Molson's Suckerpunch: The Dick Findlay Story
Disclaimer: In deference to a threat of legal action made to MfD by the Brewery Workers' Union's legal representative Anthony Glavin, a number of edits have been made to the original content of this post. Follow the links to view the Union's threat.
Meet the Champ...
Here's a story about a local workingclass hero that you might not have heard.
The man in question is Dick Findlay and for more than fifteen years he has battled courageously for his personal vindication regards his wrongful and illegal dismissal (while disabled) by Molson Brewery (Vancouver).
Dick Findlay knows something about fighting.
Dick is a former three-time light welterweight Canadian Boxing Champion and Canadian Olympic Athlete (Mexico - 1968). Although far too modest to say so himself, Findlay is arguably pound-for-pound the best fighter to ever come out of Vancouver.
Lightning fast, and as poised a boxer as you'll ever see, Findlay was the real deal.
I first saw Dick box in 1966 when he won a Golden Gloves competition here in Vancouver and I have known him personally since 1974 when I worked with him at Molson's brewery.
A Denial of Justice...
In September 1988 Dick was fired from his 20 year position at Molson Brewery under the most outrageously egregious and questionable circumstances, resulting in the loss of his disability benefits and pension.
For more than 15 years he has attempted (unsuccessfully) to fight this injustice, to have these wrongs righted.
Dick Findlay has the support of numerous MLAs, the Citizen's Research Institute, as well as BC Provincial Court Judge, George P. Angelomatis, all to no avail.
He has copious amounts of evidence indicating his constructive dismissal by the company was as a edited and an unscrupulous Director of Personnel & Industrial Relations for Molson Brewery, B.C.
His complaints of impropriety on the part of Molson and the Brewery Workers' Union and its legal representatives however, have consistently fallen on deaf ears in the courts and in particular at the Labour Relations Board and its predecessor, the Industrial Relations Council.
Findlay, often representing himself has been consistently denied justice in these matters.
Injured, Disabled, Terminated...
What can't be denied is the fact he was fired by Molson, literally the day after which Molson's own Medical Advisor assessed him and found Findlay "unable to work at his regular job" due to "his ongoing leg muscle problem."
Thus there can be no doubt Mr. Findlay was injured and disabled at the time of his firing by Molson, and that furthermore, Molson had certain knowledge of Findlay's disability with proof provided by its own Medical Advisor.
Further proof of Mr. Findlay's ongoing disability is his acceptance for a disability pension by a Canada Pension Plan Review Tribunal in February 1995.
The reader should be made aware that I, like Findlay have too, fallen victim to this type of human rights violation by my former employer Labatt -again with the edited of the Brewery Workers' Union.
(See 'Terminated while Disabled: Labatt's Dirty Little Secret' and "Cheated by Labatt: The Mike Nunas Story" posted in the General Mayhem forum at the links below):
A Brazen, Discriminatory Act...
For as in Findlay's case, this elected official of the Union allowed me and another brewery worker named Michael Nunas to be terminated notwithstanding we too were disabled and unable to work.
Such a termination is discriminatory to a person with a disability and a breach of the B.C. Human Rights Act, and as such is illegal.
Viewed in their proper context, Findlay's, mine and Nunas' terminations must surely be seen as persistent and calculated discriminatory conduct by these Employers, and as such reflects on and reveals the Union's longstanding and consistently poor track record in providing any protection for its disabled members, notwithstanding its constitutional obligation and duty to do so.
As I wrote in my recent Section 12 application currently under review by the LRB:
'It appears likely the Employer's brazen acts of discriminatory treatment of disabled employees may continue ad infinitum, as long as it can continue to rely on the Union to allow such conduct to go unchecked.'
'The question...of course, is will the (Labour Relations) Board allow this discriminatory and illegal conduct to continue with such impunity or put a stop to it, finally?'
The Search for an Advocate...
In the case of Dick Findlay the LRB's answer has been firmly and consistently on the side of Molson's and the Brewery Workers' Union.
Currrently Dick seeks an advocate to represent and advance his interests.
Dick believes all he really needs is an advocate powerful and vocal enough to somehow persuade the Brewery Workers' Union and Molson -with perhaps the threat of great public humiliation and embarrassment at their respective failure -to do 'the right thing" and re-instate his benefits and pension. He seeks restitution in the form of "justified money".
To that end I have alerted him to the Members for Democracy web-site and its invaluable forums and insights.
Although he's not yet very net-savvy, the knowledge of the existence of such a site has buoyed his spirits (as it has mine) and undoubtedly he may be moved, in time, to contribute a few of his own postings.
The Fight Goes On...
All of us have much to learn from Dick Findlay's experience in labour relations. His is a text-book case of how a disabled worker gets screwed out of his rights, his disability benefits, his pension, etc. and how a Union and an unscrupulous Employer can simply walk away -their respective asses covered by the Labour Relations Act.
Dick Findlay's fought unsuccessfully for more than 15 years for a just conclusion to his dispute with Molson Breweries. But like the true champion that he is, he refuses to stay down for the count -he keeps getting back up.
And that's a valuable lesson for us all to learn.
If you'd like to know more about this unsung Canadian boxing hero and the injustice done to him, then post a reply. Dick is keenly interested to see what kind of response his story garners. After all he's endured on his own I know it must come as a shock and a revelation to find a group of people equally outraged and so well versed in the ways of the 'labour relations community'.
So let him hear your voice. I know he would greatly appreciate hearing some support from you all.
And if you know of someone who, as an advocate might have the public relations savvy to effect a reasonable settlement for Dick Findlay, by all means contact me through this forum and I'll put you in touch with Dick.
He is willing to share in any settlement with any advocate who can successfully settle the matter of his considerable, outstanding disability benefits and pension monies with Molson Breweries.
Here is Dick Findlay as seen in Library and Archives Canada.
I work in the brewing industry in Ontario. I am sorry to hear of your treatment at the hands of Molson/Labatt and their "partners."
Labatt London Brewery Workers Local #1 have a website.
(I also posted this in another thread, sorry to repeat myself.)
There is a website run by a Molson BC worker at NoMoreTiers.org.
He may be worth contacting.
NoMoreTiers.org is a pro-union, pro-working class, website dedicated to the elimination of multi-tier, discriminatory wage policies based on any grounds (race, religion, age, sex, sexual-orientation, regular employee compliment numbers, core numbers), and all other forms of corporate voodoo aimed at the division of the working class. Our watchwords are; Equal pay (and benefits) for equal work.
That's a very compelling story and one of many from the sounds of it. I've always found the bias against disabled workers on the part of management and union representatives particularly galling. It's like these guys are still living in the 1950's.
A New Law Brings Renewed Hope for Dick Findlay...
My friend Dick Findlay recently brought something interesting to my attention that I've not seen talked about before in this forum: it's the brand new "Personal Information Protection Act," which came into effect January 1, 2004.
Much like the "Freedom of Information and Personal Privacy Act" -which provides access to one's personal information from government agencies -the new Act is designed to assist the public in accessing personal information from organizations and specifically includes trade unions.
The new law in its entirety is available for review at:
This could obviously be of great benefit to anyone experiencing difficulty in obtaining personal information from his union.
In the case of Dick Findlay, he has recently written to Gerry Bergunder, the Brewery Workers' Union's new Business Agent, requesting documents related to his union membership status and his apparent expulsion from the Union.
This is a matter that Findlay's tried unsuccessfully to have addressed by the Union for a number of years, but the Union's response in the past has been to simply ignore him.
But as Findlay notes in his recent letter to Mr. Bergunder:
"I have been a member of Local 300 since 1967 and I have done no harm to this Union or to any union member. The Union constitution states clearly that a member shall remain on sick benefits if he is disabled and his membership shall continue until he is recovered. I am supported in my disability by the Federal Government in the form of a Canada Pension Plan disability decision (previously forwarded to you). It is legally and logically impossible for me not to be a member in good standing in Local 300. Please confirm in writing my membership in the Union and send me a current card."
Knowledge is Only as Valuable as its Usefulness...
So take heart. Check out this new Canadian law. See if it applies to your situation.
And if your union's giving you the runaround, not providing you with answers, information, etc. then the "Personal Information Protection Act," might just be your ticket.
Oh yeah, and be sure to tell everyone you know about this latest and valuable addition to the rights of trade union members in Canada.
And if it turns out to be beneficial...well, tell 'em you owe it all to the Champ.
It is legally and logically impossible for me not to be a member in good standing in Local 300. Please confirm in writing my membership in the Union and send me a current card."
Has the the union responded to Dick's legal request? Has Dick received his union card?
posted by siggy:
Has the the union responded to Dick's legal request? Has Dick received his union card?
Yes. And no.
The Brewery Workers' Union did provide Dick Findlay with a number of documents from the Union's files, apparently none of which indicated when -or for that matter why -his membership in the Union was suspended.
So in mid-September I accompanied Dick to a General Membership Union meeting at the Eagles Hall in New Westminster to get an answer to that question.
KITTY BAR THE DOOR
However, Findlay was stopped at the door by the Union's president Roy Graham and prevented from entering the hall. Graham stated that Findlay was not a member in good standing and so could not attend a meeting of the Union.
Dick Findlay then advised 'Brother' Graham that he had been a member of Local 300 since 1967 and had done no harm to the Union or to any union member.
As he had previously stated in his letter to the Union's Business Agent Gerry Bergunder, Findlay made it clear that the Union's own constitution states clearly that a member shall remain on sick benefits if he is disabled and his membership shall continue until he is recovered.
Findlay too, reminded Roy Graham that a Canada Pension Plan disability decision -previously forwarded to the Union -supported his claim to disability, and thus it was legally and logically impossible for Findlay not to be a member in good standing in Local 300.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, Roy Graham was adamant in preventing Dick from entering the meeting, stating that the Union had on file a document from 1995 that confirmed his suspension from the Union.
It was left to me then, to bring up the matter of Dick Findlay's membership during the course of the meeting, which I did.
I was given the same answer -a document from 1995 confirmed...etc.
PIPA TO THE RESCUE
It is worth noting that Dick has advised me he has yet to receive said document and has recently complained to the "Personal Information Protection Act" people that the Union has failed to comply with the new law.
Last week Dick Findlay spoke personally to a government Commissioner who assured him the Brewery Workers' Union will be made to comply with the law. It remains to be seen if this new Canadian law will have 'teeth', or not.
THE LRB'S TWO CENTS WORTH
What I do know about Dick Findlay's membership in my Union is noted in a B.C. Labour Relations Board decision BCLRB 243/2002 in which it is stated at paragraph 12:
"...(it) is apparent from BCLRB 140/93, Findlay is not a member of the Union" leaving Dick Findlay with the distinct impression that it's the B.C. Labour Relations Board that has somehow been the instrument for the suspension of his membership in the Brewery Workers' Union.
Now however, the Union is being asked to substantiate Findlay's removal from the Union, not by a biased Labour Relations Board decision, but by the new Federal agency, PIPA.
SEE NO EVIL, HEAR NO EVIL...
However, this might prove to be troubling for the Union. Because I believe what's really gone on here is the Union long ago simply declared Findlay's membership to be void as a means to avoid its duty (i.e. its obligation) to respond to him regards the many troubling matters Dick Findlay continued to raise; namely: the psychological bullying he endured by Union officials and Molson's management which of course, culminated with the loss of his disability benefits and job and pension at Molson's brewery.
WHAT GOES AROUND...WELL, YOU KNOW THE REST
Then there's the matter of the Union's refusal to go to arbitration to resolve these matters for Dick Findlay.
There's an interesting side-note regards that refusal by the Union:
In its recent dismissal of MfD member gbuddy's application for a Reconsideration (see BCLRB 303/2004 at page 3) of BCLRB 421/2003, the LRB cites Richard Finlay, (sic) IRC C144/90 as sufficient and plausible grounds for gbuddy's union's refusal to call witnesses that might have exonerated him.
Thus, the shameful denial of justice for Dick Findlay in 1990 has (not for the first time) been utilised by the LRB to give further credence to another woeful LRB decision, here in the 21st century.
An excellent example of an injustice resulting in further injustice, with no end in sight.