The NEB began this meeting by observing a minute of silence in recognition of the tragic events at Dawson College in Montreal, as well as the passing of sisters and brothers over the past number of weeks. Our condolences are sent to the family and friends of Brothers Tom O’Leary (past NEB Member), Rod Thomson (partner of past National Secretary-Treasurer Sister Geraldine McGuire), W.D.(Bill) Black (past President of HEU) and Sister Carolyn Carter (Local 5167 activist).
As we count down to October 25th, when Bill C-257 will go to second reading in Parliament, the NEB received more detailed information on where the MPs stand on this critical issue. A resolution was adopted to continue our campaign with all CUPE members, locals, division, affiliated organizations and staff to lobby Members of Parliament to support Bill C-257 and to commit to being present for the vote on October 25th. www.canadianlabour.ca to fax your MP.
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Support our Troops – Bring Them Home!
Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan cannot and should not be sustained. At the moment, Canada is sending its men and women to support a parliament that is already half-dominated by drug-trafficking warlords, many of whom have committed atrocities against their own people during Afghanistan’s civil war in the early 1990s. Many Canadians agree that this is a war we cannot win.
The NEB endorsed the Canadian Labour Congress’ policy on Afghanistan and adopted a resolution that calls on the government to:
- take the necessary measures to ensure the safe and immediate withdrawal of Canadian troops from Afghanistan;
- increase significantly our resource and financial commitments to the UN-led multilateral peacekeeping and humanitarian initiatives such as is needed in Darfur;
- strengthen developmental aid to Afghanistan so that reconstruction efforts are achieved and engage civil society in developmental programs fostering good governance, and respecting human rights, gender equality and internationally-recognized core labour standards;
- ensure any future deployment of Canadian troops is debated and voted on by the citizens of Canada in the House of Commons.
STRENGTHENING OUR UNION
Locals across the country continue to fight back at the bargaining table and in the community with assistance from the National Defence Fund. The NEB approved twenty-three cost share campaigns, totalling $569,652.25. Also, the NEB approved seven requests for Legal and Arbitration costs totalling $116,461.83 to be paid out of the General Fund.
The NEB reviewed CUPE’s current allocation of resources, including our recent budgetary history. Our union’s revenue/expenditure performance has been very stable and in line with budgetary forecasts.
The NEB also reviewed the status of our Strike Fund, which was created in its present form by decisions taken at the 2001 convention. Predicting strike fund usage is always a difficult task. Clearly the members’ support through the constitutional levy and the solidarity levy (both of which ended in 2005) see the fund at a healthy level. Total assets in the Strike Fund as of June 30, 2006 were $33.2 million.
In summary, CUPE’s financial picture, when compared to just a few years ago, is relatively strong. This continues to place us in a position to defend our members in bargaining and through important campaigns, along with our day-to-day servicing responsibilities.
ECONOMIC CLIMATE FOR BARGAINING
CUPE’s Senior Economist prepares an analysis for each NEB meeting, which is also available at www.cupe.ca. In this issue, Brother Sanger provides commentary on the impact of the economic slowdown in the United States. He also points readers to CUPE’s online inflation calculator that allows anyone to calculate annual inflation rates using the CPI for every province and all the 16 Canadian cities for which inflation rates are available. It also contains an analysis of public sector employment identifying where the growth of public sector jobs occurred over the past five years.
A GOOD NEWS STORY – LITERACY PROGRAM EVALUATION
CUPE’s Literacy Program has undergone an extensive external evaluation and has passed with flying colours! Over 600 people were either surveyed or interviewed by Bev Burke, with the assistance of the CUPE National Literacy Working Group. The summary of the evaluation presented to the NEB indicated that literacy work increases “new” member participation; builds activists’ skills; builds our members’ ability to meet changing job requirements; and builds the credibility and image of our union. This program makes a difference in the lives of our members. You can review the evaluation at cupe.ca/literacy.