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Shady Teamsters Local in Trusteeship

Written by Wanda Pasz Wednesday, 29 March 2006

Canadian Teamsters and corruption-watchers are keeping an ear to the ground after news earlier this week that Toronto-based Teamsters Local 847 has been placed in trusteeship by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

The Secretary-Treasurer of Local 847 is none other than the legendary (or notorious depending on your perspective) Gil Davis is a colourful character who was a lifelong sidekick of the late, and equally colourful, Tommy Corrigan - the only guy to run three locals of three separate unions and still have time for a lot of ... other things.

According to a report in the National Post, Davis and his executive board have been relieved of their responsibilities following an internal investigation that revealed misuse of the Local's health and welfare fund including:

- Money was taken from the welfare fund, ostensibly to reimburse the union for its share of the costs of moving to new premises but the amount paid out of the fund exceeded the total cost of the moving expenses;

- Welfare fund money was used to pay for a car for a union business agent, a Christmas party for stewards, the rental of a banquet hall and the purchase of computers and liquor;

- Money was drawn from the fund to pay to the union for operational expenses in amounts that appear to overpay for such services from 1998 until 2004;

- The welfare fund was used to pay for union organizing and recruitment activities;

- Money was drawn from the fund to pay officers for work as opposed to reimbursing them for expenses, in violation of the trust agreement.

Local 847 represents approximately 5,000 workers 3,800 full-time and 1,000 part-time workers, including passenger screening staff at Pearson International Airport in Toronto.

Larry McDonald, a Teamsters official involved in the audit was quoted saying, "This local has had an interesting past. This is probably long overdue."

Meanwhile, Davis has been making serious allegations of his own. In the days leading up to the trusteeship, he accused Teamsters Canadian President Robert Bouvier of attempting to bribe him into signing off a substandard contract at a firm where Bouvier's son is Director of Human Resources.

A letter, purportedly from Davis, containing the accusation is posted on www.teamster.net.

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