Letterhead


April 5, 2006 minutes

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

AFFILIATES PRESENT
Ron Bobowski, CUPW 760
Pat Bulmer, CEP 2000
Maria Tokarchuk, HSA Kelowna
Gord Darchuk, IAFF 953
Bill Zeman, CUPE 3523
Kevin Hagglund, CEP 823 - M
Tony Heisterkamp, Carp 1346
Gary Ness, Machinists 2710
Faye Saxon, BC Forum
Glenn Nowag, UNITE HERE!
Pat Munro, HSA - Kelowna
Karen Abramsen, BC Forum
Cheryl Stone, UFCW 1518
Brad Dunlop, Steel 1-423
Al Prentis, ATU 1722
Les Milton, ATU 1722
Rob Wotherspoon, BCGEU
Carol Kenzie, HEU
Kris Bothe, Carp Kelowna
Liz Woods, BC Forum
Pat Burnett, BCGEU
Jeff Carsience, UBCJA 1370
Josie Lofting, HEU


GUESTS
Heather Arnold, CEP 468
Suzan Beattie, Workers' Advisors office


REGRETS
Dave Porteous, UFCW 120
Kathy Dunn, HEU
Louise Schwingenschloegl, HEU
Gord Larkin, CLC

CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by President Brad Dunlop at 7:05 p.m.

ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA
M/S/C to adopt agenda of April 5, 2006

GUEST SPEAKERS
Suzan Beattie, responsible for Education and Training, Workers' Adviser Office -- Suzan gave a brief power point presentation outlining basic principles and rules of workers' compensation, then explaining what the workers advisers do. Workers' Advisers is an body independent of WorkSafe BC (WCB) that helps people with WCB claims, offering advice and assistance, a merit review and will even appear with the client when there is a (rare) oral hearing. Workers' Advisers' Interior head office is in Kelowna (101 - 1726 Dolphin Avenue, Phone: 717-2096, Toll-Free: 1 866 881-1188.) Web site: www.labour.gov.bc.ca/wab/ .

Carole James, leader B.C. NDP -- Carole arrived about 8 p.m. and spoke for about 15 minutes, then answered some questions. She said things have changed with a stronger NDP opposition in the Legislature. The opposition has managed to moderate some Liberal policies, referring in particular to recent contract settlements with public-sector unions. James said health care is a big priority and called for a full review of the Interior Health Authority. Rob Wotherspoon told James about impending layoffs at Windsor Manor. Tony Heisterkamp asked her to speak up against plans to build B.C. ferries in Europe. Gord Darchuk thanked James for supporting presumptive cancer legislation for firefighters.

ADOPTION OF THE PREVIOUS MINUTES
M/S/C to adopt minutes of March 8, 2006.

OBLIGATION OF NEW DELEGATES
Gary Ness, Machinists and Aerospace Workers 2710, was sworn in.

CREDENTIALS REPORT
25 present with 23 delegates and 2 guests

FINANCIAL REPORT
M/S/C to adopt financial report as circulated.

EXECUTIVE BOARD REPORT/ACTION CORRESPONDENCE
a) Central Okanagan Elizabeth Fry Society asks for our support. -- M/S/C to donate $50

b) CLC-United Way Labour Participation Dept. union counselors conference, May 25-27 in Vancouver. -- Receive and file

c) Ballot for Interior Savings Credit Union board of directors' election:
M/S/D to cast ballots for Pauline Fleming and Murli Pendharkar.
M/S/C to cast ballot for Pauline Fleming.

d) B.C. Health Coalition membership renewal -- M/S/C to renew (cost $100)

e) BC Federation of Labour Women's Conference, May 1-3 in Victoria. -- Receive and file

f) Kelowna Regional Transit System Service Review - roundtable discussion Wednesday April 26 -- M/S/C to put forward Brad Dunlop's name for the roundtable (final membership to be determined by a lottery).

g) B.C. Federation of Labour Health and Safety Workers' Compensation Symposium, April 24-26 in Victoria. M/S/C to send a note to the BC Fed complaining about the late notice for this.


REPORTS OF LOCAL UNIONS, COMMITTEE REPORTS, CLC REPORT

Brad Dunlop, President -- Brad reported on an afternoon meeting held with NDP leader Carole James in which he, Pat Bulmer and Les Milton brought forward several issues NOLC members have raised as concerns. Among the topics addressed were Canada Post consolidation, alternative energy, the 2010 Olympics and affordable housing, worker safety, the so-called labour shortage, harm reduction (the St. Paul housing project), health care and health authorities, provincial downloading and transit issues. The NOLC's full written submission presented to James will be posted on our website: members.shaw.ca/nolc.

Faye Saxon, Worker Representative on the EI Board of Referees -- The cases are way down this time. Even so, there seem to be quite a number of "misrepresentation" appeals coming before us. These happen when a claimant reports any income received while on claim. These days, the teledec system is used. This supplies a very good record of the responses given by claimants. I cannot stress enough how important it is to be accurate when reporting these payments. If a person does give wrong information, they must correct it as soon as possible.
When employers report income on T4s at the end of the year, these figures are matched with any EI claimants. Therefore, any discrepancies may be quite old by the time it comes to the notice of EI Investigation and Control. Not only will the claimant have to pay back any overpayment that was created, but if the Commission thinks the claimant "knowingly" gave wrong information, they will be penalized as well. This penalty triggers a Notice of Violation, which means that more hours will be required for any future claim for the next five years. Also, penalty amounts gather interest, which only adds to the problem. If any claimant is not sure of the amount of wages, it is their responsibility to get accurate information and let the Commission know immediately.
I have heard nothing about reappointments for those presently serving on the Board of Referees. All from Manitoba west are ending July 31 this year, I believe.

Rob Wotherspoon, BCGEU -- Windsor Manor Care Centre has issued Section 54 notice to the union stating its intention to contract out 45 care aide workers by Sept. 20, 2006. Windsor Manor intends to contract with Advocare to provide care aides. Seems to ignore reality of serious shortage of qualified care aides to take these positions -- especially at lower wages and benefits.
BCGEU bargaining settlements include Community Health, government employees, community social services and UBC Okanagan support workers.

Karen Abramsen Council of Canadians -- I attended the B.C. AGM on Sat./Sun, April 1-2. I brought back lots of information on a number of issues that will be of interest to union members:
- "Public-private partnerships: The True Costs of P3s," by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
- "Canadian Perspectives" -- the spring issue is very focused on "keeping public water in our hands."
- "Protect Medicare -- Don't Privatize It" signs
- "The Bottom Line" -- The truth behind private health insurance in Canada, by Diane Gibson and Colleen Fuller. The Alberta government is looking to the private sector -- and in particular to private health insurance -- to solve health care problems. However, private health insurance is mired in myth and misunderstanding. The Bottom Line summarizes a huge body of evidence to get to the truth: private health insurance is more expensive and actually reduces access to health care.
The Council of Canadians would like to partner with any unions that are mounting opposition to P3s as a way to deliver healthcare. For more information on Council of Canadians' membership or to hear about our coming events, please contact Karen at 769-1977 or e-mail kareneh@silk.net or visit www.canadians.org.

NDP -- Saturday April 22, 2006:
10 a.m. -- Garden/book/video/plant sale
11 a.m. -- OK Mission provincial constituency association AGM
Noon -- Potluck lunch
1 p.m. -- Kelowna-Lake Country federal riding association AGM
2-3 p.m. -- Final deals at the sale.
It all takes place at the Unitarian Fellowship Hall, 1310 Bertram (at Cawston).

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

a) Food drive update -- Labour-sponsored food drive for Kelowna Food Bank now being eyed for around Labour Day in September. Brad Dunlop to spearhead. He'll be calling unions looking for support.

b) Spring school recap -- Karen Abramsen reported 11 unions took part in the NOLC spring labour school, March 25-26 at UBCO. Thirty-one people registered for stress in the workplace and steward 1. We might want to look at doing some things differently for future schools to keep interest up. Ideas include offering courses that unions aren't offering to their own members and perhaps cutting the school to one day from a day and a half. If you have ideas, let us know.

c) Day of Mourning April 28 -- Brad Dunlop volunteered to help put together something in Kelowna for the Day of Mourning. Cheryl Stone and Karen Abramsen offered to assist. Anyone in Vernon willing to help us put something together?

d) Southern Interior Labour Council meeting -- May 27 at the Coast Capri Hotel. A reminder. Anyone on the NOLC may attend. Just let us know beforehand.

e) Summer camp draws -- Pat Munro has volunteered to put together our annual draws for Silver Lake camp and Camp Jubilee. Nomination forms to go out with May minutes and the draw takes place at the June meeting.

f) Membership committee /g) Civic politics committee -- Brad Dunlop updated Kelowna delegates on some of the ideas behind getting these two committees going. Details in last month's minutes.

NEW BUSINESS

a) Donation to the Theresa Newman fund -- M/S/C to donate $100 to memorial fund for the Kelowna flagger who was killed on the job. Money will go to a trust fund for her children.

b) Canada Post amalgamation -- M/S/C to send a letter to Canada Post expressing our opposition to plans to close downtown post office boxes, the Gaston Avenue plant and Rutland retail facility and amalgamate them into one location at Banks Centre. As a result, the NOLC is going to have to change its address.

c) Vernon office -- Brad Dunlop updated us on plans to retrieve all the stuff we have stored at the Carpenters' office in Vernon. It's a lot more than we expected.
M/S/C to set up a committee to look at the possibility of renting office space, possibly by going in with some local unions. Les Milton, Brad Dunlop, Ron Bobowski to sit on the committee.

FINAL CREDENTIALS REPORT
23 total with 21 delegates and 2 guests

GOOD & WELFARE
First week of May is Bike to Work Week.

ADJOURNMENT
The meeting was adjourned at 9:08 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by Pat Bulmer, recording secretary.



NEXT MEETING:
Wednesday, May 10, 2006, 7 p.m., at the Village Green Hotel, Vernon.


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