April 22, 2009

NOLC president lays out 2010 agenda

KELOWNA - The president of the North Okanagan Labour Council outlined a number of issues the organization will pursue in 2010 following his re-election Tuesday night.
Glenn Nowag, a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers local 1518, was acclaimed to his third term as leader at the group's annual general meeting in Kelowna. The labour council is the umbrella organization for Canadian Labour Congress-affiliated unions in the North and Central Okanagan.
The NOLC started the process on Tuesday of planning events for the annual Day of Mourning on April 28. Unions, employers and governments all participate in activities to remember workers who were killed or injured on the job and to stress worker safety measures in the future.
"With the current recession, some business groups are starting to lobby again to cut red tape," said Nowag. "But the Day of Mourning reminds us health and safety regulations should never be considered red tape."
Lobbying efforts on pension reform, economic recovery and the minimum wage are also high on the agenda, Nowag said.
Recently, the labour council joined the push to reform Canada's pension system, supporting proposals put forward by the CLC. The CLC is calling for improvements to the public pension system and a national summit to discuss pension solutions.
The stimulus program and rebuilding of Canada's infrastructure must continue, said Nowag.
"Stephen Harper's Conservative government is talking about turning off the stimulus taps. Now is not the time to do that. Although our economy is recovering, it has not recovered.
"Cutting spending would jeopardize the economic recovery," he added.
The NOLC will continue to lobby for an increase in B.C.'s minimum wage.
"It's not just the labour movement anymore that's supporting a reasonable minimum wage. Many people and groups from all parts of the political spectrum agree the lowest minimum wage in Canada is overdue for an increase."
The labour council's first priority is to support member unions in their negotiations.
The NOLC is watching two set of negotiations closely, said Nowag -- the paramedics negotiations with the B.C. Ambulance Service and talks between Coast Hotels and workers at the Capri Hotel.
The NOLC was informed Tuesday that both negotiations are expected to resume soon.
Also elected to the NOLC executive were Ronn Dunn, Shawna English and Greg McGowan as vice-presidents Ron Bobowski (secretary-treasurer), Cheryl Stone (recording secretary), Karen Abramsen (Southern delegate), Nikki Inouye (Northern delegate), Emily Dorie (sergeant at arms), and David Porteous and Wendy Q. Mah (trustees). The council meets monthly with the next meetings March 10 in Kelowna at the NOLC office, 201A, 1358 St. Paul St. and April 7 at the Village Green Hotel in Vernon. Meetings begin at 7 p.m.


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