SEPTEMBER 9, 2009 minutes


Glenn Nowag, UFCW 120
Ron Bobowski, CUPW 760
Cheryl Stone, UFCW 1518
Shane Curveon, ATU 1722
Karen Abramsen, UFCW 120
Ronn Dunn, CUPE 3523
Carole Gordon, BCTF
Jeff Carsience, UBCJA 1370
Pat Bulmer, CEP 2000
Jim Failes, CEP 823M
Darren Tompkins, CUPE 523
Orion Irvine, CLC

Shawna Rand, HEU Vernon
Nikki Inouye, HEU Vernon
David Porteous, UFCW 120

Liz Woods, BC FORUM
Chris Berry, CUPE 15
Faye Saxon, BCFORUM
Joel Kurtz, CEP 2000
Wes Kmet, BC FORUM
Nancy Ingersoll, BCTF & VTA
Jennifer Carsience
Debra Critchley, BCGEU

The meeting was called to order by President Glenn Nowag at 7:00 p.m.


GUEST SPEAKER: Faye Saxon, BC FORUM, gave a brief presentation regarding the passing of Joy Langan, President, BC FORUM. A minute of silence was observed in honour of Joy.

20 present with 12 delegates and 8 guests

Debra Critchley -- BCGEU became a delegate.

FINANCIAL REPORT: given by Ron Bobowski, Sec. Treasurer, M/S/C

1. The SILC will be in Kamloops on Sept 25th and Sept 26th. We will be having an all affiliate dinner on the evening on the 25th, while the training will take place on the 26th. Cheryl Stone, UFCW 1518, Ron Bobowski, CUPW 760 and Shawna Rand, HEU Vernon, will attend.
2. Letter from Ken Robinson (HEU) involvement of members in labour councils- read aloud, rec/file
3. CLC/BC Fed suspension of delegates and officers of BCNU (Nurse's Union) Orion Irvine will discuss in his report.
4. BCFED Apprenticeship & Skills Training Conf fall 09 (advance notice) under construction, rec/file
5. BCFED Young Worker Retreat Sept 25-27, 2009, anyone interested to contact Cheryl Stone, Sec.
6. BCFED (CLC) Convention Nov 23-25, 2009, will be discussed further at October meeting in Vernon
7. Thank you letter from CCPA was read aloud, rec/file
8. Request for link for www.indeed.ca It was decided that it would not be necessary to have this link on our website.
9. BCFED Current Disputes-Aug 13 & 27th 09, read aloud, rec/file
10. BCFED Health & Safety fall schedule 09, information handed out to anyone interested.
11. United Way letter from BC FED, read aloud, rec/file
12. CLC "get educated" classes for union members Sat Oct 24, 09, read aloud R/F
13. Our Times Magazine subscription renewal- will be renewed.
14. Lake Country & manor workers join BCGEU- read aloud, rec/file
15. BC NDP Convention information distributed.

CLC Report -- Orion Irvine CLC Rep.:
Pension Reform: The CLC is calling on the government to strength pensions in Canada. There are three actions that CLC are urging the government to do.
Double CPP benefits to increase pension income on a pre-funded basis. This would be funded by a modest increase in CPP contributions to be phased in over 7 years. To reduce the impact of this increase on low-income workers it is proposed that the current Year's Basic Exemption threshold be doubled. This would allow low-income workers earn more income without paying CPP premiums. The results of our CPP plan are impressive: our plan would effectively double the average earnings replaced by CPP pension benefits, to a maximum (in 2009 dollars) of $1,635 per month.
Increase GIS pensions so no senior lives in poverty.
Federal pension insurance: Workplace pensions aren't protected. Since October 2008, we have lost more than 400,000 full-time jobs, and the great majority of these are permanent layoffs. Hard-earned pension benefits have been lost in this wave of job losses given unfair bankruptcy rules and unscrupulous employers. The CLC is calling for a compulsory insurance system would be created for federally-regulated pension plans. Provinces would be able to opt-in to this system should they choose to do so. This system will help to protect a portion of workers pension if their company goes bankrupt.
SILC: The Southern Interior Labour Council conference is being held in Kamloops on Saturday, September 26th at the Coast hotel. On the Friday evening before the conference, September 25th, there will be an all affiliate dinner meeting to discuss the continuing economic crisis. The dinner is no cost for labour council delegates and $25 for guests or affiliates. Please register if you wish to attend the dinner.
BCNU/HEU: In mid July the Brother Georgetti appointed Hemi Mitic to investigate the activities from the BCNU that gave rise to the complaint. Based on the information from the investigation of Brother Mitic, Brother Georgetti instructed the Pacific Region of the CLC to take steps to suspend the BCNU from participation in labour councils and education programs as well as access to Congress services.

Local Union Reports:

Pat Bulmer, CEP 2000
Terry Armstrong is the new publisher at the Kelowna Daily Courier. He was promoted from ad manager.There have been no more layoffs over the summer, but cutting through attrition continues.

Ronn Dunn, CUPE 3523
After 21 consecutive years of funding building maintenance and improvements, School District 23 received word from the Ministry of Education that the Annual Facilities Grant has been cancelled for this school year. With this announcement School District 23 loses 3.7 million that was budgeted for school improvements, resulting in the layoff of 41 CUPE members. (electricians, plumbers ,carpenters, and painters) A number of these workers that hold other skills assets and seniority will be able to bump into other work, displacing those workers as a result. CUPE 3523 and SD 23 have agreed to work through an adjustment plan as outlined in Sec. 54 of the Labour Relations Code. On a happier note, the new Chute Lake Elementary in Kettle Valley opened its doors to staff and students.

Jim Failes, CEP LOCAL 823-M
The soap opera of tension and pain continues at CHBC. As you'll recall, CHBC has been for sale since last winter along with four other stations owned by Canwest Global Communications under the E! brand. In late spring, a sale of two Eastern stations (in Hamilton and Montreal) was announced, the new owner being the cartoonishly-named Channel Zero, heretofore known for programming hiliting movies and light porn. The sale price has since been revealed as $12.
Over the summer, the three western stations met slightly separate fates. CHCA in Red Deer closed for lack of a buyer. CHEK TV in Victoria was saved from closure by an 11th hour deal between Canwest and investor-backed employees. The price? $2.00.
Meanwhile, in the Okanagan, could no one cough up a few bucks to buy CHBC? In my opinion, we were simply worth a lot more, and Canwest was holding out for real money. In the end, neither inside nor outside buyers took the prize. Canwest instead decided -- on July 22nd -- to keep us. Replacing the E! Programming, employees were told, would be programming from the main Global network.
This is fairly extraordinary, as we already have Global Network programming in this market, out of Vancouver. But again we were told, Canwest's regulatory experts had approved the idea. The Company trumpeted this as the saving of our local TV station. A programming grid was unveiled, showing 10 hours of local programming per week. Management noted that this was well over and above the CRTC's required minimum of 7 hours per week. They left it to the Union to point out that it was barely half of what we produced last spring.
These programming cuts mean less local news, and virtually no other local programming -- the one exception being sponsored features which are little more than infomercials. It was obvious to all of us that job cuts were inevitable. And the ax fell last Thursday.
CHBC announced layoffs of ten BU members (one to follow), plus one non-BU member who is taking early retirement. Thus we head into the next year with a one-year license, hopefully to prove our profitability and to survive to get a longer lease on life. And, profitable or not, it's not smooth sailing.
Canwest is still avoiding bankruptcy protection by the skin of its teeth. Another deadline approaches this Friday -- yes, September 11th -- when creditors can give Canwest another extension or force it into CCAA.
Which reminds me; during all the uncertainty this summer, Canwest's financial distress manifested itself in a truly nasty way, as the Company announced its intention to wind up our pension plan. We were shocked to find that a long-established defined benefits plan could be so easily threatened. There was an outcry from Union and non-Union staff alike. With a concerted effort by CEP's lawyers in Vancouver, we fought it off, and the wind-up was rescinded, but the fact remains that the plan may only be holding on as long as Canwest.
Just one note about our future; 823-M members will vote later this month on a lingering question: whether to join with other TV station locals (originally Canwest-owned TV Stations -- that qualification has been dropped) in a single composite local. Stay tuned for that.

Cheryl Stone, UFCW 1518
From September 14th to September 17th, 2009, meetings will be conducted in communities across B.C. in order that UFCW Local 1518 members may vote on the merger of UFCW Local 120B with UFCW Local 1518 and amendments to UFCW Local 1518's bylaws. UFCW Local 120B is a small Local of approximately 150 members that was popularly known as the "Barbers and Beauticians" Local for many years. While there are still a number of barbers who belong to Local 120B, it now has members in a variety of professions from insurance to graphic design to wood craftsmen and beyond, many of whom are independent operators.
The Executive Board of UFCW Local 1518 and Executive Board of UFCW Local 120B have agreed it is in the best interest of the members that the two Locals merge, and the Executive Board of UFCW Local 1518 is recommending Local 1518 members vote in favour of the merger. The effects of the merger on Local 1518 will be minimal, as Local 120B has been self-sufficient for its entire 100-plus year history, and the terms of the merger will see little change in the day-to-day operation of each Local union.
The bylaw amendments are part of the merger vote and will bring UFCW Local 1518's bylaw language up to date in accordance with the UFCW International constitution, as well as reducing the number of Local 1518 Executive Board members from 35 to 25. At the meetings there will be opportunity for questions and discussion of the merger and bylaw amendments, and then members will be asked to cast their ballot.

Shane Curveon, ATU 1722
Our new executive is working well together - getting the upper hand on most issues. One of our members was involved in a motorcycle accident. He is a casual worker and has no coverage to help with his finances, will likely be off work for at least six months or longer. We are watching Kamloops Transit talks closely as we will be entering into talks with Far West First Canada, hopefully in the New Year. Our $43,000 service expansion for fall 2009 did not happen as planned in 2008. Possibly a small expansion will happen in 2010.

We still need to fill two positions on our Executive Board. Attending delegates were asked if anyone would like to assume the position of; Vice President and/or Trustee. There were no volunteers at this meeting. If anyone is interested going forward, please contact our president Glenn Nowag.

Reminder that the BCFORUM person who wishes to be on the NOLC Executive Board, with voice but no vote, and the second BCFORUM person, who wishes to represent the BCFORUM as a delegate to this Labour Council, should call the BC FORUM and submit their names and BC FORUM will get back to NOLC. This will be further discussed at a future meeting.

United Way kick-off breakfast, scheduled for Friday, Sept 18. Ten delegates offered to attend the breakfast from our meeting.
CUPE 873, Ambulance & Paramedics ongoing labour dispute. The NOLC will discuss this with CUPE to find out what we can do in support for our brothers and sisters.
Kelowna By-election November 28, 2009 -- NOLC still has some political action funds available for prospective labour minded candidates If anyone wishes to apply he/she should call, or email the executive board to request an application, in a timely manner.

20 Present - 14 Delegates 6 Guests

Karen Abramsen, UFCW 120, and Secretary of Okanagan Jazz & Blues Society, invited anyone interested to come to a fundraiser being held Sept 12th. Tickets were available from Karen.

The meeting was adjourned at approximately 8:55 pm by Glenn Nowag, President

Minutes respectfully submitted by Cheryl Stone, Recording Secretary, UFCW 1518,

NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, October 7, 2009, 7:00 pm at the Village Green Hotel, Vernon, B.C.

Go back to News & Notes