June 6, 2012 minutes
MINUTES - MONTHLY MEETING, NORTH OKANAGAN LABOUR COUNCIL AT KELOWNA
AFFILIATES PRESENT: Ron Bobowski, CUPW, Cheryl Stone, UFCW 1518, Carole Gordon, COTA/ BCTF, Ronn Dunn, CUPE 3523, Louise Gibson, COPE 378, Shane Curveon, ATU 1722, Andrew Pritchard, Unite Here-Local 40, Greg McGowan, CUPE 873, Wendy Mah, BCGEU, Dave Porteous, UFCW 1518, Lee Menzies, BCGEU Wade Ashton, IBEW 213, Susan Bauhart, COTA, Nancy Ingersol, VTA, Barbara Vanstone CEP M1, Dave McCarthy IAFF 953
REGRETS: Karen Abramsen, UFCW 1518, Elizabeth Woods, BCFORUM, Nikki Inouye, HEU Vernon, Debra Critchley, BCGEU
GUESTS: Doug Gibson, BCFORUM, Helen Rapole, BCGEU 1207, James Fox, CUPE 523, Sandy Thon, BCGEU 1207, Iris Taylor, CLC
CALL TO ORDER: The meeting was called to order by Carole Gordon, President, at 7:03 pm
ADOPTION OF AGENDA: M/S/C
GUEST SPEAKERS: none
ADOPTION OF PREVIOUS MINUTES: M/S/C
CREDENTIALS REPORT: 20 Present with 15 Delegates, 5 Guests
OBLIGATIONS OF NEW DELEGATES: James Fox, CUPE 523, was sworn in as a delegate.
FINANCIAL REPORT: given by Ron Bobowski, Secretary Treasurer, M/S/C to adopt financial report as circulated.
EXECUTIVE BOARD REPORT/ACTION CORRESPONDENCE
1. Maquila Solidarity Network -- 2012 renewal notice. A motion was made to donate $100.00 contribution for the year 2012. M/S/C
2. Steelworkers Local 1-424 -- Thank you letter for the NOLC $1,000.00 donation towards the Babine Lake Tragedy Fund was read aloud
REPORTS OF LOCAL UNIONS/STANDING COMMITTEE REPORTS/CLC REPORT:
REPORTS OF LOCAL UNIONS:
BCGEU Debra Critchley report -- read by Lee Menzies, BCGEU
Reached a deal at Dorchester, In Mediation with Regional District Okanagan Similkammen held a strike vote 88% in favour, Back at the table at Pine Acres, talks are not going well, Westbank First Nations attempting to gut the existing agreement. BCGEU successful in organizing Mountainview Village -- 220 members -- good Samaritan site.
Wendy Mah, BCGEU
BCGEU welcomes 200 health care workers to the House of Labour. A 3 month campaign culminated in a vote that took place on May 22, 2012. Mountainview Village employees (Good Samaritan Society) voted overwhelmingly in favor of joining the BCGEU. The lead organizer was Ursula Clark from the BCGEU organizing department with the assistance of local health activist, Wendy Mah. This bargaining unit will include LPNs, Health Care Aides, Recreation workers, maintenance, dietary workers, Cooks and Hospitality Aides. They can now begin the process of negotiating with the Employer to gain more rights and improved working conditions.
Barbara Vanstone, CEP M1 -- CHBC
For the first time in a very long time we are filing grievances at our local unit level because in principle, our grievances now affect the local. That includes Global BC, not just Global Okanagan. We're still figuring things out with the new contract. On a bigger issue, talks are moving ahead with the CEP/CAW new union. (New name/new philosophy) CAW will vote at convention in August, CEP will vote at convention in October. Combined forces of CAW, 193,000 members, 110,000 members talks across the country are underway -- wants a socially conscious union. I attended the first brainstorming session in Vancouver where CEP and CAW members got together.
Dave McCarthy, IAFF 953
There will be an open house at the Fire Hall on Enterprise Way, Sunday, June 10, 2012, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, with a pancake breakfast and many activities for families. An email blast will be sent out by the Recording Secretary of NOLC. Also, this year's annual Boyd's Auto Body Show and Shine proceeds will go to the Firefighter's Burn Fund. It takes place at Kelowna City Park on Sunday, June 17, 2012 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. This event features cars, silent auction, 50/50 draw, and great food. Hope to see you there!
IBEW 213 -- Wade Ashton
Our local is in the middle of an election for Business Manager and Executive Board with the vote count to take place on June 20.
During May we took several strike votes:
Fortis Gas - Utility workers voted 97 per cent in favour of strike with voter participation of 81 per cent. This is a 600-member group, major issues are seniority and wage package.
Black and McDonald - Electrical workers at Kelowna Airport voted 100 per cent in favour of strike with voter participation of 100 per cent. This is a four-member group and major issues are wage package and benefits.
City of Kelowna - Electrical workers voted 100 per cent in favour of strike with voter participation of 100 per cent. This is a four-member group. Major issues are wage package and no retro pay after union was asked to wait while employer settled agreements with other groups.
City of Prince Rupert - Electrical workers from IBEW 337 became IBEW 213 several months ago. Negotiations had stalled with the 36-member group, so Local 213 took over bargaining and were able to get a settlement last Thursday.
Agreements also settled last month with City of Summerland, City of Penticton and City of Vernon.
Construction bargaining update as of May 14, IBEW local 213 has a memorandum that has been enabled into being, allowing monetary increases to take effect March 189, 2012, the memorandum cannot be ratified (as per legislation) until all Building Trades Unions have reached memorandums. To date, the Boilermakers, Ironworkers 97, Heat and Frost, UniteHere 40, Sheet Metal and IBEW 213 have reached memorandums. The OE115, BC Carpenters and Millwrights, Painters and Bickies have partial memorandums. The Labourers1611, Cement Masons, Teamsters and International Carpenters have no memorandums.
We continue to lobby against bill C-377 (privacy/transparency issues), please visit web site workersbuildcanada.ca and send a letter to your MP. Also much work against bill C-38 (EI eligibility and board of referees issues).
I started just three months agao, have signed up a dozen new and former members and organized 3 new signator contractors. At this rate, I only have another 50 years to go to organize the remaining 600 non-union contractors in the Okanagan. Job security is not an issue for me.
On a personal note, good news as signatory Houle Electric in Kelowna has hired Taylor Gibson, grandson to Louise and Doug Gibson, our newest member of 213 starts Monday next week.
CLC Report -- Iris Taylor
Canada's job market remains fragile: CLC President comments on labour force survey for April 2012
The President of the Canadian Labour Congress says Canada's job market remains fragile and this is no time for the federal government to make it more difficult for unemployed Canadians to receive Employment Insurance benefits.
Ken Georgetti was commenting on the release by Statistics Canada of its Labour Force Survey for April 2012. The economy added 44,000 full-time jobs in April, the national unemployment rate was 7.3% and there were 1,370,000 unemployed Canadians in April.
"We have seen some increase in the number of jobs but we have to put this into perspective," Georgetti says. "The percentage of people who are employed in Canada is still lower today (61.9%) than in May 2008 (63.8 %). This indicates a fragile labour market. If our employment rate today were what it was prior to the recession in 2008, we would have an additional 530,000 jobs in the Canadian economy."
Despite the fragile job market, Georgetti says, the government wants to make it harder for unemployed Canadians to gain access to Employment Insurance benefits. Ottawa has folded a number of important Employment Insurance related measures into its giant budget bill. "The government has not allowed adequate time for debate," Georgetti says. “We want them to pull those EI measures out of that bill so that they can be looked at carefully and debated separately."
Pay less wage model unfair to migrant workers
The Conservative government is now allowing employers to pay up to 15% less to skilled migrant workers, as part of recent changes to Canada's Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
Send a message to Ministers Jason Kenney and Diane Finley telling them this is unfair, discriminatory and will drive down wages for all workers. It's time for fairness for migrant workers
Go to the CLC website: www.canadianlabour.ca to learn more and send your message of concern.
Saskatchewan and Alberta Expand the CPP!
In a few short weeks, finance ministers from across Canada will meet to discuss expanding the Canada Pension Plan benefits for the future. Ontario and Manitoba are solidly behind expanding the CPP and have set a benchmark to the federal government: they won't introduce the Ottawa version of pension reform -- the Pooled Registered Pension Plan -- without an agreement on expanding the CPP.
All the Atlantic provinces and British Columbia also agree with some kind of improvement to future CPP benefits.
We need your help to get Alberta and Saskatchewan to commit to expanding the Canada Pension Plan at the upcoming finance ministers meeting. If you live in Alberta or Saskatchewan send this email now to your finance minister.
On the International Scene
Child Labour Schooling & Organizing Project October 2007 - September 2012
We have all heard stories of child labour in the news, well this is a reality in parts of India. The CLC heads up this project with the goal to expand 'child labour free' villages and eradicate child labour in
the brick kiln and the ability to address and help remedy the economic conditions which lead to child labour. They do this by negotiating better wages for workers (thus reducing the need for children to perform labour), and by entering into collective bargaining agreements with employers' associations at district/state or national levels.
As part of the project, activists have set up a cultural wing within the unions, for the purpose of creating trade union and child rights awareness among the unorganized workers through street-plays, video-films and other dynamic and engaging means.
This project has successfully had partner unions sign agreements at 297 brick kilns with a clause on no usage of child labour. We also see 12 villages now designated 'child labour free' and 293 work site committees have been formed to closely monitor that children do not drop out of schools and get re- absorbed into the workforce.
Approximately 796 children have been transfered from child labour schools to government schools where they can get a proper education and stay out of the workforce.
The CLC works with the Building and Woodworkers International Union (BWI) in India to achieve these results.
STANDING COMMITTEE REPORTS:
BCFED Conference Report:
Louise Gibson, COPE 378 -- BC Federation of Labour Regional Conference Report
I have attended many B.C.Federation of Labour Conventions, but this one was unexpected. Sister Cheryl Stone had an emergency and was unable to attend, I was available, and was pleased to attend in her place. Thanks to the Labour Council for allowing me to attend. The speakers and workshop discussions were informative and thought provoking. Topics were timely and the focus was on current issues and problems that we are facing as union members and as a society. I was impressed by the quality of speakers and facilitators that participated. A young activist and Director of Young Workers for the BC Federation of Labour gave an enlightening insight into her activities as Shop Steward with UFCW 1518. What she had to say was a bolster to young and old alike. Information presented by another of the speakers advocating for a living wage as opposed to a union wage is an interesting concept. He gave me a summary when I spoke to him afterwards and it made me realize again, how difficult it is for non-union workers to get a fair wage or to even get close to a living wage. Good terminology.
One of the highlights was hearing an incredible female Mexican woman, who immigrated to Canada some time ago, and told us of the struggles temporary farm workers have to tolerate. She organizes farm workers in the Fraser Valley. These workers have no Canadian status and if they don't fall into line are sent back to wherever they came. They are forced to work in a dangerous environment of sprays and toxic chemicals without occupational health and safety rules or regulations.
Throughout the conference there was no doubt in any of our minds that the hope of an NDP government in this Province and in this Country was foremost in our minds. It is really crystal clear that if working people want the changes necessary to improve quality of life, the goal must be to focus on getting our candidates elected in the Provincial Election next year.
Our own NOLC President, Carole, did a great job of moderating and did us proud.
Dave Porteous, UFCW 1518, Carole Gordon, COTA and Ron Bobowski, CUPW, and Andrew Pritchard, Unite Here - Local 40, also spoke about the conference saying that over all it was a huge success.
1. Camp Jubilee & Silver Lake Summer Camp for Kids 2012 -- Ronn Dunn, CUPE 3523 Winners of the camp draw are as follows: Emalie, daughter of Michelle Schueler HSA won Camp Jubilee. Bobbie Jo, daughter of Donna Macmillan CUPE 3523 won the girls Silver Lake, and Liam, son of Amber Biglow COPE 378, won the boys Silver Lake Camp. Congrats to all and have a great time!
1. Resolution from BCGEU -- a motion was made to support the BCGEU workers and their fight to stop the privatization of the
distribution branch. M/S/C
Privatization of BC Liquor Distribution Branch
BECAUSE the provincial government has announced its intention to privatize BC's Liquor Distribution Branch, starting with the warehouse
and distribution system; and
BECAUSE selling off the warehouse and distribution operations to a private, for-profit company is the next step in the complete Privatization of BC's public liquor distribution and retail system; and
BECAUSE the LDB is an important public asset that generates almost a billion dollars a year in net income that helps pay for public services like health, education and highways; and
BECAUSE the privatization of the LDB will cost all of us—prices will go up, selection will go down, crime will go up, and long-term revenue will go down; and
BECAUSE the LDB is a profitable, socially responsible and proven network owned and operated by the people of BC, and should be modernized and expanded through extended hours and Sunday openings to increase revenues for public services;
THE LABOUR COUNCIL WILL condemn and work against any actions by the provincial government to privatize the BC Liquor Distribution Branch; and
THE LABOUR COUNCIL WILL FURTHER call on Premier Christy Clark and Minister Rich Coleman to immediately halt plans to sell-off the LDB warehouse and distribution system. M/S/C A motion was made to make a media release regarding the BCGEU resolution. M/S/C
2. United Way Kick-Off Breakfast -- September 14, 2012. A motion was made to support the United Way with a table of 10 for the Kelowna breakfast and with 4 seats in West Kelowna. M/S/C This year the LC will target maximum union representation within our Labour Council. We will expect a commitment from those who wish to attend. A reminder will go out prior to the September 5, 2012 meeting.
3. BCFED Convention -- reminder of the convention in November 2012, the LC usually sends a table officer and will discuss this at the September 5, 2012 meeting.
4. Campaign Training -- Carole Gordon -- BCFED may come to Kelowna to perform candidate training for "union members to talk to union members". There seems some interest of the delegates so a date and time will be announced by email.
5. Political Account -- A motion was made to make a Political contribution to BC NDP of $8,500.00 which will be divided between our 4 Electoral Districts. M/S/C. An additional contribution of $1500.00 will equalize the Labour Council contribution to the 4 Electoral Districts of $4,000.00 per Electoral District as recommended by the Secretary Treasurer and agreed upon by the Recording Secretary after the motion was passed.
FINAL CREDENTIALS REPORT: 21 Present with 17 Delegates, 4 Guests
ADJOURNMENT: The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 pm by Carole Gordon, President
Minutes respectfully submitted by Cheryl Stone, Recording Secretary, UFCW 1518
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Hollywood Road Educational Services Building
1040 Hollywood Road, Kelowna