The National Executive Board observed a minute of silence to reflect on the loss of four CUPE members and one retiree. Sister Clara Langmead (Local 7800), Sister Jessica Lloyd (Local 1022), Brother Jacques Tremblay (Local 1500), and Brother James Best (Local 416) will all be missed by family and friends. Both brothers died at work. We also sent condolences to the family and friends of retiree Brother Fred Pyke.
Code of Conduct Adopted
At our 2007 National Convention, delegates adopted the recommendation of the National Women’s Task Force Report to develop a Code of Conduct for our union. The Code, adopted at this NEB meeting, sets out standards of behavior for participants at national convention, national conferences, schools, meetings, and all other events organized by CUPE National. Consistent with our Equality Statement and National Constitution, the Code of Conduct outlines the commitments we make to one another and to the union to be governed by principles of mutual respect, understanding and cooperation.
The new Code of Conduct will be mailed to all chartered organizations and available soon at www.cupe.ca. All chartered organizations are encouraged to develop and adopt a Code of Conduct based on this model to apply at events they organize.
The president of the CLC, Brother Ken Georgetti, addressed our meeting on two key issues – pensions and the review of the structure.
The proposals put forward by the CLC to fix pensions for all working Canadians are gaining traction across the country. The many advantages of expanding the Canada Pension Plan (portable, solid financially, indexed, etc.) are being reported on and talked about in many forums. It is important that CUPE remain involved in this campaign, as it dovetails completely with the mandate given at our 2009 National Convention. You can find links to both CUPE’s pension campaign and the “Retirement Income for Everyone” campaign at www.cupe.ca.
Brother Georgetti updated the NEB on the upcoming leaders’ forum on structure review, which will be held at the end of March. This forum is a continuation of the consultation process and will focus on governance models, affiliate relations (raiding), and the image of the labour movement. Participants will also give advice on how to engage activists in future considerations around federations, labour councils, affiliations and finances.
NEB Resolution – Canada/European Union Trade Agreement Negotiations
Senior CUPE Research staff member Brother Blair Redlin presented information on the current negotiations between Canada and the European Union (EU), which one NEB member described as “scary”. These secret negotiations include a demand by the EU for full market access to procurement at all levels of government, including municipalities, schools, universities, health, and social services. What this means is that decisions to “buy locally” to keep an estimated $100 billion annually in our communities would be a breach of the agreement, and not allowed.
The NEB adopted a resolution calling on the Harper government to stop such negotiations until transparent and broad consultations with Canadians have occurred. An ad hoc committee of the NEB will develop a plan to support lobbying of municipal governments and to work in coalition with our international partners.
The National Secretary-Treasurer, Brother Généreux, reported on the financial strength of the union which is helping locals and members bargain hard to protect and improve collective agreements, run anti-privatization campaigns, and to support our internal infrastructure. We confirmed another property acquisition adding to our assets, this one in Sherbrooke, Québec.
Twenty-five cost share applications (totalling $936,613.66) were approved to defend our members and build strength in our locals. Legal and arbitration costs were also approved, with 27 applications approved, totalling $962,319.82.
Economic Climate for Bargaining – “Wasn’t That a Party??? Who Pays For It?”
Brother Toby Sanger, CUPE’s Senior Economist, met with the NEB to review the current state of the economy and what our members can expect. It is clear that those who benefitted most from the boom are now trying to get the public to pay for the bust by cutting public services. Not only is that not fair, but the problem needs a fundamental solution through tax reform to prevent future boom and bust cycles. Find out what this means for your region by accessing the quarterly report at www.cupe.ca.