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March 10, 2004 minutes

MINUTES - REGULAR MONTHLY MEETING, NORTH OKANAGAN LABOUR COUNCIL

March 10, 2004 AT VERNON

AFFILIATES PRESENT

Ron Bobowski CUPW 760

Karen Abramsen BC Forum

Pat Bulmer CEP 2000

Judi Filion BCGEU 707

Glenn Nowag HERE 40

Dave Doran Carp 1346

Jeff Carsience UBCJ 1370

David Porteous UFCW

Bill Zeman CUPE 3523

Deb Rouire CUPE 3523

Tony Heisterkamp Carp 1346

Liz Woods BCGEU

Gord Larkin CLC

GUESTS

Donna Schommer BCGEU

Don Main Carp

Iain Ritchie Carp - Vernon

Debra Critchley Vernon Women's Centre

Doug Gibson

REGRETS

Trudy Ames BCGEU 307

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order by President David Doran at 7 p.m.

ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA

M/S/C to adopt agenda of March 10, 2004

GUEST SPEAKERS

Donna Schommer talked about health and safety training for young people and efforts to get workshops set up in schools. A video called Lost Youth, which deals with that subject, will be shown at the April labour council meeting.

ADOPTION OF THE PREVIOUS MINUTES

M/S/C to adopt the minutes of February 4, 2004.

CREDENTIALS REPORT

16 present with 12 delegates and 4 guests

OBLIGATION OF NEW DELEGATES

No new delegates, but the new executive was sworn in.

FINANCIAL REPORT

M/S/C to to adopt financial report as circulated

EXECUTIVE BOARD REPORT/ACTION CORRESPONDENCE

a) BC Wide Lawn sign campaign. - table

b) BC Federation of Labour urges us to sponsor a kid for Camp Jubilee. Also, some brochures etc. from Camp Jubilee. - Table to next meeting.

d) Letter from CLC staff: Help end the strike at the CLC - Receive and file

e) Kelowna Women's Resource Centre: Seeking donation to help pay for International Women's Day event, which took place March 8 at Rotary Centre for the Arts. - M/S/C to donate $50 each to the Kelowna and Vernon women's centres.

f) NDP: Please pay dues for 2004 (our bill is $240). Because of change to federal financing laws, payment now goes to provincial NDP. - M/S/C to pay our dues

M/S/C to receive and note executive board report.

REPORTS OF LOCAL UNIONS, COMMITTEE REPORTS, CLC REPORT

Judi Filion, BCGEU 707 - OUC Student Association ratified their first collective agreement this week. OUC vocational instructors collective agreement expires March 31/04. OUC support staff have been without a collective agreement since June, 2002.


Faye Saxon, EI Board of Referees - The new compassionate care leave introduced to take effect Jan. 4, 2004 was reviewed for us on Feb. 19/04. While it is preferable to nothing, in my view, it is very restrictive. In order to qualify, family members (restricted to the claimant's spouse, the claimant's child, claimant's spouse's child, claimant's parent or spouse of claimant's parent) must acquire a medical certificate stating that the family member is "gravely ill." Gravely ill refers to an individual who has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death within 26 weeks It remains to be learned how many physicians will be willing to supply such a certificate. The benefit duration is a maximum of 6 weeks within a 26-week window. Eligible family members could share the benefit. One waiting period will apply. Benefits terminate when the 6-week maximum has been paid, the ill family member dies or the end of the 26-week period has been reached. This is only a very brief outline of the compassionate care benefits. Further information is available on the EI website.
If a worker is awarded a settlement by a court or arbitration etc., the amount of the award paid or payable will be allocated against the benefits at the weekly pay rate of the claimant. Because of a recent case before the Board, I have learned that this regulation makes it possible for the Commission to allocate the whole amount even though the worker has not received the money. In fact, in this case, the worker had to commence a collection procedure and at the time of the hearing, still had not received all the money owing. This left her with a large overpayment and no money coming in. This wording should be changed to that in the future the Commission may not recover money before it has been paid to the worker.

Liz Woods, BCGEU - Health care facilities - association of unions met with employer reps at bargaining who presented 134 pages of concessions. Strike vote being taken now. 2500 jobs have been contracted out since bargaining began.
Community social services - ratification votes taking place around the province.
OUC Students Association of Kelowna requests affiliates endorse a resolution to stop the takeover of OUC by UBC. The students association supports the OUC 10-year plan for independent university status that includes trades and vocational programs. (Resolution dealt with under New Business)
Women of Distinction awards - sponsored by the YWCA. Affiliates are encouraged to nominate union women.

Karen Abramsen
Council of Canadians - A hilarious political film (Michael Moore style) called Waiting for Martin will be shown in Kelowna on Wednesday, April 14. The one-hour video will be shown from 5:30-6:30 p.m. with a lively discussion with the director immediately following. Location to be announced. Please mark your calendar and stay tuned.
Kelowna NDP - Giant garage sale - Saturday, April 10 at Unitarian Fellowship Hall (1310 Bertram St.), 9 a.m.-2 p.m. To donate items, please call 762-3308. To book a table ($10), please call 769-1977. Karaoke Night - Friday, April 23 at Bunches Bistro. Local federal candidates (NDP) will be in attendance. There will be a light dinner for $10 and a night of fun. Volunteers wanted or take out a membership. Call Mairi (762-3308) or Karen (769-1977).
EI Board of Appeal - On Feb. 19, all EI board of appeal members (insured workers' reps, employer reps and chairs) took part in a one-day workshop. Focus was primarily on the new compassionate care legislation. While a step in the right direction, this new legislation falls short of being a program that will likely see much benefit for too many people. Conditions for participation are complicated. We also went over some jurisprudence decisions on significant cases. Since I am new on the board, I personally found a lot of the technical details extremely confusing. I was advised it can take years to feel comfortable in dealing with some of the details. One recommendation I would make is to make sure appellants show up for their appeal. It makes a huge difference!

Doug Gibson gave a verbal report urging delegates to join the NDP.

Debra Critchley of the Vernon Women's Centre gave a verbal report that she and other members of the B.C. Coalition of Women's Centres would be heading to Victoria to meet with Ida Chong in an effort to save women's centres. (She and the others were subsequently arrested after refusing to leave when Chong rejected their requests.)

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

a) Spring School - Spring school set for March 6-7 had to be cancelled due to the CLC staff strike. Seventy people had signed up so the school was a go. It will be rescheduled for Oct. 2-3. Details to come. Efforts will be made to specifically contact those who signed up for the spring school. Karen Abramsen agreed to co-ordinate the fall school.

b) Day of Mourning is April 28. The NOLC traditionally does some kind of ceremony to mark the day. We're looking for volunteers willing to put something together this year. Contact us or let us know at the April 7 meeting in Kelowna.

NEW BUSINESS

a) Kelowna Peace March, March 20, 1 p.m. starting at The Sails downtown. M/S/C to support the March and add our name to the list of march supporters.

b) Privacy officer - M/S/C to appoint David Porteous privacy officer for the NOLC.

c) United Way representation - M/S/C that the executive be empowered to appoint two representatives to the Central Okanagan United Way board. If you're interested in serving, e-mail David Doran at nolc@telus.net.

d) M/S/C to support the following motion, brought forward by the OUC Students Association - Kelowna: Whereas the B.C. government and Okanagan University College both seek a new model for the provision of post-secondary education in the Okanagan; and
Whereas this current UBC proposal is to take over the North Kelowna campus; and
Whereas the UBC proposal leaves out the outlying regions; and
Whereas the proposal is to eliminate the Okanagan Board of Governors; and
Whereas students at an institution have the right to local representation;
Therefore, be it resolved that the North Okanagan Labour Council support the Stop the Takeover Campaign.

FINAL CREDENTIALS REPORT

18 total with 13 delegates and 5 guests

ADJOURNMENT

Meeting adjourned at 8:35 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by Pat Bulmer, recording secretary.

The next meeting will be Wednesday, April 7, 2004, 7 p.m. at the BCGEU office, 1591 Sutherland Avenue, Kelowna.


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