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October 5, 2005 minutes

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

AFFILIATES PRESENT
Kris Bothe UBC 1370
Dave Porteous UFCW 120
David Doran Carp 1346
Ron Bobowski CUPW 760
Pat Bulmer CEP 2000
Liz Woods BC Forum
Cheryl Stone UFCW 1518
Tom Potts COTA
Brad Dunlop USW 1-423
Rob Wotherspoon BCGEU
Carol Kenzie HEU
Donna Frayn BCGEU
Pat Munro HSA
Maria Tokarchuk HSA
Kevin Hagglund CEP 823-M

GUESTS
Gord Larkin CLC
Rick Barnes UFCW
Wayne Hyslop TWU
Faye Saxon COPE 15 (ret)
Linda Thiel HEU

REGRETS
Karen Abramsen BC Forum
Trudy Ames BCGEU 307
Glenn Nowag UNITE HERE!
Kathy Dunn HEU


CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order by President David Doran at 7:00 p.m.

ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA

M/S/C to adopt agenda of October 5, 2005

GUEST SPEAKERS

none

ADOPTION OF THE PREVIOUS MINUTES

M/S/C to adopt minutes of September 7, 2005.

CREDENTIALS REPORT

20 present with 15 delegates and 5 guests

OBLIGATION OF NEW DELEGATES

No new delegates to swear in.

FINANCIAL REPORT

M/S/C to adopt financial report for October as circulated.

EXECUTIVE BOARD REPORT/ACTION CORRESPONDENCE

none

REPORTS OF LOCAL UNIONS, COMMITTEE REPORTS, CLC REPORT

Brad Dunlop USWA 1-423, Kelowna lumber sublocal, now has an apprenticeship program in place. The program features are based on a model from Port Alberni. Further details to follow, but this agreement could become the basis for the entire southern interior forest industry.

Rob Wotherspoon, BCGEU - New BCGEU Kelowna office staff representative Kirby Judd will start in late October. Aboriginal bargaining conference, sponsored by BCGEU, will be held the last Friday in October at the Coast Capri Hotel in Kelowna, starting at 6 p.m. Guest panelists include BCGEU President George Heyman. For more information, call Rob Wotherspoon at 763-6405.

Pat Bulmer, CEP 2000 - The members of CEP Locals 25-G and 2000 at the Kelowna and Vernon Daily Couriers and Penticton Herald ratified three-year collective agreement with Horizon Operations, owner of the newspapers, on Sept. 21. Employees at the papers will receive 1.5-percent annual wage increases, with small additional increases for some, as well as small pension and benefits improvements. A sixth week of holidays for employees with 25 years seniority has been added, as has a mileage grid for front-end employees. Pressmen and delivery drivers also had some of their key concerns addressed. Overall, the ratification votes passed by about a 75 per cent margin.
Rob Munro of Kelowna has been elected to another three-year term as CEP 2000 vice-president. Mike Bocking of Vancouver was returned as president at our annual congress.

Faye Saxon, EI Board of Referees - Those of us who have been appointed to the Board of Referees through the CLC have been requesting further training in the process of writing decisions for several years. It is always brought up at our annual seminars held in Kelowna by HRDC. The Chairpersons seem to be the only members who are receiving this type of training.
I attended the most recent Umpire Hearings in Kelowna where the appeals of Board of Referee decisions take place. There were 8 dockets on the court agenda. From those 8, the Commission asked the Judge to refer 4 back to new Boards. Apparently, the decisions were not written clearly enough to convey the decisions made by the first boards hearing them. This would seem to be proof that more training is required.
Our Boards are down in numbers, usually one each week, but then some of those are cancelled. The low unemployment rate in this area would seem to be the reason.
I have sat on some very interesting cases. The latest being a Claimant who was on maternity/parental leave. She was, at the time of applying, a 50% owner of a business. She had enough hours to qualify for benefits through an employment entirely separate from this business. At the time of application, she filled out a self-employment questionnaire disclosing her 50% interest in her business. Years later, the Commission wrote notices to her saying that she was not entitled to benefits, creating huge overpayments. They also sent her a notice saying that a penalty was being assessed because the Commission had found out that she was self-employed. We allowed on the latter as she had fully disclosed the details of her self-employment at the time of application. The Commission agreed, in the docket, that the Claimant was self-employed only "Minor in Extent" during the time of her claim. Therefore, they based her weekly earnIngs on the net income from her business for the parts of 2 years in question. We believed that the Commission's calculations were incorrect as to the net income figures used to arrive at her "weekly income" based on the net income from her business financial statements. We dismissed with a recalculation of the overpayment required. Even though there are so few cases being handled at the moment they do not seem to be very well put together. I have no idea whether this is because of downsizing the department or some other reason. Please let your members know that if they have their own business, they will have to be very aware of the Act and Regulations in relation to benefits.
I have recently learned that the "One-stop service launched for government services," announced in our local newspaper, will mean that the Investigation and Control officers will (if not now) be handling the cases for other Government departments, specifically Old Age Pension, etc.
I have been made aware that Tony Wohlfarth's appointment as Worker Commissioner has not been renewed. We shall all miss his steady hand in a great job well done.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

a) BC Federation of Labour (policy) convention call, Nov. 28-30. David Doran, Ron Bobowski and David Porteous were chosen to attend as per our usual policy.

b) Municipal election committee/endorsements.
M/S/C to endorse Kelowna council candidate Cheryl Stone
M/S/C to endorse Vernon council candidate Debra Critchley
M/S/C to endorse Vernon council candidate Mark Olsen
M/S/C to endorse Vernon council candidate Michael Pierce
M/S/C to donate $500 to each endorsed candidate (Kelowna council candidates Brad Dunlop and Dave Porteous were endorsed at our previous meeting.)

c) NDP convention Nov. 25-27. Open nominations for the two delegate spots our labour council will be entitled to. Trudy Ames and Liz Woods were nominated. Nominations were then closed and will be reopened at our November meeting in Vernon.

NEW BUSINESS

a) TWU update -- Wayne Hyslop updated us on the strike at Telus. The TWU is now asking people to cancel their Telus services. Switch to new long-distance and internet providers.
M/S/C to move the NOLC's accounts from Telus to another provider.
(Note: A few days after our meeting, a tentative agreement was reached.)

b) BCTF update -- Tom Potts updated us on the teachers' labour dispute. He noted that over the past number of contracts, teachers traded salary increases for better classroom conditions, but now the government has stripped those conditions out of the contract. Teachers want three things: 1. restore working conditions; 2. restore bargaining rights. 3. fair and reasonable salary increases. Protests are planned for Oct. 11 at local MLA offices.

c) Worker commissioner -- Karen Abramsen has suggested the NOLC should write a letter opposing the decision not to renew the appointment of worker commissioner Tony Wohlfarth. M/S/C to table this item to our November meeting so that Karen may speak to it.

FINAL CREDENTIALS REPORT

20 total with 15 delegates and 5 guests

ADJOURNMENT

The meeting was adjourned at 9 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by Pat Bulmer, recording secretary.



NEXT MEETING:
Wednesday, November 9, 2005, 7 p.m., at Village Green Hotel, Vernon.


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