October 6, 2010 minutes
MINUTES - MONTHLY MEETING, NORTH OKANAGAN LABOUR COUNCIL AT VERNON
AFFILIATES PRESENT: Ron Bobowski, CUPW 760; Cheryl Stone, UFCW 1518; Glenn Nowag, UFCW 1518; Jim Failes, CEP M1; Bill Zeman, CUPE 3523;
Carole Gordon, BCTF; Lynda Zorn, BCFORUM; Nikki Inouye, HEU Vernon; Shirley Kavaloft, HSA; Nancy Ingersoll, BCTF;
Brad Albrecht, HEU Vernon.
REGRETS: Dave Porteous, UFCW 1518; Karen Abramsen, UFCW 1518; Wendy Mah, BCGEU;
Emilie Dorie, CUPE 873; Ronn Dunn, CUPE 3523; Greg McGowan, CUPE 873.
GUESTS: Orion Irvine, CLC Rep; Bob Milan, UFCW 1518, Canada Safeway.
CALL TO ORDER: The meeting was called to order by Glenn Nowag, President, at 7:00 pm
ADOPTION OF AGENDA: M/S/C
GUEST SPEAKERS: none
ADOPTION OF PREVIOUS MINUTES: M/S/C -- Errors on the minutes from September 8, 2010 -- Louise Gibson, union is COPE not CUPE,
CREDENTIALS REPORT: 12 Present with 10 Delegates and 2 Guests
OBLIGATIONS OF NEW DELEGATES: Bob Milan, UFCW 1518, was sworn in as delegate.
FINANCIAL REPORT: given by Ron Bobowski, Secretary Treasurer, M/S/C to adopt financial report as circulated.
EXECUTIVE BOARD REPORT/ACTION CORRESPONDENCE
1. Community Savings Scholarships for the CLC Winter School -- read and file
2. BCFED Organizer Training Session Oct 14-17 -- read and file
3. BCFED Health & Safety Centre Courses -- Kelowna -- go to www.healthandsafetybc.ca for more information for the dates/times and location of the Kelowna courses (or click on link to News and Notes page below).
4. CCPA National -- thank you for our donation.
5. BCFED Current Disputes: CUPE 873 vs. BC Ambulance Service,; Construction & Specialized Workers Union 1611 vs. Wescon Enterprises Ltd (Armstrong).
BOYCOTTS: Sklar Peppler, Alan White branded furniture, AW Manufacturing -- CLC/USW, Phillips Electronic Products
REPORTS OF LOCAL UNIONS/COMMITTEE REPORTS/CLC REPORT: Orion Irvine -- CLC --
CLC's National Pension Campaign
The issue of pension reform is still very much on the national agenda. The campaign waged by the
labour movement and citizens' groups for improvements to the Canada Pension Plan is paying off.
There is ever increasing agreement from all quarters that pension reform is needed. The labour
movement has been telling political leaders repeatedly that an improved CPP is far and away the
best way to guarantee retirement security for Canadians. We are starting to see that some finance
ministers have come to agree with us but we intend to keep their feet to the fire. Jim Flaherty,
the federal Finance Minister, and Ontario's Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, both now say that they
support CPP enhancements and have conveyed those sentiments to their fellow ministers. It's good to
see that Ministers Flaherty and Duncan appear to be on side but we will wait to see the fine print
here. We are calling for a phased-in doubling of CPP benefits and that is the option that we will
continue to push. Federal, provincial, and territorial finance ministers have been talking about
pensions for over a year now and will meet in mid December to consider what to do next. This will
likely be the meeting that will decide the future of the CPP. The CLC's plan received a boost when
the Federation of Canadian Municipalities called for an expansion of public pensions at its
convention, a position similar to that of the CLC. On August 24, Ontario's Finance Minister Dwight
Duncan announced measures to shore up the funding of defined benefit pensions. Those measures
include additional funding for Ontario's Pension Benefit Guarantee Fund (PBGF) so it can assist
pension obligations in times of crisis. The pledge that more money will flow into the PBGF is
positive news but the amount of pension guaranteed to workers is not enough. The maximum of money
available to Ontario workers under the PBGF will continue to be capped at $1,000 per month. An
expert commission on pensions appointed by the Ontario government has recommended that the amount
be increased dramatically. The CLC is calling for pension plans that are in trouble to be insured
for up to $2,500 per month. We are asking Labour Councils to contact their Mayors and Councils and
urge them to support our reforms and request that they communicate their support to the finance
Municipal Elections may not be until November 2011, but the CLC and Labour Councils' campaign is
already in the planning stages. At the Southern Interior Labour Council conference on October 2nd,,
labour councils did an early assessment of the current municipal situation, what was done in the
2008 campaign, areas to make improvements for the 2011 campaign. The next step will be to do a
more in depth assessment and develop a plan for coming year. We are planning on running a very
similar campaign as we did in 2008 incorporating community visioning, candidate recruitment and
training and a Get out the Vote program. Harrison Winter School The brochure is being finalized and
will be going to the printer this week. We are proud to announce that due to high demand that we
have added a fifth weekend to the Harrison Winter School. There are several new courses and several
other courses have been updated.
-- Municipal Election Issues & Campaign Organizing (new)
-- EI Advocacy (new)
-- Media Training & Presentation Skills (updated)
There will be several training opportunities for Labour Councils and Councils will receive a letter
outlining these by November.
Jim Failes - Communications, Energy & Paperworkers Union of Canada, Local M1 Okanagan Unit
Perhaps this will be the last time I must report that our employer Canwest Global Communications,
still has us under creditor protection. As of this week, it's been more than a full year, and we're
more than anxious for the end of it. Over the summer, Canwest announced and passed its Plan of
Arrangement, the scheme that details how much (or little) it intends to pay those it owes money.
Our nine members who were laid off in September '09 and later refused their severance entitlements
will receive about 35% of the money they are owed. In other words, they're losing 65%. It's a
travesty, frankly, to see them treated this way while company executives continue to bank bonus
"retention" money totalling millions. But it's the reality of a CCAA process where keeping a
Company in business takes precedence over the hardships of the innocent. The law lumps employees in
with all other creditors. It's not fair.
Meanwhile, Shaw Communications is closer to being our new
employer. They've leaped a competition bureau hurdle and have presented their case to the CRTC, who
are expected to render a decision sometime in the next few weeks. I don't think anyone believes the
CRTC will oppose the sale, it's simply a matter of what conditions will be imposed for the
betterment of Canadian broadcasting. Frankly, the CRTC's stewardship has been less than stellar for
years, and the complexity of the current transition period as new media supplements and replaces
old is almost beyond managing. It will be interesting to see what they come up with.
Shaw will inherit a collection of 11 unionized TV operations all of which have expired Collective
Agreements. Negotiations in our Eastern Bargaining Unit have begun with existing Canwest personnel,
and there's been little progress. In late September, the Canwest folks walked away, unilaterally
declaring an "impasse", and leaving negotiations in a strange limbo. Will Shaw negotiators replace
them and resume bargaining? So far, we just don't know.
Despite all the uncertainty, there have
been some positive developments at our home station. We've hired two full-time employees in the
past couple of months, and one of our beleaguered engineers who's had to take on a variety of
managerial tasks since our Chief and Assistant Chief Engineers got laid off, received a raise. Such
glimmers of hope are tantalizing, but we have seen too much trouble in the last two years to become
optimists that quickly!
Cheryl Stone -- EI Board of Referees
CLC opposes hike in EI premiums
Ken Georgetti says government should use EI surplus.
Thursday, 9 September 2010
OTTAWA -- The Canadian Labour Congress is against a proposed increase to
Employment Insurance premiums paid by workers and employers, says CLC President Ken Georgetti.
He was responding to reports that a panel appointed by the federal government will move to raise
employment insurance premiums to the maximum allowed by January 1, 2011. The federal cabinet can
overrule the decision and set a different rate.
"The money needed to support unemployed workers and their families should come from the surplus of
over $55 billion that workers and their employers have built up in the EI fund," Georgetti says.
"For years, governments took the money that workers paid in EI premiums and used it for all manner
of things, including corporate tax breaks. It's high time that workers get their premiums back in
the form of better EI benefits." Georgetti adds: "The government’s Consolidated Revenue Fund should
also absorb all of the additional EI program costs incurred during the extraordinary circumstances
of the recession. The EI program is supposed to be a rainy day fund for workers. Well, it's raining
and governments have stolen our umbrella."
The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.2 million
Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada's national and international unions along with the
provincial and territorial federations of labour and 130 district labour councils. Web site:
Nikki Inouye - HEU Report - Vernon
IHA Wide senority starts December 23. Members will be able to apply for jobs all over the region.
SSO which stands for The BC Health Authority Shared Services Organization begins October 15. The
supply chain, account payable etc, will be moved into this. They can keep their seniority hours in
IHA for 5 years and if they post back into IHA, they cannot return to SSO.
The raid period for BCNU can start up again next September and they have made it clear that they
will be doing that. BCNU has a 90 day window starting September 1 to get LPNs to sign up with
Cheryl Stone, UFCW 1518 - Southern Interior Labour Council Training Report - October 2, 2010 (The
following is what was covered at the SILC Training.)
Campaigns and Elections
Pension campaign -- The CLC Pension Better Choice Campaign was a huge
success. Over 20 MLAs in BC were lobbied and MPs across Canada were presented the information.
Municipal election planning: Winter School, CLC Structure Commission, Restructuring and
Changing Labour Councils, Administering Labour Councils BC Federation of Labour Executive Council
Position: This is a two year term and the next Labour Executive Council position will go to Karen
Cerniuk, Kamloops with Patsy Harmston, West Kootenay as alternative. United Way Partnership Labour
Lynda Zorn - BCFORUM BCFORUM is an acronym for BC Federation of Retired Union Members. Unlike
other seniors' or retirees' organization, we exist to help strengthen the labour movement, and to
support the fight for social justice in a civil society. BCFORUM was created to give retirees the
opportunity to remain active and involved in the movement, and to further that end, and so we don't
lose touch with you after you retire, you can join at age 50. Membership is only $15 per year,
which your union might subsidize -- some have -- and comes with a free $2500 AD&D insurance policy
from Working Enterprises (WE).
In the Minutes from the September meeting, you will note our nominee for the Joy Langan Social
Justice Award. Past president of BCFORUM, Joy worked tirelessly for social and political justice
for working people.
At the BCFORUM AGM in June, resolutions were adopted in two main areas. The
first, concerning health care, and forwarded to BC Minister of Health, Kevin Falcon, commits
Oppose the contracting out of long-term care, home support and ambulance services
to for-profit providers.
Call on the provincial government to initiate a public consultation
and develop a strategy to bring out-patient services back into the publicly funded, non-profit
Urge the BC government to maintain the structure and funding levels of the
Therapeutics Initiative to help ensure British Columbians receive the safest, most effective and
affordable prescription medicines.
Affirm that all health care and rehabilitation services be
universally available, and that all user fees be removed.
The second, pertaining to pensions, and forwarded to all provincial and territorial ministers of
finance, affirms that BCFORUM:
Endorses the Canadian Labour Congress proposals to immediately
increase the GIS and to phase in improvements to the CPP.
Rejects private sector pension
solutions which force individual workers to carry all the risks while banks and financial
institutions collect fees and profits.
Calls on the federal government to withdraw its
proposal to reduce CPP payments by 36%, up from the current 30%, for workers who retire at age 60.
The full text of the resolutions can be found on our website at www.bcforum.ca, where you can also
find a picture of our illustrious Labour Council treasurer and president, flanked myself and Liz
Woods, the other FORUM delegate, at the United Way kick off breakfast.
Footnote: Many ministers
have responded -- not BC's.
1. BCFED 54th Convention -- Nov 29-Dec 3, 2010 -- Nominations were open to delegates at this meeting and there were no other nominations. Four delegates were nominated to attend the BCFED Convention, from the September meeting, Glenn Nowag, UFCW 1518, Cheryl Stone, UFCW 1518 and Carole Gordon, BCTF and Dave Porteous, UFCW 1518. Cheryl Stone, UFCW 1518 was voted to represent the NOLC at the BCFED Convention at Level 1. Carole Gordon, BCTF accepted the Level 2 delegate position, and Dave Porteous, although not present, accepted the Level 3 position to the BBCFED Convention.
2. CLC -- Southern Interior Labour (Training) Conference –Oct 1-2, 2010 - Cheryl Stone UFCW 1518, Glenn Nowag UFCW 1518, Nikki Inouye, HEU Vernon and Lynda Zorn, BCFORUM attended the conference.
3. Protein for People -- A motion was made to purchase up to $400.00 worth of union label canned salmon to be distributed proportionately to our four local area food banks. M/S/C. The motion was amended to raise the amount to - up to $1,000.00 for purchasing the canned salmon. M/S/C
1. Affiliate participation in Labour Councils and affiliate delegate list revisions -- Brad Albrecht, HEU Vernon, volunteered to take care of the updating of affiliates addresses and delegates for the Vernon and surrounding areas. We will ask for help with the Kelowna and surrounding areas at our November 10th, meeting.
2. NOLC annual work plan -- this has been tabled to the November executive meeting.
3. Labour Education CLC Winter School -- A motion was made that NOLC sponsor one additional delegate to attend the CLC Winter School in 2011, with the approval of their own affiliation. This sponsorship will include your choice of week, registration fee and travel expenses. The CLC Winter school plans are underway and we will have more information soon. When the schedule is completed it will be posted on the CLC website at www.canadianlabour.ca/pacific-region as well as at our next NOLC meeting.
4. NOLC Banner -- A motion was made to purchase a banner for NOLC in order that we have the ability to be recognized in our community when rallies or special functions/events are attended by NOLC delegates. It was suggested that price quotes be brought to the next meeting in November for further discussion. M/S/C
5. Municipal Election Planning -- Planning for the municipal elections will begin at the November 10th meeting.
FINAL CREDENTIALS REPORT: 12 Present with 11 Delegates 1 Guests
GOOD AND WELFARE:
Dave Porteous was in the hospital last week and a get well card was sent on behalf of the NOLC. Dave is now resting at home and on his way to feeling better.
ADJOURNMENT: The meeting was adjourned at 8:43 pm by Glenn Nowag, President
Minutes respectfully submitted by Cheryl Stone, Recording Secretary, UFCW 1518
NEXT MEETING (new location):
Wednesday, November 10, 2010, 7:00 pm
#214 - 3001 Tutt Street, Kelowna
Directions: Pandosy Street to Groves Ave to Tutt Street (Parking and entrance located out front on Tutt Street)