CUPE addresses credit card misuse

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By Sean Tepper

A member of Ryerson’s staff and faculty union who used a group credit card for personal expenses is no longer employed by the union, according to a letter obtained by The Eyeopener.

In a letter addressed to members of the union, Donald Elder, the President of Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 3904, acknowledged that “there had been inappropriate use of a credit card” and that “the money owing has since been repaid and the individual is no longer an employee of Local 3904.”

“There was a mistake made, it was corrected and policies are now in place to ensure it will not happen again,” Elder said in his letter.

Elder’s letter comes as a direct response to a letter sent out to union members by Jacquie Chic, the local’s vice-president of campaigns.

In her email, Chic reveals that Elder and treasurer Rob Coelho informed union executives of the credit card misuse in March, but that they allegedly had known about it since 2009.

Chic also notes that both Elder and Coelho allegedly “made clear their intention not to” tell members of the credit card misuse after she “urged and later begged the president and treasurer” to do so.

“They explained that they had asked the individual to stop and discussed repayment,” she said in the letter. “Some repayment was made along the way but the card continued to be used improperly. They did not take steps to stop the practice. The money was ultimately returned in June of this year.”

While Elder’s letter acknowledged the improper use of the group credit card it did not disclose the name of the former union member, the amount that was charged to the card or when Elder first found out about the misuse.

Additionally, it did not touch upon allegations that the union did not have trustees overseeing their finances for two of those three years or that financial irregularities were not reported in statements from 2009 onwards, which both go against union by-laws.

Elder said that these issues would be discussed at the local’s annual membership meeting which takes place on Oct. 24.

Both Elder and Chic were unavailable to comment on the issue.

With files from the Toronto Star

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