Letterhead


December 4, 2002 minutes

MINUTES - REGULAR MONTHLY MEETING, NORTH OKANAGAN LABOUR COUNCIL

DECEMBER 4, 2002 AT KELOWNA

AFFILIATES PRESENT

Tony Heisterkamp Carp 1346

David Doran Carp 1346

David Mitchell TWU 16

Judi Filion BCGEU 707

Trudy Ames BCGEU 307

Gord Larkin CLC

Ron Bobowski CUPW 760

Bob Barten BCGEU 2007

Faye Saxon OPEIU 15

Joyce Procure BCNU

Dona Frayn BCGEU 1207

Pat Munro HSA

GUESTS

Karen Abramsen NDP, Council of Canadians

Gord Stoutenburg EI-BC Forum

Neil Ferguson CUPE 3523

Cheryl Stone UFCW 1518

REGRETS

Pat Bulmer CEP 2000

Cathy Seagris BCGEU 607

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 December 4, 200w

GUEST SPEAKERS

None

ADOPTION OF THE PREVIOUS MINUTES

M/S/C to adopt the minutes of November 6, 2002 as mailed out and circulated

CREDENTIALS REPORT

15 present with 11 delegates and 4 guests

OBLIGATION OF NEW DELEGATES

none

FINANCIAL REPORT

M/S/C to to adopt financial report as circulated – still waiting for HEU donation to pass along to NOLC-endorsed municipal council candidates

EXECUTIVE BOARD REPORT/ACTION CORRESPONDENCE

a) CLC request for donation to the National Anti-Poverty Organization in memory of Kimberly Rogers, a pregnant woman who died after being cut off social assistance.

b) CLC calls on affiliates to make donations to national labour college

c) NDP federal leadership vote: NOLC is entitled to one vote. Questions raised how to determine how the one vote would be cast. Would all NOLC delegates agree on one candidate.

M/S/C to receive and file all three items

REPORTS OF LOCAL UNIONS, COMMITTEE REPORTS, CLC REPORT

Dave Doran, BC Fed Convention (Nov. 25-29): The Convention opened Monday morning with 44 Exec members and 1004 delegates in attendance. Three people are killed at work every week. Last year 193 workers died at their work site. Most were between the ages of 15-25 and had spent less than six months on the job. In the 21st Century it is hard to believe that governments are bringing forward legislation that will make the workplace unfriendlier. Many items were discussed during the course of the week.

The highlights were the Action Plan, the guest speaker Shirley Douglas, Tommy Douglas's daughter, renewed commitment to the NDP and the Olympic Bid. The Action Plan was part of a lengthy debate on how the Fed is to co-ordinate actions in the fight-back campaign. The resolution passed unanimously. (See plan after this report.)

Shirley Douglas gave an impassioned speech about Medicare and the proposed changes being lobbied for by big business. How working Canadians will suffer if we lose the battle for a government supported health care system. Again and again it was reiterated how we must get out and support the NDP, we must be the solution. The party needs to have new life. Trade unionists, activists and working men and women need to get involved with the party at the local level. If people are happy with our provincial government at present then you don't have to do anything.

The final morning of the convention saw a resolution about the Olympic bid. This was a hotly debated issue. Building trades looking from the perspective of jobs. The Public sector looking from the perspective of no money for health care but billions for the Olympics. The resolution for a fact finding mission to try an establish the type of jobs and benefits that would be realized from the Olympics passed with a small majority of 20 votes. It was a good feeling to be with a group of activists including the newly affiliated BCNU in such a show of solidarity. The energy and determination of the convention delegates to make the changes to government policies, to reaffirm that it is worth the effort, to make a difference was inspiring to me. Thank you for sending me as you representative. (Judi Filion and Trudy Ames also delivered verbal convention reports.)

BC Fed Action Plan:

ACTION PLAN RESOLUTION

WHEREAS the BC Liberal government has betrayed working families by ramming through their draconian legislative and fiscal agenda; and

WHEREAS the BC Liberals' agenda is destabilizing our province through massive privatization and deregulation, devastating cuts to healthcare, education and critical social programs, regressive tax policies, and inept economic development strategies; and

WHEREAS the BC Liberals' attack on workers has meant ripping up signed collective agreements, contracting out bargaining unit work, massive layoffs and higher unemployment, as well as the gutting of employment standards, workplace health and safety protection and the right to union representation; and

WHEREAS the most punishing impacts of the BC Liberals' agenda are disproportionately hurting seniors, women, youth, the disabled, low income earners, First Nations, unorganized workers and rural communities across the province; now

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the B.C. Federation of Labour work with affiliates to intensify our fightback campaign by moving forward with an action plan that targets the following priorities and actions.

1. To promote and defend workers' rights to union representation and collective bargaining, fair employment standards, proper health and safety provisions and non-discriminatory action from an employer, the Federation will:

  • Work with affiliates involved in collective bargaining to ensure that coordinated picket action and union-supported economic sanctions are used to win fair settlements at the bargaining table;

  • Launch a major workplace health and safety campaign to fight deregulation of health and safety protections;

  • Organize with provincial youth and student organizations to repeal the retrograde changes to the Employment Standards Act; and

  • Develop, through the Federation's Organizing Institute, new capacity and strategies amongst affiliates to defeat employer-driven decertification drives, to organize the unorganized and to build solidarity and cooperation between affiliates in new organizing campaigns.

2. To advance progressive economic alternatives that address rising unemployment and growing economic disparity, especially in rural BC, the Federation will:

  • Work with affiliates and activists, especially from resource-dependent communities, to demand a resolution to the softwood lumber dispute and protection for workers, their families and their community from the tariff;

  • Organize with rural communities to fight the job loss and service cuts that the BC Liberals are imposing on those communities;

  • Expand the work begun at the October 2002 Conference on the Economy to advocate for pro-active strategies to create jobs and more sustainable growth in BC; and

  • Raise the critical economic issues facing BC by taking the debate to the community through a continuing series of educational and policy seminars that bring together union and community activists in the debate on progressive economic alternatives to generate jobs and investment.

3. To defend public services, Crown corporations and public stewardship of our environment from massive program and budget cuts, privatization, deregulation and contracting out, the Federation will:
  • Organize with community coalitions, Labour Councils and community partners and allies to fight the loss of public programs, services and environmental protection in their community;

  • Expand our campaigns with affiliates and provincial community organizations to fight the government's privatization agenda including the privatization of BC Hydro, ICBC, BC Rail, BC Ferries, BC Liquor Distribution Branch and BC Highways and other valuable Crown corporations;

  • Hold every Liberal MLA accountable for the policies of their government in attacking public services and public assets. Our actions will include continued lobbying at the constituency level, public forums and accountability sessions at the community level and other political actions; and

  • Expand our education work in the community to increase the public's understanding of the important role that public services play in building economic, social and regional equality in our province.

4. To fight for improvements in our public healthcare system and prevent privatization and for-profit service providers from undermining the economic and social benefits that affordable public healthcare provides, the Federation will:

  • Work with the CLC and affiliates on the National Campaign for Public Medicare;

  • Build new community fightback campaigns with seniors' organizations that pressure the BC Liberals to reverse their regressive policies on Pharmacare, the closure of long-term care facilities and cuts to benefits for seniors. In addition, this fightback work must press for proper funding of public healthcare programs for seniors;

  • Work with healthcare affiliates to identify economic pressure tactics that can be mobilized to stop healthcare authorities from dismantling public healthcare in BC;

  • Mobilize with supportive community groups to stop the closure of healthcare facilities in their area;

  • Organize affiliates, especially those in the private sector, to have their employers publicly acknowledge that our public healthcare system not only ensures equality of access, but also provides significant economic benefits; and

  • Contribute Federation staff and resources to support the National Campaign for Medicare by providing assistance to the BC Health Coalition and urge all affiliates to help support the important work of this campaign.

5. To improve the access and quality of our public education system to ensure that education, training and skill development remain a right, not a privilege, the Federation will:

  • Join with the BC Teachers' Federation in their campaign to promote and protect public education in the K-12 system;

  • Work with affiliates and the BC and Yukon and Building Trades Council to prevent the deregulation of trades training and skills development that employers are pressuring the government to enact;

  • Work with the Canadian Federation of Students to fight for more affordable and accessible post-secondary education; and

  • Work with all education sector affiliates to fight the contracting out and under-funding of education in both the K-12 and post-secondary system.

6. To advance a viable, single, political alternative that rebuilds a progressive voice for working families in BC, the Federation will:

  • Build on our success in municipal and community elections through support for elected local representatives, who were endorsed locally, to ensure that they advance progressive policies for their community; and

  • Urge all affiliates to support an open and inclusive rebuilding process within the provincial NDP to ensure that a progressive and viable political alternative is able to defeat the BC Liberals in 2005.

7. To improve union communication efforts at the workplace and community level, the Federation will:

  • Work with affiliates to increase coordination of existing union communication resources and take steps to develop infrastructure for regular print, electronic and web-based communication with our members and allies; and

  • Develop an education program for union and workplace activists that strengthens our two-way communication with our members.

8. To increase economic pressure on the BC Liberals to slow down, stop and reverse their policies, the Federation will: