DECEMBER 9, 2009
MINUTES - MONTHLY MEETING, NORTH OKANAGAN LABOUR COUNCIL AT KELOWNA
Glenn Nowag - UFCW 1518, Ron Bobowski - CUPW 760, Cheryl Stone - UFCW
1518, Lynda Zorn - BC Forum, Karen Abramson - UFCW 1518, Ronn Dunn -CUPE 3523, Pat Bulmer -
CEP 2000, Jeff Carsience - UBCJA 1370, Boyd Sommerfeld - HEU, Doris Janssen - CEP, Jim Failes -
CEP, Greg McGowan - CUPE 873, Keith Taylor - CUPE 873, Jason Angulo - CUPE 873, Wendy Mah -
BCGEU 407, Carole Gordon - BCTF Local 23, Nancy Ingersol - VTA-BCTF
Nikki Inouye - HEU Vernon, Shawna Rand - HEU Vernon, Debra Critchley - BCGEU, Shane Curveon - ATU 1722
Jennifer Carsience, Chris Berry - COPE 15, Nic Wheeler - UBCJA Local 1370,
Kristine Byers - UBCJA Local 1370, Wes Kmet - BC Forum, Greg Fjetland - BCGEU 707
CALL TO ORDER ADOPTION OF AGENDA: M/S/C
GUEST SPEAKERS: Jason Angulo, CUPE 873
The meeting was called to order by President Glenn Nowag at 7:00 p.m.
Ronn Dunn, Vice President, sat in for Shane Curveon as Sergeant at Arms,
18 Present with 14 Delegates and 4 Guests
OBLIGATIONS OF NEW DELEGATES: none
FINANCIAL REPORT: given by Ron Bobowski,
Sec. Treasurer, M/S/C
EXECUTIVE BOARD REPORT/ACTION CORRESPONDENCE
-- CLC Union per capita Tax remittance form, submitted to the Sec. Treasurer
-- The executive board made a resolution to help Shawna Rand, Vice Pres NOLC Executive Board in her time of grief, a cheque was sent to her on behalf of the NOLC.
-- Christmas wishes from the CLC and the BCFED were read aloud to all delegates in attendance.
REPORTS OF LOCAL UNIONS/COMMITTEE REPORTS/CLC REPORT
CLC Report: Orion Irvine CLC Rep.
The Canadian Labour Congress's Pension Campaign continues. Labour councils
in BC have been contacting their Members of Parliament regarding the issue of pension
protection and reform. Well over half the MPs have been contacted. The results of this work
are showing. The issue of pensions has been in the media and politicians are talking about
the issue on Parliament Hill. We are asking the labour councils that haven't contacted or
don't have an appointment with the MPs, to keep up the pressure and keep in contact with
Bill C-391 (Long gun registry)
A Conservative backbencher put forward Bill C-391.
This bill would remove the Long gun registry. Twenty opposition MPs joined with the entire
government caucus to send Bill C-391 committee for study before being brought back for a
final vote. It was a big setback for public safety. Heading into the final steps of the
law-making process with a 27-vote lead gives Bill C-391 a good chance of succeeding. If that
happens, registration of rifles and shotguns would stop and the government would delete the
nearly 8 million firearms records used today by police and other law enforcement officials.
Police use those records to keep themselves and our communities safe. Statistics show a 50%
drop in gun-related spousal homicides since record-keeping started. We can still turn things
around. If your MP is a Conservative, your voice is especially important. That's because the
Conservative Party has a history of strong support for public safety and the police. It
doesn't make sense that so many Conservative MPs who represent communities where the police
say they need the gun registry, and where public support for keeping track of guns remains
strong, voted in favour of Bill C-391. They clearly need to hear more about this from the
people they represent. We need to convince a few MPs to change their minds about Bill C-391,
and vote NO when it returns to the House of Commons for final approval. You can help us make
-- Talk to 20 of your friends. Ask them to do the same.
-- Join our Facebook page.
-- Send a letter to the Prime Minister about how gun control is an
important part of any plan to reduce violence against women.
Call, fax, e-mail or visit your
local MP. Tell them the law is working. Tell them that gun-related spousal homicide is down
50% since the gun registry was started. Tell them to keep our communities safe. Tell them to
vote against Bill C-391 (if you really want to get their attention, add that you won't vote
for anyone who votes in favour of Bill C-391 at the next election). We know there are more
Canadians who support having rifles and shotguns registered for public safety than who want
to see this important policing tool dismantled and all of its records destroyed. It's still
possible to turn things around and win this one for public safety.
National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women December 6, 2009
On December 6th, we mourn the 14 women killed in Montreal in 1989. On this day, we remember
all women who are murdered or experience violence by partners, family members and strangers
throughout this country. On this day, we recommit to take action against all forms of
violence against women in our society. This December 6th will mark twenty years since those
14 young women were murdered in Montreal simply because they were women. We recognize that
ending this violence will only be possible when all women in Canada live in economic and
social equality? We know that fighting violence requires governments to pursue an
integrated legal, social and economic agenda.
Women need a series of comprehensive social and economic policies including:
-- maintaining the long gun registry, which has reduced gun-related spousal homicides by
50% since it was started;
-- access to affordable, safe housing;
-- a living minimum
-- effective pay equity laws;
-- a national publicly-funded child care program;
-- equal access to Employment Insurance;
-- access to justice, including the resources
to challenge discriminatory government action and legal aid;
-- increased governmental
support for women's centres, rape crisis centres and women's shelters;
-- legal protection
and support for women who report sexual assault.
Rather than promoting women's equality, the federal government is severely limiting women's
capacity to organize, advocate and lobby. They won't support women's equality in the
workplace and have limited women's rights to challenge discrimination before the courts.
Canadians cannot accept an erosion of our hard-won and still fragile equality rights. We
will not be silenced by the socially conservative government agenda.
We call on the federal government to reverse its policy decisions on childcare, pay equity,
the gun registry, the Court Challenges Program and Status of Women Canada. We call on the
government to drop its law and order agenda and instead, develop an effective women's
Wal-Mart court ruling a narrow technical victory
The president of the Canadian Labour Congress says that Supreme Court of Canada judgments
involving a Wal-Mart store closure in Quebec are based on legal technicalities and that the
ruling would likely not apply in the rest of Canada.
Ken Georgetti was commenting on SCC rulings today in two cases related to Wal-Mart's
shutting down its store in Jonquiere, Quebec in April 2005. "We have always believed that
Wal-Mart closed its store in Jonquiere because its employees had voted to join a union,"
Georgetti says. "But the Supreme Court of Canada has now ruled that under the Quebec labour
code, the onus was on the workers to prove that the company closed the store for that
reason. In other provinces and territories the onus would have been on the company to prove
that was not the case."
Wal-Mart shut down the store, throwing 190 employees out of work; seven months after the
United Food and Commercial Workers had been certified to represent workers there. The
company claimed the store was not profitable. Georgetti says, "This decision will not deter
unions from taking on Wal-Mart in Quebec and other provinces."
New job numbers confirm that the labour market is still slipping. The job numbers for
October 2009 confirm that the labour market continues to deteriorate rapidly and there are
no signs of improvement. While there were some indication in recent months that labour
market deterioration was slowing, that can be described as the eye of a hurricane before the
second part of the storm hits us.
In October, the number of employees in Canada dropped by 71,000. The public sector lost
26,000 employees and the private sector lost 45,000. The unemployment rate rose from 8.4% to
8.6% and the number of unemployed Canadians is now 1,587,400, up by 37,700 since September
The decline that occurred in the last 12 months was mainly in manufacturing, construction,
transport and natural resources. The deterioration of the labour market is now spreading to
the service industry, including retail and wholesale trade, down by 31,000, and ̉other
services", down by 20,000. Women ages 25 and over (-24,400) and young workers (-19,900) who
are traditionally over-represented in service, retail and wholesale, suffered most of the
layoffs in October. Since October 2008, about 400,000 Canadians have been laid off, most of
them full-time workers (378,000). The unemployment rate has increased by 2.3
percentage points, from 6.3% to 8.6%. The number of unemployed Canadians has grown by
435,900 during the same period, a 37.9% increase over a year. In summary, the deterioration
of the labour market has spread to all Canadians in all sectors of the economy. Fewer than
half of unemployed workers qualify for Employment Insurance and those who do get benefits
are receiving an average of about $50 a day. We have asked the government, again and again,
to fix Employment Insurance, but they keep tinkering around the edges.
Statistics Canada reports that in October 2009 there were 1.59 million unemployed Canadian
men and women, or 8.6% of the workforce. Since last fall, 400,000 jobs have been lost.
Workers have paid their Employment Insurance premiums in good faith, and the program should
be there for them now that they have been thrown out of work, through no fault of their own.
The EI system needs comprehensive reform, and we are calling upon Ottawa to:
-- change accessibility rules to provide regular EI benefits on the basis of 360 hours of
work, no matter where people live and work in Canada.
-- make all workers eligible for up
to 50 weeks of EI benefits.
-- raise benefits immediately to 60% of earnings calculated on
a worker's best 12 weeks of earnings.
Doris Janssen, COMMUNICATIONS, ENERGY & PAPERWORKERS UNION OF CANADA, LOCAL M1, OKANAGAN
At CHBC Television, we continue to struggle along short-staffed with less than 2/3 of the
employees we had a year ago. The last of our most recent layoffs takes effect tomorrow. Nine
members are still waiting to learn the fate of their contractual severance -- totalling
about $335,000 -- (which is "caught" in our parent company, Canwest Global's Creditor
Protection process) I don't know if any of the nine has found more than part-time work,
which means it's all the more important that I thank the NOL Council, again, for your
generous support, as well as that of the individuals who contributed from their own pockets.
These donations were cheered at a recent send-off social organized by our Unit, and
gratefully received by our laid off members. A most sincere "Thank you"!
We continue to petition for what's owed to these members, and are pursuing other avenues for
aid. In this regard, we heard recently from MP Ron Cannan, following up on a meeting that we
had with him in October. He brought good news, direct from the relevant ministry, that money
from the Wage Earner's Protection Program would be available to our members. Unfortunately,
this happy turn led within hours to a dead end, then a re-check, followed by an apology from
a ministry official who admitted to being just plain wrong. This defect in the WEP Program
is merely one way in which Canada's laws fail workers whose parent Companies are insolvent.
We've just seen more of that in the Ontario Court of Appeal's ruling against Nortel's
ex-employees. We must all urge change. We've had still more ups and downs. Our new composite
Local has extended an EI Top Up program that will add about $100 a week to EI benefits paid
to our un-severanced members. At the other end of the spectrum, our GM has
seen fit to deem these laid off employees NOT BE INVITED to CHBC's Christmas Party, citing a
need to move forward and keep things positive. This week at CHBC, we're doing a self-survey
of job tasks, keeping a running account of what tasks we do. We hope this will give us a
better handle on creeping evolution in jobs. New tasks are added regularly, and (although we
don't have job descriptions) we're pretty sure it's time to complain. An example? -- CHBC
launched a new web site a couple of weeks ago, and now Newsroom staff is being asked to
prepare print versions of news stories for the web -- on top of all their regular duties.
Amazingly, this is not as easy as our managers originally portrayed it. We're encouraging
them to hire someone -- say, one of the unemployed laid off folks, who have re-engagement
rights. Stay tuned. Speaking of staying tuned, the campaign for Local TV continues. Our Unit
Secretary, Barbara Vanstone, is in Ottawa this week helping CEP prepare a television
commercial advocating a fee for carriage of Local TV signals on cable. Watch for it; we hope
it'll be better than those currently being aired by the Broadcasters and the Cable
Jim Failes, President, CEP M1 Okanagan
Pat Bulmer, CEP 2000
The union has won arbitration on over staffing in the pressroom. In our last negotiations,
staffing was increased to 5 people per shift, but the company could reduce it to 4 if it
could show there was a reduced amount of work. The company tried to implement this. The
union grieved. At arbitration, the company cited a reduction of business, but couldn't prove
the workload had been decreased. It lacked numbers to back up its case. The union proved
that while the number of pages printed may be down, with increased use of colour and units
on the press, the actual workload was not "significantly" reduced, (as the contract language
Carole Gordon, BCTF Local 23 (COTA)
FSA campaign this year focuses on parent withdrawal from the FSA. The tests run January 18
to the end of February, an extension of 2 weeks due to the Olympics. BCTF's position is that
a test that measures the system needs to be administered on a random-sample only. After our
effort to boycott the tests last year, it is left to the parents of students in grades 4 &
7. Our resolution at the BCFED Convention asking for support of the parental withdrawal,
among other things, was passed. There is an estimated six million dollar shortfall for
School District 23.
Lynda Zorn, BCFORUM
As BC FORUM's North Okanagan delegate, I just attended a conference in Vancouver December 7
and 8, 2009.
David Rice, CLC, was the guest speaker Dec. 7, talking about the CLC's 3 point plan
regarding pension reform and encouraging local labour councils to meet with their MPs to
lobby for its adoption. I was happy to report that NOLC had already planned on doing so.
He also revealed the plan to amalgamate NOLC and SOBLC. The next day it was David Porteous,
outlining the WE group of services. You will find pamphlets and other information on the
back table. Along with BCFL, WE has been very supportive of BC FORUM in terms of money,
staff and office space, as well as helping fund the conference. During some lively
discussions, I was surprised by the expertise and wealth of experience fellow delegates
brought to the table.
The CLC has recommended labour councils change their bylaws to accommodate regional
delegates with a voice but no vote or office, and I appreciate NOLC doing just that. Most
delegates were happy with those limitations, but a couple reported their labour councils
were too small for them to function without delegates holding office, and one said his had
gone even further by passing a resolution removing all restrictions. Since one of the main
aims of BC FORUM is to ensure the continuing liaison of retirees and the labour movement,
stressing the allowable age of 50 for membership to employees still in the labour force
would foster that objective. We were also reminded that some unions will pay first year
BCFORUM membership and some delegates felt we should offer it carte blanche to everyone.
In response to Sister Cheryl Stone's question of a receipt acknowledging paid membership, I
suggested BC FORUM could furnish delegates with cards that would allow them to fill in the
applicant's name and the date upon receiving the $15 fee, and then forward the funds and
info to BC FORUM office in timely batches, hopefully saving the latter some time. The
suggestion seemed to solicit a favourable response from delegates because of its immediacy.
Existing members have different due dates for membership renewal because of the free $2500
group accident insurance coverage. If you are unsure of yours, I have the list to consult.
There are information pamphlets, with application forms, on the back table. You can also
apply on line, and view the current edition of the Advocate, press releases etc.
-- Labour Council flyers - The printing of the new NOLC flyers was discussed at the
Executive meeting and second at the General meeting to go ahead and have 2,000 flyers
printed by Print Craft, which is a union shop in Vancouver. Everyone was in favour of the
importance of this form of advertisement to get the word out about who we are and what we do
in our community.
-- BC Fed - CLC Harrison Winter School - It was recommended by the NOLC
Executive that Ron Bobowski, Secretary Treasurer, Table Officer attend. A motion was passed
at the Executive Meeting and second at the General meeting that Sister Cheryl Stone,
Recording Secretary and Table Officer, attend as well.
-- North Okanagan Labour Council AGM - February 2010 There was no response from the attending delegates to offer to head up a
committee for the upcoming 2010 AGM election of Executive Officers. This will be revisited
at the January 6, 2010 meeting.
Please think about volunteering for this very important
position, there is not a lot of work involved. It is very crucial that this take place in
order to move forward with elections for our labour council. Call or email Ron Bobowski for
CLC Rep Orion Irvine asked that the NOLC Executive pass a motion regarding merger of
councils. The motion "that the executive officers be authorized to discuss, with the CLC and
the Okanagan Labour Councils, ways in which the Okanagan area Labour Councils can work more
closely together, up to and including a merger" was passed. A discussion was held at the
General meeting and the motion was second by the delegates in attendance. This would just be
the first level of discussion. The CLC will have a meeting in January 2010 for further talks
regarding this issue, with the NOLC and the SOBLC, South Okanagan Boundary Labour Council.
FINAL CREDENTIALS REPORT: 23 Present with 17 Delegates 6 Guests
GOOD AND WELFARE:
-- The funeral service for Shawna Rand's son, Eric Shawn Rand, was held on November 20,
2009. Eric understood the importance of helping others in need. To keep his spirit alive the
Eric Rand Memorial Fund has been set up with the Village Green Branch CIBC, 3201 30th Ave.,
Vernon, B.C. V1T 2C6. Transit #00260, account number 8924236, please assist if you are able.
-- Carole Gordon, BCTF asked that everyone remember the United Way in their time of need
for donations. Please go to www.unitedwaycso.com to help out. Thank you from the United Way.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 pm by Glenn Nowag, President
Minutes respectfully submitted by Cheryl Stone, Recording Secretary, UFCW 1518,
NEXT MEETING: Jan. 6, 7 p.m. at NOLC office, 201-1358 St Paul Street, Kelowna.