The National Executive Board met in Ottawa from September 23-25, 2008.
The Environment, Climate Change and Carbon Pricing
Our 2007 National Convention adopted a Strategic Direction for CUPE to take a leadership role on climate change. These are issues which affect us all – in our homes, our workplaces and our communities.
An afternoon of the NEB meeting was spent in a special session listening to presentations on climate change and the effects on CUPE’s membership. It is clear that our union needs to engage our membership in the debates around energy, the environment, carbon taxes, greening our communities and many more issues of immediate impact. The NEB is committed to developing a policy and an action plan that will develop tools that can be used by locals everywhere.
With the American financial system in disarray and the Harper government with their head in the sand, Canadian workers need to prepare for the worst. CUPE’s Senior Economist presented the September 2008 “Economic Climate for Bargaining”, which is available at www.cupe.ca. The vulnerable state of our Canadian economy needs to be kept front and center during the federal election. This publication can provide our members with information to do just that.
The National Trustees presented their annual report to the National Executive Board.
A motion was adopted to ratify the purchase of property in Saint John, New Brunswick. A new building will be constructed, allowing CUPE to lead again in the development of environmentally friendly offices for our staff and members.
Cost share campaigns continue to mobilize members, educate the public and protect public services. At this meeting, 16 requests were approved, totaling $387,007.81. In addition, 20 legal and arbitration requests were approved, totaling $309,981.82.
Changes to the Regulations Governing the National Convention Assistance Fund were also adopted. These changes mean that more locals will have access to the fund for the 2009 National Convention.
NEB Resolution on the Proposed Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement
In the face of the Harper government’s plan to sign a free trade agreement with Colombia, and the fact that this year alone 38 trade unionists were murdered, the NEB adopted a resolution to strongly oppose any such agreement. We will inform our members, the public and political parties of the findings of the recent public union leadership tour of Colombia. Finally, we will keep this issue on the political front page during the federal election and work to stop the agreement being implemented by the new government.
The NEB welcomed back Brother Tom Graham, who replaces Brother Frank Mentes, as the Regional Vice-President from Saskatchewan. Brother Frank has moved on to employment outside of CUPE and we wish him well.
In accordance with the Constitution, the following appointments were ratified. Sister Melanie Medlicott is the newly appointed Regional Director in Saskatchewan; Sister Nancy Rosenberg is the new Director of the CUPE Legal and Legislative Branch; Brother Bob Toop assumes the role of Assistant Director, Organizing and Regional Services; and Brother Dennis Burke is the newly appointed Executive Assistant to the National President.
Finally, we congratulated and thanked Brother Fred Muzin, President of HEU in BC. Brother Fred has announced that he is not seeking re-election at the HEU Convention in November and is on his way to a well-deserved retirement. We know he won’t ever be far away from the labour movement!