Sarnia Observer

November 24, 1999

Police Review Allegations Against Local Union Hall

The OPP Anti-Racket Criminal Investigation Bureau located outside London is currently reviewing allegations made against the Labourers' International Union Local 1089, in Sarnia, said Det. Sgt. Terry Rorke recently.

Nothing has yet to been determined and the review could take up to a month, said Rorke. The police review could lead to a criminal investigation if substantial evidence has been found. Rorke could not say what the bureau is reviewing or who made the allegations that led to the review for fear of influencing the review.

Recently, several union members demonstrated outside the union hall to protest what they call undemocratic union practices. Laura Portiss organized the demonstration.

It was Laura's first time demonstrating at the union hall.

Her father Joe has been a union member for over 25 years.

Last spring, Joe took part in a demonstration outside the hall.

In 1983, Joe Portiss was granted an order from the Ontario Labour Relations Board for a complaint he made to the board about the union hall's unfair hiring hall practices.

Since then, Laura has continued to gather documents to prove allegations that the union's executive is defrauding members of benefit money and discriminating against potential members.

Robert Leone, business manager of Local 1089, said the union plans to file a defamation and harassment case against the family.

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