CUPE BC Convention 2016, notes from Adrienne Else

CUPE BC – 53rd Annual Convention, April 27-30, 2016

Adrienne`s Notes:

Thank you CUPE 410 for the opportunity to attend this convention with Matthew and Fatima! It was an intense and rather overwhelming few days. There was so much information to take in and I was moved by many of the stories and issues that the other delegates shared. I felt empowered and energized by all of the important work and advocacy our CUPE brothers and sisters are doing in this province to support each other and our communities!

Wednesday, April 27

New Delegates Seminar, 5:00-6:00 pm (I found out about how a convention works – resolutions etc.)

Highlights:

CUPE BC President, Paul Faoro’s opening address emphasized the need for CUPE members to get involved (with the BC NDP’s) and to work together in the year leading up to the next provincial election to defeat the BC Liberal government.

Thursday, April 28

Highlights:

Executive Report

Library Sector – Library sector experiencing challenging bargaining conditions across BC. Libraries – high levels of precarious work (shift work, understaffing, elimination of full-time positions.) Despite these challenges there have been some successes – CUPE Local 401, VIRL, ratified their collective agreement  and managed to make improvements to language and benefits. Successful “Love Our Library” campaign highlighted the important work CUPE members do in their libraries and communities!

“Keep it Public” campaign, CUPE Local 1978 CRD employees working to ensure that sewage treatment options in the CRD are kept public – No P3s!

Emergency Resolution #1:

CUPE BC WILL: Support CUPE Local 1978 in its campaign to ensure new wastewater treatment in the Capital Regional District is publicly owned and operate.

Encourage all CUPE members who live in the CRD to get in touch with their mayor and councils ad provincial and federal decision makers before May 31, 2016 to say that they support publicly owned and operated wastewater treatment facilities…

CUPE members working with and supporting various organizations who share concerns around fair and safe work, protection of the environment and the realities of climate change, the erosion of health care, education, etc. issues of poverty, homelessness, inequality for migrants, indigenous and racialized people.

CUPE members actively working to improve working conditions for all workers and the communities we live in!

Mark Hancock – CUPE National President

Mark Hancock spoke about the importance of unions speaking up about OH&S issues and violence in the workplace – improving workplace health and safety for public and private sectors (Bill C45 –employer’s responsibility to ensure workers’ safety.) CUPE’s important work to fight against precarious work, and for fair wages, benefits, and public services for all!

Day of Mourning Ceremony

Convention delegates participated in the National Day of Mourning ceremony on the steps of the legislature, to remember and honour workers killed or injured on the job.

Keynote Speaker: Mohamed Fahmy

Mohamed Fahmy spent 438 days in prison in Egypt after being arrested in 2013 under false terrorism charges. He values the fundamental work unions are doing to protect democracy! He is concerned about vague laws such as Bill C51. Fahmy has written a Protection Charter with Amnesty International (which he presented to Trudeau and Dion, and invited CUPE BC to endorse), to help journalists/photographers/and prisoners of conscience, unjustly imprisoned around the world.

CUPE BC Action Plan

Paul Faoro spoke about CUPE BC’s Action Plan (a two year plan which is in its second year.) CUPE BC, its affiliated locals, and committees remain committed to the fight for real gains in social and economic justice for our members, all working people, their families and communities. This action plan along with resolutions adopted by convention, outlines our priorities for the coming year.

**CUPE BC’s Forward Conference in Kamloops (send a CUPE 410 delegate?)

Library Committee Report

Library resolutions passed (78, 117, and 62)

Resolution 117: CUPE BC WILL: Support the efforts of CUPE locals in BC to inform and educate members about the nature and impact of precarious work in our Union and how to fight it, through tools such as pamphlets, fact sheets, and social media content including videos and infographics.

Council Watch

Paul Faoro stressed the importance for Union members to watch municipal and provincial candidates after their election, to make sure they are actually supporting the public services workers/areas they promised to support in their election campaigns.

Friday, April 29

Charles Fleury, CUPE National Secretary Treasurer’s Report

**Note: CUPE 410 needs to be more diligent with submitting our Trustees Reports to CUPE National!

Resolution #124

CUPE BC Will: Call on the Christy Clark Liberal government to address inequality in British Columbia by:
Eliminating new $52 per month bus pass fee for people with disabilities
Reinstating the $45 per year bus pass fee for people with disabilities
Retaining the $77 per month increase in disability benefits provided for in the budget

Speaker: Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond

BC is the only province without a child poverty plan. A child poverty plan includes investing money into the frontline service providers such as education assistants, health care workers, and community social services, dedicated to supporting children in need.

Saturday, April 30

Speaker: Irene Lanzinger, President of BC Federation of Labour

CUPE workers are what holds our province together! Unions’ fundamental job is to change the world!  She advocates for a Poverty Reduction strategy to address poverty inequality, and climate change. We can have good jobs and a clean environment! As of April 1st. BC has the lowest minimum wage in the country!

Environment Committee

Resolution #23

CUPE BC WILL: Demand the BC Liberal government revoke the permit given to South Island Aggregates (SIA) which allow them to deposit contaminated soils and other toxic substances in the sensitive Shawnigan watershed…

Call upon the BC Ministries of Environment and Energy and Mines to act in the public interest by supporting their regulations and protecting Shawnigan residents from unimaginable threat…

No life without water!!!

GVPL OH&S Committee Report for Local 410’s May 30th General Membership Mtg

GVPL Joint OH&S Committee Report for Union Membership Meeting – May 30, 2016

The last OH&S meeting was held on May 5, 2016 at OB.

Current OH&S branch reps: Dawn Holland (BH), Adrienne Else (CE & Union Co-chair), Debbie Chu (CS), Sarah Dyck (EC), Georgia Tomiuk (ES), Kate Wood (GO), Langford Heritage Branch rep, not yet determined, Rob Ewing (JF), Laura Baker (NM), Marianne Baatz (OB), Melissa Ferguson (SC), Paulette Kirkland (CaTS)

Management Co-chair: Emily Quelch for Carolina Munoz
Branch Supervisor liaisons as per Branch Supervisor rotation: Catherine Cardiff (CE-April), Darina P (OB/EC-May)
Resource People: Ben Parker (ITS)

Adrienne will deliver a brief verbal OH&S report at the May 30th union meeting.

Please visit V:\System_wide\Occupational_Health_Safety\Minutes\ to read complete OH&S meeting minutes.

Thank you to all of the OH&S reps and Branch Supervisors for their continued work!

Submitted by Adrienne Else

Victoria Labour Council – May 2016

18 May 2016

[There was no guest speaker]

Report of the CLC Representative:

– There is a campaign to pressure certain MLAs in BC so that they will encourage Christy Clark to support additions to the Canada Pension Plan.  (Altering the Plan requires approval from the provinces.)

– The CLC will hold two conferences in Ottawa: one for Young Workers; one on human rights and equity.

– The Federal Liberals have agreed in principle to legislate vs. asbestos.

– The CLC has a “1 Million Climate Jobs Action Plan”; http://canadianlabour.ca/news/news-archive/david-suzuki-joins-clc-support-one-million-climate-jobs-plan

-Around Labour Day, the CLC will have a lot of messaging about standing for fairness–how the labour movement stands for fairness in general society, not just in their own workplaces.  Work on CPP is an example of this.

Reports of Delegates:

– Unifor 333 (transit)  8 months ago, BC Transit asked for bids on medium-sized buses.  Transit awarded the contract to a Chinese company that has only manufactured 15 buses in its lifetime.  Unifor plans a campaign about buying Canadian.  There are companies in other provinces who can build these buses.

– CUPW (postal workers)  The union will hold strike votes from May 28th – June 26th.  In the event of “work disruption”, postal workers will continue to deliver “socioeconomic cheques and live animals”.
Expect questions to the public on CUPW’s website–an opportunity for public feedback.  http://www.cupw.ca/

– (social services)  Workers in this sector now have a Memorandum of Agreement concerning portability.  If they have to switch jobs within their sector, they can keep their wages and seniority.  There have been a lot of problems with retaining employees, so this is good news.

– IBEW (electrical workers)  There has been progress vs. asbestos at the Federal level.  The union is pushing BC to adopt Alberta’s level of asbestos safety for workers, which would be a great improvement.  The delegate met with two Victoria councillors to revisit the issue of asbestos in the city.  3 retired workers have reported asbestos-related problems; two of these three had worked for the City of Victoria.
Progress in wages for electrical workers.

– (care workers)  The BC Nurses’ Union is raiding up-island.  The BCN targeted staff at Stanford Place in Parksville.

United Way:

– Stu Shields has been nominated as the new director.  He has a strong labour background.

Unfinished Business:

– The Day of Mourning event on April 28th was a positive event with 5- or 6-hundred attendees.

Good and Welfare:

–  MLA Maureen Karagianis will host a High Tea fundraiser on June 18th.  RSVP by June 1st.  40 women attended last year.

– Greater Victoria Acting Together has a series of house meetings coming up: small groups at members houses multiple times per week.  http://www.gvat.ca/

– The Rainbow Kitchen will be renovated Sept. 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25 by Hero Work Volunteers.  More volunteers are welcome.  Unifor 333 will provide food.

-The VLC’s June meeting will be the last meeting until September.  Remember Pride Parade on July 10th, then remember Labour Day.

Vancouver Island District Council May 28, 2016

Vancouver Island District Council Report    May 28, 2016

Our guest speaker was from SEVA.CA.  Seva Canada is a Vancouver based charitable organization whose mission is to restore sight and prevent blindness in the developing world.  This was an excellent presentation and well worth donating money to.

Hand Bags of Hope.  These are handbags that will be filled with articles for women in transition.  We hope to fill them with love parcels, ladies supplies, emery boards, nail polish, things that can be used to help with job interviews and everyday life.  If anyone wishes to donate, please bring handbags, toiletries and other items to our July or September 2016 union meeting.

There is a Library Health & Safety Report on the CUPE BC website. This is well worth reading the PDF online.

VIDC Steward Conference November 23-25, 2016 Workshops include Steward Learning Series as well as Health & Safety Learning Series.  This conference is recommended for Shop Stewards, Executive Officers, Safely Committee Members and any member interested in more advanced union education.

Vidc.cupe.ca   Safety Sound-off, VIDC Occupational Health & Safety Committee Newsletter is readable here.