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March 2007 The National Executive Board met in Ottawa on March 14. Normally scheduled for two days, the NEB decided to limit their meeting to one day in order that their bargaining committee could continue negotiations with the staff unions.

2007 National Convention

Preparations are well underway for the 2007 National Convention being held in Toronto October 15-19. The NEB approved the composition of the committee to review applications for convention assistance and appointed the Chief Electoral Officer, Sister Nancy Riche.

National Defence Fund

Locals across the country have been eager to begin campaigning to defend public services, mobilize members and defeat plans for P3s, school closures, and layoffs. The NEB approved 27 cost share campaigns, totalling $870,432.70. In addition, they approved 16 General Fund legal and arbitration expenditures totalling $192,166.98.

Economic Climate for Bargaining

The March quarterly report on the bargaining climate provides analysis of what to expect from the federal government budget, national and provincial economic outlook tables, the impact of seesawing energy prices on inflation, public sector employment growth and more! You can access this document at www.cupe.ca.

Pension Coverage Snapshot

The NEB received a preliminary report on CUPE members’ pension plans. Rough estimates show that between 55% and 65% of members are enrolled in pension plans. Discussions will continue at future meetings on strategies to increase the number and quality of the plans.

Inter-Provincial Trade Agreements and Free Trade Zones

NEB members continued discussion on inter-provincial agreements specifically the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA), in order to effectively position the union as a strong voice on this issue. The agreement, which was signed in secret by Alberta and BC, is being promoted by right wing forces as something all provinces should consider signing. The Agreement is of particular concern to local governments, as it challenges their ability to enact and enforce laws and regulations. Everything from banning junk food in schools, zoning regulations, smoking bans, and access to public services could be at risk.

Also discussed were the increasing free trade zone agreements being explored between some provinces and their neighbouring states. “Atlantica” and the “Pacific Northwest Economic Region” are just two examples of relationships which promote unregulated, free market approaches to exports, and which our union is adamantly opposed to.

Further information is accessible at cupe.ca/trade.

The National Executive Board will meet again in June.