Draft Petition

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Draft Petition

John Musumeci
Administrator
This post was updated on .
In meeting with Herman Benson of the Association for Union Democracy on February 8, he advised that the best course of action for reform of our Union lies with Review Officer, Dennis Walsh. Herman suggested we form a committee and outline the changes we all want for our Union and then petition the Review Office for reform.

Think of this blog as your online committee meeting and any petition that is finally approved will be posted as a collective work, originating from the membership.

This draft of a petition is a work in progress. This draft is the product of discussions and concerns of members posted on this blog. All suggested changes of merit to the first original draft will continue to be posted.

Feel free to continue to add or change any of the words, until we get this petition right. Collectively, with all the great minds we have here, we can write this petition together.

I will continue to edit and update the petition with your changes and suggestions on this post. Once we have a final petition that we agree on, it has been suggested that a "physical public forum be arranged, and a date announced, so the rank and file have opportunity to directly engage in a documented process and provide consent." This is an excellent suggestion and I have absolutely no objection, my sole purpose here is to facilitate this process.

After agreement and consent given, the petition will be embedded on this blog for members to sign and an email automatically will be sent to the Review Officer with each signature. You will also be able to print out the petition and collect member signatures directly and either mail, fax or email them to the Review Officer. The goal is to get hundreds, thousands, of signatures to the Review Officer, specifically telling him how we want this union to be governed.  

So get busy, carefully read and change/update, one by one, the "Articles of Basic Rights," fine tune each with the proper language. Let's get this petition finalized and start setting up a rank and file meeting for consent and ratification!

Declaration For Union Democracy

Preamble:

We the People of the New York City District Council of Carpenters, in Order to form a more democratic Union, establish Justice, elevate the Moral and Intellect of all our members and to improve the Union in every way possible, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Declaration For Union Democracy.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Rank and File members must have both the unalienable Right to participate in all union decisions and a sense that it is, in fact, their Union.

That to secure this right, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. To that end we offer the following, Articles of Basic Rights.

We, the Rank and File members of the New York City District Council of Carpenters, Petition, Review Officer, Dennis Walsh, for a more democratic Union, less susceptible to problems of corruption, labor racketeering, and infiltration by organized crime, and that this Union be governed democratically and be returned to the rank and file membership who are its rightful stewards and entitled to participate in all matters that effect them.

And in support of this Declaration, we mutually pledge our sacred Honor and do mutually and freely affix our signature to the following Articles of Basic Rights.

Article I
We demand an end to the system by which collective bargaining contracts are imposed on members without their review. We claim the right of members to vote for or against proposed contracts. Before any such vote, we propose, (1) that the full and accurate terms of any contract be reported to the membership far enough in advance of the vote to permit intelligent review, (2) that provisions be made for democratic discussion and ratification of the contract provisions, and (3) the right to elect rank-and-file representatives to contract negotiating committees.

Article II
We demand upon written, email or telephone request distribution to all members, all manner of information about the union, including but not limited to, all copies of the collective bargaining agreements, union constitutions and bylaws, council and local meeting minutes and financial reports. We also demand full disclosure and accurate reports on Council finances, expenses, salaries, credit cards and all manner of financial information about the Union. This shall be achieved by a mailing to the members last known address on file with the UBC or by posting in an electronic media format, on the District Councils web site. These documents and reports shall be updated on a monthly or annual basis as is feasible and relevant to the particular document.

Article III
We demand that elections of all organizers and business representatives, shall be by the rank and file by secret ballot vote. The appointed representatives of the Council tend to lose touch with their membership and forget that their first loyalty is to those whose dues pay their salaries. By accepting designation as council employees and accepting council salaries a clear conflict of interest is created. The documented history of their actions have proven that this conflict of interest has made them subservient to the subordinate body and not the membership. To remind them of this basic principle of unionism, we propose that all Council Officers, Local Officers, Organizers and Business Representatives be elected by direct vote of the membership every three years, conducted by mail-in ballot, in person secret ballot voting and secure online voting, supervised by an impartial outside agency. We also demand election reform. The system is so corrupt with slates, we advocate the abolishment of slates in delegate elections. when you go into vote their should just be a name not a slate designation above it. Too many people vote the slate and not the person, by eliminating the slate, members would have to education themselves to what each individual candidate stands for.

Article IV
All Business of the Council shall be decided by a secret ballot vote of the rank and file, and all votes recorded and made available to the membership, and all delegate meeting open to the membership. To achieve this end no delegate to the council may be an Officer, Organizer, Business Representative and any person paid by or in the employ of the Council or United Brotherhood of Carpenters. The present delegates system is a dismal failure and the majority of delegates are paid council employees. They have proven themselves to be corrupted by their council paychecks, they have acted in a bias and discriminatory manner when voting on business placed before them. The only remedy for this corrupted system is to ban individuals paid by the council or the United Brotherhood in any manner from holding a delegate to the council seat.

Article V
No Local or Council Officers shall be appointed positions. We demand the right to fair and impartial Local and Council elections for all positions that are conducted by mail-in ballot, in person secret ballot voting and secure online voting, supervised by an impartial outside agency. The documented history of their actions have proven that appointed Officers represent a conflict of interest. This conflict of interest has made them subservient to the subordinate body and not the membership.

Article VI
There shall be Salary caps for all Officers, Organizers and Business Representatives. A Local or Council Officer or representative cannot understand the problems of members who make less than half what they make. Salaries for all Local and Council Officers shall be capped at three thousand dollars over the highest paid Carpenters wage and 1000 dollars for all Organizers and Business Representatives. It shall be formulated based on prevailing wage, a 40 hour work week and 52 weeks in any calendar year. Salary increases shall be limited to the same increase as the membership negotiated in the collective bargaining agreement and subject to membership approval. Any give back or wage freezes suffered by the rank and file carpenters shall be imposed on the elected Officer, Organizer or Business Representative as well.

Article VII
Pension contributions of all Council Officers, Local Officers, Organizers and Business Representatives shall be restricted to the same formula and rules of the plan offered to the rank and file Carpenters. Pension contributions shall be based on a forty hour work week and 52 weeks in any calendar year provided the Officer, Organizer or Business Representative is actually engaged in the business of his job during those hours. There shall be no special consideration in pension contributions given to any Officer, Organizer or Business Representatives beyond those offered to the rank and file in the associated plan.

Article VIII
The rank and file shall have the right to approve or veto all names submitted as candidate for trustee to any and all of the union’s benefit funds both Labor and Employer side. This shall be decided by a committee made up of a Chairman and an equal number of members from all locals affiliated with the Council. The committee shall investigate the submitted candidate and veto or approve the candidate by secret ballot vote of all committee members. This article and its provisions shall be immediately adopted by all fund Plan documents.

Article IX    
All paid holidays, golf days, sick days and any other paid time off not offered to the rank and file are hereby rescinded. If the rank and file are not guaranteed paid days off in the negotiated collective bargaining agreement no Council Officer, Local Officer, Organizer or Business Representative shall receive any such paid days off.

Article X
We insist upon the implementation of a fair hiring system and out-of-work-list which distributes job opportunities for all dues-paying New York City District Council members without fear or favor. We also insist upon the implementation of a system where dues could be paid by mail, automatic bank account withdrawal, secure website, payroll checkoff, or services such as PayPal.
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Re: Draft Petition

Richard Chopp
Question: Article 1: The right to participate in all collective bargaining and to ratify all our contracts.

How would this actually work?  Every member has right to verified or decline language?  I want to know the logistics.
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Re: Draft Petition

Paul 157
The most important article on this petition in my opinion is article V. Without the ability to have mail in balloting we will have business as usual and future Unity Teams and the like will continue to get voted into power. Democracy is without question the most important element for our union going forward.
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Re: Draft Petition

bill lebo
In reply to this post by John Musumeci
John, with all due respect, you really need to clean up the prelude it's a little corny. Sounds just like the declaration of independance, (in order to form a more perfect union, for the people by the people, well you get the idea). Should start with. We the undersigned members.
Article 1 (To participate in all collective bagaining). This is far too broad a demand and would make negotiating a contract almost impossible, you have to put some trust in the people you elect for the negotiations. Should just be, The right to review and ratify all collectively bargained agreements.
Article 2  Add executive board meetings, and in order to ensure transparency.
Artcle 3 You can't elect all coucil employees. Specify the employees you mean, we don't want to elect Gaurds, secretarys, janitors, etc.
Article 4 again far too broad. All decisions, all matters, nothing would ever get done.
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Re: Draft Petition

John Musumeci
Administrator
In reply to this post by Richard Chopp
Richard: I made changes to Article I, to better explain how it would work, let me know what you think.
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Re: Draft Petition

John Musumeci
Administrator
In reply to this post by bill lebo
Bill: thanks for the input, I made a few changes to the articles, let me know what you think. Also the prelude can be changed if you feel its to corny.
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Re: Draft Petition

anonymous
In reply to this post by John Musumeci
John;

Thanks for posting the work! I agree with much of the content.
There's an issue that ought to be discussed as the draft is completed into petition form.
Did you compose the draft yourself, or is it a product of direct collaboration with other Carpenters?
The folks at AUD suggested we form a committee. I assume such a group would be transparent, organized by and open to the rank and file to participate in, and function democratically. For the petition to succeed it should be unencumbered by any suggested opportunistic political aspirations of a single individual or clique. We need to effectively utilize our human resources with outreach and an inclusive approach. Now that you've publicly taken the initiative, the petition draft must be declared and implemented as a collective work, originating from the membership. I propose a physical public forum be arranged, and a date announced, so the rank and file have opportunity to directly engage in a documented process and provide consent. The circulation of the petition will require sustained and widespread effort and acceptance, in this case best facilitated by group solidarity.

             
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Re: Draft Petition

John Musumeci
Administrator
This post was updated on .
Anonymous: I updated my post to explain better, and address your concerns. In-addition you should print out the draft and circulate the petition to all brothers and sisters for review and comment.
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Re: Draft Petition

John Musumeci
Administrator
In reply to this post by bill lebo
Bill Lebo: wrote "Article 4 again far too broad. All decisions, all matters, nothing would ever get done."

I will reword, when I have a chance.
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Re: Draft Petition

Silence Dogood
In reply to this post by John Musumeci
Declaration For Union Democracy

Preamble:

       We the People of the New York City District Council of Carpenters, in Order to form a more democratic Union, establish Justice, elevate the Moral and Intellect of all our members and to improve the Union in every way possible, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Declaration For Union Democracy.

        We hold these truths to be self-evident, that Rank and File members must have both the unalienable Right to participate in all union decisions and a sense that it is, in fact, their Union.

      That to secure this right, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.To that end we offer the following

end



Articles of Basic Rights

We, the Rank and File members of the New York City District Council of Carpenters, Petition, Review Officer, Dennis Walsh, for a more democratic Union, less susceptible to problems of corruption, labor racketeering, and infiltration by organized crime, and that this Union be governed democratically and be returned to the rank and file membership who are its rightful stewards and entitled to participate in all matters that effect them.

And in support of this Declaration, we mutually pledge our sacred Honor and do mutually and freely affix our signature to the following articles of Basic Rights

Article I
We demand an end to the system by which collective bargaining contracts are imposed on members without their review. We claim the right of members to vote for (ratify) or against proposed contracts. Before any such vote, we propose (1) That the full and accurate terms of any contract be reported to the membership far enough in advance of the vote to permit intelligent review, (2) That provisions be made for democratic discussion of the contract provisions, and (3) The right to elect rank-and-file representatives to contract negotiating committees.

Article II
        We demand automatic distribution to all members, all copies of the collective bargaining agreements, union constitutions and bylaws, council and local meeting minutes and financial reports, We also demand full disclosure and accurate reports on Council finances, expenses, salaries.This shall be achieved by a mailing to the members last known address on file with the UBC or by posting in an electronic media format.ie: The District Councils web site. These documents and reports shall be updated on a monthly or annual basis as is feasible and relevant to the particular document

Article III
      We demand that elections of all organizers and  business representatives,shall be by the rank and file by secret ballot vote.The appointed representatives of the Council tend to lose touch with their membership and forget that their first loyalty is to those whose dues pay their salaries. By accepting designation as Council employees and accepting council salaries a clear conflict of interest is created. The documented history of their actions have proven that this conflict of interest has made them subservient to the subordinate body and not the membership. To remind them of this basic principle of unionism, we propose that all Council Officers,Local Officers,organizers and business representatives be elected by direct vote of the membership every three years supervised by an impartial outside agency.

Article IV
The Rank and File shall have the exclusive authority to consider, vote upon and finally approve all decisions on all matters for the Council at a monthly membership meeting for all Local Unions.

Article V
     No Local or Council Officers shall be appointed positions.We demand the right to fair and impartial Local and Council elections for all positions that are conducted by both mail-in ballot and in person secret ballot voting. The documented history of their actions have proven that appointed Officers represent a conflict of interest.This conflict of interest has made them subservient to the subordinate body and not the membership. These elections shall be supervised by an impartial outside agency.

Article VI
           There shall be Salaries caps for all Officers,Organizers and Business Representatives.. A Local or Council Officer or representative cannot understand the problems of members who make less than half what they make. Salaries for all Local and Council Officers shall be capped at three thousand dollars over the highest paid Carpenters wage and 1000 dollars for all Organizers and Business Reps. It shall be formulated based on prevailing wage,a 40 hour work week and 52 weeks in any calender year.Salary increases shall be limited to the same increase as the membership negotiated in the collective Bargaining agreement and subject to membership approval.Any give back or wage freezes suffered by the rank and file carpenters shall be imposed on the elected Officer,Organizer or Business Representative as well

Article VII
     
           Pension contributions of all Council Officers,Local Officers,Organizers and Business Representatives shall be restricted to the same formula and rules of the plan offered to the rank and file Carpenters.Pension contributions shall be based on a forty hour work week and 52 weeks in any calender year provided the Officer,Organizer or Business Representative is actually engaged in the business of his job during those hours. There shall be no special consideration in pension contributions given to any  Officer,Organizer or Business rep beyond those offered to the rank and file in the associated plan.



Article VIII
The rank and file shall have the right to approve or veto all names submitted as candidate for trustee to any and all of the union’s benefit funds both Labor and Employer side.This shall be decided by a committee made up of a Chairman and an equal number of members from all locals affiliated with the Council.The committee shall investigate the submitted candidate and veto or approve the candidate by secret ballot vote of all committee members. This article and its provisions shall be immediately adopted by all fund Plan documents.

Article IX    
              All paid holidays,golf days,sick days and any other paid time off not offered to the rank and file are hereby rescinded. If the rank and file are not guaranteed paid days off in the negotiated Collective Bargaining Agreement no Council Officer,Local Officer,Organizer or Business Representative shall receive any such paid days off.
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Re: Draft Petition

Silence Dogood
In reply to this post by John Musumeci
Article IV
           All Business of the Council shall be decided by a secret ballot vote of the rank and file. To achieve this end no delegate to the council may be an Officer,Organizer,Business Representative and any person paid by or in the employ of the Council or United Brotherhood of Carpenters.The present delegates system is a dismal failure and the majority of delegates are paid council employees They have proven themselves to be corrupted by their council paychecks they have acted in a bias and discriminatory manner when voting on business placed before them. The only remedy for this corrupted system is to ban individuals  paid by the council or the United Brotherhood in any manner from holding a delegate to the council seat.
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Re: Draft Petition

John Musumeci
Administrator
Silence Dogood: Excellent changes and additions, the petition is really looking good. Lets keep it up and fine tune it!
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Re: Draft Petition

anonymous
In reply to this post by John Musumeci
Thanks for your reply, and the thoughtful update addressing process.

For everyone's information:
"Since consensus decision-making focuses on discussion and seeks the input of all participants, it can be a time-consuming process. This is a potential liability in situations where decisions need to be made speedily or where it is not possible to canvass the opinions of all delegates in a reasonable period of time. Additionally, the time commitment required to engage in the consensus decision-making process can sometimes act as a barrier to participation for individuals unable or unwilling to make the commitment.[49] However, once a decision has been reached it can be acted on more quickly than a decision handed down. American businessmen complained that in negotiations with a Japanese company, they had to discuss the idea with everyone even the janitor, yet once a decision was made the Americans found the Japanese were able to act much quicker because everyone was on board, while the Americans had to struggle with internal opposition."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consensus_decision-making
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Re: Draft Petition

bill lebo
In reply to this post by John Musumeci
Article VIII , The membership can't choose the employer side of the Trustees anymore than the employers can choose the labor side.
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Re: Draft Petition

John Musumeci
Administrator
Bill, good catch I will take that language out. Also take a look at Article III and Article V shouldn't they be rewritten and combined?

And I added, Article X:

We insist upon the implementation of a fair hiring system and out-of-work-list which distributes job opportunities for all dues-paying New York City District Council members without fear or favor.
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Re: Draft Petition

RichardDorrough
Buill Lebo.
Never say never.The seating of trustees is dictated by the terms of the Plan documents. They can be changed to include the revisions listed and would be binding.

 John
I  had the two articles combined but separated them because you had them listed separate. Two keep them separate I made one about fair elections and one about appointing officers. Do not let the similar conflict of Interest language fol you .They are about two different things
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Re: Draft Petition

RichardDorrough
Bill Lebo
to further elaborate. While the Employer group side may be the ones to select the trustees a committee may reject or approve the person with just cause. If you are correct than Walsh cannot stop the employers from appointing a criminal as a Trustee. I may be wrong is Walsh powerless??

Lets discuss and be sure before you jump to remove John
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Re: Draft Petition

John Musumeci
Administrator
I will add the language back in for now, until a consensus is reached. Also there is no mention of the trustees for the district council only the benefit funds, shouldn't we include the Council trustees?

Also I have a question about the language on voting "direct vote of the membership every three years, conducted by both mail-in ballot and in person secret ballot voting, supervised by an impartial outside agency."

Do you think we should include "Secure online voting" by computers at home?
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Re: Draft Petition

RichardDorrough
John, I could be totally wrong on the right but we should all talk it over and as you said come to a consensus or you will adding and removing all night long.
 In response to council Trustee I think that would be covered under Council Officers but it never hurts to specify and we can ad specific wording for each position
 Also putting in electronic media or secure online voting works as well
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Re: Draft Petition

bill lebo
In reply to this post by RichardDorrough
 Dennis Walsh is a diferent entity, his scope of power is all inclusive under the Consent Decree in order to keep organized crime out of the Council and our local unions, and to ensure that the Council and locals are run democratically (see the Consent Decree at p 2). You can put anything you want in a petition. I just think a petition needs to be fair and reasonable to be taken seriously. Rank and file elections, rank and file review and ratification of all our contracts and or agreements, full and total transparency of all council and local union dealings (this should be true of all ubc activities even at the international level, but one step at a time), and a true realistic system in place, whereby the membership can call for the removal of a corrupt, and or, ineffective leadership. If a contractor is connected to organized crime, it would have to be proven, that's Walsh's job. We should Elect our contract negoitiators, our EST, and other Council Officers, our Local union officers, our delegates to the Council, (I belive our Business Reps because they are officers of the NYCDCC not employees of the Council as the UBC claims, but that battle has been fought in Court and lost, I could go on for hours about that one).
 Some of the things that have gone on since the UBC and Dennis Walsh have taken over  have been productive, the cleaning of the house for instance.
 However, the breaching of our contracts, not once but twice, by the UBC supervisor without a voice of the membership is a travesty of justice. This just says to me that they believe we're too stupid to be given the choice. If they called a special meeting to discuss the problems that may or may not be involved with us getting the raises promised to us in our last agreements, I for one, would have at the very least appreciated it and would have been a whole lot less suspicious of their motives.
In any case, there's an old saying, KISS, Keep It Simple Stupid,(and no, I certainly am not calling anybody stupid), I just mean keep the demands realistic, just, and to the point.  
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