Feb. 8, 2012 The growth and diversity of the North Okanagan Labour Council was on display during its annual elections.
After winning her second term as president of the umbrella group for unions in the North and Central Okanagan, Carole Gordon told delegates in Kelowna: "I would like to point out the variety of unions represented on our executive." Executive members elected Wednesday come from eight private- and public-sector unions. Gordon represents the Central Okanagan Teachers'Association.
"I enjoyed last year," Gordon said after the meeting of her first year at the helm. "We had a lot of good discussion and debate (at the monthly membership meetings) and more local affiliates are attending. We want to see even more in the coming year."
The labour council was involved in a variety of charity fundraising efforts last year, supporting, among others, area food banks and United Ways. On the political front, a number of labour council-supported candidates were elected in November's municipal and school board elections. The council was also active in political lobbying, particularly in a national campaign to improve the Canada Pension Plan, which continues this year.
Plans are underway for local events in 2012. As it has for the past few years, the labour council will team up with WorkSafeBC to organize a ceremony April 27 at Ben Lee Park for the national Day of Mourning, which remembers workers injured and killed on the job. Plans are also being made to mark the Day of Mourning in Vernon.
The NOLC supports the all-volunteer Protein for People project, which assists local food banks by providing food and organizing informative community forums. One such public forum, called a Protein for People Community Celebration, focused partly on information but more on fun and food, will take place May 6 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Springvalley Elementary School. More than 300 people are expected to attend this kickoff for Hunger Awareness Week.
A big event is also being planned for Labour Day, said Gordon, something Kelowna hasn't seen in a while.
Gordon also addressed the stalled teachers contract negotiations, noting threats the government may legislate a settlement are growing. She criticized government moves to prevent teachers from talking about class size and classroom learning conditions and said a new education plan being floated would "rip up our contracts."
The NOLC represents about 8,500 union workers. Its next monthly meeting will be at 7 p.m. March 7 at the Kelowna labour hall, 1091 Gordon Dr.
Also elected to the executive were Ronn Dunn, Karen Abramsen and Debra Critchley as vice-presidents; Ron Bobowski, secretary-treasurer; Cheryl Stone, recording secretary; Nikki Inouye, northern delegate; Dave Porteous, southern delgate; Shane Curveon, sergeant at arms; and Louise Gibson, trustee.