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Author Topic: IBEW LOCAL 2330 Newfoundland “MAFIA." A FAMILY RUN BUSINESS FOR 40 YEARS.  (Read 9819 times)

Offline James Martin

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IBEW Local 2330 Newfoundland, A family Run Business for 40 years.  “MAFIA”

This will most likely take several parts in order to tell our story.  The first part I will try to explain how our officers and office staff managed to pull the wool over the membership’s eyes for years.

I am not sure how other locals conduct their meetings so I will only speak about a typical LU 2330 meeting,

2330 has nine units.  The largest being St. John’s with almost ½ of all members.  During our construction booms we had roughly 2500 members.

Our Unit Meeting was held in a conference room at a hotel.  If you went to this meeting and not many members did you would see 5 or 6 members sitting around the table having a chat.  Soon a Jiffy Cab would pull up and our President would hop out.

She would be the only officer in attendance.  She would open the meeting.  Introduce everyone and start.  She would tell us how many members were working and would proceed to give us a financial report.  This report consisted of bank balances written on a sticky note and month after month they were always the same.

There would be no Vice President, no Treasurer, no Recording Secretary and most importantly no Business Manager.  I went to a string of meetings over a 3-year period and I never missed too many.  During this time the Business Manager never showed to a single meeting.  The President always apologized for him and stated he was busy and would be at the next meeting.  He would not show up at the next meeting. 

If you asked a question such as, how much did we pay rent? Or how much does this meeting room cost? Or how much do we pay the receptionist at the hall? Things like this we would get the same answer month after month.  “I’m not sure” she would say, “I will find out and let you know at the next meeting.”  The next meeting would come, and we would ask the same questions and we would get the same answers.  “I will let you know next month.”  For me this went on for 3 years.  Other members have told me it was like this since LU 2330 started.

Members did not go to meetings because they could not get a simple question answered.  No one from the executive ever showed up.  There was never a report read from the Business Manager or from any of the other executive board members.

Our members were kept in the dark.  Nobody cared about these meetings because they were pointless, and this is a fact.  After years and years of hiding information from its members the existing Mafia were doing what they wanted without any input for the members.

If we demanded to see financial statements we were told we would have them next month, if we asked to see the bills, we were told next month, if we asked for the Business Manager to attend we were told he would be there next month.  Month after month, year after year this continued.

There was no procedure followed in our meetings.  It was a chit chat with the President and five or six members.  If a motion was put forward, she would tell us at the next meeting it was ruled out of order by the Business Manager and no explanation was given.  I’m serious we could not get a question answered.  We got nothing. 

This is how the President and the Business Manager controlled the Local.  They assumed the responsibilities of all the other officers.  They even controlled the spending.  The Business Manager took over as signing authority and himself and the President signed each others checks for years without the members having any input.  This is another segment to be published at a different date.

These few members that attended this meeting decided one month that enough was enough.  They were sick of broken promises and sick of a Business Manager that would not come to a meeting and answer simple questions.  These few members did the unthinkable.  They ran for office.

What happened after this goes to show IBEW members everywhere the amount of hypocrisy the IBEW, our International Officers and even our officers in Washington have towards the dues paying members of the IBEW.

“To be Continued”

Offline James Martin

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IBEW Local 2330 Newfoundland, A family Run Business for 40 years.  “MAFIA”

Part 2

You may be asking yourself why I call 2330 a family run MAFIA.  For starters, our President for almost 40 years was not even an electrician.  She was a likable 70-year-old woman.  She was the voice of 2330.  If you needed a job you called and bugged Ann.  She was the person that listened to your concerns and tried her best to help you out. 

Unbeknown to a lot of members she was very well compensated for her actions.  She would tell members at a meeting her weekly salary was $1200 a week.  A fair salary I am sure for a dispatcher.  No one ever questioned her.  It was much more. 

To keep everything within a small circle she hired family members as office staff.  Her sister was accounts receivable, her niece was accounts payable, herself and the business Manager were the check signers. 

Other employees hired were Friends of their friends, children of Business Managers and the President, etc.  Most of this people had zero qualifications and that is exactly how they liked it.
If you pay a person with probably only a high school certificate roughly $100,000 a year, give these people expense accounts, car allowances, LOA, per diems, phones, weeks and weeks of paid holidays, computers, bonuses, etc. would you rock the boat or go against the Status Quo.  I do not think so. 

So any money coming in was going through the accounts receivable person, any money going out was going through the accounts payable person, all checks were being signed by a President and a Business Manager whom signed each others bonus checks, without going for membership approval, not being signed by a Treasurer and not going through a Recording Secretary.

To wrap all this up in a nice little package They hired a bookkeeper off the street who told me myself in the company of another member that he has no formal bookkeeping training and learned as he went.  Some years checks written to this man were over $200,000.  If we asked to see the books at a meeting, she would say she forgot them, and she would bring them next month.  She would also say you could go to the hall and view them but if you did go, no one would be available.  The perfect deflection.  My favorite was the time the Business Manager said he cannot show them right now because he must re-write them in a way, we could understand them.  That is a FACT.

To keep all this secret and to keep anyone from finding out what was going on, certain things had to happen.

1.    Everyone had to keep their mouth shut.
2.   Everyone had to take a cut
3.   The president would deflect any questions regarding finances away at the meetings
4.   The other officers had to be hand picked and far enough away or to busy that they did not care about what was going on
5.   The business Manager had to stay away from the members and deflect questions back to the president.
6.   They had to keep outsiders away.

This went on for years.  Business Managers came and went. But as long as they took the money, they could not say anything.  Same for office staff.  If they could put the people in that they wanted, everything would continue.  Afterall the only other people looking out for the Members of LU 2330 was our International office.  In my Opinion if membership levels stayed the same and the Per-Capita kept coming in everything was fine.

How could our International office not know what was going on with 2330.  Well let us look at the last few years.  Let us look at our Pervious Business Manager.  The guy signing his own checks outside the rules of our by-laws and Constitution.  This man whom I will refer to as “Tricky Ricky” to protect his identity.  He was doing such a wonderful job of paying per-capita, keeping the membership high, opened a brand new state of the art college, that out International office decided to promote him to the International Office as IO Rep for Newfoundland.  Would you investigate yourself for corruption.  I don’t think so.

He then in turn, hand picked his successor another guy that would surely tow the line and it was business as usual.  No outsiders are permitted in and everything keeps going the way it is.  If everyone takes the money everything is fine.  Afterall if you cannot trust family who can you trust.

To Be Continued

Offline James Martin

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IBEW Local 2330 Newfoundland, A family Run Business for 40 years.  “MAFIA”

Part 3

So now LU 2330 has a new Business Manager.  Hand picked and groomed by the Former Business Manager “Tricky Ricky” who is living the high life as IO Rep for Newfoundland.  How can they get caught and who cares if they did?  Any complaints escalated to IO would be deflected back to him for resolution.  He can ignore these complaints, and no one would really care.  If you escalated your questions to IVP Tom Reid’s office, he would say the issue has been assigned to Tricky Ricky for resolution and they had the upmost confidence in his abilities to investigate himself.  I have letters sent from IO stating this.

The new Business Manager would not attend meetings and would leave any questions to Ann the President to answer.  Of course, she would say I will look into that and get you this info next month.  No answers would come.

I decided to go on a letter writing campaign and started to request meetings with the Business Manager so I could see the books.  Several appointments were made and the day before I was to go and view the financials he called and canceled the meetings stating something came up.

One day I had enough, and I went to the hall.  I asked to see the books said I had an appointment and I was told he was not available.  I told one of the office staff members I was not leaving until I see them.

With that one office worker accused me of sexual harassment.  I was totally floored and at a loss for words.  I did not even know what she was talking about.   She stated that I would not have a meeting and I would not get to see the financials.  This was just an office worker. I asked her for details about this sexual harassment allegation and I was told it was due to something two other members said on the Newfoundland Electrician Discussion Facebook group.  Apparently, I liked a comment another member had made about the ongoing issues on LU 2330.  These members were just having a simple argument and it was not sexual in anyway. Just another deflection to try to keep the books from me.

I was terribly upset at this time and I refused to leave until they showed me the financial statements.  After waiting about four hours or so after my appointment time and refusing to leave, our Business Manager whom I will refer to as Tricky Ricky’s PUPPET to protect his identity came out with a few papers.  These papers were in no way an audited financial statement.  I asked the Puppet how much LU 2330 had in the bank and I was told at least 10 Million.  I left the hall still bewildered about the sexual harassment accusation and the nonsense that was presented to me.  As it turns out at that time, we only had about $70,000 in the bank and our local was struggling to pay basic bills.

A few days later a letter came by registered mail.  This letter was a disqualification letter for the upcoming election.  Any member who joined the Newfoundland Electrician Discussion was disqualified for being a part of a Facebook group that promoted bullying, sexual harassment, slander, etc.

The only members not disqualified from running as far as I know were the hand-picked Puppet for Business Manager, the existing President.  This letter came on an IBEW official letterhead signed by the hand-picked election judge that openly supported Tricky Ricky at our meetings.  In my opinion this man was not competent enough to compose and type this letter.  As it turns out, I found out several months later a copy of this letter was saved on the same office workers computer that accused me of sexual harassment.  This office worker was also related to the president and was receiving twice or three times the salary of an average employee working in a similar position.  Another great defection to keep the member of LU 2330 from taking back their local.

So here we are.  Business as usual at LU 2330.  All candidates (the outsiders) have been disqualified.  The Newfoundland Mafia, A Family run business could continue as normal.  All threats for exposing years of corruption and millions of dollars in theft will remain a secret forever.  It was a close call for the Mafia, but it looks like everything will be fine.

Being dedicated to this cause a group of IBEW members decided they would not put up with being disqualified and they would fight back.  They escalated to IO, made phone calls, and took to social media.  They decided the years of theft and corruption had to stop.  They decided to up their game to the next level and we set up a picket line at our own hall.  The police came, the media came, signs and banners were done up.  They took to the street to take the local back from the MAFIA.

Roughly 30 out of 2000 member showed up at our protest.  The local’s office staff showed up, the college staff showed up and they crossed our picket line.  Imagine, unionized members crossing a picket line.  The office staff stayed for about an hour or so and left when the PUPPET called the police.  The PUPPET never showed up for work that day and the President told us that he was on a flight heading to meetings at one of our jobsites.  As it turns out he was at a local news channel doing an interview about the current situation.  Once again, they left all questions asked to be answered by the President.

We had a list of demands done up such as reinstating our disqualified members, showing the members an audited financial statement, we wanted the international President to come, things about the hiring list, etc.  We informed the MAFIA that were not leaving until our demands were met.  The media were asking the president questions about allegations made, members were demanding answers.

The President said she would take us in the building and call the International Office.  It seemed like finally we would get some questions answered and we would make some progress.

The President got IVP Tom Reid on the line.  She read our demands to him and explained what was going on.  Tom Reid was on speaker.  This man told us on this call that if we would leave and stop protesting he would personally take care of our concerns.  He stated the disqualified members would be reinstated and after the election he would come and help us get our local running the way it should be.  Things were looking up and were getting somewhere. The MAFIA was about to crumble.

To be Continued

Offline James Martin

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IBEW Local 2330 Newfoundland, A family Run Business for 40 years.  “MAFIA”

Part 4

After our phone conversation with IVP Tom Reid, our members felt confident that IO was finally going to address our concerns.  Our candidates were allowed to run again.  We were told that we could raise concerns and to be a part of a Facebook group.  We were told that the IBEW would have no issues with that and we should not have been disqualified.

Later, we also tried to charge that Election Judge for wrongfully disqualifying us and for the other accusations he made in the disqualification letter.  IO told us Election Judges cannot be charged.

The election was back on.  Members running for various positions tried to get the phone numbers of our members so we could reach out for support.  We were told we could see the list only at the hall and were not to take pictures, copies or take it from the hall.  We were also told we could mail out flyers and the hall would take any supplied flyers, stuff envelopes, and mail them for us.  We would have to pay the postage for 2500 mailers, pay to have the flyers done up and pay the office staff for their time in labelling them, envelopes, and postage.

As it turns out the existing Business Manager sent several out, a candidate running against the business manager sent one out, the President sent one, one member running for the executive board and one candidate running for treasurer sent one out.  Later, we found out that all these with exception to the person running against the Business Manger were paid for on the existing Business Managers credit card and he in turn was reimbursed for these expenses.  The person running against the Business Manager paid for his own.

We kept asking to see receipts for these expenses during the election, but the hall refused to show them to us.  The Election Judge would have been responsible for making sure we had a copy of these receipts, but he too refused to show us.

In addition to the Mafia trying to keep us out by paying for and distributing propaganda for their hand-picked candidates the Business Manager also had professional videos done up, a branded website done up, etc.  The company that designed these things and printed the campaign flyers were paid $16,014.90, $40,890.55, $40,586.33, $16,754.40 from our local’s funds.  We were told this money was for printing the ballots and envelopes for the election.  The Business Manager also had a person from the hall calling all members drumming up support for him.

Moving on.  The election was postponed roughly 30 days due to these disqualifications.  We were asking members to write us on our Facebook group if they did not receive ballots.  We were making sure every member that could vote did vote. 

Our election went ahead.  The existing President won by a landslide.  A new Vice President was Elected, the existing Business Manger lost, a new Treasurer was Elected, and no one run against the Recording Secretary.

In fairness I ran for Treasurer.  There was 4 candidates and I came in 2nd.  Because the existing Business Manager lost, we were told that there would be a runoff election because The Business Manager Elect did not receive 51% of the votes and this was in the by-laws. 

When we heard this, we asked why the Vice President, and the Treasurer are not having a runoff as these positions were not won with 51% of the vote. The Election Judge stated that the runoff was just for the Business Manager and the rest of the positions would remain the way they were.  We tried to explain that all officers are supposed to have runoff elections, but we received a letter stating this was not the case.

We went on another letter writing campaign and finally received a response from IO that all officers who were not elected with at least 51% of the vote would be included in the Runoff.  We had this election roughly 30 days later and all existing officers with exception of the President changed.

This runoff election happened the same day as our monthly unit meeting.  In fact, the ballots were counted in the same hotel.  During our meeting we asked the President to swear us in.  She told us that the rules stated we were not to be sworn in until the next unit meeting.  We told her the Election rules state that new officers were to be sworn in at the next unit meeting and this was the next meeting.  She made a call to someone and came back and said we would not be sworn in until next month.

Looking back now there was a reason for this.  The President and the exiting Business Manager still had some things to do before they could leave.

They went on a check writing campaign.  During the last month, the Business Manager was in office he borrowed money from a line of credit that our members did not know we had.  They maxed out this $500,000 line of credit.  They gave the Presidents sister who was our accounts payable clerk a check tax free for $30,000 as a severance and she retired.  They also paid the communications company who did up the flyers, websites, videos, etc. for their campaign materials over $100,000.  They gave expense reimbursements to the existing Business Manager, they paid a contractor who was also involved in building Tricky Ricky’s brand new mansion checks totalling well over a $100,000 for things like brush clearing, installing a temporary septic tank, installing flag poles, etc.  Things that were completed 3 years earlier and most certainly included in the original building of the college.  They used their last 30 days in office to take what they could, and this is a fact.

The exiting business manager received a Living allowance, car allowance per-diems, was paid twice the salary he was supposed to get, etc. and the man did not even show up for work during that month.  The Newfoundland Mafia left the members with nothing.  We did not even have enough money left to pay our regular bills.

To be Continued.