Letterhead


NOVEMBER 8, 2006 minutes

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

AFFILIATES PRESENT
Brad Dunlop, USW 1-423
Ron Bobowski, CUPW 760
Pat Bulmer, CEP 2000
Cheryl Stone, UFCW 1518
Louise Schwingenschloegl, HEU
Jodie Lofting, HEU
Katie Crane, USW 1-423
LorrieLee Miller, USW 1-423
Kris Bothe, Carp 1370
Gord Larkin, CLC
Liz Woods, CEP
Karen Abramsen, BC Forum
Faye Saxon, BC Forum
Maria Tokarchuk, HSA
Geri Smith, COPE 378

GUESTS
Teresa Davie, COPE 378
David Black, COPE 378
Amber Hockin, CLC

REGRETS
Dave Porteous, UFCW
Kathy Dunn, HEU
Jeff Carsience, UBCJ 1370
Kevin Hagglund, CEP 823-M
Heather Malcolm, VTA
Tom Potts, COTA


CALL TO ORDER
President Brad Dunlop called the meeting to order at 7 p.m.

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

GUEST SPEAKERS
Teresa Davie, David Black, COPE 378, gave a presentation on the Take Back the Power Campaign, which seeks to keep the province's energy resources in B.C. hands, to stop the privatization of B.C. Hydro, which is already well underway, and to stop the outsourcing of jobs. Some points:
-- One third of BC Hydro jobs have been privatized by the B.C. Liberals to Bermuda-based Accenture.
-- In seven years time, Accenture will be free to move jobs out of B.C., just as they did with jobs at Terasen.
-- The B.C. Liberals have forbidden B.C. Hydro generating any new sources of power.
-- All power generation must be by private companies, who will be free to sell their B.C.-made power anywhere after initial 20-30 year contracts have expired.
-- The Take Back the Power website is www.publicpowerbc.ca.

ADOPTION OF THE PREVIOUS MINUTES
M/S/C to adopt minutes of October 4, 2006

OBLIGATION OF NEW DELEGATES
None

CREDENTIALS REPORT
18 present with 15 delegates and 3 guests

FINANCIAL REPORT
The Public Policy and the Environment forum, hosted by the NOLC and Columbia Institute in September, just about broke even. The loss was about $63.
M/S/C to adopt financial report as circulated

EXECUTIVE BOARD REPORT/ACTION CORRESPONDENCE
a) Amnesty International Christmas Cards -- M/S/C to donate $50
b) Pacific Northwest Labour History Association request to join ($150) and buy labour history calendar -- Receive and file
c) Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives request for donation to its National Research Fund -- M/S/C to donate $25

REPORTS OF LOCAL UNIONS, COMMITTEE REPORTS, CLC REPORT

Tom Potts, COTA -- Tom e-mailed to let us know he is now the president of the Central Okanagan Teachers Association and thus is obliged to attend school board meetings, which often conflict with NOLC meetings. He will attend when he can and hopes to have another member or two named as delegates to the NOLC soon.

Pat Bulmer, CEP 2000 -- Tom Wilson, former city editor at The Daily Courier, has been named the new managing editor. Andrea MacBride of Pacific Newspaper Group has been elected the new secretary-treasurer of our union.

Liz Woods, Central and South Okanagan/Similkameen United Way -- Central Okanagan United Way campaign is now at 20 per cent of goal. -- New position of labour chair created this year; Liz Woods appointed by UW board to fill the position.
-- I have attended three CUPW worksites to assist with campaign kickoffs -- I'm looking to attend as many local meetings as possible. Please call me at 763-8046 to arrange a 10-15-minute presentation.
-- If your workplace does not have a UW payroll deduction system, please call me with information.
-- Leadership givers are people who donate $1,000 to the UW. A complimentary lunch on Nov. 23 with guest speaker Mel Cooper. Pledge $1,000 and receive a framed Alex Fong print in addition to the lunch.

Cheryl Stone, UFCW 1518 -- The president of UFCW 1518, Brooke Sundin, is retiring. Contract negotiations will begin in 2007 as the UFCW 1518-Safeway collective agreement is up for renewal March 31, 2008.

Faye Saxon, worker representative, EI board of referees -- Sitting days and cases are still down probably a good sign. We seem to be receiving more cases in which the employer is appealing the worker receiving EI benefits because the employers says the worker was dismissed for misconduct. Of course, any employee may be let go, however the reason being used may not be misconduct under the EI Act. Also, any money received by way of a settlement after the employer/employee relationship has ended must be allocated to the weeks following the end of employment at the usual rate per week of pay received by the employee. Since settlements often do not happen for an extended period, this can result in a very large overpayment of benefits. These must be paid back. The benefit period may be extended, but not indefinitely. Great care must be taken with the wording of the settlement document in order for the worker to receive maximum benefits allowable.

Karen Abramsen, Federal NDP convention report -- September 8-10, I attended the 22nd Federal Convention of the New Democratic Party of Canada in Quebec City as an NOLC delegate.
This was possibly the best Convention I have ever attended. Not only was it held in a fabulous city in wonderful convention facilities, it was the largest convention in 20 years with the largest contingent of aboriginal & Quebecois delegates ever.
Highlights of the Convention included:
- A fiery address by Gary Doer, the Premier of Manitoba where they have done some bold and progressive initiatives to reduce the greenhouse gases that impact global warming.
- A poignant, often funny, often sad address by Stephen Lewis called "Building a Better World". I also got the chance to meet Stephen at a fundraiser and he was truly gracious & equally funny! Needless to say, I got my picture taken with him.
- There were three incredible & informative speakers on the Environment: Thomas Mulcair, former Quebec environment minister (Liberal); Tim Flannery (an expert author on Climate Change & Global Warming); and Steven Guilbeault (from Greenpeace Quebec).
- The other most incredible highlight was the tribute to Tommy Douglas by Shirley Douglas and Kiefer Sutherland (via video). I also attended the evening dinner with Shirley Douglas & Jack Layton & yes I also got my picture taken with Shirley.
The reason I could afford these fundraisers was because I stayed at the International Youth Hostel, a dorm, with 6 other people for $20 a night, with the bathroom down the hall. It was underwhelming, but it was a tradeoff! I'll remember meeting Shirley Douglas longer than I'll remember the bunk bed!
Some Resolutions Passed:
BC Federation of Labour -- This was a very comprehensive resolution dealing with immigrant workers, better protection, more support for refugees, and removal of application fees for refugees,
- EI -- Decreasing the hours of eligibility, increasing premiums paid, self-employed worker coverage and more,
- Healthcare resolution calling for strict enforcement of the Canada health Act, reduction of waitlists and more,
- Promotion of a comprehensive package of effective measures to support the manufacturing and cultural economy,
I have a well-organized binder should anyone wish to borrow it.
Our own Starleigh Grass was elected co-chair of the national NDP Youth Caucus!
I really appreciate the support of the Labour Council to attend this landmark Convention. I was especially pleased to see the significant Quebec contingent of delegates actively participating. This Convention should help Jack Layton & New Democrats to make significant inroads into Quebec. The press was quite favourable and people knew we were there.
And I had a fun time partying some of the Steel brothers who will remain unnamed to protect the guilty.

Brad Dunlop gave a verbal report on the USW 1-423 strike at SRI Homes in Winfield.
Louise Schwingenschloegl gave a verbal report on the HEU convention and elections.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

a) M/S/C to lift from the table resolution from Vancouver and District Labour Council -- BC Labour Against the War. M/S/D to support the resolution.

b) Spring school -- Amber Hockin reported on changes being made to spring schools as a result of feedback from labour councils throughout the province. Weekend schools are struggling throughout the province and the CLC has responded with a new "Get Educated" program. Among the changes:
-- New flyer, new website
-- Schools will be one day, rather than a day and a half
-- There is also the possibility of weekday/night courses.
-- There will be more general interest courses, courses of interest to more than just activists. Examples include Retire in Style: Retirement Planning Basics; Dollars & Sense: Financial Planning Basics.
-- New communications course, new labour history course.
-- CLC will handle administration, registration etc. Labour councils jobs will be to get the word out. Labour councils will earn $15 for each person who attends.
Please fill out the questionnaire sent by mail and e-mail, which will help us get an NOLC spring school organized. You can fax it to 860-7355.

c) Remembrance Day -- LorrieLee Miller will represent the NOLC and lay a wreath on our behalf at the Vernon ceremony.
Pat Bulmer reported that the Kelowna Legion is asking those who have bought wreaths in the past to instead make a donation to the Legion and accept a certificate of appreciation in return. The reason for this is partly due to the Legion's aging membership, they are no longer able to make the wreaths in-house with volunteer labour, so wreath-making must now be contracted out. Organizations can still purchase and lay wreaths, but then the money won't go to the Legion.
Brad Dunlop had hoped to attend the Army, Navy, Air Force ceremony in Rutland, but was called in to work.

NEW BUSINESS

a) M/S/C to send letters of thanks to MPs Ron Cannan and Colin Mayes for voting for the anti-scab bill.

b) Election committee -- Dave Porteous and Liz Woods have volunteered to serve on an a committee to drum up nominees for the February NOLC elections.

c) M/S/C to buy two tickets at $100 each for the Kelowna-Lake Country, Kelowna-Mission NDP dinner on Dec. 3 with Adrian Dix.

d) M/S/C to support the following resolution on minimum wage:
BECAUSE over 115,000 workers currently earn $8.00 per hour or less; and
BECAUSE the minimum wage has remained at $8.00 per hour since 2001; and
BECAUSE the current minimum wage is below the poverty line;
THE NORTH OKANAGAN LABOUR COUNCIL will support the B.C. Federation of Labour's call for an immediate increase in the minimum wage to $10.00 per hour and increasing to $11.00 per hour in 2008 and indexed to inflation every year after; and
THE NORTH OKANAGAN LABOUR COUNCIL will also support the B.C. Federation of Labour's call for an end of the discriminatory training wage introduced in 2001.

e) M/S/C to support the following resolution on working alone:
BECAUSE surveys of gas station workers in British Columbia show us that late night workers face the very real threat of violence, injury and death; and
BECAUSE there are well-known solutions recommended by health and safety agencies, supported by police, and already implemented by some employers in the gas station and convenience store industries, and are widely supported by employees based on their own experiences; and
BECAUSE the current BC health and safety regulations do not adequately protect these workers; and
BECAUSE it is WorkSafeBC's responsibility to protect all workers in British Columbia;
THE NORTH OKANAGAN LABOUR COUNCIL supports the B.C. Federation of Labour in demanding WorkSafeBC to implement a regulation that addresses the potential violence workers face working alone late at night and that would require employers to:

  • keep the doors locked between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am;
  • employ two people between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am; or
  • install physical barriers and/enclosures made of bullet-resistant material; and
  • implement a 24-hour pay before you pump policy for all gas stations throughout the province.

THE NORTH OKANAGAN LABOUR COUNCIL will also make presentation to and seek the support of the local MLAs, MPs, municipal councillors, and local government officials and call on the government to ensure that WorkSafeBC implement these regulations.

f) Public Policy and the Environment forum - M/S/C to send out a notice within the next couple weeks advising people of the tentative dates for the 2007 PP&E forum in October.

FINAL CREDENTIALS REPORT
16 total with 15 delegates and 1 guest

GOOD AND WELFARE
Revelstoke New Democrats pass along an invitation to their annual Christmas Party to be held Saturday, Dec. 2 at the Revelstoke Seniors' Centre. Norm MacDonald, their MLA will act as host, and will welcome special guest MLA Corky Evans. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for youth. The refreshments bar opens at five, and the dinner will start just after six. For further information, contact Debbie Daniels 837-2562, or Doug Hamilton 837-2623, or Antoinette Halberstadt 837-5665.

ADJOURNMENT
The meeting adjourned at 9:05 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by Pat Bulmer, recording secretary.


The next meeting will be Wednesday, December 6, 2006, 7 p.m., at the NOLC office, 201A -- 1358 St. Paul St., Kelowna.

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