March 10, 2010 minutes
MINUTES - MONTHLY MEETING, NORTH OKANAGAN LABOUR COUNCIL AT KELOWNA
AFFILIATES PRESENT: Glenn Nowag, UFCW 1518; Ron Bobowski, CUPW 760; Cheryl Stone, UFCW 1518; Karen Abramsen, UFCW 1518; Lynda Zorn, BCFORUM; Greg McGowan, CUPE 873; Dave Porteous, UFCW 1518; Wendy Mah, BCGEU; Mike Lucas, TWU 16; Andrew Pritchard, Local 40; Barbara Vanstone, CEP M1; Maria Tokarchuk, HSA; Emilie Dorie, CUPE 873; Brad Fraser, CUPE 873
REGRETS: Liz Woods, BCFORUM
GUESTS: Brigid Kemp, SOBLC; Orion Irvine, CLC; Doug Gibson, BCFORUM; Wes Kmet, BCFORUM; Sgt Dave Smith, Police/Labour; Mack MaGrath, ATU local 1722
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by Glenn Nowag, President, at 7:00 pm
ADOPTION OF AGENDA: M/S/C
GUEST SPEAKERS: Brigid Kemp, South Okanagan Boundary Labour Council, Sgt. D.L. (Dave) Smith, Police/Labour Communications for British Columbia.
ADOPTION OF PREVIOUS MINUTES: M/S/C
CREDENTIALS REPORT: 20 Present with 14 Delegates and 6 Guests
OBLIGATIONS OF NEW DELEGATES: Mack Magrath, ATU Local 1722
OBLIGATION OF OFFICER: Emilie Dorie, CUPE 873, Sergeant at Arms
FINANCIAL REPORT: given by Ron Bobowski,
Sec. Treasurer, M/S/C
EXECUTIVE BOARD REPORT/ACTION CORRESPONDENCE
1. Canadian Farmworkers Union Book Project -- Motion to donate $200.00 toward the Union book project M/S/C
2. Workers Advisers 2010 Training Calendar -- delegates present were reminded of this training and given information.
REPORTS OF LOCAL UNIONS/COMMITTEE REPORTS/CLC REPORT:
Glenn Nowag, UFCW 1518- BCFED Conference call of March 4, 2010
Current Disputes were discussed.
BCFED Presidents Report: HST and the labour movement role -- How are
we framing the issue? (We should be stating that this is NOT a fair tax to show that we are not
totally against tax) New initiative starting April, Bill Vander Zalm is working very hard on this,
will be focusing in 85 ridings with petition signing.
Minimum Wage Campaign -- Work is continuing on
this. Low Wage Workers Network -- This is a campaign where young workers will be talking to similar
age groups are out there in the communities working for the low current minimum wages or below.
Working Alone Issue -- This seems to be somewhat forgotten out there in the communities and needs
some more lobby work to be done. For example the Private Liquor stores are staffing people alone at
night. WCB will be taking this to Public Hearings in May or June -- stay tuned.
Farm Workers issue --
is an ongoing concern.
Labour Council Reports: All in attendance on the call reported on upcoming
events and action.
Canadian Labour Congress Regional Representative Report -- March 2010 by Orion Irvine
Retirement Security for Everyone Campaign
The CLC's Retirement Security for Everyone Campaign is in full swing.
Current Status of Campaign
As of early February, 91 Members of Parliament (MPs) have been lobbied on the issue of retirement
security by 247 Labour Council activists. The Federations of Labour conducted lobbies and met with
Finance Ministers and/or Premiers in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Newfoundland and
Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and the Yukon, prior to the Whitehorse Meeting. In
addition, some unions lobbied the CLC's targeted MP list in areas where they had union density. We
held 8 community forums and worked in conjunction with several Federations of Labour to bring the
pension campaign to their conventions. The CLC and the labour movement manged to receive a lot of
media on the pension issue. The CLC’s media strategy earned "op-eds" in dozens of newspapers across
the country and there was good presence on TV and talk radio. The Nortel and forestry workers
pension problems also served to highlight and provide a clear example of the pension crisis in
Future plans for the campaign
The CLC is planning for a "Better Choice Style" for the spring. This campaign will be designed to
keep the issue of retirement security in the minds of our activists and the public in general. The
CLC will continue to pressure MPs and provincial MLAs and territorial politicians, Finance
Ministers and Premiers to support the CLC's pension position. The CLC representatives in the
regions will be working with affiliates and Labour Councils to step up their efforts to train more
activists to lobby, given that we are now targeting MLAs. The CLC Education Department is designing
a 3-hour and 6-hour lobby training package to share with affiliates and staff. The CLC will
coordinate and be responsible for tracking the meetings with the politicians at each level. More
materials are also being developed, including a pension calculator.
What is needed of the labour movement?
The first thing we need to do is to talk about our campaign to as broad a group as possible. Please
take this campaign back to your local and any community or social justice groups that you are
involved with. These could include women's groups, seniors groups, anti-poverty groups, churches
and other community organizations. While many MPs have been lobbied, there are many that we haven't
talked to yet. If your council hasn't spoken with its MP yet, please do so ASAP. If you need a
lobby package, please contact Orion at (604-323-4674, firstname.lastname@example.org). Because many people's
pensions are provincially regulated, it's vital that we also talk to our MLAs as well.
CLC staff is available to make presentations about the campaign to local union meetings.
Bill C-391 -- Long-gun Registry
The CLC's Political Action Department has produced an Activist Lobby Booklet. Work has begun on
lobbying targeted MPs. We are asking that Labour Councils speak to their MP's on the importance of
the Long-gun registry. This is especially important if your MP voted in favour of C-391 or if your
MP is receiving heavy lobby pressure to vote in favour of the bill at the next reading. We will be
working Bill C-391 into the IWD materials. We believe that the Bill will be coming out of committee
around Labour Day. Please join the Facebook group "Canadians for Public Safety" in support of the
Labourers' International Union of North America (LIUNA)
The CLC is pleased to announce that the Executive Council voted to allow the Labourers'
International Union of North America (LIUNA) to re-affiliate to the CLC and Labour Councils. LIUNA
has approximately 6000 members in BC. All belong to the province wide Construction & Specialized
Workers' Union (CSWU) Local 1611.
Labour Council Schools
If a Labour Council is interested in running a weekend spring or fall school, please contact Orion
as soon as possible. If there is interest from a Council, the first step would to be talk to
affiliates and see which courses they would like offered. The CLC Pacific office can send out an
education survey for this purpose.
International Trade Union Confederation Congress (ITUC)
Just a reminder; that ITUC will be holding its World Congress in Vancouver from June 21-25, 2010.
The CLC and ITUC will be undertaking a campaign during this time to raise awareness of the G-20
that will immediately follow the World Congress.
International week of action on HIV/AIDS
Trade unions throughout Canada and Africa will join forces in a Week of Action, March 21-27, to
lobby the G8 and G20 for provision of Universal Access to HIV-AIDS prevention, treatment and care.
The action is timed to precede a meeting of foreign ministers of the G20 countries in Ottawa on
March 29-30. The March lobby will target Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Canadian embassies in
Africa. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the Global Union AIDS Campaign
(GUAP) have also been asked to call on their members to engage in similar actions aimed at Canadian
embassies around the world. The objective is to win a commitment on Universal Access from leaders
meeting at the G8 and G20 summits in Canada in June 2010. The CLC and its affiliate unions, in
solidarity with civil society groups, are planning a Canada-wide action March 21-27 in support of
the HIV-AIDS goals. The activities will include an e-postcard Campaign, a national conference, and
plans for a breakfast meeting with Members of Parliament. Secretary of the African Regional
Organization of the ITUC-Africa has called on his members to organize rallies at, and write letters
to, Canadian embassies during the March Week of Action. "Canada's embassies are well placed to
deliver a clear message to the Canadian prime minister from Africans who expect action from world
leaders on universal access for HIV and AIDS."
Harrison 2010 Winter School
Harrison Winter School was very successful this year. More than 50 classes were offered in courses
ranging from beginner's courses, like Facing Management and Basic Shop Stewarding, to more advanced
courses, like Labour Law and Advanced Collective Bargaining. Approximately 1000 students attended
over the four weeks, and well over half of them had never before attended the Harrison Winter
School. The Winter School raises funds for the HIV/Aids projects run through the CLC and this year,
participants raised $6,092.46 over the four weeks. The CLC would like to thank all of the
instructors for giving us their time, and the affiliates for their support of Harrison. It would be
impossible to run a school of this size and magnitude without the strong support we receive from
the Labour movement.
Lynda Zorn, BCFORUM
I have just put out a press release, endorsed by BCFORUM, headlined "BCUC
Regulators Not Regulating". The British Columbia Utilitities Commission (BCUC), whose mission is
to "ensure that ratepayers receive services at fair rates from the utilities it regulates" has
allowed Terasen Gas to increase its commodity charges an outrageous 75% and its delivery charges
12.5%. They have also approved the 6% hike Fortis BC recently implemented and which the City of
Kelowna will pass along to its utility customers, and is now considering BC Hydro's application for
a 9% increase, which I have no doubt will also slide through. Add to that, the Liberals' Clean
Energy Levy, Carbon Tax, Innovative Clean Energy Fund Levy, Franchise Fee and the GST, soon to be
HST, all a percentage of the total of all the other charges, and you are almost tripling the cost
of energy you actually use -- hardly an incentive to conserve. Meanwhile, Seniors' CPP benefits
increased less than 1/2 % and their Old Age Security not at all. How can they possibly manage to
heat their homes when faced with these unrealistic energy increases? The BCUC Utilities
Commissioners are appointed and "its costs are recovered primarily through a levy on the public
utilities it regulates". Don't think for a moment that these "costs" are not passed on to the
utilities' customers. Further, is this dealing at arm’s length, or is it a conflict of interest?
MP Ruby Dhalla introduced Bill C-428, which will allow recent immigrants to apply for OAS in 3
years instead of the existing 10. This bill had first reading and was seconded by Bob Rae!!
Typically, private members' bills have little chance of becoming law, but in a minority government,
it warrants attention. I therefore passed this information on to MP Ron Cannan, and BCFORUM and
the CLC, to get their position on this. I have only received a (immediate) reply from Mr. Cannan
who unequivocally stated he will not support the Bill, giving a comprehensive rationale. The
Advocate is out with articles on the BC budget, HST, and the UN Committee recommendations on
equality for women (Canada and BC failed to respond). Check out the website at www.bcforum.ca.
Brigid Kemp, President, South Okanagan Boundary Labour Council
March 9, SOBLC now has a full Executive Council, for the first time since 2006. SOBLC will be
hosting the Southern Interior Labour Council Conference in Penticton, May 29 & 30. Details of
hotel, etc, will be forwarded once a hotel is confirmed, then we'll contact all the labour
councils. SOBLC is also planning to host a May Day (International Workers Day) event (May 1,
2010), in Penticton, with further details to follow. Cheryl Stone, UFCW 1518
The week at CLC Winter School was very challenging. The Course we attended was Labour
Council Development. We spent 4 days covering: 1. Municipal Election Planning 2010 covering 4
steps: Visioning, Training and Endorsement, GOTV, Accountability
2. Federal Election 2010-2011 --
issues/priorities/EI expansion/Climate change/HST/Federal Budget
3. Public Sector Bargaining
4. CLC Pension Campaign- delivering our pension message, public speaking
5. Developing a Local Opinion Editorial Column
6. Labour Council Structure and Formats
7. CLC report with Michael MacIsaac, Executive Director
8. International Trade Union
Congress, preparations for the Vancouver Convention Sunday June 20 to Friday, June 25th
Federation of Labour -- Jim Sinclair, President
10. BCFORUM presentation
11. Labour Council
Campaigns and Announcements -- Protein for People campaign
The Labour Council Development Group won the 2010 Choir Contest!!!!
Jim Failes, President -- Communications, Energy & Paperworkers Union of Canada, Local M1 Okanagan
After a quiet January, February made up for it.
On the 19th, the Federal Minister of Labour, Lisa Raitt, acquiesced to a request from our owners,
CanWest Global Communications, and has appointed a conciliator to initiate bargaining at Global's
TV stations east of Alberta. CEP has firmly resisted earlier entreaties to bargain, arguing that
outstanding issues before the CIRB must first be resolved. The Minister didn't see it our way.
Perhaps we can use her decision to get our CIRB matters dealt with more quickly -- we're trying
On February 12th, Shaw Communications put forth a bid to acquire TV interests in Canwest Media
Inc., effectively playing Carpathian to Canwest's Titanic. The move would pull CHBC aboard the
rescue ship as part of a proposal to see Shaw acquire 20% equity and 80% voting control in the new
company. The "new" company would remain a standalone entity rather than being folded into Shaw or
their TV branch, Corus. But wait... it's not a done deal, and our members must hold their collective
breath for untold weeks to come; and what of the potential new owner? Certainly, the prospect of
being owned by a company that is rolling in money rather than drowning in debt is attractive. But
we know nothing about Shaw's regard for unions, and must be wary of allowing our gratitude to cloud
our judgement in whatever proposals come our way. Besides, a rival bid is in the works that would
see Canwest's Asper family regain a role in the re-born Canwest.
As you may recall, our council of CEP delegates from Global stations across Canada was unsuccessful
in our multi-year attempt to have a single nationwide bargaining unit declared by the CIRB. The
Board chose to create three units -- a nonsensical decision in our view. Failing to reach our
original goal, we have instead created a single nationwide composite local, in which we continue to
work together to advance our interests. We'll be meeting later this week in Ottawa to share ideas
and formulate plans as we head into bargaining in the east... with the prospect of a new employer not
Day of Mourning update: Karen Abramsen/Debra Critchley -- will take place at Ben Lee Park on April
28th at 12:15 pm at the NOLC tree. This event is being cosponsored with Worksafe BC and the NOLC.
Speakers will start at 12:30 pm. We are expanding our ceremony and once the agenda and invites are
finalized they will we emailed to all affiliates and other unions in Kelowna. Please plan to attend
and make this the start of a big event.
Camp Jubilee/Silver Lake Camp Contest: Contest forms and information were handed out to all
delegates to take back to their workplace and distribute to those members who have children who may
be interested in entering this draw. If you don't receive an entry form they are posted on our
website and you may email Cheryl Stone to enter your child in the contest this way, or print off
the entry and mail to our St. Paul address.
United Way Labour Director nominations; Debra Critchley, BCGEU, was nominated for United Way
delegate. A Notice of Motion was made to make a change in the way the NOLC distributes the funding
to the United Way Kelowna and Vernon. The Motion is to donate 66% to the Kelowna United Way and 33%
to the Vernon United Way. This motion will be discussed at the April 7th meeting in Vernon.
Protein for People -- The Executive recommended that we invite John Radosevic, President of
Protein for People, to our May meeting in Kelowna. At this point we will discuss how we can donate
toward this project.
Karen Abramsen, (UFCW 1518) Council of Canadians - WORLD WATER DAY EVENT - "TAPPED" The
Movie. The Council of Canadians is holding a viewing of this film at 7:00 pm, March 21st, 2010 at
the Lecture Theatre, Okanagan College, 1000 K.L.O. Road. A request for financial assistance was
made and a motion was made to donate $50.00 towards this project. M/S/C
FINAL CREDENTIALS REPORT: 20 Present with 15 Delegates 5 Guests
GOOD AND WELFARE: Cheryl Stone, Recording Secretary would like to thank Pat Bulmer, CEP 2000, for
his work for the NOLC in regards to publishing articles in the Daily Courier. Pat wrote an article
regarding the results of the 2010 NOLC elections, which was published in the Courier on February 7,
2010. We also express our thanks for all of the hard work that he does on our website.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:08 pm by Glenn Nowag, President
Minutes respectfully submitted by Cheryl Stone, Recording Secretary, UFCW 1518,
NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, April 7, 2010, 7:00 pm at the Village Green Hotel, Vernon