The National Executive Board met in Ottawa June 21-22, 2006.June 21st – National Aboriginal Day – was celebrated at a Sunrise Ceremony at Aboriginal Experiences on Victoria Island, just minutes away from downtown Ottawa.
After Canada Post announced the closure of a major mail sorting plant in Quebec City, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) demanded that the Corporation share their plans for the postal service. CUPW has launched Operation Transparency to pressure Canada Post to release their plans, win a moratorium on all closures, and launch a public debate on the future of Canada’s public postal system.
The NEB adopted a resolution to endorse Operation Transparency and support CUPW in their actions to protect our public postal system. Members are encouraged to contact their Members of Parliament on this issue. More campaign information can be found at www.cupw.ca.
Health Care Solidarity Statement
The NEB formally adopted the Solidarity Statement which had been developed by union and coalition leaders at the May 30th Future of Medicare Meeting hosted by CUPE National. The Solidarity Statement has been signed onto by a number of other public and private sector unions and coalition partners. It expresses our collective commitment to:
- Campaign daily to monitor, expose and challenge every step taken that would weaken our public health care system;
- Work together to develop a national campaign to make public health care a major issue leading up to the next federal and provincial elections;
- Reach out to engage our own members, youth, seniors, faith groups, anti-poverty groups, new Canadians, women’s groups, Aboriginal peoples and others in the fight to save Medicare; and
- Work through the Canadian Health Coalition, provincial health coalitions and our allies in Quebec.
Anti scab legislation
The NEB was privileged to welcome two Bloc MP’s to the meeting to discuss anti-scab legislation.
Carole Lavallée, the Bloc Labour critic and Richard Nadeau, MP for Gatineau reviewed the private member’s bill they have introduced and outlined their strategy to have it passed in the House of Commons. The objective is to contact all Liberal and Conservative MP’s, one by one, to educate them and convince them to support this critical piece of legislation.
The Bloc plans to meet with unions in Quebec and other provinces. They are working closely with the NDP and the CLC on this campaign.
More detail on how CUPE locals can get involved will be included in upcoming general mailings.
New Regional Directors
In accordance with the Constitution, the NEB was asked to ratify the appointments of two new Regional Directors – Sister Lucie Richard in Quebec and Brother Bob Hickes in New Brunswick.
The NEB thoroughly discussed CUPE Ontario’s Resolution 50 and CUPE National’s statement on the issue. The NEB affirmed in the National President’s Report a statement reiterating CUPE National Policy on the Middle East, as follows:
As many of you have heard, delegates to the recent CUPE Ontario convention adopted a resolution calling for a “campaign to boycott, divestment and sanctions” against the state of Israel (full text appended).
CUPE National has a policy that was adopted at our 2003 convention. That policy states that we:
- “Demand that the Israeli Government immediately withdraw from the occupied territories and abide by UN Resolution 242 and 338”;
- “call for and actively work towards an end to all acts of violence that take the lives of innocent people, whether they be Palestinian or Israeli”; and,
- “help develop a peace process based on equality between Israelis and Palestinians and based on the implementation of United Nations resolutions and international law.”
CUPE National respects the rights of its chartered organizations to take a stand on all issues. As a national union we are governed by policy resolutions adopted at our national conventions. And as such, we will not be issuing a call, nor have we been asked by CUPE Ontario to call upon local unions across Canada to boycott Israel.
CUPE encourages democratic debate on international issues. Debates focused on the Middle East should respect the legitimate aspirations of both the Palestinian and Israeli people.
Auditors from Deloitte Touche LLP attended the NEB meeting to present the 2005 Audited Financial Statements for approval. Once again this year, the NEB had the opportunity to meet with the external auditors and have their questions answered directly. It was noted that the auditors have provided training to the elected CUPE Trustees, which has been helpful.
CUPE Locals across Canada continue to vigorously defend their members and build strong communities. The NEB approved cost share campaigns for 25 locals and divisions for a total of $ 540,696.00.
Thirteen requests were approved for financial assistance with legal and arbitration costs, totalling $ 115,193.39.
IT Strategic Plan 2006
The last few years have seen a dramatic increase in CUPE’s reliance on technology, a trend that will continue and strengthen. From e-mail to web-based applications, immediate and reliable technology service is required 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The NEB adopted a 2006 IT Strategic Plan to continue CUPE on a positive, effective and affordable course for our in-house technology which will improve services to our members and staff.
In addition to the regular regional and committee reports, the NEB received updates on other initiatives currently underway. Regions will be assisting their Aboriginal members to select their representatives to the National Aboriginal Council. Regional plans of the National Women’s Task Force were discussed. The second annual report on CUPE’s Work on International Solidarity has been completed and illustrates the surprising breadth of our involvement. It will be posted on www.cupe.ca.
The National Executive Board wishes you all a safe and restful summer!