:31pm

Can anyone update us to the fate of Emile Subirana
his presidency and the local?

  • posted by Duffbeer
  • Sun, Jan 5, 2003 12:40am

Google says: Allegations cleared!


Emile Subirana, president of the Québec Musicians Guild, has been cleared of illegal activity by parent organization, the American Federation of Musicians (AFM). Allegations against Subirana included that he overcharged the 3500-member guild by as much as double his salary. The 250-page report on the investigation supports Subirana's claim that his pay does not exceed the intended $90,000 a year. Subirana's comments against the Montreal Symphony's conductor led to Charles Dutoit's resignation in April.

Additional Information: The Montreal Gazette September 04, 2002

Sorry, The Montreal Gazette link appears to be offline.

  • posted by Sophie
  • Sun, Jan 5, 2003 9:54am

Subirana may have been cleared by the AFM, but not by the members. The AFM's report was rejected by a large majority at a Special Assembly called by the AFM on Aug.12/02.

What is very disturbing is that this 250-page "report" was reduced to a 6-page exhortation of poor, misunderstood Subirana. This is the document which was sent to the membership. The original document (which I was able to get my hands on eventually) contained many, many references to unusual, irregular and suspicious actions and contradictory statements by Subirana AND by the AFM itself, NONE of which were addressed in the 6-page "highlights".

The validity of this document allegedly "exonerating" Subirana is cast into further doubt by the fact that the actual AFM report, the 250-page one the members were being asked to accept, WAS NEVER MADE AVAILABLE TO THE MEMBERS. When members requested to consult the document in order to make an informed decision regarding a vote on its acceptance, they were DENIED ACCESS. Subirana' s story is that he didn't think anyone would be interested in it, so he sent it to his lawyers. The AFM admitted that it had FORGOTTEN to send a copy to the Montreal office. Ooooops. Sorry. Our bad.

And the AFM machine keeps grinding on, supporting the corrupt actions of an arrogant president who shows disdain for the members he's supposed to be representing.

So why is the AFM so desperate to paint Subirana's spotted image lily-white? Because he works for THEM and not for the members.

Check out his travel itinerary for the last couple of years. How much work does he do for the AFM? How much work does he do for Local 406? You do the math.

  • posted by lefkenny
  • Sun, Jan 5, 2003 12:36pm

What are the dissenting members thoughts of the future of their local? What if anything have the dissenting members done at this point to rid the local of the suspect corruption?

How many members got to see the 250 page report at all? I'd be curious myself to read the report, I'll bet it is interesting.

Even more intersting how the 250 page report can be condensed into six irrelevent pages for a orchestrated perception.

I am a little suprised though that there was even a 250 page report from the international union which apparently raised some doubt if nothing else. That in itself is risky for a union that lives within the wall of the status quo city.

My gut instinct tells me that somebody may have some damaging influencial power that the AFM is not willing to publically deal with.

  • posted by MyRights
  • Thu, Jan 9, 2003 8:41pm

Emile Subirana will not be elected. Members of local 406 are fed up. It is about time that we the members take our union back. The AFM did everything possible to cover Subirana, even that will not be enough. Why do we need the AFM anyway?

  • posted by siggy
  • Thu, Jan 9, 2003 9:01pm

Good luck, I certainly am rooting for you and have a fair idea what the Power Source is up against.

Just watch out for things go bump in the night ... or is that watch out for things that go missing in the night?

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Fri, Jan 10, 2003 6:36am

Please tell us more about what's happening. It's really encouraging to know that there are union reformers all over the continent working towards the same goals.

  • posted by Sophie
  • Fri, Jan 17, 2003 7:11am

And they're off!

The nomination meeting was held yesterday. There were more members present than at the last 3 assemblies! It was wonderful to see standing-room only in the tiny room the president had booked. Guess he wasn't expecting a large turn-out.

So far, Subirana's campaign rests entirely on distributing deliberate half-truths and outright lies about some of his opponents. Using UNION $$$ and staff to pay for his campaign, no less! Yes, yes, this is totally illegal (very clearly expressed in our bylaws) and I've heard this issue will be dealt with.

Member candidates opposing his administration have made their position very clear: they are running as candidates FOR the members and not against Subirana. They are running a clean campaign. No time for mud-slinging - too much real work to do.

What I find really refreshing about Subirana's competition is that it is a grass-roots movement, encouraging member participation and not afraid to stand up for our rights even in the face of a man who has bullied and belittled the members for years.

For the first time in almost 20 years, the members feel like they can make a difference! Let's see what happens!

p.s. For anyone who may be interested, here is the website for the Masse team.

(p.s. There is a link on the Masse website back to MfD. Looks like union reform is spreading like wildfire! How cool is that? )

  • posted by sleK
  • Mon, Jan 20, 2003 1:02am


How cool is that?

Very cool!

  • posted by MyRights
  • Wed, Feb 19, 2003 8:13pm

It's getting close now. From what we ear from musicians in Montréal and Québec city, Subirana's days are counted. Musicians are fed-up. AFM better smart-up or they will loose local 406, Québec musicians' says.

  • posted by Sophie
  • Sun, Mar 2, 2003 9:45am

The results of the election will be made known today. The votes are being counted presently. Members of the team opposing Émile Subirana are at the ballot count in full force. Subirana reserved one seat for representives of his "Ghost Team" (they are conspicuous by their consistent absence at Guild meetings) and, true to form, he sent a secretary to oversee the ballot count. I am hoping that the representatives turn-out is a precursor to voter turn-out for the respective teams!

Will keep you in the loop as to the results.

  • posted by siggy
  • Sun, Mar 2, 2003 9:50am

Good stuff Sophie and good luck.

Get some pics if you can. It would be good stuff to see too.

  • posted by siggy
  • Mon, Mar 3, 2003 8:40am


The results of the election will be made known today

And the outcome was?

  • posted by MyRights
  • Mon, Mar 3, 2003 9:06am

The whole Masse team was elected with a huge majority. Emile Subirana is only a bad memory now.

This is a big step for democracy

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Mon, Mar 3, 2003 10:01am

That's excellent news FightBack! What was the final count? Voter turnout?

Congrats on this very important victory.

  • posted by Sophie
  • Mon, Mar 3, 2003 12:04pm


Not only did Émile lose this election, he was annihilated. As was his "ghost team" (or as it's referred to more commonly, the "Équipe d'absent". His entire Board of Directors was shut out. That's right - not ONE SINGLE member of his "team" was elected to any position.

To give you an idea of the extent of his defeat, let me give you some numbers. Out of TWENTY-FOUR candidates for the 13 posts (1 president, 2 V-Ps, 1 Secretary-Treasurer, and 9 directors), Émile Subirana received the second LEAST amount of votes, edging out one of his directors by a mere 10 votes. Out of 1254 votes, Émile got 328. My math ain't great, but I'd venture to say that's a pretty clear message - GET OUT!

The voter turn-out was 37%. This is normal (member apathy), although in the last elections there was no voter turn-out at all, so there was a 37% increase . Incidently, that time, the previous administration was "elected" by acclamation because no-one bothered to run. (Here's Émile's reaction from his "victory" 3 years ago - "My colleagues and I are very pleased and honoured by the vote of confidence we have received today from our fellow musicians.") PUH-leeeeeez!

There are a few things which I find exciting about this new administration (which will officially begin its duties in 2 weeks time). First, I am impressed by their honesty and integrity. I believe that they really want to help THE MEMBERS. We support them because they support us.

Second, en masse they are representative of the entire membership (not just the elite or well-known members). Every member has representation on the board by a colleague who is also "sur le terrain" (in the field) and who is actually working side-by-side with them and in touch with their needs directly! There is a tangible sense of purpose and everyone gets a piece of the pie.

And finally, transparency is not just an election sound bite. These guys really mean it. They are not only accountable to the members, but also to each other. Teamwork and responsibility is pervading the sweet spring air!

Rest assured, I will not sit back and place my future and my career in their hands blindly. Look where that got us last time (like for the last 20 years!). I will continue to be vigilant.

This time though, I feel that there's real hope.

Interesting side-bar - there have been no congratulatory messages or even acknowledgements to the new administration from the AFM so far. Hmmmmmm, love to have been a fly on THAT wall when the news came down that one of their good ole boys was sent packing with his tail between his legs.

I'll check back in with any new developments. What a great day. And I second FightBack - it is a big step for democracy!

  • posted by siggy
  • Mon, Mar 3, 2003 12:13pm


Hmmmmmm, love to have been a fly on THAT wall when the news came down

Better to be the fly swatter; SPLAT

Stay vigilant and pass it on. Good on democracy!!!

  • posted by lefkenny
  • Mon, Mar 3, 2003 12:24pm

Way to go brothers and sisters. It surely is a great day for all members for democracy.

I'm personally very happy for ya all.

  • posted by licatsplit
  • Mon, Mar 3, 2003 8:02pm

Congrats to you all, I'm sure the day seems much brighter now!

See ya Subirana!

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