UFCW’s Undemocratic Convention

While the Talarico scandal exploded, UFCW held its int’l. convention in Chicago. UFCW dissidents, using the disgraced former Secretary-Treasurer Talarico as a rallying point, were barred from the convention. At a Jul. 30 press conference, UFCW President Douglas H. Dority was asked about why dissident leader Louis Anderson was barred; Dority responded, “He has no right at this convention. When he writes stuff that undermines our organizing campaign, he has no right to be at this convention.”

According to dissidents, two-thirds of the nearly 2,000 delegates and alternates at the convention are either local union bosses or paid staff who will not oppose the bosses to whom they owe their jobs. Thus, incumbent officers were reelected Jul. 28, including Dority, Secretary-Treasurer Joseph Hansen and 49 vice presidents. All were unopposed and elected by acclamation. A potential challenge to Dority from Canton, OH Local 17A President Gary Feiock was smashed when he couldn’t show support from 15 locals. The same situation happened 5 years ago when Feiock attempted a presidential run. “We’re used to being underdogs. We just want [the election process] to be more democratic,” said a Feiock supporter.

On Jul. 31, the convention passed a constitutional amendment raising the tax paid by locals to the int’l. by $24 per year per member. This increases a member’s payment to UFCW to $108 a year. Approval came without debate and was among the convention’s final actions. [BNA 07/29/98, 07/31/98 & 08/03/98]