Tuesday, August 3, 2010

EOI for the DERAH towers re CUPE

One of the things I do not understand and that is the constant reference to survivorship of CUPE's contract with DERA and DERAH. I attended each time the application to add CUPE as an intervenor to the BC Housing's application to appoint an receiver manager and at no time in the applications was it mentioned that CUPE had survivor status.

I was also told by CUPE that the contract was made with the Board and CUPE. It was not made with the Board, BC Housing and CUPE. So why the instruction that the collective agreement is to continue.

As far as I am concerned CUPE is the majority reason why DERAH was foreclosed upon. From the very beginning of Kim Kerr's ascention to the position of Executor Director, from the very first day in 2004, he fired or constructively dismissed all the original employees of DERA and DERAH. And what does CUPE do. Relativelt nothing as it is bound by unwritten protocol. It should have advised the directors of what was happening years ago when CUPE realized that its members were being fired for just cause and no reason given. CUPE's reasoning that it only deals with the executive director only goes to show CUPE's ignorance of the law and its failure to look after its members. There is nothing in the law that says they cannot communicate with the directors. How are the directors to learn what is happening with employees if the Union only dealt with Kim Kerr and Kim Kerr made the decision that all staffing is private and confidential and this decree extended to all the directors as well. Through the years all CUPE had to do was send a copy of any dispute to all the directors: it is very simple -- use email. CUPE should have taken it upon itself to educate the directors. I assure you from talking to past board members there would have been directors who would have taken action before Kim had them constructively impeached. One employee as dismissed in November 2009 and it took CUPE to finally get her rehired through the receiver manager eight months later. Most employees that were constructively dismissed by Kim Kerr did not want a prolonged fight with the Union and took a small $severance conditional on a confidentiality agreement. None of the employees are very happy with the Union.

One of the issues I raised besides the Kim's prevailing "you are fired with just cause and he would refuse to give the just cause" while I attended the board meetings was that I wanted all employees including the Executive to submit to random drug testing. The Union was 110% opposed to this. Of course it would be as most of its members were doing weed or other substances. I also wanted all the directors, the accountant, and Kim Kerr to submit to random drug test including Sister Elizabeth Kellihier, the President. Now I would expand that to testing the auditor as well.

I learned only on Saturday that there is a resident movement in the DERAH towers to not want CUPE to be part of the new operating agreements. The residents are not happy with the attitude of the CUPE employees nor the quality of their work. They asked CUPE and BC Housing for a copy of its contract with DERA/DERAH to determine if there is survivorship and CUPE and the Receiver-Manager has refused to give it to them. The tenants group has asked Union and BC Housing for a copy of the collective agreement. No agreement was given to them.

I also asked for it via a court application this spring and CUPE hired a prestigious law firm to represent them and not give it to me. I can't remember exactly but this prestigious law firm threatened me for interference with the employees. I am a director and I can't talk to an employee. So who do the employees work for: the union or the non-profit. The way CUPE acts is that any work done in the buildings is contracting out the work to CUPE and if anyone talks to one of its members the person faces legal threats. I find this absolutely distaseful.

The order for the receiver-manager contains the following clause respecting CUPE:

23. A THIS COURT ORDERS that the Receiver is authorized to deal with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (the "Union") on labour relations matters of the Defendant Society as follows: this Order, including but not limited to paragraphs 6, 7 and 12, shall not infringe on the Union's Collective Agreement and/or statutory rights and remedies, nor shall the Order abrogate the jurisdiction of the Labour Relations Board.

From this wording my understanding and what was said in the court is that the receiver manager deals with CUPE only during the term of the Order of Mr. Justice Sigurdson granted on May 18th, 2010. It does not extend beyond that time period.

I suggest to any of the proponents for the DERA towers to get a copy of the CUPE Operating Agreement as well as the history of disputes with DERAH and try its best to get rid of CUPE. Do your due diligence. Do not trust BC Housing as I doubt that it has ever read the Operating Agreement. There must be two operating agreements: one for DERA and one for DERAH or maybe the collective agreement was only for DERA and there never was one for DERAH. If the operating agreement includes both of them then most probably the operating agreement will be invalid as each are legally separate entities. The employees of the towers do not need the union to protect their rights. We are only talking about three or four employees per building and the Board should be dealing directly with all employee disputes. CUPE has been only a hinderance to the best interests of the public i.e. you the taxpayers in your support of the social housing in the DERAH towers. Unions are a huge expense and not necessary for small organizations.

The Operating Agreements for the three towers do not mention CUPE so I question BC Housings instruction to assume the Union. The Operating Agreements were never amended.

more to come ....

... if my understanding of what I believe is incorrect (see above), please let me know.

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