CALL TO ORDER
ADOPTION OF THE AGENDAM/S/C to adopt agenda of October 5, 2005
REPORTS OF LOCAL UNIONS, COMMITTEE REPORTS, CLC REPORTBrad 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.
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.
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
ADJOURNMENTThe meeting was adjourned at 9 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Pat Bulmer, recording secretary.