September 21, 2007
LIUNA Local 183 sets new course as executive members take office
The newly elected Labourers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 183 was recently introduced to its membership to boisterous cheers which filled the union’s training centre in Vaughan.
“These are individuals who had to fight hard and earn respect and did suffer some indignation over the last five years,” said Joseph Mancinelli, LIUNA international vice-president.
Local 183 recently voted in record number for a new executive after 14 months of trusteeship. Durval Terceira was elected as new business manager and he said the direction of the local now belongs to all of its members.
“This new executive is a new beginning for everyone,” said Terceira.
For two years allegations of mob connections, fraud, illegal surveillance and misappropriation of funds dogged Local 183 which was in a battle for control with LIUNA’s Hamilton-based national office.
This battle pitted Mancinelli against Tony Dionisio, Local 183’s former leader, and ended when the Ontario Labour Relations Board upheld allegations of earlier investigations against Dionisio. The Local was ordered into trusteeship in June 2006 and Dionisio was kicked out of his position and the union.
Both Terceira and Mancinelli agree the newly elected executive is an opportunity for a fresh chapter in the Local’s history. Both men also paid homage to the early members of Local 183.
“We do not want to forget them, they are the one who built the foundation for us,” explained Terceira.
Mancinelli said current LIUNA members must maintain the foundation and “respect the real hard work which built this organization.”
“It is our responsibility that we look after what they worked hard to build,” Mancinelli said.
Getting members more involved and providing them information along with a feedback forum on the Local’s website, are just two avenues the new executive will explore to engage its members, said Terceira.
“One of our goals is to educate every single member of this Local,” explained Terceira. “We want them to be able to speak to us and ask any question.”
Michael O’Brien, Local 183’s new recording secretary, said stronger communication with members is important after such a positive turnout for the executive election.
“The election provided a truly democratic result from a democratic approach,” said O’Brien. “Historically we never really got huge turnouts for meetings. We want people to take a proactive approach to being a member.”
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