Reply – Re: Democracy
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Re: Democracy
— by Wayne Harley Wayne Harley
Dear Anon,
Thank you for taking the time to write us and share your views. We welcome all opinions and as promised we have posted your letter and this is our response. The tone of your letter and many of your comments indicates to me you may be an employee of the staff of some Regional Council or maybe the UBC Regional Office. This is why I say this.
1.  You accept the fact that the UBC is not going to change its course, no matter what the members say, or how many members say it.
2.  You feel if any changes that may take affect it will be to further curtail our rights as members.
3.  Your feel contract ratification by members, serves no purpose in the members ability to have a voice in their working conditions, as guaranteed employees in our sec. 7 rights of the NLRA.
4.  You feel that direct elections of the Representatives that negotiate our wages and conditions of employment as guaranteed us in the NLRA, are of no purpose.
5.  You try to pass these issues off as Local issues, where if you surfed the web as much as you say, or if you looked at our members, you would know, this issue is a National issue.
6.  You don't realize the Douglas McCarron dictating policy to his , as you call them, omnipotent EST's and them dictating policy to the membership is the definition of an "Autocratic Hierarchy", not a democratic organization.
7.  The scariest thing you stated, is that the Local is a powerless money pit, and that they should be dissolved. That the business of the Locals should be left to the Regional Council. To do this only would only further erode our membership and deteriorate the small portion of the market organized labor represents in our state. As Union Carpenters, we are bound by constitution do strive to represent a larger portion of our trades market. No carpenter that would turn to a union for representation would come to a union with only a single Regional Council, used only as a automated referral system for the member. Where's the representation if there is no Local Union Hall for the individual members to discuss their conditions of employment and their representing agents. To believe that working people are that stupid is only a pipe dream of the ABC. For us, as members of the UBC, to sit passively and allow this to happen to our union does not compliment us as American Union Workers.
We apologize for our web-site not changing the articles often enough. Not all of our articles change on a weekly basis or bi-weekly basis, that's for sure. We do try to rotate them out and leave others we feel are of more importance longer. Because of the tremendous increase in hits on our web-site, we will put more focus on creating fresh reading material, more often.    
"Members for Democracy" is not just a web-site to us. In The Florida Regional Council we are a second party. "Members for Democracy" is another view of what is healthy for our union. We have a second opinion for the best way to grow as a union and how to provide a more secure future for our families. Because of this, and because Florida's low membership, does not provide us a large staff (we are all volunteer), we are stretched pretty thin. We take as much of the material as we can afford to print from our web-site an publish it in a newsletter format. We take the newsletters and business cards listing our e-mail and web-site, and travel to the other locals in our state to hand them out to our Brothers and Sisters and to engage conversation. We feel if we are asking other UBC members around the country to do this, we need to be giving it all we have at home.
I want to address your comments about being tired of hearing what is wrong with our union and come up with ideas as how to fix things. First we have to know what's wrong to be able to fix it, and that's why we encourage open conversation about the problems our members see. To work toward fixing things, we have to start with what little democratic process we have left, and use it to our advantage. Here's five small steps we can all start with.
1.   We, the members, have only one avenue left to us, of expressing any meaningful voice in our conditions of employment, or the internal business of our union, that's our elected delegates to the Regional Councils. We need to be as intelligent as possible about who we put in these positions and it's our responsibility to find a way to free these positions from any of the conflict of interest that are presently causing undue influence on their voting habits. Following is an example of one we are presently trying to iron out for a petition. Review what problems you may see in your council that we haven't  covered and amend this to fit the needs of your council (please forward us any changes, we would like to take them into consideration for ours).  
 Florida Carpenters Regional Council
Representation By Delegate Resolution
"Sample, For Review And Discussion By Members"

        As members of a trade union, we find that in our interest and in the interest of the generations that follow us, it continues to be our responsibility to protect the members right to organize our trade, to be involved in the bargaining process of our employment contracts, to be able to choose our representatives through an election process, to be informed of and have a voice in the internal business of our union and to be actively involved in our concerted activities. In order to protect these rights and to maintain an atmosphere free of "conflict of interest" for our delegates at our Regional Council, We The Members hereby resolve that:
1. All business requiring a vote by the Regional Council Delegates shall be provided, in detail, to the members, through a Regional Council Newsletter mail-out, no less than 30 days prior to the Regional Council vote. This shall provide time for discussion and debate by the locals members and a chance for the delegates to hear the feelings and will of the members prior to the vote. No Regional Council issue shall be voted on unless it has been included in said mail-out.
2. To be eligible to run for a delegate position, a member must have been a member of the U.B.C. for no less than 2 years, a member of the local for no less than 1 year, and have been in good standing for at least 30 days prior to nomination.
3. To avoid any conflict of interest between the membership and our employers, no member that is employed as a superintendent or any higher management position, shall be eligible to serve as a Delegate/Alternate-Delegate.
4. To avoid any conflict of interest between the membership and the Regional Council staff, no member that is employed to any staff position or as a full time instructor shall be eligible to serve as a Delegate/Alternate-Delegate.
5. All Delegates/Alternate-Delegates to the Regional Council are required to attend all monthly business meetings of the Local they represent. If a Delegate/Alternate-Delegate misses two local business meetings in one year (not to include those excused for illness or family emergency, working shall not be considered an excuse), that local shall immediately call a special-call meeting for the purpose of nominating and electing a replacement for this Delegate/ Alternate-Delegate.
6. All Delegates/Alternate-Delegates are required to attend all Regional Council meetings. If a delegate misses 2 Regional Council meetings in his/her election period (not to include those excused for illness or family emergency), that local shall immediately call a special-call meeting for the purpose of nominating and electing a replacement for this Delegate/Alternate-Delegate.
7. If a Delegate/Alternate-Delegate to the Regional Council is unable to attend the locals monthly business meeting, they are required to notify the president of their Local in advance. The recording secretary or the president shall provide the delegate with a detailed report of the business discussed.
8. If a Delegate/Alternate-Delegate shall have an unexcused absence for a monthly local business meeting, that involves discussion of business for the upcoming Regional Council Meeting (this shall occur only when there is not time for a special-call meeting) the president shall appoint a temporary replacement Delegate/Alternate Delegate to the next Regional Council meeting to represent the memberships will.
9. If for any reason a Delegate/Alternate-Delegate is unable to attend a Regional Council meeting, they are required to inform the president and the president shall appoint a qualified replacement that was in attendance at the previous monthly local business meeting. This shall assure that the members of each locals shall have the opportunity to express their will and opinions.
10. All votes at the Regional Council shall be by "Roll Call Vote" as described by Roberts Rules of Order, only.
11. Voting records of all Delegates of each local shall be posted on that locals bulletin board and shall remain posted for the delegates full term or one year whichever is longer.

Dear member, review this and contact us by e-mailing then visit our web-site
at to see your posting
and to engage in other discussions.

2.  Create a meaningful Volunteer Organizing Committee in your Locals and organize your local contractors using majority status contracts. Refuse to settle for Sec. 8 pre-hire agreements.
     a.  In your majority status contracts, insist on employee contract negotiation committee's and membership-employee ratification on all succeeding contracts.
     b.  Never allow a no-strike clause in your majority status contracts.
     c.  Whenever and wherever possible convert your sec. 8(f) pre-hire agreements to sec. 9 majority status contracts (there are procedures for this).
* Doing this will put the members voice back into our conditions of employment and the limit the staffs to suggestions and advising as intended.
3.   If you don't have a democratic organization in your union yet, start one, and get your people into delegate and executive committee positions. Be active, be creative and make your party grow.
4.   Solidarity is vital to the health of any union and vital to its success in affecting your communities market share, create a strong Fraternal Committee in your Local, make sure you have fraternal events and always make Labor Day the grandest of all.
5.   We can do a lot to bring the vital changes necessary for bringing democracy back to the membership of our own union, but we also need supplementary legislation that can afford members of labor organizations, safeguards to their rights and interests and to prevent anything like this happening to our union again. To do this, we need an AFL-CIO type organization, that members of the parties that believe in democracy, in all of our unions can turn to. I feel we have such an organization. The Association for Union Democracy is an organization I believe in. This organization was established to help members of all unions. They also understand the additional hardships that members of the Building and Construction Trade unions face. I strongly urge anyone that believes in union democracy to look them up and join their organization. We will all benefit from their growth.

Fraternally Yours
Members For Democracy