FC: Censorhappy union that sued member over site now sue reformers too

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Sat Mar 02 2002 - 08:25:38 PST

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    Previous Politech message:
    "Unions sue member for posting constitution on the web"
    From: "Kevin LaPalme" <pressat_private>
    To: declanat_private
    Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2002 11:02:52 -0500
    Subject: UFCW sues reform group over Web site
    Well that was quick. Suing one part-time grocery clerk wasn't enough. The 
    UFCW has now
    filed suit against Members for Democracy, the Vancouver-based union reform 
    group, for
    statements on its Web site and for use of the domain "ufcw.net".
    The suit names Kelsey Sigurdur, MFD's webmaster and site owner, and Sharyn 
    Sigurdur, a
    UFCW Local 1518 member in good standing who works as a part-time grocery 
    store clerk as
    The full story is here:
    From: "Kevin LaPalme" <pressat_private>
    To: declanat_private
    Date: Fri, 1 Mar 2002 19:04:15 -0500
    Subject: Court Orders UFCW to Post Constitution on Web
    Hi Declan-
    Here's a further development:
    A Canadian court has ordered UFCW Canada to post a copy of the union's 
    constitution on its
    official Web site.
    The order came as part of an ongoing lawsuit in which the UFCW is suing a a 
    shipping clerk for placing a copy of the constitution on his Geocities Web 
    The court also ordered the clerk to remove the constitution from his site 
    (the UFCW claims it
    holds copyright). The clerk, a union member, alleges that he put the 
    constitution on his site
    after being refused a copy by his union.
    The UFCW had been seeking to shut the clerk's site down, but the court has 
    allowed it to
    remain operating until the trial. The UFCW is also suing the clerk for 
    The court also stipulated that if the UFCW fails to place the constitution 
    on its site within four
    months, the clerk may place it on another site.
    source: http://www.retailworker.com
    From: pressat_private
    To: declanat_private
    Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2002 06:05:51 -0500
    Subject: Union Sues Site Over Domain Name/Metatags/Defamation
    The UFCW has filed suit against Members for Democracy, the Canadian union 
    reform group,
    for statements on its Web site and for use of the URL "ufcw.net". The suit 
    names Kelsey
    Sigurdur, MFD's webmaster and site owner, and Sharyn Sigurdur, a UFCW Local 
    member in good standing who works as a part-time grocery store clerk, as 
    The writ of summons does not identify any particular defamatory statements, 
    but vaguely
    accuses the site of being "critical" of the union movement in general.
    The writ also alleges that the site tries to "pass off" as an official 
    union publication --a charge
    apparently at odds with the anti-union allegation-- by its use of the 
    domain "ufcw.net" and the
    occurrence of the term "UFCW" in it's metatags.
    More information is available here: http://www.ufcw.net
    And as a followup to your earlier questions about the UFCW suit against the 
    shipping clerk who published the union constitution on his geocities Web 
    site, the original suit
    was filed in 8/01. In early February, the defendant was served with the gag 
    order intended to
    censor or close his site, and with papers that indicated the the UFCW 
    International Union was
    now a party to the suit. The defendant published the constitution on his 
    Web site because he
    alleges that he was denied a copy by the union when tried to run for local
    president.Constitutions tell members how to run for office and how to lay 
    charges against the
    Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2002 09:44:09 -0500 (EST)
    From: Flint <flintat_private>
    To: Declan McCullagh <declanat_private>
    cc: <politechat_private>
    Subject: Re: FC: Unions sue member for posting constitution on the web
    Just so you know, UFCW is one of the worst unions.  The are notorious for
    being anti-democratic (as in terms of their internal structure, they are
    lapdogs for the Democratic Party, however).  They are also infamous for
    extremely bad contracts, that sometimes have there pay superceded by a
    rise in the national minimum wage.  There are alot of rumor about backroom
    deals.  A lot of folks refer to the UFCW as the "United Front to Cut
    There are UFCW members that are trying to reform the union.  Their website
    is available at http://www.ufcw.net   There is more coverage of the
    Gammert case there.
    It's important to realize that this is part of the struggle to reform the
    UFCW, by posting the constitution so that members are able to know about
    it.  And, the suits against Gammert are an attempt by the union bosses to
    silence him and make him an example to others.  I hope he fights like
    Most unions in the AFL-CIO could not be described as "a worker-formed
    collective organized for mutual interest that stands up to the authorities
    to defend their rights to be free from oppression".  A lot of them are
    "business unions", many are choked with bureacracy, others are defanged by
    the state through a labor law designed to coopt the labor movement into
    collaboration with the state and capitalism, and designed to coopt union
    officials into the hierarchy of our society where they are more likely to
    play golf with CEOs and politicans, than they are to mingle with the rank
    and file.  At the same time, it's hard to generalize on organizations that
    make up 13% of the economy, and there is alot of diversity.
    With the exception of some locals and some of the rank & file, the UFCW
    We desperately need unions that are true to the idea that Declan proposes.
    When tech workers decide that they need them, I hope they don't make the
    same mistakes.
    Direct Democracy, Direct Action and Solidarity.
    Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2002 11:44:30 -0500
    From: "Paul Levy" <PLEVYat_private>
    To: <declanat_private>
    Subject: Re: FC: Unions sue member for posting constitution on the web
    I looked at the documents, because I was asked for advice some time ago 
    about a similar question involving an American union.  But I don't see 
    anything in the text of the complaint to suggest that the UFCW 
    International (based in DC) is a co-plaintiff in this case; only that UFCW 
    Canada and the Vancouver BC local are plaintiffs; unfortunately, it is 
    going to be hard to apply the US Constitution, and the very good 
    protections afforded by the LMRDA to members of US unions, to this case.
    Defamation seems to be the main claim in this case, and the accusations are 
    pretty strong.  The claim based on constitution posting is thrown in at the 
    end (not that it is any less objectionable for that)
    Given that Canadian libel law is much less protective of the defendant than 
    US law under NY Times v. Sullivan and Plant Guard Workers v. Linn, this 
    defendant seems to be in for a hard time.
    Paul Alan Levy
    Public Citizen Litigation Group
    1600 - 20th Street, N.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20009
    (202) 588-1000
    Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2002 12:41:10 -0800
    From: "Stephen H. Kawamoto" <shkawamotoat_private>
    Subject: Re: Unions sue member for posting constitution on the web
    To: declanat_private
    Cc: "Stephen H. Kawamoto" <shkawamotoat_private>
    Worker law in BC was that fulltime workers get union wages.
    William is part time so he's exempt.
    At the security guard company I work for, part timers permament staff can
    upgrade to fulltime by asking the shift supervisor for more work to meet the
    40-hrs/week fulltime status, due to the $8.05-9.00/hr wage.
    Our union contract comes up on June 30, 2002.
    Meanwhile a security guard getting 3 12-hr shift gets no overtime because 40
    hours == fulltime.
    With attentiveness strives this fool who knows the delusion of 'I am'.
    PGP: 0x8C656D0E :: 7F49 566F DB34 DC11 5BEA  0BC3 C47A A982 8C65 6D0E
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