The National Executive Board observed a minute of silence to reflect upon the loss of five members of our CUPE family. Sister Shirley Carr, former CLC president 1986-1992 and former CUPE General Vice-President, was the first women to lead a labour central not just in Canada but internationally as well. Brother Brodie Schwartz (Local 255) died in a workplace accident, Brother Terry Shackleton (Local 4222), Brother George Cole, CUPE retiree, and Sister Elva (Ginger) Dunkley, CUPE retiree.
NEB Resolution – Oppose the Sale of the Saskatchewan Potash Corporation
Board members voted unanimously in favour of a resolution demanding that the Harper government reject the foreign takeover of the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan. Potash is an important resource to the economies of Saskatchewan and Canada as a whole. Currently, the Potash Corporation is threatened by a hostile takeover by the multinational company BHP Billiton. At the same time, the government of China is waiting in the wings with a keen interest in a takeover as well.
The NEB resolution also calls on the Harper government to ensure that public hearings and full public disclosure are part of any process in reviewing foreign takeover bids; that they outline the conditions that will provide benefit to Canadians; and that legislation is changed to ensure that Investment Canada can investigate deals with multinational corporations prior to approving any takeover. All of these demands are aimed at ensuring decisions about the future of Canadian resource industries must be made in Canada by Canadians.
The National Secretary-Treasurer, Brother Généreux, reported that even though revenue growth is being affected by the recession, CUPE budgeted for this and the financial shape of the union continues to be strong. The National Executive Board approved sixteen cost-share campaign requests, totaling $377,157.73. Eighteen requests for legal and arbitration support were approved, totalling $439,438.66.
The NEB also approved a lease-to-own purchase agreement for the CUPE office in Rouyn-Noranda further enhancing our members’ equity. Brother Généreux reported that CUPE’s policy of owning rather than leasing is saving CUPE’s operations just over $1 million per year.
Economic Climate for Bargaining
Brother Toby Sanger, CUPE’s Senior Economist, presented his quarterly report on the economy, providing analysis that demonstrated deficit, debt and demographic fears fuelling public sector cutbacks and threats to health care and public sector pensions are largely exaggerated. In reality, public borrowing costs have continued to decline and debt levels remain manageable. Combined, these factors amount to two percentage points of GDP added to public spending over the next twenty years.
Yet public sector bargaining is tougher and tougher as provincial governments are forcing the costs of deficits and tax cuts onto bargaining tables. The average wage increase in the second quarter of 2010 was 1.8% for public sector workers compared to 2.5% for private sector workers. At the same time, inflation has been accelerated by the introduction of the HST in Ontario and BC and hikes in energy prices.
Find out details on all this and more by accessing the quarterly report at www.cupe.ca.
CUPE will welcome its new Managing Director of Human Resources, André Latour, after the National Executive Board ratified his appointment, along with the appointment of the following staff: Brian Atkinson, Ontario Regional Director; Jacquie Bramwell, Atlantic Regional Director; Robin Jones, British Columbia Regional Director; Pam Beattie, Executive Assistant, National President’s Office; and Pat Daley, Executive Assistant, National Secretary-Treasurer’s Office.
In addition, the National Executive Committee ratified the appointments of: Daria Ivanochko, Assistant Director in Organizing and Regional Services; Michel Bibeault, Quebec Assistant Regional Director; André Lamoureux, Ontario Assistant Regional Director; and Linda Thurston-Neeley, Ontario Assistant Regional Director.