re: Organize or Die, LATimes interview with Doug McCarron March 10, 2002
The trial panel's decision, upheld by the General Executive Board is most ironic considering the fact that General President McCarron, according to his own statements, has helped lead wildcat strikes in Southern California.
I thought members on this list might be interested in the following letter I sent to the LA Times:
19 Mar 2002
L.A. Times Magazine
In 1970, the radical business agent of Millmens Local 550 (Oakland CA) wrote a book called Organize or Die. He talked about the need to organize the non-union carpenters and millmen as part of a campaign to fight for better wages and conditions for all. Now, Carpenters Union General President Doug McCarron has appropriated the same slogan - but as an excuse to join h ands with the contractors and market the union as little but another temporary employment agency. Carpenters, Inc. we call it. McCarron even goes so far as to call us working carpenters nothing but a product. (Organize or Die by Nancy Cleeland, L. A. Times, 3/10/02)
As was documented in Cleelands article, the present approach of McCarron &. Co. to organizing has been a failure - and this was in a time (now apparently passed) when a booming industry should have led to a huge growth in the per centage of construction that was done union.
McCarron justifies his dictatorship on the grounds that it is streamlining the union, cutting out the fat, getting rid of the old bureaucracy. However, just about every single old conservative bureaucrat has retained his job under McCarrons rule. The new ones that have been added usually have no history of concern for the union. So how can the membership take them seriously as union leaders?
McCarrons entire strategy is based on the idea that the Unions can incr ease market share (a business concept, not a union one) as long as carpenter wages are relatively low. Once market share has increased, he will supposedly go for higher wages. According to this logic, this will only drive down the union percentage once again. In fact, if the union is to survive and grow, it must fight for the interests of the members, regain their loyalty and on this basis mobilize the present rank and file to win over the non union carpenters. We need a raise that enables us to buy the homes we build, an earlier retirement, a shorter work week with no loss in pay - and strict contract enforcement. As long as we have inferior contracts and a refusal on the part of the full timers to even fully enforce what we do have, the union will continue to decline. In 1999, as Cleelands article mentions, several thousand carpenters went on a wildcat strike here in the San Francisco Bay area to protest the practical consequences of the policies of McCarron and his apparatus. In the future, we will see new and bigger such events as members fight to regain their union and use it to better their lives.
Former Recording Secretary (presently expelled for life), Carpenters Local 713
In 1993, Rolling Stone magazine interviewed McCarron when he was the Executive Secretary Treasurer of the Los Angeles District Council of Carpenters.
Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2001 22:33:17 EST
Subject: >>>>UBCMEMBERS<<<< resolution
The following resolution was passed at Local 713 and sent to our regional council, all affiliated locals in the regional council, and the AFL-CIO. If the brothers and sisters think it's a good resolution, I'd urge them to raise it in their locals and get letters of support to the AFL-CIO, Doug McCarron as well as local 713. Anybody who wants it on Local 713 letterhead -- if you e mail me your mailing address I'll send you a copy.
RESOLUTION TO STAY IN THE AFL-CIO
WHEREAS in unity there is strength; and
WHEREAS the necessary changes to strengthen the labor movement must at this time be made from within, including within the AFL-CIO; and
WHEREAS it is widely reported that the Carpenters President Doug McCarron is now planning to take the Carpenters Union out of the AFL-CIO; and
WHEREAS, this would thyreaten the unleashing of a bloody civil war of raiding and counter-raiding as well as hard feelings and increased conflict between the trades on the union jobs; now therefore
BE IT RESOLVED that this local goes on record as calling on General President McCarron to openly announce any plans he might have on this issue; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this local oppposes the withdrawal of the Carpenters from the AFL-CIO and calls on the union to immediately pay all back per capita tax; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that this local calls for a new policy of fighting for the best wages and conditions possible for all carpenters, all building trades workers and all working people in general, rather than turn this union into "Carpenters, Inc." in a race to the bottom for all workers.
I urge other brothers and sisters to take up this resolution, or a similar one.
Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000
Subject: * * * * UBCMEMBERS * * * * Expelled from his Union
On Tuesday, Oct. 17, John Reimann and Carpenters Local 713 will be filing a court action to seek reversal of Brother Reimann's expulsion from his union. The expulsion was carried out by the International leadership due to Reimann's role in the 2,000 member carpenter wildcat strike and other actions to protest a rotten contract that was forced down their throats. This occurred in the spring of 1999, and Reimann was expelled in February of this year.
There is a fundamental principle at stake here, as the International leadership is claiming the right to expel any member who walks off a job and/or encourages others to do so. Of course, this is a clear violation of the 13 amendment to the constitution. It is part and parcel of the International's drive to transform the Carpenters Union into another agency similar to Labor Ready, or any other temp. employment agency.
There will be a public rally and press conference on the federal court house steps on Tues., Oct. 17 after the papers are filed. The event will start at 4:00 p.m. and all union members and union supporters are urged to attend. The Federal Court House is located at 450 Golden Gate (corner of McAllister) in San Francisco.
For more information, contact John Reimann at: Crpntrs713@aol.com
To read John's legal brief for reinstatement posted on LaborsMilitantVoice: http://www.laborsmilitantvoice.com/Carpenters%20/legalbrief.html
Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2000
Subject: = = UBCDM = = my experience at the convention
I went to the convention to appeal my lifetime expulsion. I had been informed before hand that I would not be allowed to appeal directly to the convention itself, but only appear before the "Appeals and Grievances Committee". When I arrived at the committee meeting on Saturday morning, there were already a bunch of fellow carpenters picketing outside the hotel where the meeting was being held. What a welcome sight!
Then we went up to the committee meeting and were met at the door by some big gorilla who was doing "security." He was deciding for the membership who could and could not come into the meeting.
I went in together with a few concerned delegates and the committee members were introduced. Every single one of them was a a member of the double-pension army of full time staffers. I started my opening statement by pointing this out and stating that there was no way I could get a fair hearing from them, that every one of them owed their job and their career to Doug McCarron, either directly or indirectly, that the fix was already in and they had already made their decision. They were not very happy with this.
I then made an offer to Mike Draper: Select 12 working carpenters at random in my area and have them try the case. If they find me guilty, then I'll walk away from the union without a complaint. BUT, if they find me not guilty that he, Draper, must give up is fat six-figure salary and go back to work with his tools. We know what the chances are of that one happening!
I then explained that the basic premise of the charges was that as a union member you give up your right to walk off any job you wish, that you have no right to walk off a job. Because if you accept that a worker has the right to walk off the job, then that worker has the right to discuss walking off with their fellow workers.
Draper and company are trying to make us all a bunch of indentured servants.
I then explained that the walk off was being discussed at the airport job for over a week before I had ever been there, before I even knew of any carpenters who worked there. (This was according to Draper's own witness in the "trial".) How could I be the "cause" of it then?)
In addition, there was no violation of the no strike pledge, which binds the UNION, not the individual members. In fact, the union was never found to be in violation of this pledge; it was never broken.
There were many other issues in how the original trial was faulty -- that they failed to consider any of my testimony, etc. etc.
Draper, in "answer" read a prepared statement which tried to prove that I was the "leader" of the wildcat. He also went on and on about how the wildcat had damaged the union in the eyes of the contractors, the politicians, etc. In his rebuttal he claimed that I was just using "smoke and mirrors", that I try to confuse people with "statistics and philosophy". In other words, what he was saying was that the statistics I've used speak for themselves, they are stark proof that what the dictatorship is doing is not working. As for "philosophy", he doesn't want to have a serious discussion on the very premises of the actions of the leadership, but his philosophy came through loud and clear: "Do anything possible to keep the contractors and the politicians happy and screw the members."
And then he doesn't want this exposed!
I think that some of the brothers present thought that I came on a bit too strong, was a bit too hostile. I had decided in advance not to pull any punches. I must say that I was a bit fooled by the friendly, "impartial" facade of the original trial committee. In retrospect, it was clear that they had all gotten together in advance and made their decision. I was not going to just go along with this charade a second time.
Finally, I'd like to make o ne point about the meetings of CDUI: There was one difference that arose in those meetings. Most of the brothers and sisters there want to concentrate strictly on the issue of union democracy, elections, etc. Given that the great majority of members are not really interested in elections at this point, I think this is a mistake. We need them to get active if we are going to really change this union, but what they will get active around is the pay check. This is the lesson of the wildcat. Therefore, I think we really need to develop a clear program as to what we want the union to fight for on contracts, and we need to really put this front and center.
There's a second reason for this: If we do win the vote back, then I would not want to see us elect a new leadership who does the same thing -- sells weak contracts to the membership. (Remember, this has happened many times in the past.) We need to be able to hold their feet to the fire as far as what we've been demanding.
As for the convention itself: I was there monday morning and looked at the delegates going in. They all looked so smug and satisfied -- they were amongst their own kind and as far as they could get from the working members.
Local 713 (at heart)
click for actual cover Nov. 11, 1993
Here is what they printed in their Nov. 11, 1993 issue: "McCarron also remembers that he himself started out in union politics as a 20 year old 'hothead' leading unauthorized strikes against builders in the San Fernando Valley."
John Reimann's appeal to convention
John Reimann firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Mon, 14 Aug 2000
Subject: * * * * UBCMEMBERS * * * * appeal "hearing"
I have just been notified today that my appeal "hearing" will be held o n Saturday, Aug. 19 by the Committee on Grievances and Appeals. The "hearing" will be at 10:00 a.m. in Room 4D of the Chicago Hilton and Towers, 720 S. Michigan Ave.
Of course, I would welcome any brothers or sisters who also wish to attend. Also, if anyone wishes to hold a protest rally outside, I think it would be appropriate, since it is clear that this "hearing" will be a total kangaroo court, just as the original "trial" was.
6 Aug 2000 Subject: * * * * UBCMEMBERS * * * * new charges
I thought that the brothers and sisters would be interested in knowing that the newly elected president and the recording secretary of Local 713 have both just had charges filed against them. These are two of the seven who were just elected as part of the slate of "Working Carpenters for a Stronger Union" (and yes, our group does openly endorse and run candidates!).
What happened was this: At the last meeting there was a vote held on the local printing up and distributing a leaflet on the main issues to the delegates at the upcoming convention. After the vote was taken, two members came in who had been standing outside having a smoke and demanded that they be allowed to vote also. The president refused. (If you snooze -- or smoke -- you lose.) So he and the recording secretary, who made the original motion, are being charged. In addition, they are being charged for allegedly communicating with me -- a non-union member -- on union affairs. (In other words, although I work under theunion contract, am covered by the union benefits, abide by theunion rules -- including refusing to cross picket lines -- and must pay the equivalent of union dues, no union member is supposed to even communicate with me what is happening in the union! There are hundreds of members who could be so charged in that case.)
In addition, the union dictatorship is carrying on an unceasing program of harassment and disruption in the union meetings in an attempt to drive the working members away. It's a policy of rule or ruin, as we are all familiar with.
On the charges, it's clear what's happening: They feel that they have succeeded in railroading me and there has not been a huge hue and cry, so now they're moving on to the next victims; and they will not stop here. Also, they are trying to set up a paper trail in order to justify putting Local 713 under trusteeship.
I'd urge members to start making an issue out of all of this -- the charges against our two officers as well as my expulsion. After all, who will be next?
The following resolution was passed by Local 713 last night (May 25):
WHEREAS unions were built to provide a better life for their members and for all working people; and
WHEREAS despite the massive building boom in the United States the real wages of carpenters have fallen from about $30 per hour in 1987 to barely over $20 at present (according to the "Carpenter" magazine, January/February, 2000), and this disastrous fall in union carpenters' living standards has been followed by a similar fall in the real wages of non-union carpenters; and
WHEREAS the leadership of our Union claims that we must not strive to increase our wages so that we can help the unionized contractors "recapture market share", but this is impossible since the non-union wages are dropping as ours drop; and
WHEREAS union members will not rally round the union and fight to rebuild it once again as long as the union doesn't fight for them and this is proven by the fact that the percentage of work being done union has not increased despite the building boom; and
WHEREAS this is documented by "Construction Labor Report" (Oct. 6, 1999) which reported on a speech by Robert M. Gasperow, Executive Director of the Construction Labor Research Council, and in that report they stated: "CLRC's Gasperow said this has been a decade of missed opportunities for the union sector in the construction industry. The recent period of skilled labor shortages 'should have been a golden opportunity' for the union sector to expand, he said. 'Holding their own in market share is the best they can hope for,' he said. Union construction's market share will remain constant and may decline slightly in the next decade, he said." Now be it
RESOLVED that this decisively shows that the corporate-oriented "market share" philosophy has been proven to be a massive failure in both organizing the unorganized as well as maintaining the standard of living of our present members; and be it further
RESOLVED that the Union shall reject this philosophy immediately and instead fight for the best contracts possible and use such a struggle in order to "agitate, educate and organize" (in the words of our Union's founder, P.J. McGuire). We must direct ourselves first and foremost towards our own members and then use this campaign to build a mass, rank-and-file based organizing drive to convince the non-union carpenters to join with us in forcing their employers to sign the standard Master Agreement and fight for a decent live for all of our members as well as for working people in general.
CARPENTERS STRIKE LEADER, JOHN REIMANN, EXPELLED FROM THE CARPENTERS UNION FOR FIGHTING FOR THE MEMBERSHIP
"This is to advise you that the UBC (Carpenters Union) has expelled John Reimann from membership in the UBC. He is no longer a member.... He is not entitled for membership in the UBC or any of its affiliates." With these words, a lawyer for the Carpenters Union, acting on behalf of the national leadership, notifies the locals that John Reimann, former Recording Secretary of Local 713 (Hayward CA) is expelled for LIFE from the carpenters Union.
Why has the national leadership done this? Did John embezzle money from the Union? Did he scab on a strike? No, it was nothing like this. John was expelled for fighting for the membership!!
In May of last year, some 2,000 Northern California carpenters went on a wildcat strike against a contractor-friendly contract that their leadership was shoving down their throats. In this, they were joined by 3000 other building trades workers. John played a leading role in this wildcat strike and was elected the chair of "Working Carpenters for a Stronger Union", which was central to the entire struggle. For this, and due to John's long history of independence, the national leadership brought him up on charges, held a kangaroo court hearing and expelled him from the Union.
Today, union members throughout the world are fed up with their leaders refusing to organize a fight for better wages and conditions. Young people are also seeking a way to fight for a decent future. The Northern California carpenters' wildcat strike stands, along with the protests in Seattle, as a sign that people are close to having enough. This wildcat, along with the issue of John's expulsion, are important for all union people and all young people in the struggle for a better life.
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 1999
Subject: debating the top leaders
There is a definite reason why the International officers refuse to reply on this list. After all, what would be the effect? They cannot defend their actions just on practical grounds, since despite the massive building boom, the per cent of construction that's going union has not increased. That's the bottom line there.
And they can't defend their actions based on a wider more long term view. After all, this whole "market share" propaganda is nothing but a big business Reaganomics term which comes directly from the contractors themselves. What does it mean? A company increases its market share by undercutting its competition. And according to our leaders, who is our competition? The non-union carpenters. And how do we compete with them, how do we increase our market share over them? By undercutting them.
Of course, it's total nonsense. If we take a cut, so will the non-union. It's like US auto workers trying to build their union by competing with the Mexican auto workers for who can work cheapest. The only thing that gets undercut for real is the entire purpose of having a union.
Here in northern California, we actually had the director of organizing for our Regional council state that the goal was to equalize the wages between the union and the non-union carpenters!!! If that were even possible, what would be the purpose of having a union?
The fact of the matter is that these leaders have been listening to the contractors (and their politicians) for so long that they are incapable of thinking independently.
And what's the result? Rotten contractor-friendly contracts such as what was shoved down our throat last summer. And if you stand up and oppose it? Why, you run the risk of being expelled, as they are trying to do to me at present.
This gets back to the original point: The leadership will do its level best to avoid any debate in front of the membership. This is because they know they can't defend their role and if they debate us it will only attract even more attention to what we're trying to do. So, let's be of good cheer in the knowledge that their silence on this list shows that they know we're right.
Brothers and sisters:
My friend (and union brother) was able to find some time this evening to scan the verdict and here it is. Note that the pages are numbered "1, 2,3" and "5". I assume that page four was inadvertently not sent to me, and I'm faxing them to request it. When it arrives I'll post it to this list also.
Also note how they have almost nothing about my witnesses and my testimony and they concentrate almost entirely on the persecution's testimony. Also, note how they distort things. For instance, they quote me as saying that I had gone to the airport to carry my message there, but they ignore the fact that I had said that what my message was was opposition to the contract -- freedom of speech, in other words.
Note also that the trial panel rejects what all my witnesses said, but they give no reason whatsoever why. It's just rejected out of hand. I suppose working carpenters are not as reliable as the highly paid officials who testified against me. After all, we're only the ones who pay the dues, rather than sup at the trough.
BEFORE THE TRIAL COMMITTEE OF THE UNITED BROTHERHOOD OF
CARPENTERS AND JOINERS OF AMERICA GENERAL EXECUTIVE BOARD
In the Matter of:
MICHAEL V. DRAPER, UBC General Executive Board Member, 7th and 8th Districts
JOHN REIMANN, a member of UBC Local Union 713, Defendant
Opinion and Order regarding Charges UBC Sections 51(A) (13)
Pursuant to the authority vested in this trial panel and consistent with the Constitution of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and the applicable laws, this panel has heard evidence and received arguments regarding the charge that John Reimann should be removed as a member of this union. We issue this opinion and order based upon the hearing held in San Francisco, California on October 20, 1999 and a transcript that was received by the trial panel Chairman on or about November 5, 1999. Mr. Reimann is charged with leading a wildcat strike at the San Francisco airport in May, 1999. It is for this action that these charges are brought against him.
From the outset, it must be noted that the opinion of this panel is limited to evidence presented to it at the hearing. Further we find that all due process has been afforded to Mr. Reimann in this matter. In accordance with 29 USC & 411(a)(5)(1994), he was properly served with written notice, given reasonable time to prepare a defense; and afforded a full and fair hearing. There has been absolutely no evidence gathered outside the hearing room.
It is based upon this evidence that we are making this ruling in this matter. The hearing procedures in this matter are consistent with procedures approved by the courts in cases such as Eisman V. Baltimore Reg. Joint Bd. of Amal. Clothing Workers, 456 F2d 1313 (4th Cir. 1972) (dealing with the appropriate notice of charges), Jacques V. Longshoremen's Assn., 246 F. Supp. 857 (D. La 1965) and Tra week V. Building Mgmt. & Dump Truck
Drivers Local 420, 867 F.2d 500(9th Cir. 1986) (dealing with the relative timing of notice of charges and the hearing on those charges), and Wildberger V. IWU, Local 100, 86 F.3d 1188 (DC Cir. 1996) (relating to due process requirements).
There are certain matters which are without dispute in this case that are relevant to this situation. The first is that there was, indeed, a wildcat strike at the San Francisco airport in May, 1999. Further, it is not disputed that this strike was contrary to the agreements then in place between this union and management at the facility. Specifically, the Project
Stabilization Agreement between the parties presents certain restrictions upon Union activities, for instance, "there shall be no strikes, sympathy strikes, work stoppages, picketing, handbilling or otherwise advising the public that a labor dispute exists, or slowdowns of any kind." See Exhibit D, article IV. In addition, it is without dispute, that the Labor agreement pertaining to work in Northern California also prohibits such activities. See Exhibit E, article 4.1. Because of this wildcat strike it is clear that there was a violation of the labor agreement in the opinion of an independent labor arbitrator. See Exhibit L. We also find that this wildcat strike had a negative consequence for this union.
The question before us is whether John Reimann led this work stoppage. If he did, then the charges against him in this matter are well founded and he should be expelled from this Union. He is charged with having violated UBC Constitution Section 51(A) (13), by
encouraging Members to violate the no-strike provisions noted above.
In labor relations it is the experience of the trial panel that your word is your honor. That the commitments that the Union makes in the labor agreement forms the basis for equitable treatment for Union members. We can't expect management to live up to its commitments, if we feel that we do not have to live up to ours. Union's exist to serve the membership and because of this we run our affairs as a democracy. Members elect representatives and these representatives govern the Union's conduct. Additionally, it is the membership through democratic action that ratifies labor agreements such as those in this case. Violation of these agreements amounts to a violation of the trust of the membership as expressed through the Union's democratic process. Consequently, it is right and proper that the Union seek to defend itself against those who violate these agreements, whether it be management or certain members who act outside the framework of the Union's democratic principles. If we do not uphold these principles, then our commitments cannot be trusted and all Union workers will suffer.
At the same time, we are aware that as with any democracy, freedom of speech, association and assembly is essential. This panel recognizes that divergent views are the life blood of the labor movement. New ideas and creativity are vital to the progress that this Union has made over the years. It must never be the role of the Union to stifle ideas that diverge from the majority view. These views must be heard for our Union to be strong.
There is a fine line between healthy debate and prohibited activities. That line is crossed when a number of members act contrary to the will of the majority of their brothers and sisters as expressed in the authorized agreements that the Union has entered into. Such actions hurt membership and is contrary to why the Union exists. The process by which a Union seeks to deny membership to an existing member is a somber occasion and is by no means, entered into lightly for the sheer purpose of exercising power.
In this case we find that Mr. Reimann actively led and encouraged the wildcat strike at the San Francisco Airport in May, 1999. We base this conclusion on the evidence that was presented at hearing, specifically, the verbal evidence of Rigoberto Laguardia, Duke White, William Gary Martin and that of Mr. Reimann himself and numerous documents which will be discussed further.
Mr. Laguardia is a field representative of Local 217 and is employed by the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council. His service to the Union in that position has lasted about five years. The San Francisco airport is part of his responsibility. On the day of the strike, May 20, 1999, he was at the airport by 4 am. He described that he saw Mr. Reimann on the back of a vehicle giving instructions as to what gates, job sites would be effected. Further he observed Mr. Reimann giving direction to workers participating in the wildcat strike, having members fill out sign up sheets, and soliciting volunteers. During this period, Mr. Reimann was by Mr. Laguardia's observation, on the back of a pickup truck with a bull horn directing these activities. When Mr. Laguardia spoke with Mr. Reimann later in the morning, Mr. Reimann indicated that he was in charge and that if there were to be any communications that Mr. Laguardia needed to communicate with Mr. Reimann regarding the job site activities. (See Transcript pages 69-74).
Laguardia also spoke with Deputy Chief Snyder of the San Francisco Police Department. Chief Snyder told him that Mr. Reimann had called regarding acquiring a permit for a demonstration at the site. The permit was not granted as it was requested with less than the required 24 hours notice. (Transcript page 75) Laguardia also noted that on the following day, the wildcat strike was still going on and that he spoke to a number of members
who specifically identified Mr. Reimann as the leader of the strike. (Transcript 76-77).
The testimony of Duke White was also instructive. Mr. White is also employed by the Northern California Regional Council of Carpenters as a Field representative for over five years. He states that Reimann made references to the term "wildcat strike" regarding the activity at the airport.(Transcript page 93).
Mr. Reimann has raised certain defenses to his activities that are rejected by this panel. He states that, "I do not believe that it's possible to get a fair trial under section 14 (d)." (Transcript page 13) The reason for this assertion is not stated specifically. We conclude as noted earlier that all procedures required by 29 USC &411(a)(5)(1994) were followed and that procedural due process has been afforded.
Mr. Reimann has also asserted that the writings that have appeared on the Internet in his name are "part and parcel of that conspiracy." (Transcript page 124, lines 16-17) The conspiracy that Mr. Reimann alleges apparently, in his view, starts with Mr. Draper. We want our conclusion in this case to specifically reject this inference. There is no evidence at all to suggest a conspiracy, no less Mr. Draper's involvement in a conspiracy in this matter. Mr. Reimann's actions were of his own making.
Mr. Reimann also asserts that his actions were protected under the United States Constitution. He cites the 14th Amendment. (Transcript page 153) The panel notes that 29 USC &411(a)(5)(1994) is consistent with the Federal Constitution and thus that Mr. Reimann's actions are not constitutionally protected. Further, that all process rights devised by the 14th Amendment due process right have been adhered to. Finally, Mr. Reimann's argument is confusing in that he believes that the 14th Amendment abolishes slavery, it
does not. What the 13th Amendment abolition of slavery has to do with this matter is beyond the panel's collective wisdom.
Finally, Mr. Reimann 's witnesses present a picture of Mr. Reimann not leading the strike and calling people off the job. We disagree. The fact that a number people did not hear or see Mr. Reimann orchestrate the wildcat strike does not mean that he didn't do it, in light of a number of witnesses (noted above) who testified credibly and who did see him lead
this effort. Under the circumstance the best evidence on this matter is those who saw the activity, not those who did not.
For the reasons noted above, it is the unanimous Order of the Trial Panel in this matter that:
John Reimann be expelled from The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America.
Opinion and Order entered on December 1, 1999 by
Gerry L. Nannenga, Chairman for the Trial Committee of Gerry L. Nannenga, Dennis Donahou, and Martyn Piper
Brothers & sisters: Here is p. 4 of the expulsion verdict.
William Martin's testimony also ties Mr. Reimann's activities to that of the wildcat strike. Mr. Martin is the Southern District Manager and President for the Northern California RegionalCouncil of Carpenters. H e testified that he heard Mr. Reimann discuss from
the back of the pickup truck what jobs and at what time they were going to be "hit".
(Transcript page 98) In fact, Mr. Martin was asked to speak to the crowd and that Mr. Reimann took the bull horn from Mr. Martin's hand when Martin was trying to reason with the crowd. (Transcript 99)
Mr. Reimann's statements at the hearing are an implausible mix of contradictory statements and assertions that make little sense in light of acknowledged events. He admits to have "urged other people to carry that message to other members of our union as far and wide as possible" (Transcript page 120) and that, "if the members on those job sites chose who walk off in order to help carry that message further, that was their choice." (Transcript page 120) Clearly, Mr. Reimann by his own words, encouraged people to carry the "message" foreseeing that this was resulting in the "walk-off". This is the very action that he is being charged with in this matter.
Mr. Reimann's comments with respect to documents entered into evidence arealso instructive, while he questions how certain documents got on the Internet. (he states, "I categorically deny that I posted any of them on to the Internet") (Transcript page 123) He never denies authorship of the articles. What is significant about these documents is not how they got on the Internet, but rather if they reflect the writings of Mr. Reimann. On the latter issue, all Reimann has to say is that he can't recall if they were documents that he wrote. This lapse in memory is not credible given the significance of events that transpired in this case. In his comments he freely acknowledges that he has a "long history of fighting against these disastrous policies that are dragging our union down and down and down." (Transcript page 123) and yet he cannot remember what he wrote during the period of and around such a significant event as a wildcat strike. Mr. Reimarn's assertion that he doesn't recall what he wrote is incredible to this panel.
Mr. Reimann states that he was the Chairman of the group called "Working Carpenters for a Stronger Union." He notes that he was elected to that position. (Transcript page 129) The role of this group in the planning and organizaton of this wildcat strike is difficult to ascertain. (See Reimann's statement in Transcript page 121, lines 8-16) This is partly due to the failure of Mr. Reimann to provide information about the group during testimony. His rational was that Mr. Draper would use the information to "get" other people. (Transcript page 132) Frankly, we believe that Mr. Reimann's failure to provide this relevant information weighs heavily against him in this matter. He is the acknowledged head of a group that had the wildcat strike on its agenda. Yet he refuses to take responsibility for directing the strike. When coupled with the statements of Mr. Draper's witnesses, this denial of responsibility is not credible.
Subject: union leader expelled
We learned by registered mail this morning that the trial panel of the UBC (carpenters International Union) have officially expelled John Reimann, Recording Secretary of Local 713 in Hayward CA, for his support of the rank and file carpenters that shut down numerous California jobs last May.
The Carpenters wildcat upset the union leadership who promise the contractors "labor peace" at all costs. The wildcat was in response to having an employer friendly contract imposed upon them in a time of economic boom in the building trades. The rank and file carpenter was denied the right to vote on the contract by Carpenters International President, Doug McCarron.
This attack on a union leader that fights for the membership should come as no surprise. The union leadership supports entirely, the idea that we have to help the employers compete with their rivals, whether they be domestic or foreign, therefore forcing workers in to competition with each other for who can work cheapest. The union leadership will attempt to crush any movement from within the ranks of organized labor that threatens this strategy.
We will launch a campaign to defend John Reimann to help him with any legal challenge that may arise from this action and to help him retain membership in his union. If anyone wants to help in this campaign please contact me or Working Carpenters For a Stronger Union at: PMB 258, 20885 Redwood Road, Castro Valley CA 94546-5015 Ph: 510-496-3458
2nd VP, AFSCME Local 444 **
Subject: * * * * UBCMEMBERS * * * * British Columbia , 28 Nov.
Brothers and Sisters:
I'd like to give a little report on my brief experiences in British Columbia.
First off, I'd like to thank Len Embree and the Council for the warmth and hospitality they arranged for me -- and also to thank all the brothers and sisters I met there for their time and the true union greetings they showed me.
As I reported, I met with a small group of members in Vancouver to talk about what's happening in the union on Wed. night. We had one blow-hard McCarron supporter who tried his level best to disrupt the meeting. This brother has been on this list before and in the past I had to reserve judgement as to whether he had honest criticisms of what was happening up there and was just simply mistaken in thinking that McCarron would help. He is clearly just a blow-hard who hasn't the slightest idea what he's talking about -- made all sorts of claims such as that McCarronization of the Union has resulted in great organizing gains. But he was totally unable to back those claims up. Same with the claim that appointment meant that the best people got the jobs.
As for his criticisms of the BC Council -- I wouldn't want to claim that everything is perfect up there, but one thing I will say: Their president doesn't parade around in $1500 suits, tell everybody what to do, and think he knows everything. He's clearly concerned for what's best for the membership and the union. One thing he's done a great job in is getting a group of younger, militant, serious members together as the next generation of leaders. And by leaders I don't mean just some yes-men and women, but people who think for themselves, debate, argue, and fight for the union.
They gave me a video of when the lights went out on McCarron. Every member of the UBC should see it! You see Len Embree at one end of the table looking like a worker and speaking for the members. You see McCarron at the other end looking like a CEO and answering like one too. And then you see very little as the lights go out and everybody walks out on CEO McCarron. It's the best video I've seen in a long time!
Anyway, we had lots of talks about what's driving McCarron's dictatorship. My opinion, which I freely expressed, was that it's his determination to turn the union into an employment agency, including cutting wages to rock bottom, and that he's got to repress the membership in order to accomplish that. We had lots of talks about that.
Not everybody there is anti-McCarron, but it's interesting: The thing that I noticed is that those who are most anti-McCarron also seem to be those who are doing the most organizing of the unorganized. The pro-McCarronites seem to be just biding their time, hoping he will come in there so that they can get their plum appointments.
One last thing: A few of the rank and file members up there talked about wanting to leave the UBC. I hope they don't and the leadership did not express this opinion to me. HOwever, I want to say this: If McCarron and company continue in their arrogant ways up there, it could happen yet. and if it does, we will have lost some of the best union members I've met and will have nobody to thank for it but McCarron and company themselves.
Subject: * * * * UBCMEMBERS * * * * my trial
Brothers and sisters:
Thanks again for the many messages of support. They mean a lot. Given the fact that they trial panel still has to determine the verdict, and that it will probably have to be appealed, I am told that it's best I not go into the details of the evidence presented at this time. However, I'd like to say that Draper's case was extremely weak and it was clear that he really had no idea who did or said what during the time of our "wildcat" here, nor did any of his witnesses (who were all full-timers). I think this really shows the tremendous gulf that exists between the membership and the International.
His lack of knowledge, the fact that he hasn't the slightest idea what the working members are thinking or feeling, though, wouldn't hold him back at all. Matter of fact, it seemed to give him even more confidence. At the end of his testimony, Draper called for my expulsion from the union.
I think this shows the following: What the top leadership is trying to do is turn our union into an employment agency. They want to simply be the middle-man between us and the contractors and have control over the sale of our skills as carpenters. Of course, they expect to skim a nice, fat chunk off the top for themselves. In order to do this, they have to be able to guarantee the smooth and steady flow of our labor (as well as have near-monopoly control over it). Along with this, they have to maintain "good relations" with the contractors. (If these good relations come at the expense of our working conditions and wages, well, that's just too bad for us.)
What we did back last May was actually take away their control over this flow of our labor power. This meant that their fat wages and their position was also being challenged. We also shook up their "good relations" with the contractors. My God, what could possibly be worse than that?
Back in 1996, the Union out here organized a walk-off and protest rally to defend Davis Bacon. According to Draper, this was perfectly legitimate because in this case, the contractors had given the green light!!! In other words, they are the ones who pull the real strings in this union.
As for the trial panel, they put forward the attitude that they were just there to try to find out what really happened, and they were oh-so-serious and interested. I don't know what verdict they will come up with. As I say, Draper's evidence was absolutely pathetic, but why should they let that stop them? I don't know if they will vote for expulsion, but I think it's a real threat.
Local 2300, Castlegar, British Columbia supports Brother John Reimann, Local 713, in his advocacy for members' rights and his protests against the International for having forced Northern California carpenters to work under terms and conditions that the membership did not have the right to vote on.
We call upon GEB member Michael V. Draper to cease pursuing the 'charges' against any member involved in the 'wildcat' at San Francisco Airport. This Local also reminds all GEB members that it is their duty to represent, not repress, the rights of the membership of the Carpenters Union.
Motion approved unanimously by Local 2300 membership vote on October 20.
Dear Brothers & Sisters,
John Reimann's trial has been moved to the Hyatt Hotel in SF on Stockton and Post. The demonstration will be on Wed October 20th at 4:00 PM at the hotel. Please try to attend and carry picket signs of support. The UBC is trying to throw him out of office for supporting the bay area carpenters wildcat.
In Solidarity,Steve Zeltzer,For The Bay Area Workers Democracy Network
Brother Reimann, I am writing to express my full support of you in the face of the expulsion charges being wrongly brought against you by the UBC.
In Solidarity, Bruce Allen
Executive Board Member Canadian Autoworkers Local 199
The proposed expulsion of John Reimann by the UBC is a mockery of justice. Why is the union leadership doing the bosses dirty work when they should be fighting them instead?
UBC President McCarron, who sits on the board of Perini Corporation, which I understand to be involved in the construction of SFO, should be brought up on conflict of interest of charges instead. At the very least he should be using his position to defend the members of his union and their economic interests, which he does not seem to be doing.
Whatever conflicts exists with Reimann and UBC administrators can and should be resolved by direct vote of the members of the union, at the appropriate union body.
Drop the charges against Reimann now.
Chief Shop Steward, M-Line Station Agents (BART)
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 (for identification purposes only)
From: Crpntrs713@aol.com October 8,1999
I just received a fax this morning informing me that the trial has been moved to "northern California". This takes care of the most blatant thing they're doing. It's clear that they've done this simply to make it a little less obvious that this is just a kangaroo court, that my verdict is already signed, sealed and delivered, if they have their way. Of course, the outrage that many members have expressed so far is clearly part of the reason for their moving the trial, as well as the fact that by having the trial in DC, the verdict is unlikely to stand up in court, should I get the money and wish to go that route. As far as motions in locals, is it possible to simply make a motion to concur with the position of Local 713, with the GEB and Local 713 to be so notified? Another possibility would be to make a motion that the local go on record stating that it is impossible to get a fair trial under section 14 (D) since the GEB acts as prosecutor and also selects the jury. The standing trial committee, by the way, as appointed by Doug McCarron, is made up of:
Floyd Clay, Senior Administrative Assistant, Southern CA/Nevada Regional
Dennis Donahou, EST, Arkansas Regional Council
John Greene, in Glendale AZ (no position listed for him)
Gerry Nannenga, EST, Indiana Regional Council
Martyn A. Piper, EST, Alberta & NW Territories Regional Council
John Simmons, EST, Upstate N.Y. Regional Council
From: Crpntrs713@aol.com Oct. 1, 1999
Brothers and Sisters:
Two things regarding the charges against me: I have just been notified that my "trial" will be on October 20 in Washington DC at 9:00 a.m.
Of course, this is a complete travesty. I'm not even sure that I will be able to attend the trial, no less summon witnesses. Aside from this, there is the issue of the GEB (including Draper) having been the ones to select the trial panel.
If I am able to get back there, I would like to get in contact with any carpenters in the DC area. Are there any there who would be interested in organizing a protest rally outside the UBC headquarters for that date? Those that are interested, please feel free to contact me privately at my above e-mail address.
Second, the following is a letter my local has sent to the GEB. It will be interesting to see if we get any reply:
LETER TO DOUG MCCARRON
Dear Brother McCarron:
Local 713 is extremely concerned about the procedure through which Brother John Reimann of our local is being charged. We are referring to Section 14 (D) of the Constitution. This section reads, in part:
"A member of the General Executive Board may file charges alleging aviolation of the Consitution and Laws against any officer or member of any subordinate body and the processing of such charges shall be conducted uncer procedures to be established by the General Executive Board. The Chairperson of the General Executive Board shall from time to timedesignate members of the United Brotherhood to serve on a panel which shall constitute a standing Trial Committee, of which any three (3) or more members may be designated to conduct trial of a case. An accused found guilty of violating the Constitution and Laws may be fined, suspended or expelled by majority vote of the Trial Committee subject, however, to appeal to the General Executive Board and the Convention."
In other words, the General Executive Board prefers the charges and appoints the trial panel. This would be similar to a prosecutor appointing the jury in a criminal trial. This section also gives the GEB the power to conduct the trial in any way it sees fit.
This strikes us as a denial of any chance of a fair hearing, any chance of due process. While we oppose these charges in general, if you wish to go through with them anyway, we urge you to do it through the regular trial board established here in our area, where Brother Reimann can be judged by a jury of his peers. Any other procedure may open the UBC up to legal proceedings at a future date, something which we all would like to avoid.
This letter is signed by our local's president and myself as recording secretary.
And remember: YOU COULD BE NEXT!
I think that the reason that our rights to vote on both of these things (election of business agents and vote on contracts) have been taken away are one and the same: Our leadership is dedicated to the idea that the Union has to keep the contractors happy. To do this, they have to keep wages low, conditions rotten, and discourage the members from being involved in the union. They know that at some time or another, the business agents who carry out these policies are going to be voted out of office. They also know that they will not be able to get their rotten contracts passed all the time either. Therefore, there is no conflict between demanding the right to elect all officials as well as the right to vote on contracts.
In the end, our forefathers built the unions to make a better life for themselves and the future generations (ourselves). This means better wages, shorter hours, better conditions -- for starters. Let's keep that struggle alive.
Hayward CA, Sept 11, 1999
I thought Union Carpenters might be interested in the fact that I have been brought up on charges by Mike Draper. We're hoping for messages of support and protests to the GEB, with copies to my local.
The following are the charges:
1)UBC Constitution provides that, Any officer or member found guilty after being charged and tried... for any of the following offenses... (13) Violating the Obligation
2)Among other things, the Obligation provides that: "I pledge myself to be obedient to authority..."
3)The Authority of the Project Labor Agreement covering work at the San Francisco International Airport provides that there will be no strike during the term of the Agreement.
4)The Authority of the master collective bargaining agreement covering work in Northern California provides that there will be no strike during the term of the agreement.
5)Pursuant to their Authority, officer(s) of the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council ("Council") directed members of its affiliated local union(s) to return to work and cease "wildcat" strike activity.
6)Since at least May, 1999, John Reimann, as a member of the UBC Local Union 713 and/or as Local Union 713 Recording Secretary, has taken actions that are detrimental to the best interests of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America ("UBC"), its affiliated unions and their members.
Brother Reimann caused or attempted to cause, incited or attempted to incite, urged and encouraged unlawful conduct by members of the UBC and local union(s) affiliated with the Council by promoting among and encouraging members to engage in unlawful conduct, including a "wildcat" strike in May, 1999 at the construction site located at the San Francisco International Airport, and to engage in future unlawful conduct.
The activity and course of conduct engaged in by Brother Reimann was and is detrimental to the best interests of the UBC, its affiliated unions and their members, including those which are party to and/or work under the Project Labor Agreement covering the work at the San Francisco International Airport.
7)By actions described above, Brother Reimann has violated Section 51 (A)(13) of the UBC Constitution.
This is signed by Mike Draper, 7 & 8 District GEB Board Member.
I'd like to make just a few comments here:
First, I categorically state that I have not violated anything in the UBC Constitution. The real reason, of course, that Draper is preferring these charges is that he is trying to intimidate the movement here, to prevent people from running for office, to use me as an example, etc. He talks about conduct "detrimental to the interests" of the union and its members. If he had any real concern for that, he would be bringing charges against Doug McCarron for his taking away our right to vote on contracts. He would be bringing charges against those in this area who are responsible for jamming through this miserable, contractor-friendly contract. It is clear that Draper has no real, genuine concern in that regard. (Of course, I am sure he does have a genuine concern for the $159,000 he was paid by the Union in 1997.)
This is the third (or fourth, I can't remember for sure) time I've been brought up on charges and none of the others have ever stuck; I feel confident that we will beat these too.
Here is the letter of support from Brother Reimann's Local as an example:
To John Reimann, Local 713
This local opposes the charges launched by Mike Draper, 7th & 8th District Executive Board member against Brother John Reimann. This local believes that the May protests against the contract were provoked by the actions of the International in denying the membership the right to vote on contracts. We believe the May protests contributed to the International's revising its position to allow membership ratification votes on contracts.
We further believe that Brother John Reimann is being unjustly targeted for the actions of thousands of carpenters because as a die-hard supporter of the rank and file of this Union, he has a history of criticism of the International's policies, where those policies do not reflect the rank and file's interests.
We would like to invite General Executive Board member Mike Draper to attend an upcoming meeting of our Local to explain his actions.
We call for all charges against Brother Reimann to be dropped.
Hey dave- I've followed you and your council's battle over restructuring over this list for the past few months now. Attached is the motion I made in my local which passed unanimously at our meeting last night. What you have in your favor is leadership that will not sell out to McCarron, contrary to our situation here in nor-cal. I hope you can print this e-mail and show it to every working carpenter you know and tell them a lot of us working carpenters in northern california admire the hell out of the way you and your council are fighting the international's restructuring agenda. One thing about losing your rights is wishing you could have done more to keep them.
Chris Larsen, Local 713
Local 713, Alameda County, Ca. has as it's goal to regain and maintain full self autonomy. It is our belief that The MEMBERS of our local ultimately must be the ones to decide what is in their own best interests. That is why we once had a long tradition of democratically elected union officers and direct membership ratification on the contracts under which we worked. However, we unwillingly see more of our democratic rights stripped away in the name of reform. That reform has served to remove representation and accountability within our union. Lack of accountability affords our union officials room to collaborate with the forces our union should be defending us against, as witnessed here in the restructured Northern California Carpenters Regional Council. For the first time in our history the membership could not vote on the terms under which they will work. A recessionary, contractor friendly agreement was the result in a time of tremendous prosperity throughout our region.
As we carry on the process to regain self-rule for the membership within our own local, we cannot ignore our brothers and sisters elsewhere who passionately are resisting the affliction of U.B.C. general president Doug McCarron's mandatory 33 by-laws. We feel the sole purpose of these by-laws is to replace checks and balances of local autonomy and rights with centralized union hierarchy.
Specifically we must now stand in solidarity with all members of the U.B.C. British Columbia Provincial Council of Carpenters who refuse to take part in any "reform" that removes their membership's rights to democracy. They are a model of how to fight corporate unionism's Iron fist and an inspiration to all who resist the centralization of local union structure. We are immensely grateful to consider our brothers and sisters in British Columbia as organized allies in fighting the U.B.C. international's current dictatorial leadership and its mandatory 33 by-laws. A wrong done to one is a wrong done to all.