Union president ferments opposition to Puchmayr candidacy

With friends like this, provincial New Democrat nomination candidate Chuck Puchmayr doesn't need any enemies: in an endorsement written on the back of his competitor's brochure, Brewery, Winery and Distillery Workers' Union president Roy Graham writes "Even though Steve McClurg's opponent was our business agent, our union voted to support Steve for the New Westminster nomination because, when it comes to supporting working people, Steve not only talks the talk, he walks the walk."

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As a thirty year member of the Union I find it truly inappropriate that the Union's president would publicly disparage one of its own members -and one that has arguably given a great deal of service to the Union at that (Puchmayr has held a number of positions as an elected official of the Union, including a stint as the Secretary Treasurer and more recently as the Union's business agent 2001-2003).
Graham's sole purpose in doing so appears to be in undermining Puchmayr's candidacy.

Yet I know first hand what Brewery Workers' Union Local 300 president Roy Graham is referring to when he implies that Chuck Puchmayr is nonsupporting of "working people".
He'll get no argument from me on that point.

But Roy Graham's public slap to the face of Puchmayr belies an hypocrisy on Graham's part. I know of that which I speak.
In fact, I've recently been threatened by the Brewery Workers' Union's lawyer for my own online references to Chuck Puchmayr, implying of course, it's fine for Graham and the Union to take a public shot at Charlie, but for me to do so is verboten. I see that as hypocrisy on the part of Roy Graham.

And then there is Graham's and the Union's unflinching support of Puchmayr's most abysmal legacy to the Union, something I refer to as "The Flegel/Puchmayr Deal" and referred to below.

In January 2003, Chuck Puchmayr, as the Union's business agent, signed his name to an agreement with Labatt Breweries in New Westminster that effectively scuttled my two, longstanding grievances for unpaid disability benefits and my subsequent 1995 termination (while disabled) by Labatt.
In so doing, Puchmayr effectively undermined and rescinded the long-held right of Labatt employees to grieve a denial of disability benefits, as well as seriously hampering the Union's ability to fully offer its other senior, benefitted members (in many other plants including Molson's and BDL) any protection from a similar breach of their collective agreements.

In the Labatt settlement, Puchmayr inexplicably agreed with Labatt to a nullification of an arbitration award that weighed heavily in my favour and that of the Union's.
So much for the concept of binding arbitration -in this instance neither Labatt nor the Union wished to be bound by an arbitrator's ruling, and thus the parties simply agreed to ignore its importance and moreover, its effect; all of course, to the great detriment of the membership.
This matter is currently before the Labour Relations Board in the form of a DFR Complaint by me against the Union for its failure to offer me adequate representation (a breach of Section 12 of the B.C. Labour Code, decision still pending).

It was in the course of my Reply to the Union's Response to that Complaint that I had cause to refer to Chuck Puchmayr as "a two-faced, duplicitous backstabber".

But notwithstanding Roy Graham's unflattering appraisal of Chuck Puchmayr's performance as a defender of the rights of "working people", it should be duly noted that it is he, Graham, who currently lines the pockets of (by which I mean paying) the Union's representative law firm (in fact hired by Puchmayr) in stalwart support of the Puchmayr settlement noted above.

Thus, when it comes to supporting disabled members of his own union, one might infer that Roy Graham may "talk the talk" but he's more than happy to figuratively "walk" a long, long way in Chuck Puchmayr's treacherous footprints.

The story of the Brewery Workers' Union's threat to me of legal action can be read at the Members for Democracy web forum: http://www.ufcw.net/cgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=4&t=001050


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