Letterhead


March 8, 2006 minutes

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

AFFILIATES PRESENT
Jeff Carsience, UBCJ 1370
Glenn Nowag, UNITE HERE!
Karen Abramsen, BC Forum
Cheryl Stone, UFCW 1518
Louise Schwingenschloegl, HEU
Ron Bobowski, CUPW 760
Pat Bulmer, CEP 2000
Brad Dunlop, USW 1-423
Dave Porteous, UFCW 120
Gord Darchuk, IAFF 953
Josie Lofting, HEU
Susan Watt, HEU
Sue Wilkie, BCGEU
Ken Robinson, HEU


GUESTS
Gord Larkin, CLC
Brigid Kemp, HSA/SOBLC
Rick Barnes


REGRETS
Pat Munro, HSA - Kelowna
Don Main, Carp


CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by President Brad Dunlop at 7:00 p.m.

ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA
M/S/C to adopt agenda of March 8, 2006

GUEST SPEAKERS
none

ADOPTION OF THE PREVIOUS MINUTES
M/S/C to adopt minutes of February 8, 2006.

OBLIGATION OF NEW DELEGATES
Gord Darchuk, IAFF 953, Josie Lofting, HEU - Vernon, Susan Watt, HEU - Vernon, were sworn in as delegates.

CREDENTIALS REPORT
15 present with 12 delegates and 3 guests

FINANCIAL REPORT
M/S/C to adopt financial report as circulated.

EXECUTIVE BOARD REPORT/ACTION CORRESPONDENCE
a) Amnesty International 2006 annual appeal -- M/S/C to donate $50

b) Maquila Solidarity Network annual renewal notice -- M/S/C to donate $50

c) Fighting the Blues, CLC national women's conference, June 11-14 in Ottawa -- receive and file

d) CLC questionnaire re: No Sweat Municipal Purchasing Policy campaigns -- M/S/C to support in principle a municipal no-sweat purchasing policy and have President Brad Dunlop fill out the CLC questionnaire.

e) M/S/C to approve the following resolution:
WHEREAS the provincial government's Feb. 14 Throne Speech noted that "the best way to assure our children lead healthy lives is to give them a strong start in life"; and
WHEREAS the creation of a provincial childcare system as part of a national childcare program cannot be delayed because working families need this support for their children; and
WHEREAS the government has been silent on Prime Minister Stephen Harper's decision to cancel the national childcare program, which would provide BC with $633 million over the next 5 years for regulated childcare for children under the age of 6; and
WHEREAS other provinces are insisting that Ottawa live up to the terms of the agreements they signed under the existing program; now
THERE BE IT RESOLVED that we call on Premier Gordon Campbell and the provincial government to:
-- Insist that Ottawa live up to its full five-year funding commitment under the existing childcare agreement;
-- Release an action plan for childcare as set out in the agreement and promised by the provincial government last fall; and
-- Use money to move away from the current user fee childcare system to a publicly-funded childcare system that creates a quality, stable space for every child; is affordable for all; meets the needs of working and studying families; and provides caregivers with fair incomes and the respect they deserve.

f) M/S/C to purchase 10 tickets at $20 each for United Way Cheers for Charity fundraiser March 16 at Coast Capri Hotel in Kelowna.

g) M/S/C to table petition to legislature re: Long Term Care For Seniors (There was some debate and qualms about the wording.)


REPORTS OF LOCAL UNIONS, COMMITTEE REPORTS, CLC REPORT

Ken Robinson, HEU -- Bargaining at all three tables, facilities, community and social services, continues. As of today, employer offering 1.5%, 1.75%, 1.75%, 1.75%, plus a $3,700 signing bonus. HEU is asking for 5%, 3% and 3% plus a $4,700 signing bonus. HEABC also willing to address recruitment and retention issues in trades and computer services, basically giving these two groups most of the 15% pay cut of two years ago. Unfortunately, HEABC is ignoring the huge difficulties in so many other technical and nursing areas. In the next week, bargaining will focus on financial and job security issues.
The Interior Health Authority is in the news a lot lately. The reality of these news reports is that IHA has been on a rampage with privatizing long-term care in this area, a privatization experiment that has the same result as the others -- lower quality or no care at all and in the Albo case (the elderly couple separated in Trail, both subsequently died), if they had huge bank accounts they'd be comfortably living for $10,000-$12,000/month in a private-care facility.
The Supreme Court heard the Bill 29 arguments in February. We wait for the ruling. The government has recently reaped the disastrous effects of this bill again.
The labour board has ruled that EKG/Cardio technologists now belong to the HSA, following the bio-med technologists. This raiding must stop. Just because Gordon Campbell's government and Bill 29 makes it legal to have affiliates accept these members doesn't make it right. First, it was the notorious IWA local doing that type of raiding, now the HSA is gladly accepting new members that were and still should be in the HEU.

Karen Abramsen, Board of Referees -- A number of CUPE workers have come before the board seeking "relief from disentitlement." A number of the applicants indicated their union reps had advised them to apply for EI. It;s important that union reps understand the circumstances that would apply for a claim to be paid. To date, about 99% of the applicants do not meet the criteria. Even though it was not a CUPE labour dispute, it is nonetheless a labour dispute. The only circumstance that would seem to allow a claim is if a person crosses the picket line and reports to work and is then told by their supervisor to go home. Then they may qualify. I think union reps should find out the EI regulations before advising members to apply for EI. Many applicants indicated they wished their union reps provided them with more accurate information, rather than leaving applicants with the expectations they could receive EI benefits when the opposite is true. Jurisprudence can be found on the EI website -- CUBS 48786,1019,11920, 7806.
Also, on March 1, the board of referees held the annual training that included all reps (worker and employer reps) and the chairs. We covered a variety of topics. We reviewed a number of cases that had been overturned by the Supreme Court. We also did a diversity exercise to help members be more aware of cultural differences. I must be getting more comfortable with the language, terminology and regulations as my head didn't hurt at the end of the day and I stayed awake all day.

Pat Bulmer, CEP 2000 -- The Daily Courier surprised reporters and photographers who use their own vehicles on the job with unannounced odometer checks. The message this sent to employees was that they aren't trusted.

Brad Dunlop, USW 1-423 (verbal report only) -- B.C. Federation of Labour President Jim Sinclair is scheduled to speak at our June 7 NOLC meeting in Kelowna.
An invitation has been extended to attend a meet-and-greet March 15 with the new Interior manager of the Workers' Advisers program. Workers' Advisers help people making WCB claims. The Okanagan office is at: 101 -- 1726 Dolphin Avenue, Kelowna, BC V1Y 9R9. Phone: 250 717-2096. Toll-Free: 1 866 881-1188. Fax: 250 717-2010.
Steelworkers and the company have agreed to an apprenticeship-training program. Some new apprentices are already on the job.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

a) Food drive update -- April 28-May 1 are the target dates for a labour-sponsored food drive to help the Kelowna Community Food Bank. Ron Bobowski says affiliates in the Kelowna area will be contacted about getting on board. If anyone would like to help in a similar campaign in the Vernon area, contact Ron.

b) Spring school -- March 25-26. Registrations are low, but still a few days to deadline. Likely the school will go ahead at UBCO, but with fewer courses.

c) CLC Winter school report -- Brad Dunlop and Ron Bobowski attended the labour officers course. A full day was spent on civic elections. A dealing-with-the-media course also included.

NEW BUSINESS

a) Membership committee -- President Brad Dunlop asked for volunteers to help rebuild the NOLC's contact list. Jeff Carsience, Cheryl Stone and Ron Bobowski volunteered. Louise Schwingenschloegl nominated Kathy Dunn. Karen Abramsen suggested Kevin Hagglund would also be interested and pointed out Jeff and Kevin were among those appointed to this committee in 2003-04, so they're still members anyway. Brad also said he plans to call affiliates and encourage them to get active again in the NOLC. Brad and Dave Porteous recently met with the Kelowna Teamsters to talk about the NOLC.

b) Civic politics committee -- Volunteers are being sought for a committee to deal with the civic elections. Brad Dunlop said he's interested and looking for other people to join. The committee might want to consider whether forming an organization independent of the NOLC, in conjunction with other like-minded groups, might be the way to go. Is a slate something that should be considered or done? Brad also noted as a candidate in the last election in Kelowna, he was swamped with questionnaires. Perhaps a committee could co-ordinate with unions to come up with one instead of many of these.

c) Day of Mourning April 28 -- M/S/C to order 100 brochures from the Canadian Labour Congress to send out with the April minutes.

d) Southern Interior Labour Council meeting -- The five southern interior labour councils will hold their annual meeting May 27 at the Coast Capri Hotel in Kelowna, hosted by the South Okanagan-Boundary Labour Council, at 10 a.m. It's open to all labour council delegates. Just let us know ahead of time.

e) Summer camp draws. It's time to get our annual draw organized for two kids to go to Silver Lake and one teen to Camp Jubilee. Forms need to go out with May minutes so the draw can be held in June.

FINAL CREDENTIALS REPORT
17 total with 14 delegates and 3 guests

GOOD & WELFARE
With our concern about the health of Brother Gord Stoutenburg, President Brad Dunlop spotted this item in a recent 25 Years Ago item in The Kelowna Daily Courier: "As many as 25,000 union members in the Okanagan could participate in a provincewide strike in support of the Telecommunications Workers' Union. Gordon Stoutenburg, president of the North Okanagan Labour Council, said all union members would be encouraged to back the B.C. Tel Workers. 'The motto of the trade unions is that an injury to one is an injury to all. Our strength is in our solidarity,' Stoutenburg said. The B.C. Federation of Labour plans to extend rotating strikes through the province if B.C. Tel refuses to yield on the issue of employees dismissed during the current strike."

Kelowna Peace Group will host a rally of solidarity and song Sunday, March 19 as part of the Global Day of Action marking the 3rd anniversary of the illegal attack on Iraq, at the Okanagan College Theatre, 1000 KLO Road, Kelowna, commencing at 2 p.m. Special guests invited to Kelowna are Patrick Elie of Haiti, who brings a frontline account from his country, and Don Currie, organizing committee of Vancouver World Peace Forum, June 25-26. Elie served in the first government of Jean Bertrand Aristide. Currie will centre his remarks on Canada's complicity in Afghanistan and Iraq, and will warn of deeper embroilment posed by the foreign policies of the Harper government. Folk singer Tom Hawken of Vancouver will offer a repertoire of peace and labour songs. Admission by suggested donation of $5.

ADJOURNMENT
The meeting was adjourned at 8:55 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by Pat Bulmer, recording secretary.



NEXT MEETING:
Wednesday, April 5, 2006, 7 p.m., at the Coast Capri Hotel, Kelowna.


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