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LIUNA Local 183 board election nominations stirs up controversy

Ian Harvey

Long awaited elections at Labourers’ International Union of North America Local 183 are set for September 8 but already there’s a controversy surrounding the nomination process.

Union Politics

Challengers demand vote be postponed

Long awaited elections at Labourers’ International Union of North America Local 183 are set for September 8 but already there’s a controversy surrounding the nomination process.

Stefano Labardo, 40, a 10-year member of Local 183 and now a business manager nominee says the nomination notification process was rushed through and as a result too few candidates are standing for election.

“The constitution says they are supposed to give seven days notice but they gave only six,” said Labardo who is part of a group protesting the process under the banner of Brothers Who Care.

“As a result, not everyone knew about the meeting. Local 183 did not mail the nomination notices until July 27. Many members of Local 183 did not receive these notices until after the nominations had taken place on Aug. 2,” said Labardo.

“In fact, Local 183 did not post the Notice of Nominations on its website until Aug. 8, six days after the nominations were held.”

However, Labardo and some colleagues did make it to the meeting Aug. 2 with about 1,000 other members of Local 183, and, in the absence of candidates standing for election other than the apparent slate of co-trustees Danny Avero and Durval Texiera, offer their own names.

Labardo is standing for business manager while Jack Ribiero, Hernani Gregorio, Earl Blackburn, George Carone and Charlie Tomasi are running for various other offices. Avero is running for secretary treasurer and Texiera is seeking the business manager’s office

“We did everything according to the constitution,” said Avero. “We used a clearing house to mail out 29,500 notices and we have documentation they were delivered on time.”

He said more importantly very little of the mail was returned.

“In the past, the mailing lists were so out of date that 30 per cent of notices were returned,” he said. “This time we made sure they were accurate.”

He also noted the meeting was well attended with 1,000 members, more than triple the tradition turn out.

But Labardo said there’s evidence to suggest otherwise and has asked the Washington headquarters as well as other senior officials to intervene.

“We have asked that the nominations of Aug. 2 be declared null and void and that the election scheduled for Sept. 8 be postponed,” said Labardo. “We are committed to running a proper campaign so that we can provide our brothers with an alternative, earn their support and represent them honourably.”

Labardo said while he once served as a steward under the leadership of ousted business manager Tony Dionisio, he has no other affiliation with the controversial leader who was thrown out of office after a lengthy and bitter battle with the Canadian parent union in June 2006.

Since then Dionisio, with the backing of a $6 million loan from the Canadian Auto Workers Union, has been working to organize a breakaway union, the Canadian Construction Workers Union.

The Local 183 elections will be held at three GTA polling stations on Sept. 8.

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