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A Critical Analysis of the 2013 CUPE Constitution and 10 Questions

01. Should CUPE National have placed CUPE Local 3264 under administration?

Romard v. CUPE

[73] I find that CUPE Local 3264 and its Executive failed the plaintiff at every turn. The "not caring" attitude manifested by the Local Executive was inconsistent with the duty of fair representation owed to the plaintiff by the Executive. It was this attitude which led the Local Executive to abandon the plaintiff, his rights and his career. This action and inaction together with the violation of the plaintiff's rights certainly caused him some degree of mental stress. For this and for the violation of the plaintiff's rights I award the plaintiff $25,000.00.

[15] ... The copying of this letter to the National body is the only piece of evidence showing that the National was aware of what was happening in the Local.

[65] In conclusion I find that CUPE National did not owe a duty of fair representation to the plaintiff. ...

Judge Felix A. Cacchione

Supreme Court of Nova Scotia

Romard v. CUPE

[161], [162], [163] and [168]

McPhee v. CUPE

02. Why does the CUPE (more than 600,000 members) national executive board need the constitutional authority for instant borrowing?

Article 7.12

National Executive Board

The National Executive Board has complete authority to borrow monies and to pledge any funds or properties of the National Union as security for the borrowing.

03. Does the membership of CUPE have to wait until the biennial national conventions to see the audits of the national union's books?

Article 9.3 (g)

National Officers

(g) A registered firm of chartered accountants will audit the books of the National Union every year. The National President will select the registered firm of chartered accountants and submit it to the National Executive Board for approval. The audits will be provided to the National Executive Board and to Convention.

04. Why shouldn't Article 9 state the following? The National Secretary-Treasurer will post updated copies of collective agreements covering employees of the National Union, on the National Union's website. National union employees' collective agreements are already accessible to the public and they are on file with the Ontario Ministry of Labour.

Article 9.3 (q)

(q) The National Secretary-Treasurer will send updated copies of contracts covering employees of the National Union to Provincial Divisions and District Councils.

05. Don't employees of the national union work for incumbent candidates for elected offices in CUPE?

Article 16.6


No candidate for elected office in any chartered organization or the National Union can solicit or accept money, in-kind donations or other participation from an employee of the National Union in their election campaign.

06. Can local union trial committees [5 members Article B.11.3 (e)] find officers guilty of violating the CUPE constitution?

07. Why shouldn't the memberships present at local union meetings decide whether the accused are guilty of offences?

Article B.11.4 (f)

Trial Procedure

(f) The Trial Committee decides whether the accused is guilty of the offence or offences by a secret ballot vote. The accused is guilty only if at least four members of the Committee vote guilty.

Article B.6.4 (h) and (i) as they were printed in the CUPE constitution in 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009 but not in 2010:

(h) The chairperson of the Committee shall report the Trial Committee's decision, along with its recommendations for penalty or punishment if the accused is found guilty, first to the accused and the accuser and then to the next regularly scheduled or properly constituted membership meeting of the Local Union.

(i) The finding of guilty or not guilty shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting. If the decision is guilty then the recommendation for penalty or punishment shall be dealt with by the Local Union which may alter or confirm the penalty or punishment recommended by the Trial Committee. If the Local Union has thirteen (13) members or less the Trial Committee's recommendation for penalty or punishment shall be the final decision.

08. Why shouldn't the accuser have the right to appeal the decision of the trial committee?

Article B.11.5 (a)

(a) The accused can appeal a finding of guilt and any penalty or order by sending a written appeal to the National President. The appeal must be made within 30 days of when the decision of the Trial Committee was reported to the accused. The accuser cannot appeal the decision of the Trial Committee.

09. Why shouldn't Article B.11 have maximum limits on any penalties or orders?

10. Why shouldn't the accused have the right to appeal to the national convention?

Article B.11.5 (f)

(f) The Appeal Panel can confirm or set aside the finding of guilt and can confirm, change or set aside any penalty or order made by the Trial Committee. The Appeal Panel will make its decision within 30 days of the completion of the hearing or written submissions. The decision of the Appeal Panel is final and binding.

Amendt v. Hospital Employees Union

59. In this case, the Complainants were never provided with the complaint or even with the specifics of the complaint until after the August 22, 2003 decision. ... There was, in fact, no real investigation. ...

62. ... I find the Complainants were entitled to know the allegations against them and to be given an opportunity to provide an explanation before any decision was taken by the Provincial Executive. The Complainants were also entitled to know the steps in the process and avenues that would be available to them during the process.

Michael Fleming, Associate Chair

British Columbia Labour Relations Board

Amendt v. Hospital Employees Union

Bridgetech dispute

"This will continue my reporting on the ongoing situation regarding the massive over-spending on technology that I discovered after taking office last December, and the subsequent dispute and litigation with BridgeTech Systems Ltd.

As I indicated in previous reports, the National Executive Board decided to "write off" approximately $6.5-million of capitalized costs for work done by BridgeTech in implementing the so-called "integrated Oracle financials package" and a number of other National Office systems between 1998 and 2001. ...

Further settlement discussions are unlikely because of the discovery this summer of evidence clearly linking BridgeTech to schemes of false invoicing with respect to a campaign contribution to the Sid Ryan Campaign and to financing the attendance by CUPE participants at several Oracle Users' Conferences in the United States. ..."

Bridgetech dispute

CUPE caught up in scandal

"Allegations have been levelled against a campaign by Sid Ryan for the position of secretary-treasurer at the national union. ...

Among the allegations is a claim that thousands of dollars were paid by the union to companies for services never rendered and the inappropriate use of airline tickets paid for with members' dues.

Some of the money found its way into Ryan's campaign."

The Mail-Star September 19, 2002

2001 Election irregularities

"The police investigation is now over and criminal charges were laid on February 19, 2004. Four people have been charged with multiple counts of fraud and of conspiring to commit fraud. Two other persons were named as conspirators but not charged. ..."

2001 Election irregularities

CUPE lost more than 6,000 health care workers in Alberta in representation votes

"This year we also lost more than 6,000 health care workers in Alberta in representation votes. ..."

National secretary-treasurer's report - March 16-18, 2004

More than 2,000 health care members in Alberta have voted to leave CUPE and join AUPE

"More than 2,000 health care members in communities throughout Alberta have voted to leave CUPE and join AUPE, ..."

Carewest employees apply to switch unions to AUPE from CUPE

CUPE National sought major concessions from staff

"As we have told you in previous bulletins, the employer is seeking radical, drastic concessions to your pension plan. It is worth noting that each time we have met with the employer, they have added a new concession to their proposal.

This bulletin provides an overview of our proposals and the major concessions the employer has tabled."

Bargaining Bulletin #9, Pensions - What's At Risk? November 2, 2006

Real Solidarity email: real_s(at)chebucto(dot)ns(dot)ca


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