Letterhead


April 7, 2010 minutes

MINUTES - MONTHLY MEETING, NORTH OKANAGAN LABOUR COUNCIL AT VERNON

AFFILIATES PRESENT: Glenn Nowag, UFCW 1518; Ron Bobowski, CUPW 760; Cheryl Stone, UFCW 1518; Karen Abramsen, UFCW 1518; Greg McGowan, CUPE 873; Wendy Mah, BCGEU; Brad Albrecht, HEU; Nikki Inouye, HEU; Bill Zeman, CUPE 3523; Nancy Ingersoll, VTA; Lynda Zorn, BCFORUM

REGRETS: Liz Woods, BCFORUM; Dave Porteous, UFCW 1518; Ronn Dunn, CUPE 3523; Debra Critchley, BCGEU; Emily Dorie, CUPE 873

GUESTS: none

CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by Glenn Nowag, President, at 7:00 pm

ADOPTION OF AGENDA: M/S/C

GUEST SPEAKERS: none

ADOPTION OF PREVIOUS MINUTES: M/S/C

CREDENTIALS REPORT: 11 Present with 11 Delegates and 0 Guests. Bill Zeman, CUPE 3523 reported for Sergeant at Arms, Emily Dorie

OBLIGATIONS OF NEW DELEGATES: none

FINANCIAL REPORT: given by Ron Bobowski, Sec. Treasurer, M/S/C

EXECUTIVE BOARD REPORT/ACTION CORRESPONDENCE
Action Correspondence:
1) Kelowna Women's Resource Centre -- receipt for $100.00 donation and a Certificate of Appreciation
2) BC FED Annual Young Worker Retreat -- June 11-13 Takes place at Camp Jubilee, open to all young union members under 30 years of age. For more info call Dayna Sykes at 604 430 1421 or email: dsykes@bcfed.ca
3) BCFED boycott of United Steel Workers Union, Sklar Peppler, and Alan White branded furniture & its manufacturer, AW manufacturing.
4) CLC -- Ken Georgetti -- letter re support of the 2010 United Way -- Centraide Campaign
5) WorkSafe Health & Safety Training May 2010 -- read aloud to delegates
6) BCFORUM -- letter to announce appointments of Lynda Zorn and Liz Woods as NOLC delegates for FORUM.
7) CCPA -- membership renewal notice. A motion was made to donate $100.00 -- M/S/C

REPORTS OF LOCAL UNIONS/COMMITTEE REPORTS/CLC REPORT:
Orion Irvin -- Canadian Labour Congress -- Regional Representative Report
Federal Pension Consultations The Federal Finance Minister announced the pension consultations promised in the federal budget. There will be three meetings open to the public, in Charlottetown, Quebec City and Richmond. These are not the broadly-based public consultations that were promised. There will be policy conferences with invited participants in Calgary and Toronto and several other meetings open only to invited stakeholders The CLC and the Ontario Federation of Labour held a public, day-long pension summit of their own in Toronto on March 27 with over 500 attendees.
EI Surplus -- The Budget Implementation Act (Bill C-9), Part 24, introduced March 29, 2010, is now formally and finally wiping out the accumulated EI surpluses, worth $57.2 billion as at March 31, 2009 (per Public Accounts of Canada, 2008-2009). The EI Account is being dropped down to zero and cancelled. The provisions to accomplish this are supposed to take effect Jan. 1, 2009. I suppose one could again raise constitutional or legal issues around these provisions. The 2008 Supreme Court decision stated that the federal government could accumulate and consolidate whatever EI surpluses it deemed appropriate. But it did not, it seems to me, consider whether those surpluses could be entirely redirected away from the EI Account. Whether or not this is arguable in law is of course beyond my expertise. In any case, this is a clear gesture to clear the books, the first time any federal government has done so since the UI legislation was adopted in 1940.
CLC Boycott of Sklar Peppler -- The CLC has endorsed a national boycott of Sklar Peppler and Alan White branded furniture, and its manufacturer, AW Manufacturing Inc. at the request of the United Steelworkers. After moving to Ajax from Whitby in 2006, Sklar Peppler went into bankruptcy in August of 2008, and approximately 100 Steelworkers were affected. The President of Sklar Peppler bought the company's assets out of bankruptcy in late 2008, and proceeded to close the facility. He then bought AW Manufacturing Inc., another furniture manufacturer in Mississippi, and now uses product from that plant in Mississippi to sell to Sklar's customers. The hard-working Steelworkers that were employed by Sklar Peppler in Canada not only lost their jobs, they lost their severance pay in the bankruptcy proceedings.
Task Force on Financial Literacy -- While we await the announcement of the federal government's Pan-Canadian consultations on the future of pensions, the Harper government has organized a 15 city set of public consultations on "financial literacy". This Task Force will provide advice and recommendations to the Minister of Finance on a national strategy to strengthen the "financial literacy" of Canadians. Part of its consultation topics include savings, investing and planning for retirement. The Chair of the Task Force on Financial Literacy is Don Stewart, CEO of Sun Life, and the Vice-Chair is L. Jacques Menard, Chairman of BMO Nesbitt Burns, one of the country's biggest investment firms. The Task Force weighted towards the financial advisers and investment types. We believe this Task Force will report to Minister Flaherty that Canadians pension problems will be solved if Canadians are more "literate" about the products they buy from banks and insurance companies. The CLC, Federations of Labour and affiliates will have a presence at these consultations, with the aim of avoiding a report that says "the only means for Canadians to prepare themselves financially is to buy our financial products and services." In addition, we will be promoting our position with respect to the expansion of the Canada Pension Plan as the best means for retirement savings. The only consultation in BC will be in Vancouver on April 6th, 2010. To find out more about the federal government’s "Task Force on Financial Literacy" consultations, please refer to: www.financialliteracyincanada.com
Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement -- Round Two In spite of strong opposition from civil society groups, the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois, the Canada- Colombia Free Trade Agreement continues to be one of the federal government's top priorities. The government reintroduced legislation to implement the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement on March 9. Debating the new bill -- Bill C-2 -- in Parliament on March 24, the Liberal trade critic Scott Brison proposed an amendment that was accepted by the government and could fast-track the bill's passage. A bad bill just gets worse with this proposed amendment. In 2008, an all-party Commons Committee recommended an impartial human rights impact assessment by a competent body, before Canada even considers ratifying a trade agreement with Colombia. The Colombian government is deeply mired in human rights violations and political scandals. Requiring the Colombian government to assess its own human rights impacts is like putting the fox in charge of the hen house. It makes a mockery of serious need for human rights reforms in Colombia before a free trade deal is ratified and implemented. The CLC remains opposed to a free trade deal with Colombia because we believe that the provisions will cause human rights violations to increase. We support the June 2008 recommendation of the Standing Committee on International Trade (CIIT) that an "impartial human rights impact assessment be carried out by a competent body, which is subject to independent levels of scrutiny and validation . . . before Canada considers ratifying and implementing an agreement with Colombia." A Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) would determine the impact of the trade provisions on human rights to ensure that the trade deal does not make a bad situation worse. Any human rights impact assessment, to be credible, must be carried out by a independent third party trade and human rights expert. Don't let Parliament whitewash human rights violations in Colombia. Visit our website, www.canadianlabour.ca and email your MP.

Bill Zeman, CUPE 3523 Budget shortfall -- cut backs again . . . We will know the extent by the end of April. We recently won mediation and arbitration for First Nations advocates.

Wendy Mah, BCGEU Local 407 March 19, 2010 -- Facilities Bargaining Association ratified their new collective agreement with HEABC 77% -- 2 year agreement -- wage adjustments for specific classifications due to increased requirements for education and responsibility, improved severance provisions, and additional retraining funds. Health Science Professionals have begun bargaining. Employment Insurance Board dismisses the Bill 29 appeal from 2000 affected workers who must repay EI benefits they had received due to receipt of settlement payments after Bill 29 was struck down.

Jim Failes, President CEP M1 Okanagan Unit (submitted after the meeting) Life at CHBC Television continues in a state of limbo while we wait for a resolution in Canwest Global's court-supervised insolvency. Little has changed in our day to day operations since last month. At higher levels, however, there's been plenty of activity. Delegates from our composite local (representing TV stations from Atlantic to Pacific) met in Ottawa during Spring Break. We made a handful of important decisions, including the following:
-- To appeal the appointment of a Conciliator that would have hastened bargaining in the easternmost of three Bargaining Units at Global-owned stations. (Bargaining while one's employer is in Creditor Protection seems -- at best -- unattractive.)
-- To urge quick action on our application to the Canada Industrial Relations Board to merge our two other Bargaining Units, covering Global stations in Alberta and BC.
-- To continue to push for decisions on other lingering issues before the Board -- mainly to do with unresolved disagreements on inclusions/exclusions for the Eastern and Alberta Units. There have also been a few developments in Canwest's CCAA case.
-- US investment firm Goldman Sachs has appealed the court's approval of Shaw Communications' bid to purchase Canwest's TV assets.
-- The court has extended the CCAA process until at least June 15th of this year. (One outcome of this ruling was the postponement of conciliation in our Eastern unit -- relief, albeit temporary relief.)
-- The court has approved fast-tracking of the Goldman Sachs appeal, agreeing that a prolonged process could be detrimental to any sale.
Beyond those developments, the judge has NOT yet issued a decision on CEP's motion to immediately pay severance and other moneys owed to our laid-off workers whose entitlements have been caught in the CCAA process. Nine former CHBC employees await that decision, while they continue to seek new work and/or retraining.
You've likely heard that the CRTC has rendered a decision (of sorts) in the ongoing "fee for carriage" (aka "value for signal") dispute between broadcasters and their signal distributors. The CRTC has ruled that broadcasters are entitled to be paid by the distributors, but that the two parties must negotiate the amount. This is welcome news or stations like ours . . . except perhaps, in the event that we DO get purchased by Shaw, who is one of the distributors who lost their case. Shaw may soon find themselves firmly on both sides of the fee issue, as major broadcast owners and signal distributors -- a curious position! In the same ruling, the CRTC indefinitely postponed a requirement for smaller market stations to convert to digital television, which previously carried a deadline of August 2011. That deadline is still in place for stations serving markets over 300,000.

Karen Abramsen, UFCW 1518/BC NDP/Southern Delegate -- No HST -- The citizens' petition against the HST has begun. 10% of eligible voters in all constituencies need to sign the petition. Success will force the Provincial Government to hold a referendum on the HST. We need people to sign up as a canvasser to ensure we meet our targets. Visit www.stophst.com to get the canvasser signup sheet. The petitioning will take place from April 6th forward and will last 90 days. IF YOU CAN HELP OUT PLEASE SIGN UP FOR A FEW HOURS OF WORK IN YOUR AREA!!
Council of Canadians Report -- Beware of the proposed Trade Talks with the European Union. They are after our public services born provincially and municipally and Harper is anxious to give them away! These talks are a major expansion on the TILMA like agreements. Local procurement policies will be gone!!

Glenn Nowag, UFCW 1518 and President NOLC -- 3000 hotel and food service workers across BC achieved new union contracts in the last 2 months, including workers in: 4 Coast Hotels in Victoria, Nanaimo, Prince George and Kelowna. The Coast Plaza Hotel on Denman Street in Vancouver HMS Host food service at the Vancouver Airport, 60 hotels covered by the HIR master agreement across B.C. These contract victories are the result of months of organizing, mobilizing, and tough bargaining by rank and file leaders -- and much support from the broader community. In many of these fights, hotel housekeepers led the way and secured historic workload relief language in their contracts. At the Vancouver Airport, 300 HMS Host workers showed enormous courage during a one-day strike and 6-day lockout -- and won job security provisions in their contract for the first time. Throughout all of these campaigns, Local 40 members benefited enormously from the solidarity of union members across BC. Labour unions provided assistance in more ways than we can recount in this email. The Blue Line Pub (formerly Angies) at the Capri Hotel in Kelowna has been closed.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS
1) Southern Interior Regional Labour Council Conference -- This event which was tentatively scheduled for May 28-30 and has been postponed until further notice.
2) Camp Jubilee/Silver Lake Camp Contest: Contest forms and information were handed out to all delegates to take back to their workplace and distribute to those members who have children who may be interested in entering this draw. If you don't receive an entry form, they are posted on our website and you may email Cheryl Stone to enter your child in the contest this way, or print off the entry and mail to our St Paul address.
3) United Way Labour Director nominations; Debra Critchley, BCGEU, was nominated for United Way delegate. A motion was made to make a change in the way the NOLC distributes the funding to the United Way Kelowna and Vernon. The Motion is to donate 66% to the Kelowna United Way and 33% to the Vernon United Way. M/S/C
4) National Day of Mourning -- Karen Abramsen, UFCW 1518. The North Okanagan Labour Council and WorkSafeBC are co-hosting a public memorial to remember lost co-workers, friends and family, and reflect on our commitment to workplace safety. The Day of Mourning was initiated by the Canadian Labour Congress in 1984. Canada was the first country to recognize the day formally and today, 26 years later, the Day of Mourning is observed throughout the world. Family members of fatally injured workers, employers, workers, unions, associations and government representatives are invited to this event. Light Refreshments will be available. Please join us on Wednesday, April 28, 2010, 12:00 noon, Location: Ben Lee Park, Kelowna If you would like any further information please contact: Karen at 250 212 2999

NEW BUSINESS:
1) CLC request for a United Way Board representative from the NOLC, be chosen to attend a CLC meeting April 30th in Vancouver. Debra Critchley, BCGEU and NOLC delegate to the United Way was chosen to represent the NOLC. M/S/C
2) A motion was made to make the Recording Secretary meeting per diem rate equal to that of the President and the Secretary Treasurer. Honorarium effective from March meeting. M/S/C
3) NOLC recently received a letter regarding our present meeting location, on St Paul Street, Kelowna, that we will have to vacate as of the end of September 2010. The meeting room will not be available after September, and NOLC is actively looking for another meeting place

FINAL CREDENTIALS REPORT: 11 Present with 11 Delegates 0 Guests

GOOD AND WELFARE:
1) Karen Abramsen, UFCW 1518 and the Council of Canadians thanked the NOLC for their contribution of $50.00 towards the recent event at the college of the presentation of a film called "Tapped". 2) Karen Abramsen, UFCW 1518, and the Council of Canadians, reported that the next presentation of the film called "DIRT" will be shown at Okanagan College on KLO at 7:00 pm on Sunday, April 11th, 2010. Entry fee is upon donation.

ADJOURNMENT
The meeting was adjourned by Glenn Nowag, President at 8:45 pm

Minutes respectfully submitted by Cheryl Stone, Recording Secretary, UFCW 1518,

NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, May 5, 2010, 7:00 pm, 201A 1358 St. Paul Street, Kelowna, B.C.

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