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  • authored by retailworker
  • published Thu, Apr 4, 2002

REAP and MFD

So why isn't there more interaction between REAP and MFD?

Can anyone convince them to change their name? I think Bill had a point about that. It's a bit morbid. The grim reaper.

Why is Reap's web site so low-tech?

For that matter, why are Canadian union Web sites so much better than their USA counterparts?

  • posted by siggy
  • Thu, Apr 4, 2002 7:58pm

quote:


So why isn't there more interaction between REAP and MFD?


What's REAP?

  • posted by retailworker
  • Thu, Apr 4, 2002 8:21pm

I dunno. I'm just a visitor.

  • posted by siggy
  • Thu, Apr 4, 2002 8:28pm

quote:


So why isn't there more interaction between REAP and MFD?


MFD and REAP are vastly different. What sort of interaction would a visitor expect?

  • posted by sleK
  • Thu, Apr 4, 2002 10:53pm

REAP?



I think we're a little to radical for their tastes and/or agenda.

quote:


why are Canadian union Web sites so much better than their USA counterparts?


'Cuz Canadians kick ass!

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Fri, Apr 5, 2002 6:47am

I agree with slek, I think we're too radical for REAP. I think they are more of an organization in the traditional sense than we are. We are an evolving community. They have a set agenda and, I think, you have to get with the agenda to be part of their organization. We, on the other hand, provide a venue for information sharing and dialogue for a community that is setting its own agenda. We're sort of in two different dimensions so that may explain why there isn't a lot in the way of overlap.

Having said that, my sense is that the REAP people are more than welcome here. I don't think that there has ever been any effort on anyone's part to exclude them. MFD has had a link to their site for a long time, stories about REAP and some of its supporters have appeared on the front page and information from their site has appeared on this site. They have never reciprocated. I don't really know why. I guess that's their choice.

I don't think it's getting in the way of progress but I suppose it would be beneficial to have some contact and there are more than likely issues on which we could collaborate. It's up to them. They know where to find us.

  • posted by retailworker
  • Fri, Apr 5, 2002 8:50am

What are the vast differences? all i know about reap is that it came out of the Hormel strike and was started by a former international v.p.

  • posted by Scott Mcpherson
  • Fri, Apr 5, 2002 10:25am

Well I haven't let loose on anyone in a while...

I've sat back and listened to the political back benching that's taking place here and I'm not impressed. I realize we all have a common enemy but I get concerned when I see hard nose regulars wearing kid gloves when ever this topic comes up and I've decided I've had enough.

Yes of course we could do even bigger things if we worked together. There are some very good people involved with REAP and that organization has achieved some success. We've tried to build an aliance with them but it seems to me they're more concerned about taking the lead than working together.

With REAP you have an organization in the more traditional sence. When the MFD trys to build other groups we've often said "feel free to call yourselves the MFD or anything else you want. The important thing is your working towards building a better union and we are here to help in anyway we can". REAP exspects you call yourselves REAP and follow their lead. They want to have reap groups in every local and they expected us to capitulate to their wisdom and authority and do things in their image. Thanks but no thanks. There is no more room in my life for another American telling me what to do.

The bottom line is REAP isn't on this site and they're members are not posting in groves because we refused to be their subordinate.
They have been given numerous opportunities and we've extended a tree of olive branches to them. The ball is in their court. Their site is mentioned because it benefits our members to mention it. Their site is linked because it benefits our members to link to it. This is the case for anything that helps further reform. However, I'm not the slightest bit interested in using kid gloves when talking about a group that professes to want to change things but refuses to acknowledge or support another group because they don't want to have to share the spotlight if things do change.

If this causes a rift between us I think our members and the MFD are the better for it. It's time to step up and show people what your made of REAP. Are you really about helping empower the power source or are you only interested in changing seats with the current leaders? Your actions and reactions will tell the tail.

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Fri, Apr 5, 2002 10:33am

Thanks Scott. I didn't know all of that although I sort of suspected that it might have been the case. Now that we're on the subject, and just so that we're clear on this, is it the case that the reformers in Local 1518 who formed MFD, approached REAP for support and were told they had to become a REAP group of some kind before they would be given support?

  • posted by lefkenny
  • Fri, Apr 5, 2002 10:56am

It is great to see people motivated by emotion. Scott seems to have increased his "pulse" to another level which is often the main mitigating reason why we are motivated to strive for freedom of expression and other issues important to us individually and to others collectively.

about unions

  • posted by Scott Mcpherson
  • Fri, Apr 5, 2002 11:10am

Not exactly, I was told that we were stepping on their toes when we tried reaching out to people in other provinces. We repeatedly suggested a link and some kind of means to exchange pertinent information between each group. They seemed to be very concerned with who was the offical reform movement Blah blah. David got fed up and so did I.

I talked to Anderson on the phone in the very beginning and he tried to help us with the appeals process. Prior to renaming this web site the MFD plenty of reap supporters were very supportive of us. I was very impressed with REAP and I still believe they do some great things but I'm not interested in leadership replacement, I'm motivated by institutional change.

So while our antagonists remain the same our focus and direction appears to be different. That's not to say we still can't work together but every relationship requires 50% effort from both parties and thus far we've made the effort and they've reciprocated with guildlines and expectations. I think we all get enough of that from mainstream unions don't you?

I should point out that my intention was not to over generalize on this topic. There are REAP supporters who contribute to this site and help out everyone. Just like not everyone agrees with my approach in the MFD not everyone can be pigeon toed to the actions of a limited few in REAP.

  • posted by siggy
  • Fri, Apr 5, 2002 6:16pm

quote:


I've sat back and listened to the political back benching that's taking place here and I'm not impressed. I realize we all have a common enemy but I get concerned when I see hard nose regulars wearing kid gloves when ever this topic comes up and I've decided I've had enough.


Me too! It may be time to repeat some of the history of the MFD.

The one thing I know MFD and REAP have in common is that they were both born out of the UFCW. The one thing I know they don't have in common is, that is no longer the case for the MFD.

In the beginning a group of UFCW members (13 I think) put their names on the ballot for the 1518 election. As you all know it ended in a lawsuit being filed and eventually the lawsuit being dropped. It was during that time that the group dubbed themselves Members for Democracy. Also during that time, I believe, there was interaction between Reap and MFD, and as I recall none of it supportive, for whatever reason.

When the lawsuit was dropped (Aug 2001 I think!) all but 1 of the original 13 members washed their hands of the effort. The only thing left was a web site that wouldn't die! MFD www.ufcw.net

It has only been recently that some of the originals have ventured back on side and appear to have once again picked up the cause.

There has been no specific interaction between Reap and MFD since the original members parted ways, other than maybe the forums.

  • posted by sleK
  • Fri, Apr 5, 2002 9:41pm

quote:


I've sat back and listened to the political back benching that's taking place here and I'm not impressed.


I don't know if "back-benching" is the correct term. I knew there was some sort of huh-bub with REAP way back when you and David were still running the show, but we were never really given the details.

Hence the shrug

  • posted by Scott Mcpherson
  • Sat, Apr 6, 2002 10:36pm

quote:


When the lawsuit was dropped (Aug 2001 I think!) all but 1 of the original 13 members washed their hands of the effort. The only thing left was a web site that wouldn't die!


Ok...no biggy but the maths a little off. We ran a total of 17 candidates in '99 for 38 seats, and supported two more independents that were part of our org. group before a mini split prior to the nomination meetings. Siggy you were just joining when that happened so you might not remember the three guys leaving the slate.

I think the commitment both you and slek have shown in keeping this site going and improving is insperational. Congradulations on a job well done doesn't even come close. You've kept the home fires burning long enough for old freinds to find their way home and given new visitors a chance to learn and be heard. That's really something.

As for washing our hands... I think there's a monumental difference between bowing out of a very expensive law suit and giving up completely. The whole thing with David hit us all pretty hard and me especially. When the UFCW made it clear that no expence would be spared to keep us from examining those ballots I realized reforming this union was a mountain at that time I just didn't have the strength to climb.

It was clear to me even prior to June 22nd '01 that even if we overturned the election the International would never just sit back and do nothing while we took office. Spare me the bull about democracy and the voice of the power source in the UFCW, that's childish fantacy and mainstream rhetoric and nothing more.

And what if the judge did order a new election and lets just say for the sake of argument we could trust the UFCW to let democracy run it's course...who would we run? I couldn't, Brian left the country, Bob's close to retirement and David certainly couldn't. In early 2000 I had enough for a full slate of 38 but soon after I lost my arbitration in early '01 more than half of those said they were too afraid to lose their jobs as well and didn't want me to tell anyone who they were or that they were even involved with us. Many of them were from the Island and Interior and not so easy to replace. A couple others were in stores that were closed for good by the employers. A few others took promotions into management and one guy took a transfer to Alberta. You know who was left in the leadership and who didn't want to go through it all again and you yourself said you wouldn't run again.

I was out of money, close to losing my wife, I'd lost custody of my son, my closest friend was in jail for something I still can't believe happened, my employment record was virtually destroyed thanks to unfair back to back insubordination terminations. I was out of candidates that could actually run in an election and out of moves.

Check mate...UFCW wins.

I'm sorry if you feel let down by that I really am. I gave it my best yet my best just couldn't cut it in the big game. Yes...I took a much needed rest from the UFCW, the MFD and this web site, I had too. But I never washed my hands of anything and I don't want a label I don't feel I deserve.

Bill Pearson has given me that little flicker faith in salvaging all of this and I hope for the sake of all union members that light at the end of the tunnel isn't just another train. I know the MFD has made a difference I just don't how big a difference. But if in the end another group wants to walk down the path we cut for them I'll be there if they need or want me. In the meantime I'm here, and given I once again work in the OFG food group [non union] I'm here at my own risk...again. Quite frankly I don't know what else I could do to contribute more.

  • posted by siggy
  • Sat, Apr 6, 2002 11:04pm

quote:


I think the commitment both you and slek have shown in keeping this site going


That's just it! It wasn't just me and sleK and it wasn't anyone from days gone by that kept this going. For anyone to believe this is a one, two or three person movement is naive. It's a force to be reckoned with. It is out of machine control.

I tell you it was real true Members for Democracy that wouldn't let this die. I tell you they're everywhere!

  • posted by BillPearson
  • Sun, Apr 7, 2002 3:43pm

Scotty: God knows i have a number of different opinions from many of the posters on this site. I make no bones about it, i am UFCW. Having said that, i read your post, and could'nt ignore what you wrote. I've said the best training i've ever gotten was a series of classes called Situational Leadership. The first thing they taught us, we don't own our jobs. That's a fact. We're only entitled to be there as long as the membership feels we are doing a good job. That should be the stimulus to be more aggressive, to be more proactive.
I may get a call from Washington on this, but it has to be said. Elections for officers has to be a guarenteed, protected right of members in every Union. I have stood on the stage and told members, they have the right to run, if they think they can do it better. There are some terrifying statistics how often incumbants win. I think it's in the 90% range. We could argue why, but there are a variety of reasons.
I know the international hates to see contested races, with some good reason. There is a legitimate concern that a member who has no skills, suddenly finds themselves running a local. They could destroy the lives of untold numbers of members. That's why i think membership education is so important. We were teaching our stewards Situational Leadership, but it was pretty heady. This month we are bringing our stewards together and asking them what they want us to teach them. We also make classes available to the membership through the U.M. They have an awesome labor education service program.
Let me just close by saying thanks to Scott. I think two of the most important components of leadership are honesty and integrity, and he certainly seems to have solid footings in both. There's tons of members out there pissing and moaning about their Unions. The ones who will change them are the ones who put it on the line, and obviously he did.

  • posted by lefkenny
  • Sun, Apr 7, 2002 4:31pm

Scott, I was very moved by your story and your integrity in which you told it. I had a similar situation although not as legal, so I know a lot of the feelings that I had and those of our fellow supporters. There were those who turned against me because I did not deliver them to the promised land. I know it is hard to want reform, know it is possible, and have it crushed before your eyes. All the time and effort seems down the sewer. Our lives left in shambles, and relatively nothing to show for our efforts. Sure I am angry at the mainstream unions, we are being screwed by them(most of them) in my opinion. If we were not angy, we would not have found the motivation to speak out or to stand up and be noticed.

I am glad that MFD is here. It gives me a voice and I know that I will be heard. I feel at home here where I have freedom of expression. No one will call me out of order. I almost would prefer some union to charge me. I have that fire in the belly again. And just perhaps, when I write there is great meaning in my words but I doubt it. I am just an average older guy with a passion and a dream. I welcome all contributors even if they are the president of a union That to me is the greatest asset of this website, everyone pretty much says what is on their mind. No matter who we are we must preserve that in my opinion.
And thanks Bill, I did learn something from our difference of opinions. We can agree to disagree sometimes.

about unions

  • posted by siggy
  • Sun, Apr 7, 2002 5:14pm

Am I in the wrong place? Is this the REAP and MFD thread or the Scott and Bill thread?

Bill is right Scott, you really are a leader.

The question last was "What are the vast differences?":
Maybe we should make a list of things that Reap and MFD have in common or differ greatly on.

Remote said "we're (MFD) too radical for Reap". The old in the box vs out of the box theory?

When you examine the goals, MFD and REAP seem to have many things in common. How can that be? Can the different approachs be bridged? Should we? Does REAP want to? Does MFD want to? Hmmmm?

  • posted by weiser
  • Sun, Apr 7, 2002 5:24pm

Bill P said:

quote:


I know the international hates to see contested races, with some good reason. There is a legitimate concern that a member who has no skills, suddenly finds themselves running a local. They could destroy the lives of untold numbers of members. That's why i think membership education is so important.


I have a few comments:

Local unions should be small, so that leaders are closer to the members and that they don't have to focus on running a multi-million dollar corporation.

The creation of huge locals is a control mechanism created for the benefit of the International leadership. They don't like contested races because they don't want their power base fiddled with.

All local unions should be required to prepare members for leadership roles. What do you do if the President dies or retires just after the election? Oh yeh, a new one is appointed who is deemed acceptable to those in power. Why not a new election? Why not the runner up?

The president should not be the be-all, end-all for any organization. The UFCW has created a system that puts all power in the hands of the President. There used to be a balance of Sec. Treas. and Pres. rounded out by a powerful E-Board.

Look at how by-laws have changed to consolidate power in one person's hands. Everyone is there to "assist" the President.

The International should have experts ready to assist the newly elected succeed in their new roles. Large locals can afford to hire business managers.

If people elect a new president then they have a right to do so. Members aren't stupid, so their decision shouldn't be taken lightly.

Does the International care about how the Canadian Commercial Workers Industry Pension Plan is run? Does it care how much money has been lost in ultra-risky investments?

Don't tell me that they really care about a new President not being able to properly manage funds. They are well aware of what goes on in Canada and they do nothing. I believe they care dearly about who is in the President's chair, but not always for the reasons you think, Bill.

I'm with you 100% on member education. However, who would risk teaching every member how to do the President's job well? Who would be willing to defend his or her job ever four years? Who would be willing to prepare a bunch of union members to run a union and then step aside to let them run for the top spot?

Maybe things would work better if President was a "Service" position rather than a "career" positon. Sort of like the President of the United States of America. Two terms, and good-bye.

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Sun, Apr 7, 2002 5:27pm

We have common goals but - maybe - different thoughts about how those goals can be achieved. We may also have different conceptions of things like "leadership". Do we need good leaders? I think all of us would say "yes". What makes a good leader? We may have some common ground and some differences of opinion on that. What's extremely important at this stage especially, is that we're talking about them.

  • posted by Scott Mcpherson
  • Sun, Apr 7, 2002 11:30pm

quote:


Can the different approachs be bridged? Should we? Does REAP want to? Does MFD want to? Hmmmm?


No I don't think that's a good idea at all....still with me?

I still think each site should carry a link to the other and share ideas and try to support each other but that's it. I like diversity and I think two different approaches to the same problem is better for the members. I can handle a debate or even a heated arguement if in the end the members gain by having more options to choose from.

Ok UFCW spin doctors...brace yourselves....

I'm not always right and I don't always have the best answer. [I know, I know, it's a shocker] Somebody with a different agenda could force a debate that could see an even better idea emerge. I posted the comments about REAP because I don't want to see people holding back to save another group/person feelings. We're in a tough game buck up. [man one guy posted a picture of a Monkey on this site and said it was me] I got over it. So will REAP if somebody gives them the hell they deserve for not putting a link up on their site. If they don't then are they really the kind of people we want replacing the current crop of leaders?

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Mon, Apr 8, 2002 5:35pm

Maybe REAP and MFD simply serve different needs in the community of workers. REAP is a good source of information about the UFCW (particularly the American UFCW). It has some good historical stuff about the UFCW as well.

On the other hand, MFD is where you go for a much broader picture of what's going on in the community and to hang out with likeminded others and where nothing is taboo or off-limits and you can talk about how things should be and...

  • posted by globalize_this
  • Mon, Apr 8, 2002 8:08pm

I think its outrageous that REAP doesn't at least have a link to the MFD on its website.

I'm so upset I'd go to their website and post my displeasure on their bulletin-board, but they don't have one of those either!

Seriously, though, REAP has its place. But I fear they are missing the boat as far as the future of union reform. The future is wired and networked, baby.

It's too bad REAP can't see the benefit of working with the MFD, rather than trying to control it. But there's still always room for their supporters on this message board. Maybe one day their head honchos will come around, too. If and when that happens, we'll be right here waiting.

EDIT: One more thought. Has anyone ever contacted the folks at Change 951? I've been wondering what their deal was.

  • posted by lefkenny
  • Mon, Apr 8, 2002 8:52pm

Has the power monger reared its ugly head as it does in unions and their locals? Human nature as it be, sometimes brings out the animal in us where we must be the "king of the jungle" and the "nothing must get in our path syndrome".

Are reform groups as vulernable to the same downfalls of the biz unions?

about unions

  • posted by Scott Mcpherson
  • Mon, Apr 8, 2002 10:55pm

quote:


Has anyone ever contacted the folks at Change 951? I've been wondering what their deal was.


Yes...David talked to one of their principles often about a year and a half ago. We suggested working together with them but they declined. They are interested in their own local and nothing else. They turned down REAP as well I believe but I'm not totally sure of that. We wished them luck and left the door open but I doubt they'll ever be interested.

  • posted by globalize_this
  • Mon, Apr 8, 2002 11:36pm

I presume that they did not win their union election last fall? It does not appear that they have updated their website since then.

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