Video: BIU President On Union Dues Increase

August 19, 2014

BIU President Chris Furbert held a press conference today [Aug 19] to discuss the dues increase for union members, which are set to move from $12 to $14.

“The BIU, whether or not a lot of people realize it, is a business,” said Mr. Furbert. “And as a business we have operational expenses. And those operational expenses are mainly covered by dues. They have been since the Union was formed over 60 odd years ago.”

Mr. Furbert gave an overview of how the increase was approved in line with the BIU constitution, and said the last dues increase was put into place in May/June of 2008.

“Having not had an dues increase since 2008, some 6 years ago, you can appreciate that expenses continue to rise, ” said Mr. Furbert, citing costs including electricity, maintenance and professional fees.

He also said that the Union’s staff wages are not “excessive” and also noted that the Union staff start work at 9.00am and don’t have a set “knock off time” and are sometimes working until 9.00pm or 10.00pm at night.

13-minute video of today’s press conference:

According to the BIU’s website, “All employees must pay a joining fee of $3.00 to become a member and weekly membership dues of $12.00.

“In an organised workplace your weekly dues will be automatically deducted from you payroll. In an unorganised workplace members will have to come n and pay over-the-counter weekly, monthly or yearly.

Speaking on Associate Members, who they describe as members who are self-employed or work in a non-unionized workplace, the BIU website said that the “Associate Membership fee is $9.00 to join and $3.00 per month or $36.00 per year.

“Associate members are not entitled to benefits outlined under Member Benefits but may be approved for other union benefits.”

Mr. Furbert said the BIU’s membership has been fairly stable for the last decade, with between 3,700 – 3,800 members.

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  1. aceboy says:

    “….the Union staff start work at 9.00am and don’t have a set “knock off time” and are sometimes working until 9.00pm or 10.00pm at night.”

    Sounds like they need….a union. Do they get overtime?

    Let’s face it, we have seen the BIU’s financials. The greatest expense BY FAR is management salaries and benefits.

    • 32n64w says:

      Agreed. Why would the delegates’ conference held four months ago in March contemplate a dues increase unless the Executive had asked them to do so? Audited accounts for the last two years are non-existent so members would have no idea of the current financial picture, unlike the Executive who would likely have access to management accounts and therefore a current snapshot of the Union’s finances.

      This is spin and misdirection at its best.

      The Executive are trying to assign responsibility for the decision to materially increase the burden on members to everyone but themselves; but any reasonable observer can see as clear as day that their fingerprints are all over this manoeuvre.

      Furthermore, during the ten years ended 2009 the BIU spent more than $26m on management salaries and benefits and only $0.4m on their membership or about 6,300% more on themselves rather than the people paying their salaries which begs the question – who’s really benefiting from the workers’ sacrifices because it sure doesn’t look like the BIU team are struggling considering their 2009 payroll and management expenses alone were in excess of $3.1m?

      Just imagine how much better off the workers would be if they kept an extra $728 a year in take home pay? That’s a week’s wage for quite a number of people.

      The BIU calls for transparency, accountability and consultation but failed on all three counts when it comes to their very own corporate governance. Hypocrisy, in full bloom, for all to see.

      • Chaos Theory says:

        For YE 30 Sept 2011, Salaries and so called “Other Expenses of Management” amounted to $3,112,631.

        The financials that are filed are so basic and so lacking in Notes or explanations, that they are essentially useless.

      • 32n64w says:

        If other online comments are accurate regarding the BIU having 17 full and part time employees, than based on 2009 audited accounts (which are four years old!) the average salary for a BIU employed worker (when adding salaries and management costs – based on published accounts) equates to an annual compensation package of $182,000 per person.

        Presumably there are a number of administrative employees earning significantly less, so if one averages salaries to accommodate a typical hierarchy of responsibility, the top few BIU officers are each earning more than $250,000 each. Does this sound like shared sacrifice?

    • Pop Or Ratze? says:

      You have current financials or he ones that were unaudited and 10 years behind?

    • Kunta says:

      If Majority of Union Members do not have a problem with it them MIND YOUR OWN BUISNESS and if you are not a Union Member then its non of your BUISNESS………………..

      • Kunta says:


        • hmmm says:

          Isn’t the union suppossed to prevent workers from being taken advantage of. Wasn’t that the point.

          Today there is zero transparency and dictatorial fee increases place don the workers.

          If folks ask questions then they are told “MIND YOUR OWN BUISNESS”

          • Kunta says:

            Hey Dreamer all members were informed when they had their Divisional meetings, and like Democracy works majority were in favor, and those who did not attend and are against it, well you know what they say “You snooze you lose”
            I bet if you asked those so called disgruntled members if they had a choice to leave a Unionized job and take their DUES and work for a Non Unionized job what you think their choice would be !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            • Creamy says:

              It was a decision made in secret by the cabal of leaders. The same people who benefit personally if the union can pay its employees more.

            • foldgers says:

              grow up KUNTA ..There is nothing funny about the context of your statement.. grow up please. Sometimes you have valid points but try to refrain from using LMFAO. It totally negates any point you are trying to make.

      • 32n64w says:

        Please cite where the majority of BIU members gave their consent! Who proffered the resolution to increase dues?

        The BIU are governed by an act of Parliament so it goes without saying that their decions and choices affect all of us.

        The BIU’s choices (as we’ve seen and experienced via numerous disruptions to public services) clearly impact on the lives of ALL residents so you’re comment regarding who has a say is clear. Sorry if you don’t appreciate the fact we’re all connected by their choices, good and bad.

        • LaVerne Furbert says:

          You need to take care of your own businesses, 32n64w. Don’t you worry about the BIU, the BIU can take care of itself.

          • Watcher says:

            judging from your laughable accounts Laverne its very clear that several members of the BIU executive are doing just that, Taking care of themselves!

          • hmmm says:

            It takes care of itself indeed…just got to pay itself another $2 from every member.

          • Kangoocar says:

            Laverne, I have some advice for you and it will help you get home a lot earlier each day!!! If you actually spent your day working instead of reading and writing the blogs, you will be able to knock off on time each day!!! Being your boss furby says you guys work so late ( not that I believe that for one second by the way ) I just thought I would give you some useful advise!!! You can thank me at your convenience?????

          • Redman says:

            @ Laverne Furbert,

            Spoken like someone who is taking care of themselves.

          • Creamy says:

            Aren’t you supposed to be at work Laverne? Sounds like you’re putting money over Bermudians.

      • Creamy says:

        He’s putting money over Bermudians.

      • Anbu says:

        Well if its in the news then obviously its our business there buddy. Furbert wouldnt have held a press conference if he thought otherwise. Now go back sleep mate

      • jt says:

        Kunta…the same should apply to decisions made by the oba…perhaps?

      • hmmm says:

        Are you on the payroll ?

    • Kunta says:


      • huh? says:

        propoganda to stop you questioning the high salaries of the BIU. you have been done over.

    • moving forward says:

      So furlough decreased wages by 4.6% and the BIU adds a further decrease of 17%. Let the BPSU try that crap and see how fast MY dues go to charity!

  2. We Are Not Amused! says:

    52 x $16….you do the maths…

    think of what you could do with that amount of money in your pocket,
    why would you want to give that amount away.

    • We Are Not Amused! says:


      • Come Correct says:

        I’m no fan of the way Chris Furbert does things but less than $800 a year for protection from unfair dismissal is well worth it to me. I’m not a union member but after seeing how my company conducts its business I’m seriously considering it. Yes the employment act is there to protect us but who has the money to take on a multi-million dollar company in court, especially in these times? Why would I pay out my pay check in legal fees for A lawyer when I can pay $14, $16 to have a small army at my back? The company I work for claims to do things by the book, but I’ve seen some shady things go on in the last 6 months all while being paid a wage I can barely survive on. I’m at a point where I’d rather see this company torn to the ground than work for them anymore. Luckily for me I have an option B, but the majority out there don’t. I say to hell with our lives being ruled by corporations.

        • Hmmm says:

          The law now protects you from unfair dismissal….where ya been?

          • Come Correct says:

            I covered that, where were you?

            • hmmm says:

              You expecting to be unfairly dismissed. If that is the case, then the Employment tribunal is your recourse.

        • hmmm says:

          Please can you return anything you have purchased or used that has anything to do with a Corporation..

          that is just about everything. You say “To hell with all corporations” …. really.

          Why did you have to say to hell with ALL corporations…surely it is the one you are with you have a beef with.

          If you don’t think you have a good employer, then go look for work for a better employer.

  3. Toodle-oo says:

    If Mr Furbert admits that the BIU is a business then I hope he realizes that the Bda Government is also a business. Just like a household is also a business .

    If the Government or a household pays out more than it takes in then it’s broke.

    Besides some salaries though , what is the BIU paying out ?

    • Naive Observer says:

      Well looking at the 2009 Financials, they sure are not paying out much in the way of member benefits.

  4. Believe says:

    2.3 million is a lot of operating expenses for a business !

    • Toodle-oo says:

      Especially when one considers that they’re not manufacturing anything that requires purchasing quantities of raw materials or sitting on unsold stock .

    • serengeti says:

      From now on I guess it’s 3,800 members x $724 a year = $2,766,400 a year. Plus the income from the gas station, the Liberty Theatre and their apartments and commercial properties.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      When you look at it, the $2 increase per week per member pretty much amounts to $384,800 extra to the coffers a year based on the pessimistic number of 3,700 members. Given the difficulty so many members are facing in this economy, could the executive have volunteered to take most of that required increase out of the executive salaries. After all they keep harping on about how their members have sacrificed for this country, could they not sacrifice for their members.

  5. Hmmm says:

    So the BIU is a business, but you fight against business needing to make changes. Then you turn around and hike up fees to protect your business…..

    You are being taken for a ride and your dollars

    Finally the truth is out.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      The hypocrisy is astounding, by his own admission, the BIU is out to make money, that is what a business does. Produce/sell/distribute a product/service to cover operational expenses and produce a profit for it’s invested parties. So Mr. Furbert has absolutely no problem with the BIU doing this, but objects to other businesses doing this. In order to have successful business, the business requires it’s employees to efficiently carry out their works, failure to do this means the business cannot succeed and the employment of the whole field of employees becomes threatened. As the president of a business, he must know and accept this, yet he decries injustice when a member violates their terms of employment at another business and more often results in inflicting additional cost and suffering to society on whole.

      Membership fee of $14/wk, 52wks/yr = $728/yr
      Multiply that by 3700 members = $2,693,600/yr

      How much full time staff do they need? How can they be struggling with $2.7m a year when they do not need to operate a storefront to sell a product or service? Just need a staff to receive dues and check the books. Honestly, if Mr. Furbert was a president of an actual business and was finding it tough to manage a business the size of the BIU, he’d have been fired by now

      And another thing, if they are struggling to make ends meet with their revenue vs overhead at the rates they had, how the hell did they show they could produce a $5m dollar bond for Berkley… oh wait, they didn’t, their friends in the PLP were willing to not look, even though they would have already known they could not have.

  6. will of the people says:

    Where is the transperacy?

  7. Strike fund says:

    So if members leave they can save $728 per year?

    I assume there is a strike fund to pay workers that go on strike as the employer is not obliged to pay them.

    It would also nice if one of the figureheads of the P. Campaign led by example in terms of transparency and informed the members of the BIU Executive salaries.

    • jt says:

      If their workplace is unionized they still lose the $…must be donated to charity. Absurd.

      • Strike fund says:

        I’d heard that and couldn’t believe it.

        Imagine the marches if that piece of legislation was amended.

        • Hmmm says:

          Workers should be free to not join union , to leave union and to not have they wages reduced just because a place has union representation. That is a dictatorship. Unnaceptable…Peoples movement need to campaign against punishing workers like this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Kunta says:

            So they should be free not to join the Union, so do they give up the benefits, I don’t think so.
            Dr. Gordon and them fought too hard to let a few disgruntled naysayers to dissolve the MOVEMENT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            • Creamy says:

              The union doesn’t give the employee benefits. The employer does.

              • jt says:

                Thank you. The thinking is simply remarkable.

                • LOL (Original TM*) says:

                  You think Cunta thinks………………………………


            • Build a Better Bermuda says:

              So you believe that someone should be forced into an organization against their will?

  8. watching says:

    why does Chris furbert feel the need to explain to the general public the increase? isn’t this a union fee that has been voted on by the members? it has nothing to do with the general public and by having this press conference I feel has done more harm than good.

    • PBanks says:

      Because members of the BIU showed their disapproval to the media. So the BIU are trying to explain/provide damage control.

      • watching says:

        A ‘member’ sent a letter to the editor. How do we know this person was an ‘actual’ member?

        • huh? says:

          what has this got to do with anything?

          The point is Chris Furbert is part of the people movement and is marching requiring transparency consultation etc.

          mysterously this transparency doesnt apply this to the union – the people’s company.

        • Hmmm says:

          And if it wasn’t, everything would be ok by you?

      • Now u’lot, don’t be too surprise if they call an Island wide strike…Just to interrupt progress :-(

    • serengeti says:

      No, it has not been voted on by its members.

      The reason it’s a public issue is because union members have no choice. They have to pay these fees. To feed to fat cat union bosses, by the look of it.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      The members didn’t vote on it, it was decided on by the BIU oligarchy.

  9. Heavens says:

    Where was the “Consultaion” with its Members? jokers.

  10. theothersidebda says:

    Forget about whether the salaries are ‘excessive’, let’s assume they are ‘adqeuate’..Shouldn’t they be looking to reduce salaries rather under the banner of “shared sacrifice”…why must the members be the ones bear the brunt of this?

  11. Navin Johnson says:

    what would the breakdown of salaries be?

  12. Chris Famous says:

    Did not the members vote for this?

    Considering the growth of attacks against organized labour eg civil service the members realize now more than ever the need for union representation.

    It would be wise for the attacks against the unions to cease.

    • sonso says:

      It would be ever more wise for the unions to realize that we are all in this together on this little speck on a rock we call home.

      Most of the comments above are absolutely correct Famous. Why on earth does in one breath the BIU/PLP/PC talk about shared sacrifice yada yada yada, and then in the other talk about how the BIU is a business and needs this increase in membership dues! I think Butch and Co shouldve reduced the fees by $2 to help THEIR members out who are crying the loudest!

    • Double D says:

      No they didn’t. The division heads agreed, not the actual members who they represent. This is the same Union management that stamp their feet about not being consulted each and every week about each and everything under the sun.

      Don’t you find it a tad bit hypocritical of all the calls for ‘shared sacrifice’ seem not to apply to the management of the Union? And what about transparency to the fee paying members regarding how their dues are being spent? For instance in 2011 85% of dues paid went to Union managment while a paltry 1.5% was paid out in the form of ‘benefits paid to members.’ If this was a private business that was Unionized and this fact came out, you know full well the Union would be decryign the management as greedy capitalist pigs getting rich off the workers’ back, yada, yada, yada,

      Why does the Union keep on calling out businesses for raising their prices and then in the next breath raise their fees with their leader acknowledging that the “the BIU, whether or not a lot of people realise it, is a business — we have operational expenses which are mainly covered by dues”. Why is the Union business so different than private busines?

      Come on Famous despite your undying loyalty even you have to admit to seeing the irony in all this? Right?

    • serengeti says:

      No, the members did not vote for this. There was a special delegate conference on July 29, where this decision was taken. So the big-wigs in charge made a decision in a secret meeting to increases the dues by nearly 17%.

      No attacks against the union Chris. Just facts, unlike the threats and erroneous conjecture in your comment.

    • Edmund Wells says:

      Mr. Famous-

      No, they didn’t.

      The decision was taken by a Special Delegate Conference of the BIU, according to the notice dated 7/29/14.

      So no, the members did not vote for this.

      Or is that splitting atoms?


    • in the know says:

      Tell the union to
      1. stop attacking the govt.
      2. stop attacking businesses that’s trying to stay afloat
      3. stop calling meetings in the middle of the day causing havoc
      4. stop attacking businesses that try to discipline their staff for the staffs breaking of the rules of the said employer
      5. stay neutral & stop being the plp’s undercover noise maker

    • can we figure this out says:

      Attacks? Asking an organisation to be transparent? You are a hypocrite

      I want to know how much these guys are paid. It may be reasonable and we can all go home.


    • Hmmm says:

      Chris Famous, why? Are you threatening Bermuda?

      • We Are Not Amused! says:

        Chris Famous threaten Bermuda?…what a joke!

    • It Sucks says:

      is that some sort of threat?? Cold day in hell for me to join, much rather support a charity.

    • Elizabeth Trumparani says:

      This sounds like a threat to me Mr Famous. I believe, in this case, you are walking on very thin ice.

    • Kangoocar says:

      @famous, Famouss or Famousss, can I borrow your brain?? I am trying to build an idiot!!! The biu executive committee according to furby voted for the fee increase, but don’t let the real facts get in the way of your usual nonsense!!!! I find it very interesting that when the the private sector or the OBA government take action to protect their business nothing but interference from the biu happens ??? But when the union act in THEIR own interest and that DOES not include their members interest, it is the way that it has to be??? Funnily the usual plp talking heads are silent on this matter??? Tree frogs are all I am hearing right now from them??? I think for once the members of the union and the rest of the community should come together and organize a march from Parliament to the biu headquarters!!!! And after that all union members should with hold their union dues until furby becomes transparent and admits the pay scale of himself and all the the staff at the biu!!!! Looking at the payroll expenses in 2011 compared to the benifits paid to their own members is disturbing to say the least??? Wake up all you biu members and for once use your marching shoes for a REAL good cause!!!

    • Creamy says:

      Chris, it would be wise for the stupid childish threats to cease.
      Really wise.

  13. James Herald says:

    For the year ended 30 September 2011:

    - Contributions paid to BIU by members: $2,292,861

    - Benefits paid to members: $34,038 (inclusive of “Other” of $26,231)

    - Salaries Paid to BIU Staff: $1,942,315

    - Other BIU Management expenses: $1,170,316 (with no explanation)

    • selina says:

      How much staff did the Union have at time of these stats and what are current salaries/staff?

    • sonso says:

      And that is only 2011! Imagine what those “Other mgmt expenses” are going to inflate to for 2012!

    • 21st Century says:

      According to their website there are 17 full and part time staff. This works out to an average of $115,00 per person, excluding “management expenses”

      • Toodle-oo says:

        $115,000 pp . How revealing , even if only an average.
        Especially when you consider that the ‘median wage’ on the island is supposed to be something like $58,500 .
        I guess the ‘haves’ no longer look like what was attempted to be drilled into my brain over the years.

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        Course, you have to figure that they have that list as 17 full and part time staff, so you can be assured the part timers aren’t receiving $115,000, nor would their receptionists or basic admin staff. Wonder what CF pulls in and if members would think it is a good ROI?

  14. Burnt bulb says:

    I’m glad that they are increasing the membership dues. Shucks, they should have doubled it. At least now hopefully more people will decide against contributing to this institution!

  15. serengeti says:

    So the union is putting Money Over Bermudians.

    If the union employees are at work at 9.00am until 9.00pm, how does Laverne get to make so many comments on here? What is she doing all day?

    How many salary raises have union employees had since 2008, and by how much? The average working man has been seeing his salary and benefits reduce. Why should union employees salaries be protected?

    We the people want transparency. We want to see a shared sacrifice.
    The union is putting Money Over Bermudians.

  16. Um Um Like says:

    Does this mean there will be a march from Parliament House to the BIU headquarters?

  17. mercy says:

    Government run like business= workers forced to take pay cuts so Government can try and get out of debt

    BIU run like a business= no paycuts by BIU workers but charge more to members.

    now if Government tried to increase social insurance….lol. BIU would be the first to yell lets strike.

    Mr. Furbert, please explain the science behind this shatterproof glass house you dwell in lol.

  18. selina says:

    letter from BIU MEMBER it states the increase was approved at a Special Delegates Conference.
    Now, it’s up to the members whether they wish to pay the fee or excuse themselves from having union representation and pocket that money themselves.
    Let’s see what the fall out will be.

  19. can we figure this out says:

    So in 2011 $1,942,315 was paid to staff.

    We have no information for the years after.

    Does anyone know how many staff there were in 2011? We can then compare and corrolate an average of their salary’s on standard pay for a business of a similair size.

    We sohould be able to figure out Chris’salary (roughly)

    I need to know – as I got made redundant a few months ago and the union let me go with a whimper.

    Over the years I have spent $15,000 on union fees.

    for nothing

    we cant let this continue members

  20. Justin says:

    I’m curious whether the union executive members have taken any pay cuts just as most their members have suffered pay cuts? If the cost of business has gone up then why haven’t the executive members taken a pay cut to reduce some of those expenses?

    • Family Man says:

      I’m sure they took a “Cox Cut”. They were going to give themselves a ten percent salary increase but in light of these hard times only took a five percent increase thereby saving their members 5%. The members should be grateful for the sacrifices the BIU executive has made for them.

      They are also discussing reduced hours for the executives in solidarity with their members who have taken furloughs. They are proposing to begin work at 10:00am instead of 9:00am. (Some have even volunteered to begin at 1:00pm) There won’t be any change in salary but expenses will go down as the lights and air-conditioning now won’t start until 10:00am.

  21. ranav says:

    Tell Mr fubert the staff at airport need more money like now get on the the business some of us have not had any dues taken out of our pay and we have been working for the ranav people from November

  22. onion gal says:

    If the BIU wish to raise their dues, they should have done it gradually at 50 cents per year over 4 year period, starting in January 2015 . . . Not a month’s notice as families are preparing for the children to start school as some people do have to budget some increases. As for the BIU officers, that is one high payroll . . . They have been rather to be busy with political things (PC/PLP) during working hours lately & not concentrating on actual BIU members needs, so as a business the BIU are in the business of protecting their paychecks & what an easy way to increase the BIU’s income by increasing THE WORKERS dues!

  23. Karen Skiffington says:

    The union also owns properties I believe, and collects quite a bit of rent. Naturally, there is also maintenance on these properties: Alaska Hall, Liberty Theatre etc.

  24. 21st Century says:

    All of those who demanded to know the salaries of the Bermuda Tourism Authority CEO and staff

    the answer “not excessive”. Good enough?

  25. Terry says:

    Posters and the BIU keep referring to “the BIU is a business”.

    All I have to say is the BIU need a new freekin CEO.

  26. San George says:

    Organized labor has played and plays an integral role in the community and economy. Many have benefited unknowingly from the sacrifices these people have made. Capitalism combined with democracy leads to a fairer society.

    • Steve Davis says:

      Name a Democracy that is not Capitalist? They go hand in hand they have similar foundations!

      Organized Labour, particularly in Bermuda lends itself to the far left much closer to communism.

      We overpay under-qualified people! That is the main reason the Government is bankrupt! Hence why most heavy hitting trade unions have little clout in places like the UK. Their economy would suffer too much if they did.

      All the Government needs is a workforce protection department that ensures by law that the person who cannot negotiate their own contract gets a fair deal .

      No more strikes, no more marches and no more school kids and old people left stranded. That would be real progression in Bermuda.

  27. Y-Gurl says:

    Seems like a lot considering the membership are being asked to stay or accept 1% maybe they feel the managements worth it! maybe when deals like the PHC “loan” is done it’s seen as a good thing, is value for money a perception or a reality? Red is the new green!

  28. 32n64w says:

    If the BIU consider themselves a “business” what happened to the agreement they negotiated with the voters not to call wildcat strikes or service disruptions in exchange for the taxpayers forgiving the Berkeley performance bond and related interest charges which totaled inxs of $10m dollars (aka blood money)? Why didn’t they return the $700k insurance premium at the same time as they clearly never earned a dime of it?

    Why does the BIU expect employers to be held to a different standard when it comes to consultation, fairness and transparency than themselves? As a “business” don’t they have an obligation to ensure they set the standard they wish all employers to follow? Have they ever heard of the expression ‘lead by example’?

    The BIU have betrayed their membership and the electorate by extracting massive salaries and overseeing social mayhem through obfuscation, hypocrisy and putting the Executive’s interests ahead of all others. This is the opposite of what a union should stand for and embrace.

  29. Scotty says:

    What percentage of your operating budget is allocated to salaries? I have never seen you take a pay cut or a furlough day during your ‘reign’. I guess that is only for the workers. Just like the BPSU. Your increase should be based on the same increase given to the workers.
    There is the old saying, ‘all brothers are equal but some brothers are more equal than others.’ You are not a business you are a paid Advisory Body.

  30. Ringmaster says:

    Good to know the BIU and its membership will accept the inevitable tax increases when they are imposed to pay for Government and its debt. Business is business after all. Tax is the same as dues. Of course this will only apply to local businesses/employees as IB cannot be taxed anymore of they will leave/downsize. Good for the BIU to show increases in deductions to already reduced paychecks are OK. Money over Bermudians certainly fits the description.

  31. JUNK YARD DOG says:

    The other day I did not tell you what brought the British Empire to its knees .
    Now you know ! that and the D.O.L.

  32. Rasta says:

    16.5% increase.
    Workers are sacrificing whilst Union Management is charging them 10 times the cost of living,unbelievable!

  33. Independent says:

    Rev Tweed,please organize a march,this increase is too much for the workers.Do something!

  34. Alvin Williams says:

    The anti-union vultures are circling as one would expect on the word of a fifth columnist hoping some how to weaken the credibility of the union leadership and in particular the president of the BIU over the question of dues increases.
    These anti-union vultures would have you believe that they are concern about the workers; but n reality they will use any ploy to weaken the workers labour organization; including the bleating of a so-called union member. I say so-called because if this person really is a union member than he would know the process under which these decisions are made. He enjoys the cowards way out to cast his aspersions against a labour organization that is on the front line in protecting the workers interests. Who ever he is he lacks courage by hiding behind a false name and having the newspaper close off free expression to protect him from a just… from true trade Unionists. IF he is a member of the BIU than he would know that his ploy will fail as he and his anti-union allies will not be able to blow down the house of labour. But he should try to came down the chimney were we the defenders of the Bermuda Industrial Union will make sure that a nice …..awaits him.

    • Hmmm says:

      Alvin, this is an abuse of freedom. People should not be forced to pay part of their earnings to a union or if not a charity.

      People should not be subjected to this outrageous increase in dues.

      People have the law protecting them from unfair dismissal.

      The union is a business, but it’s customers a re locked in against their free will. This has got to stop.

    • Creamy says:

      So you’re quite happy Alvin if a business increases non-negotiable fees by 17% overnight.
      Ok. No more bleating about businesses then, who need to operate in a way tgst makes a profit.
      You finally see the need for businesses to operate at a profit.

    • jt says:

      Generally I could care less what unionized workers deem to be appropriate in terms what they pay in dues, how it is spent and how well it is accounted for.
      I do take issue with a union administration that time and again promotes work stoppages and protests that inconvenience the population at large and tourists whilst crying out about similar, alleged procedures as tbey themselves practice.

  35. Scotty says:

    Alvin Williams you are wrong! Because one expresses their opinion about a union’ s actions they are vultures and anti union? That is sheer nonsense. I have always been a union supporter, but not to the extremes of the BIU. You only have to look to the UK to see how the unions ruined car manufacturing and ship building to name but a few industries. Unions should represent their workers, not attempt to run the companies. In addition the workers come first. If they receive a 1% increase then that is what the unions should receive. If there are lay offs, furlough days or salary reductions then the unions need to abide by the same rules and regulations. Are you suggesting that as a union member you don’t have the right to express an opinion, that you must live by the rules as they are dictated to you? I think not, as a fully paying member.

  36. JUNK YARD DOG says:


    Business has share holders who expect dividends.
    Business offers goods and services.
    Business has over heads, they also employ people.
    Business fail when they are mismanaged.
    Business fail when it is top heavy.
    Business fail when its merchandise is unsatisfactory.
    Business fail when its merchandise is out of date.
    Business is in it for a reasonable profit.
    Profits pay wages.

    Unions have to power to bring its own subscribers, a business and your country to its knees.

  37. duh says:

    I hope the union marches and protests this! hahahaha
    quick, cancel all the buses and hold a meeting in the streets and hold signs demanding things!


  38. Triangle Drifter says:

    Come on guys. Chris Laverne & the rest of them have to be kept in the lifestyle to which they feel that they are entitled & have become accustomed to.

    Quit your complaining.

  39. Peggy Burns (aka Nana Peggy) says:

    When considering the present economic burdens of the unionized workers, an increase in their membership dues was definitely ill-timed. I know that the BIU Executive would have won the admiration, support and respect of those whom they represent had they themselves opted to salary cuts and, in addition to that, given the workers a voice relative to the increase in their dues. This would have been a demonstration of leading by example which they so ardently call for others to do. Everyone makes mistakes and I sincerely hope that the BIU Executive have been able to extract lessons, worthy of note, via my comments and those of others in this forum and are prepared to withdraw the increase until such time that it is more convenient to reinstate it.

    Another thought:

    Tangible evidence of where the membership’s increase is going: There is the likelihood that the membership would not have opposed the increase had they been told that it was going to be used to re-open their very own food & miscellaneous A-Z merchandise store. Such an opening would provide accommodation for a myriad of businesses and jobs for Bermuda’s unemployed. I am so looking towards the day when this becomes our reality—the time is NOW, NOW is the time! Please be aware that I am not alone concerning this matter.
    Family, it is time to turn OUR spending into real power. We can begin to reclaim OUR real power by turning more of OUR own dollar$ back into OUR community, OUR family circle, OUR village.
    I leave you to take to heart the words of Frederick Douglass (c. February 1818-February 20, 1895): “Who you give your money to, is who you give your power to”.

    Genuinely always yours for us!

    Nana Peggy

    • hmmm says:

      So are they opening a store or is that just in your head?

      • Ringmaster says:

        To Nana Peggy. The BIU executive are more interested in preserving their high living. It’s a great idea for the BIU to have control over the basics of life by opening a store but it won’t happen.

    • Creamy says:

      Yeah. Open a store just for YOUR people. Employ only YOUR people. And then complain about lack of equal rights.

    • PBanks says:

      I was only a child when Co-op was present – was it a membership shopping store or could anybody shop there, as a curiosity?

      • Common Cents says:

        Anyone was welcome to spend their money there. Possibly union members received a discount, but anyone could walk in the door and buy a quart of milk (or whatever).

  40. Mumbojumbo says:

    Well now…seems fair to me…representation is why you have decent wages in the first place, leave it up to buisiness and govt. And you would be working for magic beans…..I say pay them what they earn, take care of them.Have them swith all thei lighting to led and you will pay less for electricity though.I think that all desk jobs should have a chair that doubles as a seat excersize cycle, it is unhealthy to sit on your butt all day, a nice gym put in place and exversize time given to increase productivity.Do buisinesses have day care facilities for single parents,or new parents?Enabling parents to facilitae propercare brings in loyalty ,productive work time ,more time with full attention to the task at hand ,and….and a child that doesn’t have to grow up with the man in the moon,or learn from idiot peers,a place all members could take their children to be while they toil in the hot sun or otherwise ,facilitate your workers and assist raising the child, your rewards come from sowing the seed ,your harvest you will reap later.

    • PBanks says:

      Only the bigger or more well-off places have the facilities you mention (gyms and or daycares).
      Would be nice for some businesses to consider the other things you mention like chairs that promote healthier living (maybe balance balls?)

  41. Harlot says:

    Taking an average of 3,750 members (‘Mr. Furbert said the BIU’s membership has been fairly stable for the last decade, with between 3,700 – 3,800 members’) at $12 per week gives weekly income of $45,000 or monthly income of $195,000 or annual income of $2,340,000.

    An increase of $2 per week per worker over 3,750 workers amounts to an increase in income of $7,500 per week or $32,500 per month or $390,000 per year.

    I wish someone would give me that kind of pay rise! I work from 6.00 or 7.00 am (not 9.00 am) until … too!

  42. Alvin Williams says:

    Scotty- I am not sure if you are Bermudian or some one from England; your attack on the UK trade union movement makes me suspect the latter. That opinion is straight out of the anti-union play book of the late British Prime Minster Margaret Thatcher and we know what her aim was and that was to make Britain a trade union free area and if she could have gotten away with it; she would have ban trade unions altogether. You sound like a former union member in Britain who had become disillusioned with the labour movement; but once arriving in Bermuda allowed that anti-union feeling full flow. Well that is not surprising; very few labour party supporters in Britain or in your case a trade union supporter has transfer that alignment to the Bermuda contexts. They would certainly would not support the PLP or the BIU even if they would have supported similar groupings in England. Anti-union vultures yes sir that is exactly what they are and I based that on years of trade union conflict with those same elements; who would dearly love for the BIU to be out of their way so that they can have their way with the workers of this country. As to having to right to disagree? This only confirms to me that many of the union detractors expressing opinions here have nothing to do with the BIU and certainly have no natural feeling for the trade union movement in Bermuda. Because if they had any type of connection they would know they could get up in any union meeting and express an opinion even if it goes against the sentiment in the room. This a very democratic organization and in the end each decision is voted on and the majority rules. And in this case this would engage the highest decision making organ in the union; the General council. It was Exactly this process that was under taken when the decision was made to increase union dues and if you are a staunch union member; attend your union meetings; become aware of your union’s constitution; make yourself aware of the collective agreement negotiated by the union on your behalf with the employer. Be a union leader yourself by becoming the president of your division or a shop Steward and in that way you will not be a anti-union detractor or a confused union member both of which stand outside of the realm of the reality of the inner workings of a trade union.

    • Kangoocar says:

      Alvin, once again more nonsense from you!!! The great late Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher came along at exactly the right time and brought the UK trade unions to their knees!!!! If she hadn’t done so, the UK would have collapsed financially!!! The trade unions in the UK were totally out of control and they needed to be stopped and she did exactly that!!! At roughly the same time there was a great President of the United. States and his name was Ronald Reagan, President Reagan also had zero tolerance toward the unions as well!!! When the Air Traffic Controllers went out on strike he gave them 24 hrs to return to work or they will be replaced, when they did not return he did exactly what he said he was going to do and REPLACED them!!! The net result from that decision was we have had safer skies ever since!!!
      I actually met a disgruntled EX air traffic controller approximately a year later when I was in the US on business, he was still kicking himself in his behind for being so stupid!!!! I met him because he then was trying to sell me a racking system for my ware house in BDA!!! He was struggling to put food on his table!!! I have to admit, the moment I knew he was that stupid, I actually bought the racking system from another rep that he was competing with for my business!!!!!

    • PBanks says:

      Alvin Williams, I think the message you’re portraying:

      “Because if they had any type of connection they would know they could get up in any union meeting and express an opinion even if it goes against the sentiment in the room. This a very democratic organization and in the end each decision is voted on and the majority rules”

      may come across as hollow, as comments made by known BIU members towards people in this forum and others have seldom seem welcoming or tolerant of differing opinions. Rather, people get the impression that it’s more “toe the line or get ostracised”.