Letterhead


JUNE 7, 2006 minutes

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

AFFILIATES PRESENT
Jeff Carsience, UBCJ 1370
Glenn Nowag, UNITEHERE!
Ron Bobowski, CUPW 760
Pat Bulmer, CEP 2000
Karen Abramsen, BC Forum
Lorrie Lee Miller, Steelworkers
Louise Schwingenschloegl, HEU
Faye Saxon, BC Forum
Pat Munro, HSA - Kelowna
Liz Woods, BC Forum
Maria Tokarchuk, HSA Kelowna
Dave Porteous, UFCW 120
Tom Potts, COTA
Dona Frayn, BCGEU
Brad Dunlop, Steel 1-423
Shirley Kavaloff, HSA
Tom Metz, ATU
Kevin Hagglund, CEP 823-M

GUESTS
Doug Gibson, COPE
L. Thiel, HEU
A. Thiel, HEU
Neil Ferguson, CUPE 3523
Lori-Anne Charlton, Media
Heather Arnold, CEP 468
Susan Steen, United Way
Don Plant, Media
Jim Sinclair, BC Fed

REGRETS
Cheryl Stone, UFCW
Gord Larkin, CLC

CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by President Brad Dunlop at 7:06 p.m.

A minute of silence was held for Gord Stoutenburg, long-time member and former president of the North Okanagan Labour Council who died on June 2. Karen Abramsen talked about Gord's many contributions to the labour movement, the council and his 30-plus years on the EI Board of Referees.

ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA
M/S/C to adopt agenda of June 7, 2006

GUEST SPEAKERS
Susan Steen -- executive director Central and South Okanagan-Similkameen United Way. Susan introduced herself and explained that with the help of Liz Woods, in particular, she is learning about labour, labour councils and labour's role in the United Way -- and hopes to build a good working relationship with labour. Susan reminded us that the "heart and soul" of United Ways are the agencies they fund that serve the community, noting that during recent illnesses in her family, six United Way-funded agencies provided assistance. Giving to the agencies will often come back to help your own family. "We're more than a fundraising machine."

Jim Sinclair, president B.C. Federation of Labour -- Jim made many points in a fast-paced speech, including:

  • Countries that are doing well in the world have well-developed labour movements. Countries that aren't doing well, don't. Canada is struggling to be one of those countries that's doing well.
  • Labour peace is an overused term in this province right now. After four years of fighting just to hold our own, unions' relations with the province have merely returned to normal. The government sat down and bargained like it's supposed to, instead of legislating contracts.
  • There's an apprenticeship-training crisis in our province. Instead of training workers, companies are calling for an end to mandatory retirement (a work-till-you die policy), reductions in certification standards and guest worker programs. Worker shortages are real, but the answer is improving training, free tuition, immigration not guest workers. Re: lack of apprenticeship programs -- "Companies are not doing the job of training. They've been poaching so long." Tolko in Kelowna does have an apprenticeship program that's working. It's a joint company-union program. Six apprenticeships so far. More to come. Should be a law that companies either train and have apprentices or contribute to a training fund, because if they're not training they're poaching workers from companies who do train.
  • No to softwood deal: Under this proposed deal, we have to ask Washington to change provincial forest policies; deal is bad for the little guys; money coming back to B.C. forest industry should be reinvested in B.C. and not used by the companies to buy U.S. plants.
  • Health care: When Gordon Campbell comes to Kelowna to tell us about the different models of health care he has supposedly studied, tell him there's only one model we shouldn't make money off the sick.
  • Federal budget: No new money for education, no new money for health care, but more money for prisons.

ADOPTION OF THE PREVIOUS MINUTES
M/S/C to adopt minutes of May 10, 2006.

OBLIGATION OF NEW DELEGATES
none

CREDENTIALS REPORT
27 present with 18 delegates and 9 guests

FINANCIAL REPORT
M/S/C to increase contribution to political action fund to $500 a month from $400.
M/S/C to adopt financial report as circulated.

EXECUTIVE BOARD REPORT/ACTION CORRESPONDENCE
a) Our Times magazine subscription renewal request -- M/S/C to renew our subscription for one year at $25.


REPORTS OF LOCAL UNIONS, COMMITTEE REPORTS, CLC REPORT

Faye Saxon -- Worker representative for Board of Referees for Employment Insurance -- The qualifying period for a claimant applying for unemployment benefits is the 52-week period immediately before the beginning of a benefit period. This qualifying period may be extended for several reasons.
1. illness, injury, quarantine or pregnancy
2. confined in a jail, penitentiary or other similar institution
3. receiving assistance under employment benefits
4. receiving payments under a provincial law on the basis of having ceased to work because continuing to work would have resulted in danger to the person, her unborn child or a child whom she was breast-feeding.
There is no provision for a claimant who is doing their civic duty by sitting on a jury. We recently had an appeal by a person who did not have enough hours from his seasonal job as he was on jury duty for an extended period. He left his job (in order to sit on the jury) before the season was complete and thus did not have enough hours to qualify for benefits. Had he remained working until the season was complete. he would have had enough hours. Obviously, we could not help this claimant. The three-member board agreed that the Act should be amended to cover jury duty. The commission continues to cancel scheduled Boards because there are not enough cases coming through. The high employment in the Okanagan is probably responsible for this.

Tom Potts gave a verbal report about teachers' bargaining.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

a) Board of referees appointments -- M/S/C to recommend Karen Abramsen, Faye Saxon and Don Main for three-year board of referee appointments.

b) Summer camp draw -- The following were the winners and alternates in our draw to send kids to Silver Lake Camp and Camp Jubilee:
Camp Jubilee:
Winner -- Taylor Wilson (BCNU)
Alternate -- Kayle Solski (HEU)
Silver Lake:
Winner -- Emalie Schueler (HSA)
Alternate -- Jesse Cuthbert (CEP 2000)
Winner -- Gordie Loverin (BCNU)
Alternate -- Russell Main (HSA)

c) MP Lobby -- Ron Bobowski gave a verbal report on the NOLC's recent meeting with MP Ron Cannan. Issues raised included childcare, health care, anti-scab legislation and the environment.

d) Southern Interior Labour Councils meeting -- Pat Bulmer reported on the annual meeting of the six Southern Interior labour councils May 27 at the Coast Capri Hotel.

e) NDP national convention Sept. 8-10 Quebec City -- M/S/C to pay registration for Dave Porteous and Karen Abramsen.

f) Labour Day Food Bank Drive -- Labour Day (Sept. 5) to Thursday Sept. 7 -- Brad Dunlop gave an update on plans for a fall labour-driven food drive. More info to come over the summer.

NEW BUSINESS

a) Membership committee recommendations:

M/S/C -- Whereas: We are experiencing declining attendance at the Vernon meetings and increasing attendance at the Kelowna meetings;
And whereas: There is a substantial projected cost savings of holding the meetings at the new Kelowna facilities.
Therefore be it resolved: Reschedule NOLC meetings for the next twelve months as follows:
The October 4 , 2006, and April 4, 2007 meetings to be held in Vernon at the Village Green Hotel.
The September 6, 2006, November 8, December 6, January 10, 2007, February 7, March 7, May 9 and June 6 meetings to be held at the NOLC office, 201A 1358 St. Paul St., Kelowna, B.C.

M/S/C -- Whereas: The rising cost of fuel is making vehicle operating costs increase substantially
And Whereas: This unfairly penalizes NOLC Delegates on authorized business.
And Whereas: Canada Revenue Agency currently says a "reasonable" rate is 45 cents per km for the first 5,000 km driven.
Therefore Be It Resolved: That effective September 1, 2006, the automobile allowance rate per kilometre for authorized NOLC business be increased from $0.40 per kilometre to $0.45 per kilometre.

b) Public Policy and the Environment Social, Workshops and Seminar to be co-hosted by the NOLC with the Columbia Institute (and possibly CLC and BC Fed) September 15 and 16 at the Coast Capri Hotel -- M/S/C to use our $2,000 CLC grant, if successful in getting it, for this event.
M/S/C to use $1,000 from our political action fund for this event.
c) Okanagan College Students' Union Request for Support -- M/S/C to send a conditional letter of support to Patrick Barbosa of the Okanagan College Students' Union. Patrick wrote us about the union's concern that UBC is not living up to an agreement to issue co-conferred Okanagan College-UBC degrees through to 2009.

d) M/S/C to support the following resolution on softwood lumber:
...THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT we urge the BC government to reject any softwood lumber agreement with the US that does not include:
Full repayment to Canadian producers of all of the illegal duties imposed by the US government on Canadian lumber since May, 2002;
Legislative action by the BC government to require that a significant portion of duties paid by BC firms since May 2002 be collected and dedicated to a fund that will ensure investments in new plants and equipment in BC; worker training, retraining and skills development; adjustment programs such as early retirement, pension bridging and apprenticeship programs; infrastructure development and community adjustment programs in British Columbia;
Clearly-stated protection against any future US incursion or interference in British Columbia forest policy, including but not limited to, annual allowable cut, determinations, conservation objectives and raw log export restrictions.
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the BC government put in place a comprehensive transition program to deal with the short- and long-term implications of the Mountain Pine Beetle infestation, and other emerging forest health issues, on the industry, workers and communities;
AND BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the government review all its programs, policies, legislation and regulations with an eye to ensuring that there be clear and demonstrable benefits to the people of BC and to BC communities from all resource extraction; resource-based processing and other resource-development initiatives.
M/S/C to have a delegation of the NOLC bring this resolution to local governments.

FINAL CREDENTIALS REPORT
26 present with 18 delegates and 8 guests

ADJOURNMENT
The meeting was adjourned at 9:10 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by Pat Bulmer, recording secretary.



The next meeting will be Wednesday, September 6, 2006 7 p.m., at the new NOLC office, 201A 1358 St. Paul Street, Kelowna (just off Doyle Avenue, across from Daily Courier parking lot ... Finding parking on the street isn't a problem at night, unless the Rockets are playing.)


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