Transit Union Leaders Under Cloud As Contract Vote Begins

At the outset of Episode 31, today’s passing of a longtime friend, Mike Willis of Vancouver, and his struggle with addiction is sadly recounted.

Mike wrestled as Dropkick Murphy, a welcome presence in any locker room. A 2-time Canadian Jr. Heavyweight champion, he was a standout in the revival of pro wrestling events at Hastings Racecourse and Casino. For more on his passing, see this SLAM!Wrestling story by Greg Oliver.

12:26 Part 2- This week members of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505 are casting ballots after the City made a final offer for a new contract. Some members aren’t happy with the way negotiations were handled and aren’t so sure the union leadership can be trusted when they recommended a ‘Yes’ vote.

The “Report on Financial Impropriety” that a few drivers have seen outlines why:

A) The City had made allegations about possible wage overpayments to certain union officials in 2021-22 when representing the union at certain Committee meetings, and potential ‘double dipping” by them submitting time slips to the City for committee attendance and to ATU.

B) The then-ATU leadership were told by the International Vice President that members should only be told AFTER the union elections in December 2022.

C) Some of the officials under scrutiny were then elected to senior union positions, and the lid has slammed shut on any further discussion of the scandal with ATU members, claiming ‘the matter has been resolved’.

Not so fast, says the report, penned by the former ATU President.

You’ll hear how, “if confirmed by City officials” the implications of the double dipping includes:

inflating pensionable hours,

the Union and City each paying CPP, EI and Workers Comp premiums, and

” a real of perceived Conflict of Interest when top officials of the union are able to conceal misconduct which… would have resulted in termination of employment (for) an ordinary employee”.

Listen to the conclusions reached in the report, asserting that three officials “concealed the truth from the Union and the City”; “fraudulently claimed payment from the union for time already paid by the City”; and “took advantage” of the Union and City not coordinating payments for committee work.

TGCTS heard from 2 drivers on this.

One felt it was a minor issue and expressed confidence in the officials.

However, another noted, “The meetings that happened last week were close to erupting. Arguing and people shouting . Blaming each other and almost coming to blows .”

As for the union leaders,

“The very people double dipping got voted into positions of power… They also seem too eager to accept what the city has offered. Whilst the membership is prepared to go on strike.

“We think that the city has probably applied pressure. Get this deal through and we’ll take no further action . But because the people under investigation are the people that would now be handling the investigation.”

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33:39 Part 3- A preview of upcoming episodes:

– Obby Khan’s apology to the Jewish Community, and how the Free Press only told half the story as the Tory MLA continues to face challenges to make his actions to fight antisemitism match his words

– More unexpected twists and turns in the story of the Langside 4 and their accused killer

– Rigged City bike lane planning gets significant pushback

– Year end interviews being lined up!


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