The National Executive Board observed a minute of silence to reflect upon the loss of members of our CUPE family since the Board last met. Brother Howard Atkinson, retiree from the BC Regional Office, Sister Muriel Collins, former CUPE Ontario Board member, Brother Bill Hickey, longtime activist from Local 5167 and Past-President of the Hamilton District CUPE Council, Sister Sharon Gallant, President of CUPE 3876, Sister Kimberly Hahn of Local 728 died while recovering from surgery after a workplace accident, Brother Eric Donovan, Local 3373 Trustee. And, CUPE lost staff member, Sister Donna Felder when she passed away suddenly on November 5th.
In its moment of silence, the NEB also reflected on the loss of Nelson Mandela and the 20thanniversary of the death of former CUPE National President, Sister Grace Hartman.
CUPE’s 2014 Budget
National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury presented a budget that will allow CUPE to continue our Fairness project, to fight austerity and privatization as well as implement our Strategic Directions approved at the 2013 National Convention. The 2014 budget meets these priorities even as the impact of the 2008 financial crash hits home. CUPE’s revenue growth is slowing down as new contracts are being negotiated in a climate of wage freezes, as membership growth is primarily among part-time workers and as a wave of retirements means new workers are starting at the low end of wage grids where they exist. Yet growth in CUPE continues. The 2014 budget approved by the National Executive Board reallocates one position to create an additional Assistant Regional Director in Ontario and provides for a temporary National Representative in that province, a temporary National Representative in Quebec and temporary Researcher in British Columbia. As well, a part-time Secretary position in the Fort McMurray, Alberta Area Office becomes full time.
Public Sector Workers Solidarity
The National Executive Board members entertained two special guests to kick off this final meeting of 2013. Both Robyn Benson, President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada and Denis Lemelin, President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, spoke to the Board about the attack from the federal government on public sector workers in the federal sector.
Sister Benson outlined the details of Bill C-4, the Conservative government legislation that effectively takes away the right to strike for federal government employees and changes health and safety definitions, effectively denying the right to refuse unsafe work. CUPE released a statement in support of the PSAC when the Bill was introduced, available at http://cupe50.ca/cupe-defends-the-rights-of-all-workers/.
On December 11th, the federal government announced the phasing out of door to door delivery and the loss of 8,000 jobs in Canada Post. This announcement came just when the government is set to review the entire mandate of Canada Post. Brother Lemelin outlined the attack on postal workers and the not so hidden agenda of the federal government to privatize Canada Post.
NEB Resolution – Solidarity with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers
In support of our brothers and sisters at CUPW, and in support of this vital public service, the NEB passed a resolution to: add our voices to the thousands who oppose cuts to Canada Post and the end of door to door delivery; call for a moratorium on post office closures in small and rural communities, and advocate for a thorough and public review of the Canada Post Charter, including examining innovative ways to generate revenue for Canada Post such as re-instituting financial services at post offices.
The National Executive Board approved eight cost-share campaign requests, totaling $115,965.41. Six requests for legal and arbitration support were approved, totaling $252,448.22.
The National Executive Board ratified the appointment of Sister Yvonne Fast, Regional Director, Alberta. The National Executive Committee ratified the appointments of Sister Kathy Johnson, Assistant Director, Organizing and Regional Services, Sister Gwen Hewitt and Brother Robert Lamoureux, Assistant Directors, Ontario Region.
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