Former TRAC executive cites lack of transparency, $16,000 discrepancy in budget
A former executive of the Teaching and Research Assistants at Concordia (TRAC) union has filed a complaint with the Tribunal administratif du travail (TAT) of Quebec, claiming TRAC did not give him full access to the organization’s financial records.
According to a copy of the complaint obtained by The Concordian, Robert Sonin—former TRAC president and current member due to his work as an invigilator—first approached TRAC executives in January of this year after noticing a $16,348.93 discrepancy in financial reports shared at a general assembly. Sonin said he requested to view the union’s financial account books and meeting minutes. While Sonin said he was shown an Excel spreadsheet, he claimed he was denied access to receipts and other financial documents which he, as a TRAC member, should be able to access under the organization’s own rules.
In the complaint—which is officially pointed at the Quebec regional branch of the national labour union Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC)—Sonin is accusing TRAC of being both “in violation of their own bylaw 8.1 (c), in that they have not provided a member in good standing with access to [TRAC’s] financial records.”
Sonin told The Concordian the numbers shown in a Powerpoint presentation during the TRAC general assembly weren’t adding up. Despite reporting a total income of $87,911.55 and $61,772.46 in expenses—a difference of $26,139.09—the organization only reported a leftover surplus of $9,790.16 carried over into the 2014-2015 year, a difference of $16,348.93.
“What’s reported is all over the place,” Sonin said. “It never adds up properly … I don’t think they have a handle on the actual finances.”
However, TRAC secretary-treasurer Parmida Atighechian, who has worked on the union’s executive team since last year, said they showed Sonin everything he asked for.
“We have shown him, actually, the bank account, so I don’t know what else we had to show him,” said Atighechian.
Atighechian also told The Concordian that Sonin was eventually disaffiliated with PSAC.
“The first time when he came to us, we actually showed him all the documents that we had,” said Atighechian. “But the second time, PSAC came to us and actually asked us not to respond to him.”
When asked about the budgetary discrepancy, Atighechian at first said she wasn’t aware of the issue or what caused it. “But you understand, this is two years before I even came into TRAC,” she said.
When pressed for more information, TRAC responded they would need more time to look over their finances than this article’s deadline allowed.
TRAC’s next general assembly is set to take place on Tuesday, April 12 at 5:00 p.m. in the Hall Building, room H-763. Nomination period for TRAC’s executive team officially ends Tuesday, April 5 at 5:00 p.m.