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  • authored by news
  • published Mon, Oct 21, 2002

UFCW Local 1000a to change by-laws

Constitutional change coming to UFCW Local 1000a

According to a Background Paper on UFCW Local 1000a's web site, sweeping changes to the local's constitutional by-laws are coming soon.

Local 1000A's Proposed New Constitutional Bylaw: Background Paper and Technical Choices discusses a series of recommendations made by a Task Force that was mandated by the Local's Executive Board two years ago. It's purpose was to "consult widely with the membership and propose fundamental amendments to the constitution and by-laws of Local 1000A". The recommendations of the Task Force will be put before the Local's Executive Committee on November 1st for approval.

The purpose of the recommended changes is said to be an attempt to bring Local 1000A's constitution and bylaws into compliance with the International Constitution in a way that will "preserve the unique structure and policies of the existing Constitution and By-laws of Local 1000A that are important to its members".

The Task Force recommendations cover a lot of ground. They include a provision for election by the general membership of the Local's President, Secretary-Treasurer, Executive Vice President and Recorder. An additional 9 Vice Presidents will be elected by a designated portion of the membership in a total of 8 sectors. Terms of office for Executive Board members will be four years but the recommendations say nothing of the practice of appointing executive board members in mid-term.

General membership meetings will be held quarterly although the UFCW's International constitution permits these meetings to be held as frequently as once per month. Executive Board meetings will also be held quarterly as well.

The Local President will have the authority to appoint stewards or to decide that stewards in designated locations be elected by the members. Either way the Local President shall have the authority to remove stewards in either instance, something that is consistent with the Local's current practices. The Local President will also have the authority to hire and fire business agents who will have recourse only to the Executive Board if they wish to contest their dismissal.

Compensation and expenses for the Local's officers and the Local's expense policy will be established by the Local's Executive Board something that is, again, consistent with the local's current practice.

Most significantly, candidates for Local Officers' positions will need to be nominated by petition. The number of names required on a petition will be at least 1% of the total membership. A nominee for union office in Local 1000a would need to sign up in excess of 200 members prior to being able to stand for election.

Local 1000 represents over 22,000 workers in the retail food industry across Ontario. The Local has an active reform movement and executive board elections are due within the next year. The current President, Kevin Corporon was appointed in 1999 when long-time President, Dan Gilbert, retired and moved on to an Executive Assistant job with UFCW Canada.

Are the proposed changes to Local 1000a's constitutional by-laws the dawn of a new age of democratic unionism or more top-down, executive-dominated biz-unionism designed to protect a threatened status quo?

We'll be watching as the future unfolds at this large Ontario local in the months ahead.

  • posted by weiser
  • Mon, Oct 21, 2002 5:19pm

Perhaps they should consider developing a Code of Ethics before adopting new by-laws.

The 1% rule makes it near impossible for a person working in a grocery store or a small town to get the required signatures. How the hell would a member know how many 1% constitutes? Some estimates put Local 1000A's membership at 22 thousand and some reports claim 25 thousand.

Let's say Kevin Corporon needs 250 signatures, all he has to do is give a nod and a wink to the business agents, men and women who he can fire just as easily as he can hire and Presto! Before you know it, Kevin has 500 signatures-double the amount he needs without even leaving the office.

Now let's say Jane Rankandfiler works at Handi Mart in Smalltown Ontario. Handi Mart has 25 employees, so if Jane gets everyone who works in her store to sign a petition, she is still short 90% of the signatures she needs. Jane goes to Dutch Boy Superette to see if those members will sign her petition. The manager of Dutch Boy kicks her out of his store. She tries the same at Acme Meat Packers. That manager kicks her off the property. Jane has no access to the addresses and phone numbers of members in her area, so the only way she can get signatures is to go to the workplaces she knows have UFCW contracts. Then she realizes that, there probably aren't 250 UFCW members within driving distance to her town. She realizes that there is no way in hell that she can ever get elected as leader of her union.

Hell, if Jane lived in Toronto, she could run for Mayor with less support than Local 1000A requires. If she lived in the City of Oakland with a population of 400 thousand, she would be required to have no less than 10 and no more than 20 signatures.

It's difficult enough for a member to beat an incumbent, so to raise the barrier to preclude members from even taking a run is cowardly.

  • posted by Troll
  • Mon, Oct 21, 2002 5:36pm

Maybe Kevin is trying to disuade these guys from running:

quote:


Social activist takes on his own union
BY: Ian Harvey; Toronto Sun
The Toronto Sun, October 23, 1995, Final Edition, p.18.

Social activist John Clarke has turned his gunsights on his own union.

The part-time Loblaws meat cutter has launched court action asking for a review of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local 1000A constitution, saying it discriminates against part-time workers by not allowing them to vote.

The target of his attack is Daniel Gilbert, who has held the presidency for 17 years.

'There are questions that need to be raised,' said Clarke's lawyer, Joe Kenkel. 'The president of this union makes $140,000, which is more than the president of the largest union, the CAW, makes.'

Kenkel is asking the court to suspend elections until the issues are decided.

The union, one of the largest in the Canadian private sector, represents 13,500 Loblaws supermarket workers, most of them women and most working part-time.

In an application to the General Court, Clarke and fellow Loblaws meat cutter Steve Guiliano also claim the bylaws of the Toronto local conflict with the international union by not allowing direct election of the president.

Clarke, best known for his role as a social activist with the Ontario Anti-Poverty Coalition, is instrumental in organizing anti-government protests.

He was a key speaker and organizer of the 5,000-strong protest at Queen's Park which turned into a melee when demonstrators charged the barriers and clashed with police. Clarke also helped rally raucous demos in Ottawa and Kingston and has vowed to 'drive Mike Harris out of office' over cuts to social programs.

Kevin Corporon, executive vice-president of the UFCW Local 1000A, said Clarke's previous appeal to the international union was overruled.

'We're an old established union that merged with the international union,' he said. 'Our bylaws were incorporated as part of the agreement to merger in 1978 and to retain our Canadian identity.'

He said everyone can vote in union elections, regardless of whether they are full-time or part-time workers.


  • posted by remote viewer
  • Mon, Oct 21, 2002 7:41pm

Well for gosh sakes, John Clarke of OCAP was with Local 1000a?! He's a legend around here. Like him or not, he's done a great deal to bring issues associated with poverty into the public eye. No fancy racing cars for him.

Hmmm...wonder why all these changes are happening now? Corporon isn't worried about what will happen come election day is he?

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