June 18, 2008

 

Mr. Terence M. O Sullivan, LIUNA General President

905 16th Street NW

Washington D. C. 20006

 

Dear Sir and Brother,

 

I received several phone calls from former 36 members yesterday concerning their future in Hod Carriers Local 166. I believe Mr.Trenkle, the LIUNA International Representative,  told a member yesterday morning he knew of no problems with the merger and the members were happy.

 

I called Mr. Trenkle yesterday morning after receiving several phone calls. Mr. Trenkle said he had made an assessment of the merger and thought everything is okay. I explained that our members are not okay with the merger and are considering decertifying the union and going to the press. Unfortunately my cell phone gave out.

Many members feel this is cover up by The Laborers international Union.

 

I don’t know what Mr. Trenkle based his assessment on; our membership bases their assessment on sitting in hiring hall and not being dispatched in the order they signed in.

Our membership basis their assessment on having to pay Cobra Coverage since many of them are loosing their health care coverage from not being employed on jobs in their jurisdiction since your transfer of their membership to 166.

 

I tried to telephone your office, and the lady at who answered the phone at the Laborers International Union said, I should put everything in writing I want to talk to you about.

 

There are several other very important issues that concern the membership of Local 166 and former members of Local 36. It should concern everybody in both unions and you Mr. General President O’Sullivan.

 

A Plaster Hod Carrier pays $1.50 for dues check off and $1.10 for organizing $104.00 a week to the union and $37.00 a month window dues. Local 166 had 165 members prior to the transfer of the former 36 members. Masonry Hod Carriers pay a $1.00 an hour dues check off and .60 cents an hour for organizing $64.00 a week and $37.00 a month.

 

So a Plaster Hod Carrier pays $453.00 a month to the union and a Masonry Hod Carrier

pays $253.00 a month to the union for dues and organizing.

 

We are not clear who is getting the organizing money. Our question is why are Local 166 members paying more than any other Local Union in California? At the LIUNA Convention .25 cents an hour was passed not a $1.10 or .60 cents an hour. I know other Locals are having a hard time justifying .25 for organizing to their members.

 

Mr. General President you and your assistant, International Vice President and Assistant to the General President Rocco Davis, both make more than $300,000 a year, Do either you pay a $1.10 an hour for organizing? How about .60 cents an hour for organizing like the Masonry members in 166. How much does Rob Trenkle pay for organizing per hour? I think these are fair questions and don’t mean to be sarcastic.

 

Mr. Robinson, the Business Manager of Local 166, is currently engaging in violation of ERISA laws he is telling Contractors working in San Francisco and San Mateo Counties to pay benefits to The Hod Carriers Local 166 Trust Fund. Cliff Davidson of Davidson Plastering made this statement in front of several trustees and contractors at a Plaster Trust Fund meeting. We were able to substantiate similar accusations from members working in Daly City and San Mateo Counties who showed us their check stubs and were complaining about the $44.00 a week for organizing. I am faxing check stubs and blacking out all personal information of the members to avoid any form of retaliation against them for speaking out.

 

Mr. Robinson called a State of the Former Local #36 Pension Plans meeting, since Mr. Trenkle had told the one of the new Trustees Terrence Foreman the Local #36 was a bad plan and he had never seen anything like it. I invited International Vice President Rocco Davis and Mr. Trenkle to attend and ask any questions they might have for the money managers, actuary’s lawyers. They had scheduling problem and sent International Representative Ron Myers.

 

Mr. Robinson has been a trustee for several years and knows exactly where the benefits are to be paid. That’s why we have reciprocity with the pension plans. Mister Robinson boasted that he gave 13th checks to members while the Local 36 plan did not he is absolutely correct. The 36 plan could not afford 13 checks. I say he is doing great job if he can loose 58 members in a year and give 13th checks.

 

Another complaint we have had from members is Mr. Robinson is deducting union dues six months in advance from member’s vacation accounts. They claim as a condition of employment they must sign a letter allowing him to deduct the monies in advance. I am not a lawyer but I believe the California Labor Code has several sections that cover these kinds of actions. 212,216, 221,222, 223 they might have changed all these laws since I looked at them.

 

While we all understand the need to increase membership we are concerned that Mr. Robinson is actively recruiting apprentices and giving them jobs in violation of the ratio’s established in both the Hod Carriers Local 166 and Local 36 collective bargaining agreements. When Hod Carriers trainees were dispatched to employers under the Local 36 agreement they were dispatched at either 50% or 60% of the full the wages and the deductions for vacation, and dues were withheld at 50% or 60%.  The Hod Carriers Local 166 Apprentice rate requires a member making $15.56 an hour to pay $1.50 for dues check off and $1.10 for organizing. Where does all this money go? 

 

The other day a community organizer made an astonishing claim that a church group in the Western Addition of San Francisco gave Mr. Robinson several thousand dollars, I think it was $10,000 in March to secure jobs and apprenticeship slots for Hod Carriers from the community and they hadn’t been sent to work yet. We have about 20 members on the out work list I haven’t seen the church members sign in yet. More disturbing is several members on the out work list are minority’s from the various community he is recruiting from.

 

It has become quite obvious to us Mr. Robinson is using our union dues and organizing money to further his own agenda. In the year 2006 Mr. Robinson had 223 members prior to the transfer of members in March 2007 the local 166 had 165 members a loss of 58.

We both know every union looses members and you have no control over that. I do not understand how a local union with 223 members or 165 members can justify 2 office administrators, Mr. Sam Robinson’s sister Ruby Hill at $13,472.00 a year and her daughter, Tibet Hill, at $24, 820.00 a year. I bet they both qualify for the LIUNA and District Council Pension plan.

 

I hope now you have a better assessment of what is really going on in local 166 the members don’t like all the nepotism and illegal dispatching either they are afraid to speak up. The former San Francisco and San Mateo members fear nobody and will say what is on their mind.

 

Mr. Trenkle told me yesterday International Vice President Rocco Davis is trying to merge all the Hod Carriers in Northern California into one local union. I took that to mean the Local 270 members. I know Carlos B. Lujan called me one day and said I talked to Rocco Davis and I am going to give him the 270 Hod Carriers with the condition you or anyone related to you can never be an employee of the new Hod Carrier Union. I just laughed and hung up. I hope Carlos B. Lujan and International Vice President Rocco Davis tell the 270 Hod Carriers how much dues and organizing fees they will be paying a month. 

 

The former 36 members are having a meeting this weekend to discuss decertifying from the union. I am going to speak against decertification and suggest they form an education committee and fight from within the system to achieve democracy and fair hiring halls, and stop the illegal diversion of the Local 36 pension money.

 

“It is apparent that Local 166 is ready, willing and able to more effectively represent and serve those members”

 

Brother O’Sullivan, I heard a figure of 7 _ million a year for organizing in Northern California. For the record I seen billions of dollars in San Jose go non-union, now I am back in San Francisco and Oakland is going the same way. I am not trying to be critical of the Organizing Department but accountability and credibility to the membership is a must.

 

 

The lady at your office said put it in writing what you want to talk about this isn’t everything but it is a starting point. My cell phone is (415) 239-2865 my Home phone is
(415) 239-2685

 

 

Fraternally yours,
Alex Corns

 

 

 


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