The recent outing of RENEW, EWMC, and ESU from the Hall is motivated by additional layers than is being presented. The prevailing message from Karleena is that ESU has run amiss of the IRS regarding taxes. In researching the issue they discovered that ESU is not chartered by the IO, and neither was EWMC, or RENEW. On the surface, not being chartered doesn’t seem like a big deal. So what if members of our Local want to form a group, or two, or three, to get together and organize around some issues? All three of these groups have been allowed to hold meetings and events within the Local 46 Hall for years.
There is one group of active members that has not been allowed to have a meeting at the Hall, and that is CORE. When we approached Bagsby about scheduling time in one of the class rooms so we could have a meeting, he told us that we would have to put down an $800 security deposit. By placing a high financial burden in front of the group, Bagsby effectively prevented the Local Members from being able to meet together at the Hall.
The Caucus Of Rank & File Electrical workers has been organizing for 3+ years as an independent group which has chafed at the Local Leadership Team over this time period. CORE has maintained a no admittance to our online communications for Officers of any Local or Management Employees of any Contractor. At the same time, we have always had an open door at our meetings and we have extended invitations on multiple occasions.
Our invitations to our meetings have gone ignored, and instead The Local Leadership Team can be found making comments from the microphone about groups that exclude people. As was the case at the last General Meeting. While he did not cite CORE specifically, while attempting to give validity to EWMC / RENEW / ESU, the Local Leadership Team made reference to “groups that exclude people”. The reality is the only exclusion we maintain is our internal communications and online presence.
So, back to the issue of not being chartered… If there is a group of members who are being allowed access to the Union Hall and another group of members who are not being allowed access there is a problem. Prior to this last week, none of the committees mentioned in this article have been charted by the IO. With all the groups essentially being equal on the level of being chartered or not, access to the Hall has been being given out arbitrarily. If the group was in The Local Leadership Team’s favor, then they were allowed access. If they were not, such as CORE, they were given an arbitrarily high bar for access to the very same resources.
Recently, I led a fight for freedom of speech out our Hall with the support of many of members of our Local and CORE. We forced the Hall into a position to reevaluate their stance on blocking and restricting our rights to communicate with our fellow members. The Local Leadership Team made some wrong decisions about freedom of speech, but they have come to their senses and we all have greater rights now. Union officers cannot arbitrarily tell members that they can or cannot communicate with each other, and they cannot arbitrarily give access to the Hall to one group of members while denying others.
The IRS notice gives the Local Leadership Team a smoke screen to cover up their arbitrary practices of giving different groups favorable access. They have forced these groups out not because of the IRS, but because they have been in the wrong for years. To clean up the problem and allow them to continue to block CORE from being able to schedule meetings at the Hall, the favored groups will attain a charter from the IO. This charter will be the measuring stick by which they can say that some groups are okay, while others are unacceptable.
The picture is further muddled by the claim that the IO is pushing to bring all these groups together across different Locals. The IO is not suddenly pushing to have these groups sanctioned for the benefit of the groups, and the IO had already been pushing for these groups to be chartered for years. This is just another distraction to help cover up the truth. Bagsby & Bud fear rank and file member groups that they cannot control. By formalizing these groups, they inoculate themselves from claims of being biased, and arbitrary favoritism.
The members of CORE 46 believe that the members of any Local, whether they are chartered or not, should have the right to meet in their Hall.
*This letter has been edited to help not single out any one of The Leadership Team too much. Ultimately, the issues presented here are about unfair treatment of members by ALL of the The Leadership Team.