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UFCW Local 951 Election

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CUPE_Reformer
Post Posted: Mon May 15, 2006 6:53 pm

Joined: 04 Feb 2006
Posts: 257
Location: Real Solidarity
Quote:
... Local 951, with 33, 000 members throughout Michigan, is the largest in the state and one of the largest in the UFCW...

In 2004, President Bob Potter, in office some 24 years and running for his 9th consecutive term was challenged by Russell Blunden, a union member for 23 years. In what local officials reported was the greatest voter participation in local history, Blunden got 45% of the vote (3,420 to 4,181 for Potter.) It was an astonishing achievement: insurgent Blunden could not boast of a long record of union leadership...


DOL challenges close election in Food Workers L. 951

Labor Department Sues UFCW Local, Seeks Rerun of 2004 Election of Officers

Russ Blunden for UFCW Local 951 President

UFCW Local 951

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Last edited by CUPE_Reformer on Mon Aug 06, 2007 8:48 am; edited 3 times in total
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Pearson
Post Posted: Tue May 16, 2006 1:43 pm

Joined: 03 Feb 2006
Posts: 1421
Location: Sun City AZ
This will be very interesting to follow as it unfolds. The guys running with Potter were very close for a very long time. In the last year, his two top officers have left him and i can tell you Joe Crump (secretary treasurer) was one of the finest union guys i ever met. Stay tuned, i'm sure there is a lot more play in this story.

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robbie_dee
Post Posted: Tue May 16, 2006 3:04 pm

Joined: 30 Jan 2006
Posts: 93
For what its worth, apparently Potter is now resigning from office to take over a joint labor management committee.

Mary Radigan, "Meijer workers' union chief leaving," Grand Rapids Press, May 11, 2006

Quote:
GRAND RAPIDS-- United Food and Commercial Workers Local 951 is headed for some changes.

Bob Potter, president of the union primarily representing workers at Meijer Inc. stores in Michigan, is leaving the post he has held since 1980 to become chairman of the retail food industry's Joint Labor Management Committee.

Potter, 58, will assume the post this fall.

The appointment was announced today at the Local 951 executive committee meeting and to Meijer employees.

Local 951 represents about 28,000 workers in the state, including employees of Meijer, Rite Aid, some Spartan Stores' wholesale customers and Kroger Co. workers in Michigan stores west of Jackson.

"This has been a very good career for me, and I'm very proud of the local union," said Potter, who has been on the staff since 1973. "Organized labor has gone through very tough times, but the union is very committed to the future and in competing and succeeding.

"I think they can do it."

Potter will succeed Robert Harbrant, who is retiring.

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Pearson
Post Posted: Tue May 16, 2006 5:41 pm

Joined: 03 Feb 2006
Posts: 1421
Location: Sun City AZ
Thanks for the follow up Robbie. Ya gotta read this story to the end to see this game...it just keeps getting better and better.

The eboard will pick Potter's successor and damn, oh what luck, Marv Russo who was once president of a UFCW local was just put on the eboard. Such a coincidence. It was Marv's dad who was an international vp sitting at our bargaining table in St Paul while i was working in the stores and i made a comment as a committee member; he ate my ass up one side and down the other for opening my mouth. Funny thing is, it was that fact alone that led me to my policy that any bargaining committee member could say anything they wanted.

All that aside, this is a fascinating story and there are way more facts to come out. I am curious, how or why Marv wasn't running his local? Geez, it never ends with these guys does it?

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Pearson
Post Posted: Wed May 17, 2006 5:29 am

Joined: 03 Feb 2006
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Location: Sun City AZ
Let me put this in perspective; why it's so easy to get angry at the UFCW. On the back page of AUD's March/April 2006 issue of the Union Democracy Review is an article about the 951 election and some alleged violations during the election and on Bob Potter's expenses.

Here's the cut from AUD: The Grand Rapids Press says the investigation led to a DOL demand that the Union account for more than $269,000 in additional payments, golf equipment, luggage and gifts of wine.

So we are clear, this was from a DOL investigation. It appears the case is still pending. More importantly we started digging into the 2005 LM2's and we find Bob coming in around $300,000. The DOL site is down, so rather than error on the side of too much, let's assume some of that was vacation, pay and legitimate expenses.

In fact, let's get really conservative and say his salary was a paltry $260,000 a year. That my dear friends is $5,000 a week. Shit damn, hell, piss crap that is a lot of money. Especially when you read in the article he represents workers making $6 to $18 an hour.

But, it begs the real question...how much is enough for these guys? It begs the question has the international ever had guy who reached the limit and took too much? Course we know of Loveall's pay and benefit package, so maybe this is just small potatoes.

This will be very interesting as more details leak out. BTW, Marv Russo was working on the staff of the International as a special assistant and just coincidently was placed on the eboard of local 951. Was it just great timing? Or were there deals being struck over the last year that helped get Marv in position?

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Last edited by Pearson on Fri May 19, 2006 8:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
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SharynS
Post Posted: Wed May 17, 2006 11:10 am

Joined: 28 Jan 2006
Posts: 3625
Location: the 'puter
Quote:
Or were there deals being struck over...
Now there's a project for the change to win crew eh.

I'm not at all surprised, the past decade has ufcw performing endless positional feats of magic for the most loyal. There's always a place 'n money is no object.

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loonietunes
Post Posted: Wed May 17, 2006 12:58 pm

Joined: 30 Mar 2006
Posts: 1210
Siggy-

Some of us know where all of the skeletons are buried.

A former big-shot from UFCW Local 951--Robert V. Morand was sent out to Southern California in the early 1990's. Morand had been a very close buddy of Potter.

Well-Things didn't go very well for him in So Cal so he ended up in the State of Washington where he was made Regional Director of the UFCW.

Morand retired two years ago and opened up a string of Hotels in the Washington State area.

I wonder where the Funding came from for these Hotels?

Actually isn't a great idea--a kind of retirement home(bed and breakfast) for the UFCW boys.

Although I would much prefer them in a State or Federal prison where the accomadations are, shall we say, "a pain in the ass" so to speak.

LT
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CUPE_Reformer
Post Posted: Thu May 25, 2006 7:35 am

Joined: 04 Feb 2006
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Location: Real Solidarity
Russ Blunden's new web site

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Pearson
Post Posted: Thu May 25, 2006 12:29 pm

Joined: 03 Feb 2006
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Location: Sun City AZ
Hey C_R is that it on the site? It's just a statement. This guy used to run a blog, any idea what happened?

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Matt Noyes
Post Posted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 12:24 am

Joined: 07 Feb 2006
Posts: 28
Sharyn reminded me of this thread. Here's the first para from a new piece on the situation from the latest Union Democracy Review. -- Matt

In Food Workers Local 951:
Pressuring witnesses to save a suspect election

By Judith Schneider

In September 2005, the U.S. Department of Labor filed suit to overturn August-September 2004 mail ballot results and order new elections for president and three regional vice-presidents of Local 951, United Food and Commercial Workers. With some 33,000 members throughout Michigan, the local is one of the largest in the UFCW. The union's next regular election is scheduled for Summer - Fall 2007 and the lawsuit is still pending. Read more here: uniondemocracy.org/UDR/142-Pressuring_witnesses_to_save_a_suspect_election

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SharynS
Post Posted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 12:57 am

Joined: 28 Jan 2006
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[snicker] ufcw's twisted version of "no news is good news" [/snicker]

I completely forgot all about this ufcw scandal/debacle/shame until Matt reminded me. I checked into the 951 site long after the thread was started, but of course it was like watching paint dry.

ufcw 951 local website has an "ask 951" feature - ummmm, so I did?

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SharynS
Post Posted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 7:46 pm

Joined: 28 Jan 2006
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The trial date has been changed to June 4, 2007.

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CUPE_Reformer
Post Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 8:45 am

Joined: 04 Feb 2006
Posts: 257
Location: Real Solidarity
President

Marvin Russow 4615
Russ Blunden 1447

2007 Officer Election Final Results

Russ Blunden for UFCW Local 951 President

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Pearson
Post Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 1:35 pm

Joined: 03 Feb 2006
Posts: 1421
Location: Sun City AZ
Thanks for the update C_R; it's just a shame for Blunden. The travesty in the contested election the time before is almost unimaginable. AUD had reported the scandalous behavior and all that happens is the ufcw brings in one of the good old boys to replace Potter who is handed a sweet deal somewhere else. Nice.

Let's quickly recap: Joe Crump and a couple of the other officers are sickened by what Potter was doing and reported it to the DOL. Joe gets shipped off to Washington State where he dies a little over a year later. The other guys were suing the local and i'm not sure what the outcome is/was.

Blunden runs and Potter et al pull all kinds of crap that gets the election forced into a rerun. The ufcw international saw/knew Potter was going down so they line up the cush job for him and import Russow and place him in the local. They give him ample time to get the machine behind him.

Walla, justice ufcw style! These guys are true magicians. The guys that went to the dol end up on the outs, the guy who ran a great campaign gets screwed and the scoundrels get rewarded.

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