The following is an email I sent to Stu Shields of the CAW. Read it and you will understand what it is I am trying to learn from him. For the sake of clarity the confusion I mention at the beginning of my note was most likely due to my sending an email to a generic CAW email address in search of his direct email address. Ben only gave me his phone number, and I could not find his direct email address on the CAW site.
Hello Stu, Michael Leamy here.
Sorry if there was confusion regarding my last note. Let me clarify what I am trying to figure out, and perhaps you can fix any misunderstandings.
To begin, I do realize that our contracts must go to a vote in a meeting arranged for that purpose. That is not what I am trying to understand. What confuses me is the unwillingness of the executive to provide members with a copy of the new contract for review before the meeting takes place. When questioned regarding this very unusual behaviour, nobody in the executive has provided me with an answer that makes sense. The latest response was from our new President Ben Williams, who outlined via a clause in the CAW Constitution the fact our ratifications must happen in meetings arranged for that purpose … Article #19 Section 3 Sub Section (a) … just as you stated. The problem I am faced with is the fact that article does not seem to address the actual contract being withheld from the members as being part of the process of ratification at any level. No matter how I read that article I am simply unable to take that intention (to withhold the contract from the members until the meeting) from the words in our constitution.
Ben used this article as justification to find my “motion to read the contract” out of order. But I believe that article, as it relates to the topic at hand, is a non-siquitur. A strawman argument. When I therefore responded with a request for the CAW Constitutional article(s) which state more plainly members are not to view the contract I was sent a very polite evasion, with the addendum of the membership somehow being more inclined to attend the ratification meeting if they don’t get to review the document beforehand. I therefore am forced to believe no such articles exists, and until I finish reading the CAW Constitution and find out concretely for myself, I was hoping you could save me some time, and our executive some headache, by providing me with the pertinent articles.
If the CAW Constitution states plainly that members are not to be given access to the contract before the ratification meeting then I most certainly don’t want to waste my time trying to force the issue with the local executive.
I hope this note was was clearer.
I look forward to your guidance to the correct articles in our Constitution that will allow me to put this issue to bed. If no such articles exist then I will be looking forward to your guidance in taking this to the next level. The members have a right to the same treatment when ratifying their employment contract as they do upon entering into any other important contractual obligation.
I should also mention that I understand you are on vacation, and I do appreciate your taking the time to reply to my request, so please do not feel obligated to respond to this note until you are officially back on the job. Until then …
In solidarity with, and for, the members,