When International President Bob McEllrath attended the All-Alaska Longshore Division Caucus meeting last January in Anchorage, he offered to assist the Division in educating their unit officers to help streamline reporting responsibilities and other fiduciary duties throughout the units.
McEllrath volunteered International Secretary-Treasurer Willie Adams, along with veteran ILWU staffers, Russ Bargmann and Robin Walker and ILWU attorney Rob Remar to work with Division officers to plan a Secretary-Treasurers workshop, held April 19-20 in Anchorage.
The workshop focused on providing training and resources to union officers who are responsible for overseeing the financial health of local unions and complying with state and federal labor reporting and disclosure laws.
“A Secretary-Treasurer’s job is two-fold, and both parts are very important,” said Adams. “First we have to make sure that the books are honest, accurate and up to date. We serve as the financial watchdogs for the membership and follow all sorts of procedures to protect the membership dues dollars that we are responsible for safeguarding.” The second part of the job involves complying with state and federal laws – especially regular reports that must be made to the U.S. Department of Labor. “These regulations must \ be followed and deadlines have to be met,” he said. International Secretary-Treasurer Willie Adams was first elected to his current post in 2003, and says he’s still grateful to those who taught him the ropes and helped him along the way. Helping the brothers and sisters in Alaska and beyond has been rewarding, he says.
A group of close to 20 participants took the 2-day training seriously, studying the law, listening to speakers, and completing a mock local audit procedure.
“When President McEllrath heard that our Division could use some help with a training about union financial responsibilities and record keeping, he quickly suggested we consider having the International assist our effort; it was an offer we could not refuse,” said Alaska Longshore Division Secretary-Treasurer Darryl Tesu. “We can’t thank brother Willie Adams, and the ILWU International staff enough for taking time out of their busy schedules to spend time working with us here. Every oneof our participating Port Secretary-Treasurers and Officers left Anchoragewith a wealth of information and knowledge packed into 4-inch binders that we all took home.
“Understanding the responsibilities of keeping our financial house in order is imperative to our future as an organization and an integral part of our internal organizing efforts,” said Tesu.