Tuesday, May 12, 2009

TWU Local 100 Election has become an all out Circus by Christine Williams

The new bylaw changes have turned this union election into an all-out circus. In the past, the votes were counted as soon as they were cast. Now, although the votes are cast in June, the results aren't released until December -- six months later. This bylaw change was supposedly needed to save money, but will still cost money, for storing the ballots and protecting them from being tampered with. And if the union is trying so hard to save money, why create a administrative VP position paying $100,000? How does that save money? I know what they''re going to say: the members voted for it. But only 5000 members voted out of 38,000, and it took a whole week just to count that. Do you think this amendment to the bylaws helps build the trust in this union? In all these years this union has never had an administrative VP in the top 4. Why now?

Another obstacle in this circus -- I mean union election -- dues payment. This issue is a weird one, because TBOU candidates are getting DQ letters left and right. If you paid your dues by check, look out; just because you sent your check in before the 15th doesn't mean it was credited to your account on time. And even if you pay every month by check and sent the amounts on the payment schedule set up by the union you might have gotten a letter. In my case I paid a year in advance and have been in good standing since 2007, even receiving a refund for overpayment. And I got a DQ letter. After further review by the" impartial" TWU election committee, which has at least two people on the local 100 payroll, it was determined that my letter was sent as an "oversight." I wonder how many UI candidates were a couple days late on payments, and how many actually received DQ letters? How can the election committee be truly impartial if they don't have a representative of both slates running in this election on the committee? One of many questions that will remain a mystery, but the worst part of this dirty tactic of sending members on the TBOU slate DQ letters is you only have 48 hours to respond so had I not responded to the letter I would have been out as a candidate even after paying my dues in advance.

It's not only TBOU candidates who are getting caught up with the dues issue but also rank and file members who want to get back in good standing. Recently, letters went out to the membership on how much back dues was owed to get back in good standing. Only members in good standing will be able to vote in union elections. That makes sense: pay your dues, get a ballot. But if you pay by check, look out! Now they are holding onto checks for weeks without crediting them to the accounts. In some cases the checks were mailed back. Some members even got letters informing them that they would not get a ballot to vote in the election. It looks like they don't want some members to vote in the upcoming TWU local 100 election.

The next act in their circus is the weird survey. 1st, someone calls your house and asks of you would like to take a quick survey. Then, they ask you lots of questions on how you feel about Take Back Our Union(TBOU.) The next set of questions are about UI and what your opinions are on the UI candidates. I'm not making this up. Actual members are calling me about this wacky survey. What is the purpose of this? If UI really wants to know how the members feel about UI candidates, they should give the members a fair chance to vote for TBOU after all almost 10,000 TWU Local 100 members signed TBOU petitions to get us on the ballot. If you are contacted by the union or have any questions give us a call at (646) 321-5213 or send us an e-mail to TBOUStations@yahoo.com .

Please visit our website daily http://www.tbou.org/ to stay informed on breaking news inside local 100 and all labor news. By Christine Williams Stations Department Candidate for Executive Board on the Take Back Our Union (TBOU) Slate.

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