The National Executive Board observed a minute of silence to reflect on the loss of five members of our CUPE family. Brothers Pierre Leclerc (Local 301) and Gilles Letourneau (Local 4239) both died in workplace accidents. Sister Jean Moore, Recording Secretary, Local 1158; Sister Darlene Doiron, support staff in BC; and retiree Brother Jacques Bouchard passed away since our last meeting. We offer our condolences to the families and friends of all of them.
Special Guest – National Chief Shawn-A-In-Chut Atleo
The Board was honoured to have the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations meet with us. National Chief Atleo shared his vision of ensuring education at all levels in Aboriginal communities as the primary way out of poverty. He expressed a commitment to working with CUPE as we share fundamental values of justice, respect and solidarity. We spoke with him about our shared commitment to the environment, water, economic justice, education and prevention of violence against women. We are looking forward to many collaborations with the Assembly of First Nations.
Solidarity with Haitian Unions
A very moving report was received from Brother Claude Généreux on his visit to Haiti from April 30 to May 6, 2010. He described conditions of the devastation which remains months after the earthquake, including almost two million people left homeless, food and water shortages, and women and children left particularly vulnerable. He also reported on the hope that springs from the support of their union and its vision to build their country again. Our union is committed to working with our sister union (Confederation of Public and Private Sector Workers) to respond and assist, based on the principles of solidarity (not charity), dignity and respect for our Haitian sisters and brothers.
NEB Resolution – Call for Bank Taxes/Financial Transaction Taxes
Working people are being forced to pay for the costs of the economic crisis through cuts to public services, cuts to public wages and increases to user fees, and regressive taxes in Canada and around the world. At the same time, the profits of the financial sector continue to skyrocket, and their contributions to taxes decreases.
The National Executive Board adopted a resolution which commits CUPE to campaigning and lobbying for the introduction of new financial transaction taxes on the banking and financial industry.
The Board is also committed to educating our members about the need for fairer taxation and stronger regulation of the financial and banking sector.
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.
Twenty-seven cost share applications (totaling $896,989.31) were approved to defend our members and build strength in our locals. Legal and arbitration costs were also approved, with 16 applications approved, totaling $540,658.34.
The NEB also approved financing for the renovations to our Atlantic Regional Office, a lease to own arrangement in Sept-Îles, Québec, and a lease to purchase agreement for new space for the Ontario Regional Office. All of these build equity for our members and help maintain our strong financial base.
Economic Climate for Bargaining – The New Grecian Formula – Still Toxic
In the wake of the financial crisis, there is growing alarmism about a public debt crisis rocking Greece and other countries in Europe. The concerns are being overblown – for a reason. They are being used as an excuse to introduce long-planned cuts to public spending, structural reforms and increases to the retirement age. We must not let our guard down in Canada if we want to prevent that agenda from taking hold here.
Two provinces are embarking on tax base shifts in the form of Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). Brother Sanger’s quarterly report includes details on what the HST in Ontario will mean for different incomes.
Finally, you can check out where your province sits in terms of wage adjustments as the Canadian economy grows faster than expected coming out of the recession. Find out details on all this and more by accessing the quarterly report at www.cupe.ca.
The Board had a chance to thank two retirees – Sister Josey Finley, Managing Director of Union Development, and Sister Monique Bélair, Secretary to the NEB. They are both wished long and healthy retirements.
The National Executive Board wishes all of you a safe and restful summer break!