Unifor footing Kinnear’s legal fees


By David Bush

The intense legal battle being waged over the fate of ATU Local 113 is not simply a two-sided affair between Bob Kinnear and ATU International. RankandFile.ca has learned that Bob Kinnear’s legal fees are being paid for by Unifor. This should not come as much of a surprise after Dias announced in his February 7 press conference with Kinnear, “if there are lawsuits and one of you gets sued. I’ll pay the lawyers’ bills.” C4EwchTWAAAFO4i

In a leaked audio recording of a meeting this week between Kinnear and members of Local 113, Kinnear is asked by a member of the union, “who is paying all the legals costs you are incurring right now?”

Kinnear said, “Unifor is paying.”

The member replied, “why would Unifor pay that?”    

Kinnear’s legal costs are not insignificant, because much of the fight over the fate of ATU Local 113 has taken place in the courts and law offices. Currently, Kinnear and ATU International are in mediation over the allegations that Manny Sforza, the former trustee, was in contempt of court. The mediation dealing with the contempt of court issue may expand to include other disputes between Kinnear and ATU International. But as far as we know, none of the legal battles between Kinnear and ATU International deal with defending him from lawsuits.

Heated exchange with members

The lengthy recording, which is punctuated by many heated exchanges between Kinnear and members, outlines his reasoning for initiating the CLC justification process (process for leaving current union/joining another union) and explains why Unifor is supporting him. Kinnear admitted he was in contact with Unifor before the trusteeship was filed, which is confirmed by a previously leaked email. Kinnear also stated he was initially supported by other Canadian unions in his battle with ATU International, though he does not not name these unions.

Kinnear strenuously and repeatedly denies Unifor is interested in representing ATU members. He stressed the point that Unifor was standing up for the rights of Canadian union members. He claims Unifor “took on the battle because the International trusteed us. They believed that the membership should have the opportunity to discuss and if they so choose to have a vote.”

Kinnear argues that Local 113 pays 2 million per year to the International, but the local is essentially acting like a national union and not getting proper training and resources from the International office.

Kinnear goes it alone

Kinnear explains he initiated the justification process because he knew a trusteeship would occur and that he wanted to give members a choice. Members in the room pressed him repeatedly about why he didn’t bring it to the executive board or to the membership before he filed the CLC justification. He argued that the local would have been trusteed if he brought it up first. At multiple points in the meeting members questioned him about this. One member stated  “you should have brought that up to the board members and all of us here, before you made a decision all on your own to go ahead and do so. That is only to benefit you, not for the members, you are not thinking of the members.”

Open letter from Kinnear to ATU Local 113 members appearing in A7 of the Toronto Star on February 23. This also appeared in two other papers.
Open letter from Kinnear to ATU Local 113 members appearing in A6 of the Toronto Star on February 23. This also appeared in two other papers.

Another member stated, “why, not just you, but everybody go through this, what is the reason?”

Bigger questions for labour

While the leaked audio confirms that Unifor is paying Kinnear’s legal fees and is involved in the intra-ATU fight, it also raises a number of questions for ATU members and the wider labour movement.

Are Unifor members aware they are paying Kinnear’s legal fees? When exactly was Unifor contacted by Kinnear about this situation? Kinnear claims Unifor only got involved because of the trusteeship. Yet he also claims they were in contact before the trusteeship. Could this be considered a violation of the CLC’s justification process? What other unions did Kinnear say were onside with him?   

Did Kinnear himself pay the over $50,000 price tag to the Toronto Star and other papers last week for the full page open letter from Kinnear to 113 members announcing his legal victory, or did other parties help foot the bill?

ATU 113 members will have to judge for themselves the merits of the claims coming from the executive board, the International and Kinnear. Why did the trusteeship happen? Was it justified or not? Do Kinnear’s reasons for wanting to leave the International hold water?

March 19 meeting

The answers to these questions are not all simple. Kinnear argues that a large local like ATU 113 doesn’t get anything from the International, it simply pays money into it. As in all unions large locals help sustain smaller locals and give them greater access to resources. This is not an act of altruism, but a strategic question of ensuring industry standards are raised across the board. If a large union local like 113 goes out on its own, how will that shape standards and working conditions in public transit in Ontario and Canada long-term?  

On March 19, ATU Local 113 will hold a meeting at which Kinnear plans on introducing a motion that will allow ATU 113 members to vote on their union affiliation.    

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14 thoughts on “Unifor footing Kinnear’s legal fees

  1. Using a rival raiding Unions money to further his personal monetary gains is truly remarkable, I trust the CLC rules and regulations don’t apply to crooks like Kinnear and Dias. To my brothers and sisters of ATI 113 on March 19th send this bafoon packing with a no vote on leaving the international and further bring forward a motion of ” non confidence” against Bob and put an end to this fiasco that has cost us dearly monetarily and a loss of face in the labor movement.

  2. Stephen G. Burley


    Dear Bob, (alright …………forget the dear part!)

    For no-one really knows how long now, you have been sneaking around trying to either flip over a 10000 member union, single handedly, and without JUST CAUSE, or feeding your personal greed monster. Either is just plain stupid, or really, really misguided.

    Further, your actions spell TREASON to most of us, of this, I am totally confident. You didn’t ask your Executive board, you didn’t ask IATU, you didn’t ask the true governors of the local 113, the most important of all, US!! When I stand up and throw my opinions out there, I do so as an individual, and as such I expect OPINIONS in return, which I GET, ALWAYS. Never does what I say change too much, because, as I said, they were OPINIONS. If I wanted to change something, I would do it through the PROPER venues, using the prescribed procedures.

    What you have done, and I, personally have experienced sooooo many people in my life that are just like you, speak happiness from the left side or your mouths, and betray, and steal, from them from the right. Your actions have been met with feelings of total betrayal, and, in any (as you keep calling it) DEMOCRACY, it is more accurately known as treason……..if it fits, it sticks, from my point of view!!

    So now you want to have a meeting, now you want to HEAR FROM THE MEMBERS……………….oh, and, my friend (loosely used) you will certainly succeed that much. WE the ATU, that’s right, THE COLLECTIVE, you know Bob, the UNION you LEFT the day you tried to throw us all to the dogs, to a FAILING UNION at that, remember US!!!??

    Give it up, Bob, we are beyond you, and the thought of ever dumping the entity that built this corporation, and our benefits, pay structure, working conditions, the united embrace of belief, and ultimately, our pensions! THAT, (sir) was dead, even before you pulled that idea out of your toilet.

    Save us some $$, save yourself the embarrassment, and humiliation, and simply go away……………. you WILL be vocally destroyed, and removed from office by way of the greater majority having already decided upon their belief; one of honesty, integrity, and brotherhood, and register a vote of non-confidence against you and your new girlfriend, and obvious bed partner, Diaz.

    We are patient, but this too, is wearing thin. One day, just maybe, someone who knows much about the law, may just petition the court with their own request. A member, for example, who believes his portion of $$$ is, or has been used for non LOCAL 113 business, but to intentionally sabatoge any given corporation, namely, OUR LOCAL. I think that corporate conspiracy, perhaps even embezzlement, is getting real close to the crimes I BELIEVE you and Diaz have committed. An AUDIT that could, and SHOULD be added into the order, would suffice to see you answer for your actions.

    noun: embezzlement; plural noun: embezzlements
    theft or misappropriation of funds placed in one’s trust or belonging to one’s employer.
    “charges of fraud and embezzlement”
    synonyms: misappropriation, theft, stealing, robbery, thieving, pilfering, purloining, pilferage

    Best of Luck in your future, Bob. I hope you are intelligent enough to pick up what’s left of your bubblegum, and go home to someone who HAS to listen to your lies.

    Yours truly,

    1. My own personal opinion is, no wonder Dias is raping our union funds to help this guy, they both seem to have lost the meaning of union.

  3. In that meeting with the members Kinnear also said he would resign if the members wanted him to , , let’s see if he is a man of his word on march 19 at the meeting

  4. Well said , my brother , I too am a proud 113 member , ,and I look forward to the meeting on march 19!, maybe Kinnear will come to his bit of sense left and resign with the little dignity he has left, there is absolutely no confidence in our so-called president ,

  5. We need to be rid of this poisonous man. I’ve the last few years he has shown over and over that he has become nothing but a dictator in his own local. God forbid if you didn’t agree with him, he may actually attack you physically as he Mark Bertoia, a retired board member. He is a ticking time bomb and we don’t want him here. Send him back to his wife in NFLD and let him explain to here where he’s been hiding all our money

    1. Stephen G. Burley


      Are you really here arbitrating the dishonesty that BK has displayed?? I spoke my opinions above, period. I do not have any judgment against you “union member” for wanting Kinnear as your personal power of attorney. Why would you come out here, and throw insults at a few who believe in HONESTY??? SMH, but I should have known there were #scumcrawlsbeneathus subordinates around town, I suppose. 😉 Sgb

  6. Unifor de-chartered staff unions in BC for daring to call out leadership on their collusion with rat union BCNU. And directed members to cross the licket lines of their own co- workers, leaving it to former crony Gary Fane to decide which members would get the work.

    All the former CEP staff have drunk Dias’ koolaid, and are huffing and puffing at the fed and labour councils when they are called out on his bull.

    Now this.


  7. I have always felt that Bob Kinear was a self serving rodent. For years I have seen him bully the executive and the membership. His style has cost ATU 113 dearly. How did he get away with so much? Perhaps it is because the membership has so much respect for his father, who btw, was a good executive, both here and internationally. The lattitude afforded Bob Kinear has turned into outright treason. That must hurt his family to their roots. The 19th will go way beyond a non-confidence vote. I will be embracing the opportunity to kick his proverbial butt out the door and permanently off of the property.

  8. what happened to the posted “leaked audio recording of a meeting this week between Kinnear and members of Local 113”? Seems to have been taken down?

  9. Re: Taped Conversation!


    A Snake and a Rat!

    The ATU13 is filled with these low life undesirables, more like, rat fest or Ratatouille!
    John DiNino (Rat) is not some “white knight in shining armour.” He first decided to hide Tony Barbosa (Snake) name in the robo call to members, now he leaks the taped conversation conveniently to appear like some good samaritan, probably hoping to cash in for the “presidency” wise up dear members, would a person phone you and talk in that manner if you were of decent upbringing and an outstanding citizen let alone be your “elected representatives” “F’s” and throwing out statements of our building and the millions of dollars of our members money like this was some “chump change” with total disregard for its hard working members.
    Conversations like this only occur when the caller and the recipient already share the same values and had previous shady dealing and disrespect for its members. It is imperative that the members demand a “full independent audit” (Auditor to be chosen by the membership) of all these elected officials, as the contents of this taped conversation are the hallmarks of corruption in our local.

    When, not if the audit reveals theft and corruption, criminal charges and retribution should be brought against these officials, and not let them retire with literally a “golden handshake” of the money they robbed from the membership.

    Remember limiting one’s voice at a meeting is the way these undesirables operate, on March 19th remember a member can utilize the total time of any number of members time allotment who do not desire to speak and extends said time to you to address the board and more importantly the membership. BTW Bob’s claim of all their conventions aka spending junkets being approved by the membership, it is time for a “no vote” in sending any of these overpaid executives to party on its memberships money, This local has thrived on censorship, bullying and arbitrary behavior denying members the right to be heard and not answering a member’s questions at its own discretion.
    Ironic that the very ones preaching “Democracy” run the local as a “Dictatorship.”

    PS: Brother Stephen G. Burley article is a brilliant piece of journalism that should be on the “wemovetoronto and ATU 113 site, unfortunately, both of which are censored!

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