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Friday, August 12, 2016

Ontario's Labour movement cannibalizes itself over mismanagement and greed

Sid Ryan chumming it up at a demonstration with Islamic, pro-terror
extremists Zafar Bangash and Ali Mallah
Sid Ryan was at the forefront of radicalizing unions so that rather than concentrating on workers' rights, he was pushing them into hateful political causes, like the "Occupy" movement, and partnerships with a variety of fanatical anti-Israel groups and anti-capitalist/class warfare extremists that provided no benefit to union workers. Because of a personal dispute over money he feels he is owed from the Ontario Federation of Labour, Ryan wrote on the facebook post reprinted below that "The days when union leaders can make decisions behind closed doors and not be held fully accountable for those decisions are over. "

That's what the rest of us, as a matter of principle, were asking from you for years, Sid.  But when Ryan headed the OFL, he took the opposite positionIn a sublime irony, it turns out that personal greed rather than principle has finally gotten Sid Ryan to realize the need for union transparency.

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Today, I served the OFL with a lawsuit for refusing to live up to their obligations as an employer by withholding and essentially stealing 6 years worth of my banked vacation pay.
This is a decision I made with a heavy heart as I have devoted my entire adult life to Ontario's Labour Movement and trying to make life better for the workers of Canada. I became a union member within weeks of stepping off a plane in this great country back in 1975. I have walked picket lines and fought at every level of this movement against employer that screwed workers. So I will be damned if I allow a small bunch of self important back room boys to screw me out of banked vacation credits that I have earned over 6 years as OFL President.
The main reason given to me (in writing) by OFL President Chris Buckley and repeated today by Secretary Treasurer Patty Coates is that " the OFL does not have the money to pay" their legal obligations. Patty also mentioned the decision was supported by the union leadership on the OFL Executive Board. This decision was far from unanimous and turned into a rancorous debate that went on for several hours .
The latter point is an interesting one as the Executive Board is stacked with unions (USW, UFCW and IAM) that exacerbated the financial crisis at the OFL by withholding their per capita (union dues) and are now using the crisis they created to weasel out of their lawful obligations.
But beyond the shameful behaviour of the above mentioned leadership, just think through what Buckley has put in writing to me. The OFL doesn't have the money to pay out my owed banked vacation, so therefore tough luck "you should have taken all your vacation" he said . Imagine for a second if all employers begin to use this logic for not paying their workers their legally due entitlements.
What a horrible precedent for the leader of Ontario's Labour Movement to be setting.
This is coming at a time when the OFL is championing the Workers Action Centre campaign of raising the minimum wage and demanding Labour Law Reforms to stop bad employers from stealing the wages and vacation pay owed to their employees.
It sure takes some chutzpah for Buckley to get up on a podium and call out bad employers for "stealing their employees wages and vacation pay" when he is guilty as sin of the same charge.
As I have indicated recently, this shameful debacle is far from over. Besides my lawsuit and regardless of its outcome, I fully intend to be a delegate ar the next OFL convention where this issue will get a full and complete airing on the floor of that convention.
The days when union leaders can make decisions behind closed doors and not be held fully accountable for those decisions are over. I know for a fact the membership of USW, UFCW and IAM were not consulted by their leadership when they withheld hundreds of thousands of dollars in union dues from the OFL. Those leaders along with Smokey Thomas were quite willing to destroy the Labour Movement in Ontario in order to get their way. Thomas withheld over $4 million in union dues over a 4 year period and from all recent accounts that I have heard - he cut a deal with Buckley to pay back the OFL a mere pittance - a tiny fraction of the $4 million owed.
All of these issues will be fully aired at the next OFL convention.
Meanwhile, I will be seeing Chris Buckley in the Ontario Superior Court where he will be forced to defend his actions and where he cannot hide behind the OFL Executive Board.

1 comment:

mrzee said...

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy :-)