Letterhead


MAY 6, 2009 minutes -- No quorum, for information only

MINUTES - MONTHLY MEETING, NORTH OKANAGAN LABOUR COUNCIL AT KELOWNA

AFFILIATES PRESENT
Ron Bobowski, CUPW 760
Pat Bulmer, CEP 2000
Shawna Rand, HEU
Ronn Dunn, CUPE 3523
Shane Curveon, ATU 1722
David Porteous, UFCW 120
Glenn Nowag, UFCW 120
Jeff Carsience, UBCJA 1370
Barbara Van Stone CEP 823-M

GUESTS
West Kmet, BC Forum

REGRETS
Karen Abramsen, BC Forum
Orion Irvine, CLC
Cheryl Stone, UFCW 1518

CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by President Glenn Nowag at 7:05 p.m.

CREDENTIALS REPORT
10 present with 9 delegates and 1 guest

EXECUTIVE BOARD REPORT/ACTION CORRESPONDENCE
1. BC Citizens for Public Power, request for funds -- Receive and file
2. BC Human Rights Coalition news letter/membership application -- Receive and file
3. CLC/United Way -- Roast & Toast to David Rice and Union Counselling Conference -- If anyone wanted to attend the David Rice Roast and Toast, we were offering to pay the registration. No takers.
4. Support for striking paramedics, suggest $250 to CUPE 873 -- Because of lack of quorum and need to proceed in a timely manner, executive approved going ahead with the donation.
5. Lancaster House Labour Arbitration & Policy Conference/schedule & Registration form -- Receive and file
6. BC FED -- Send a Kid to Camp info -- Jubilee Retreat (6 copies). More on this later in meeting.

REPORTS OF LOCAL UNIONS, COMMITTEE REPORTS, CLC REPORT
Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, Local 823-M
Unionized workers of CHBC Television (Owned by Canwest Global Communications) For the most part, the past month has been quiet at CHBC. Our parent company has repeatedly received extensions from its creditors on tens of millions of dollars owing, thus avoiding - or at least delaying - the unpleasant necessity of bankruptcy protection. CHBC and its four sister stations in the E! network are still for sale. Many of our members are hoping the station will be purchased by new owners who can save us from the ongoing uncertainty, perhaps even injecting enough money to solve our problems of understaffing (caused by recent layoffs). Even our General Manager has openly spoken of a bright future with new owners. It's not yet clear whether that bright future is more than a dream. In the meantime, Canwest appears determined to gamer revenue by selling practically everything we air, including features in our 5 pm newscast, which looks increasingly like a string of lengthy commercials. A couple of weeks ago, an announcement from our News Director disturbingly summed up Canwest's money problems: PetroCanada had advised us that credit cards carried by our mobile videographers for gas purchases were being cancelled. The camera ops were soon told that an arrangement had been made to obtain American Express cards to cover gas costs. But in reading the sign-up agreement, one of our guys noticed he'd be separately liable for payment. We complained to management, at first yielding only a substitute proposal that our guys pay using their own cash for later reimbursement. The company has since agreed to purchase prepaid gas cards. Two members of our Executive attended CEP Media Council meetings in Toronto in April, commiserating with other media workers from across the country about the state of the industry. They also met with CEP delegates from other Canwest stations in preparation for a vote to create a single cross-country Local. Meanwhile, in Ottawa, station license hearings turned into something of a circus, with cable owners and broadcasters lambasting each other... while a parliamentary Heritage Committee directed attention on the need to revivify local television news. In that regard, CEP's Viewer Discretion Advised campaign continues. If you haven't taken petition cards from us yet, we have some for you! -- Jim Failes, President, CEP 823-M

Orion Irvine, CLC report
EI and Job Numbers. On April 29th Statistics Canada released employment insurance benefits numbers. The figures showed a very low numbers of unemployed workers are receiving benefits at a time when the jobless rate is rising. Over 1.4 million people are out of work, yet only 43.09% of unemployed Canadians are receiving EI regular benefits. That is lower than December 2008 when 44.35% of unemployed workers were receiving EI benefits. In the recession in the early 1990s, on average, 80% of unemployed Canadians received regular benefits.
Diane Finley responded to questions in the House about EI eligibility by saying while it is true not everyone is eligible for benefits, everyone has agreed that this is not the time to overhaul EI. How bad does it have to get before she decides it is time to fix the problem? And who is she talking to that doesn't think EI needs an overhaul?
The country's jobs crisis is likely deeper than the government's own statistics suggest; officially the 1.4 million unemployed people who, by definition are out of a job, yet ready, willing and able to work. People who have given up and stopped looking for work, as well as the people who have settled for part-time because full-time jobs can't be found are not counted as unemployed. Include those people and Canada's 'real' unemployment is nearer to 12%.
The CLC has consistently called on the Minister to:
-- change accessibility rules to provide regular EI benefits on the basis of 360 hours of work.
-- raise benefit levels to 60% of earnings calculated on a worker's best 12 weeks.
-- increase the period for which benefits can be collected to a maximum of 50 weeks. Statistics Canada also reports that another 61,000 jobs were lost in March, pushing the unemployment rate to 8.0%. In fact, 79,500 full-time jobs were lost but some part-time jobs were added last month. he number of full-time jobs lost since October 2008: 386,500.
Many economists now expect the unemployment rate will rise above 10% by late 2009, and near 11% sometime in 2010. In its latest Economic Outlook, the OECD is predicting an unemployment rate of 10.8% at the end of 2010. Pension Protection The Canadian Labour Congress made presentations to Department of Finance at its public consultation on the federal legislative and regulatory framework for workplace pensions. The subject is important to the 3.2 million members of our Congress, and the $300 billion they hold in workplace pension benefits. Department of Finance held these consultations across Canada and they where well attended by union representatives. The message from the people at the consultations was clear. Workers need a adequate pension income, they need to know their pension and workers need fairness in pension outcomes.
To that end the CLC urged the government to expand the Canada Pension Plan and create a federal system of pension insurance.
We know need to work to ensure that the government listens to the needs of workers and make these important changes.
Dispatches from the United Nations Durban Review Conference (from the CLC Website)
Not long after the plane landed, the Canadian Labour Congress delegation was quick to get to work. The CLC delegation includes Karl Flecker, Hassan Yussuff from the CLC and members from PSAC Seema Lamba, Danielle Dubuc; CUPW, Irwin Nanda, Fred Turner, Benita Raponi, and the OFL Terry Downey (CUPE members Brian Barron, Yolanda McLean, Harminder Magon are joining us in a few days). We have all traveled to Geneva, Switzerland to participate in the UN Review Conference which is assessing the progress member nations of the UN are making to eliminate racism.
After getting the credentials needed to enter the famous United Nations building at Palais des Nations in Geneva, delegates listened to the opening comments from Ms. Navanethem Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. She reminded everyone this UN Review Conference is intended to take stock of progress and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA), a landmark anti-racism document that was agreed by consensus at the end of the 2001 World Summit against Racism in Durban, South Africa.
Eight years on, anti-racism pledges and measures have not yet succeeded in relegating discriminatory practices and intolerance to the heap of history's repugnant debris, said Pillay.
As our Canadian labour delegation knows too well, the goals set out in the 2001 DDPA have still not been achieved.
Pillay states this reality should prompt member nations of the UN to seek common ground and move the struggle against racism forward. She stressed the tools and capacity for achieving the goals outlined in the DDPA are within reach if we remain committed to those objectives. Pillay urged delegates to transcend their differences and find consensus.
We learned from Russian diplomat Yuri Boychenko, who chairs the working group tasked with preparing the critical outcomes document for the conference that for many months there has been extensive consultations with UN member nations that has produced a new 17-page draft text or rolling text. He expressed hope this new version, would meet the concerns of all delegations and could be adopted by consensus.
As union members we take note of the efforts to find agreeable language that will guide all member nations to accurately identify various sources of racism, implement and share their best ideas, policies and programs in order to counter, challenge and eliminate racism.The job is huge and the task of getting the language and the needed action right is not easy.
The opening comments of the UN session expose how difficult the process has been to date. We can see that those here are trying to use a consensus model to find the right language that will respect many different perspectives.
The Canadian government's decision to withdraw from the UN process is a shameful abdication of multilateral responsibility. The persistence of colour coded economic and social disparity facing the growing number of radicalized and aboriginal persons throughout Canada makes the Canadian governments absence here all the more disgraceful.
The opening session of day one comes to a close early, so the working group can continue their task of finalizing the draft outcomes document also known as the rolling text document.
We move onto the assembly hall floor to meet the UN ambassadors and ministers including the Chair of today's plenary session. Our other goal is to get a copy of the most recent revised text.
Our delegation finds a meeting spot in the middle of the UN reception area overlooking beautiful view of Lake Geneva. We begin the task of reviewing the draft document, looking for critical issues to the labour movement. We note there are few references to workers and trade unions. We note the absence of a clear pronouncement supporting the freedom of association rights for migrant workers; modest language calling for a rigorous legal and policy regime and national legislation that will support concrete anti-racism initiatives in the workplace and our communities.
Our review of the documents brings up items like how reparations are being addressed. For example, while the documents contain language for member nations to recall and honour the victims of the transatlantic slave trade, apartheid, colonialism and genocide; and although there is acknowledgment of the actions taken by countries to express remorse, offer apologies and establish truth and reconciliation commission; we note that specific articles fail to urge member nations to pursue and implement reparations for these horrific crimes of racism.
We discuss a number of issues examining what we like and what is missing or that could be strengthened and enhanced. We prepare a short document summarizing our inputs.
We agree to work in small groups introducing ourselves as Canadian union members to the UN representatives, NGO representatives and to advocate for improved language to the draft text based on our analysis.
As the day draws to a close, it is clear to our delegation we will be on our feet, meeting and engaging in global negotiations over the next few days-to secure the best possible language, ideas, policies and legislative actions that can free us all from the pernicious grip of racism.
Audits
Labour Councils are reminded that audits are due every six months. If you are not up to date with your audits, please ensure your trustees book a time to do one ASAP. If you or the trustees have any questions, please contact me.

Verbal reports were given by Shawna Rand, Ronn Dunn and Pat Bulmer

UNFINISHED BUSINESS
Affirmation of Karen Abramsen, now UFCW 120 member, as Southern Delegate on the Executive Board. (postponed to next meeting)
NOLC By-Laws update. A notice of motion will be given at the next meeting on the following changes: Add a section 3.06 "3.06 The BC Federation of Retired Union Members (BCFORUM) shall be entitled to membership as an affiliated organization upon application by BC Forum and payment of a $10.00 annual application fee, and shall be entitled to two delegates.
BCFORUM delegates shall have the same rights as CLC Officers, Directors, and staff, that is, the right to speak but not to vote or to run for regular Officer/Executive positions with the exception of the BCFORUM Executive member position"
Amend 5.1 to read "5.1 The Officers of the Council shall consist of a President, three (3) Vice-President(s), Secretary-Treasurer, Recording Secretary, Sergeant-at-Arms, two (2) Executive Members, one (1) each from the North and Central Okanagan and one BCFORUM Executive Member. The BCFORUM Executive Member shall have voice but no vote."
Amend 5.2 to read "5.2 Each Officer shall be a member in good standing of an affiliated organization. The BCFORUM Executive Member must be a BCFORUM delegate"
Amend 11.01 to read "11.01 The Executive Council shall consist of the President, three (3) Vice- President(s), Secretary-Treasurer, Recording Secretary, Sergeant-at-Arms, the two (2) Executive Members and the BCFORUM Executive member."

We still NEED to fill two positions on our Executive Board. Ask the attending delegates if anyone would like to assume the position of: Vice President and Trustee

Kid's Camp 2009 report -- Dave Porteous -- Entry forms for our annual draw to take place at the June meeting were distributed at the meeting, emailed and posted on the NOLC website.

NEW BUSINESS
Reminder that NOLC should pick two delegates to represent BCFORUM (postponed)
10 total with 9 delegates and 1 guest

GOOD AND WELFARE
BCGEU golf tournament is being revived. It takes place Aug. 1, 7:30 a.m. at Mission Creek Golf Course.

ADJOURNMENT
The meeting was adjourned at approximately 8:15 p.m.

Minutes submitted by Pat Bulmer in Cheryl Stone's absence

NEXT MEETING AND SUMMER SOCIAL: 7:00 pm, June 10, 2009, at NOLC office, 201A 1358 St Paul Street, Kelowna

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