Letterhead


April 10, 2002 minutes

MINUTES - REGULAR MONTHLY MEETING, NORTH OKANAGAN LABOUR COUNCIL AT KELOWNA

AFFILIATES PRESENT

Pat Bulmer CEP 2000

Terry Sawiuk UBCJ 1370

David Mitchell TWU 16

Bill Zeman CUPE 3523

David Doran Carp 1346

Cathy Seagris BCGEU 607

Trudy Ames BCGEU 307

Shirley Kavaloff HSA Kelowna

Faye Saxon OPEIU 15

Mary Malerby BCNU

Sharon Rauhala BCNU

Steve Malerby TWU 6

Gord Larkin CLC

Mary-Lou Bailey CUPE 338

GUESTS

Karen Abramsen NDP, Council of Canadians

Gord Stoutenburg EI-BC Forum

Neil Ferguson CUPE 3523 (retired)

Laura-Mae Sweet UFCW 1518

Robin MacMillan CUPE 3523

Candice McMahon Vernon Teachers Assn.

Kelly Smith Vernon Teachers Assn.

REGRETS

Judi Filion BCGEU 707

Ron Bobowski CUPW 760


CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order by President David Doran at 7:30 p.m.

ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA

M/S/C to adopt agenda of April 10, 2002


GUEST SPEAKERS

none


ADOPTION OF THE PREVIOUS MINUTES

M/S/C to adopt the minutes of March 6, 2002.

CREDENTIALS REPORT

20 present with 13 delegates and 7 guests

OBLIGATION OF NEW DELEGATES

none

FINANCIAL REPORT

M/S/C to to adopt financial report as circulated

EXECUTIVE BOARD REPORT/ACTION CORRESPONDENCE

a) Union Label convention call - Saturday, June 8, Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre. $60 per delegate. Receive and file (That will be a travel day for our delegates attending the CLC convention, starting the next day in Vancouver.)

b) East Kootenay Labour Council would like to coordinate a $100 gift purchase for former NOLC president Marie Mentz and is asking for $25 from each Southern Interior labour council. Receive and inform the EKLC our council already presented Mentz with a token of our appreciation during the spring labour school.

c) CLC: request for financial assistant for Canadian Marine Officers Union, which is on strike against four major shipping companies. $50 donation.

d) OPEIU resolutions on ICBC and BC Hydro to be presented to municipal governments and request for NOLC's help in publicizing and lobbying. We will inform the OPEIU by e-mail of our support and ask when they plan to attend local councils.

e) Financial appeal from SEIU local 800 - 55 workers on strike at the St. Laurent Golf Club in Quebec for a year. $50 donation.

f) Federal NDP asks if we have a preference on how future leadership votes are conducted and other questions. Receive and file.

M/S/C to approve executive board report


REPORTS OF LOCAL UNIONS, COMMITTEE REPORTS, CLC REPORT

Mary Malerby, BCNU: We are expecting to hear the health care plan for the Okanagan to be rolled out April 16. There has been a hold on long-term care admissions in the North Okanagan, which has led to speculation that there will probably be bed closures coming. the election of our provincial president happens in May. The candidates have their web sites up on the BCNU web site, www.bcnu.org.

David Mitchell, TWU 16: It has been a year and a half in negotiations with Telus and they're going nowhere. There are more threats of closure of all centres in B.C. The company wants flexibility and does not want our existing collective agreement to continue to exist. They are trying to bargain directly with employees. They are not respecting decisions won in arbitration or in the courts. We are in for a long, tough battle.

Cathy Seagris, BCGEU 607: Ministry of Children and Family Development in the Okanagan region: 2002 - not filling any vacancies; 2003 - 25 jobs lost; 2004 - 45 jobs lost. Legislation is being changed so the definition of a child ends at age 17.
Okanagan People's Coalition: Next meeting, Thursday, April 11, 5 p.m. at the Kelowna BCGEU office.; made up of union members and concerned citizens; need more support, especially from other union activists. Ministry of Human Resources changes: $50 automatically off single parents' cheques; no more exemptions; have to do three-week job search prior to applying for income assistance; if child needs to apply for income assistance, must be out of family home for two years before he/she can apply.
BCGEU: Questionnaires to members inquiring about what job action, if any, they are prepared to take, in Kelowna response is not favourable so far.

Faye Saxon, EI Board of Referees: The annual seminar took place in Kelowna in February. There is now in place a service pledge for Boards of Referees. In actual practice, all of these items were already happening and the appellants were so informed by the chairperson at the start of every hearing. These include being impartial, independent, trained to provide fair hearings, coming to the hearing with an open mind, treating the appellant fairly and with courtesy etc. I suppose we can now say that this is a formal commitment, otherwise nothing has changed in regard to this service pledge. Once again, I would remind each worker that it is his/her responsibility to acquire their ROE in a timely manner. The Commission is now trying to persuade the unemployed not to apply for benefits until they have their ROE. The commission is allowing four weeks for this process - after that your application will be considered a late one and a request for antedate may be necessary. It is your right to file when you are unemployed and if you insist the commission must take your application. Also, the Commission, at the seminar, gave us copies of six cases that they intend to appeal to the umpire. These are all cases heard in Kelowna since Sept. 28. should prove to be very interesting. I will keep you informed.
Important news I just heard today from what I consider to be a reliable source: Career Central is the agency unemployed for under-employed workers are directed to for assistance. Recent policy changes being enforced concern the number of hours a client may be working. If a worker's hours exceed 8 or 10 per week, then Career Central may not accept them as a client. This means that they can not be referred for counselling, training, targeted wage subsidies nor employment job search assistance. this is a pretty drastic change. If an unemployed person takes any sort of a job just to put food on the table, there goes his/her chance for help in finding a suitable position. As usual, I would be happy to try to answer any queries you may have about appeals.

Bill Zeman, CUPE 3523: Political action: Our CUPE Strong Communities - Solidarity Job Action Plan in the province is getting into high gear. The premise is an injury to one is an injury to all. The notion is if the employer imposes Bill 27, 28, 29 or breaks contract, we will take political, legal and job action if necessary, if anyone in the province is affected. We sent out 32 letters to city, town and school district locals for input on electing local candidates in the November municipal elections. In May there will be 2 CUPE courses offered at Naramata - candidate training and campaign organizing. Cuts to custodians, clerical, maintenance, possibly special needs in the Central Okanagan School District. Looks like about 42 head custodian positions deleted, team cleaning for afternoon will cause chaos and be a complete failure. That's close to a 20 per cent cut in custodians. A number of ongoing grievances. Robin MacMillan and I are busy working on Political Action - Strong Communities.

Shirley Kavaloff, HSA Kelowna: The Interior Health Region's mantra is "hospitals are for sick people." They have started to act on this by laying off anyone who works mainly with outpatients. This includes dieticians, radiographers, ultrasound techs and soon to be physiotherapists and lab techs. This action will funnel all outpatients into private clinics and lines the pockets of radiologists and pathologists. This has affected Kelowna General Hospital and we anticipate it will, in time, spread to all the other facilities in some form or another.

Karen Abramsen, Council of Canadians: The Council of Canadians' World Water Day event on March 22 with Jim Sinclair was a great success. Turnout was over 130. May 15 is the National Day of Action on Health Care. The council is hoping to hold some event in conjunction with local health care unions. Contact Karen at 769-1977 to find out more. Treaty referendum: The Council of Canadians is proposing an active boycott along with many other groups and unions. The Westbank First Nation and Ki-low-na Friendship Centre have collection boxes to collect the unsigned ballots. Okanagan People's Coalition: this coalition is working to save our community services. Please join us. Contact Karen at 769-1977 or BCGEU at 763-6405.

Karen Abramsen, NDP: A really successful regional forum was held in Kamloops on April 6. Members, supporters and non-members attended from Williams Lake to Revelstoke to Cawston. Guest speakers included Fred Muzzin (HEU), Dr. Gary Gottfreidson/Nita Grass (referendum), Alice Rees/Cathy McGregor (education), Kim Pollock (forestry), Bill Woolverton (proportional representation), Corky Evans (rural communities. Very special guests were Jim Sinclair and Jenny Kwan. Municipal elections: It is absolutely critical that were elect labour-friendly, progressive individuals!!

Gord Larkin, CLC: Labour Code changes: The BC Fed officers are meeting with Labour Minister Graham Bruce urging him to use the Section 3 provisions in the code to discuss any changes to the legislation. Campaign BC: Next demonstration will be in Vancouver on May 25. Local actions around the province are being encouraged to co-incide with that event. Day of Mourning: Sunday, April 28 - activities will take place across the country, remembering those killed and injured on the job.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Day of Mourning, April 28
As a ceremony was held in Kelowna last year, but not Vernon, the NOLC will join with Vernon coalition to put on a ceremony in Vernon this year. A news release will be issued inviting people to the ceremony and reminding people of the tree planted at Ben Lee Park in Kelowna by the NOLC in honour of the Day of Mourning.


NEW BUSINESS

a) CLC convention - M/S/C to send Trudy Ames as our second delegate along with President David Doran. The NOLC will pay registration, room and per diem, but not lost wages. Pat Bulmer was previously elected to go, but couldn't get the time off.


FINAL CREDENTIALS REPORT

21 total, 14 delegates, 7 guests

ADJOURNMENT

Meeting adjourned at 8:47 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by Pat Bulmer, acting recording secretary.



The next meeting will be Wednesday, May 8, 7:30 p.m., at the Village Green Hotel, Vernon.


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