CUPE surprise: executive board fired at Vancouver workers’ local

Canada’s largest union says thousands of Vancouver workers were “at risk” after the local executive “failed to function properly.”

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Canada’s largest union has fired the entire executive board of the local union that represents thousands of Vancouver city workers, alleging that local leaders had failed to properly do their jobs, putting members “at risk.”

There has been no public announcement, but the action was conveyed in a recent letter sent to members of Local 1004 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, or CUPE, the local that represents workers at Vancouver’s engineering department, the board of the park and two non-profit organizations. city-owned businesses, Easy Park and the Pacific National Exposition.

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“Conditions at Local 1004 in recent months have provided increasing evidence that the local executive has ceased to function properly,” says the May 16 letter, which was obtained by Postmedia News. “Relationships between executive members and between executive members and staff have reached a point where day-to-day functions are no longer carried out. “This situation puts members at risk.”

The letter informs local members that the national union leadership decided on May 15 to relieve the entire Local 1004 executive board of their duties.

The situation in Vancouver had deteriorated to the point where the national union decided the local should be placed under what is known as “administration,” says the letter, signed by Steven Beasley, a CUPE employee who has been appointed by the union. national union. office to act as administrator of Local 1004.

Beasley will work with an assistant to “secure and stabilize the facility’s key structures” and will oversee its operations until CUPE’s national executive board decides to end the administration, the letter says. Before the administration ends, an audit of local finances and financial management systems will need to be completed and new elections for officials will be held.

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Beasley declined to be interviewed Monday.

A spokesperson for CUPE’s national office in Ottawa responded to questions in writing.

“There was no claim of misappropriation of funds which resulted in the premises being placed under administration,” the emailed statement said. “However, there was a breakdown in normal accounting practices.” For example, he said, bills were not paid, records were not kept, and there was the potential for services to union members to be interrupted.

Scott McIntosh, who served as president of CUPE 1004 from 2022 until his dismissal this month, disputed the national office’s allegations of unpaid invoices and poor record-keeping.

There was some disruption when the Local’s accountant went on medical leave earlier this year, McIntosh said, but he is not aware of any unpaid bills or official complaints from members.

“Everything was paid up to date,” McIntosh said. “Our members were my number one priority.”

CUPE’s national representatives have not met with McIntosh since the local executive was dissolved, he said. “They haven’t explained anything to me, not even the accusations.”

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CUPE 1004 has about 3,000 members, about 90 per cent of whom work for the city of Vancouver, the Vancouver Parks Board and the PNE, the spokesperson said. The premises also include some smaller units.

For a local union to be placed under administration is unprecedented, but not common, said Stephen von Sychowski, president of the Vancouver and District Labor Council, an organization of about 90 affiliated local unions, including CUPE 1004. He said he could not remember no local union under administration. On another occasion in his six years as president of the labor council this had happened with any of the unions affiliated to the council, which together represent around 60,000 workers.

Von Sychowski said he had no details about what happened at CUPE 1004, but he received notification earlier this month from CUPE’s national office about the administration, which he called “a bit of a surprise.”

“I hope that everything that is happening there will be clarified soon and everything will normalize,” von Sychowski said.

Joey Hartman, who served as president of the Vancouver and District Labor Council from 2011 to 2018, also said this type of administration is a rare move.

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Hartman, current president of the BC Labor Heritage Centre, said: “It’s quite unusual, particularly with a union like CUPE, which places a very high value on local autonomy. “They would be reluctant to intervene with a measure like this unless they felt it was necessary.”

In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for the City of Vancouver said, “The City is aware of some leadership changes at CUPE 1004 and is not in a position to comment on them.”

“City employees historically represented by CUPE 1004 continue to be represented by that location. “We can confirm that our staff are continuing their work as usual.”

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