The National Executive Board met on September 16-17, 2009 in Ottawa; these are the highlights of their deliberations and decisions.
Since our last meeting, two members of the CUPE family have passed away. The NEB paused to honour Sister Donna Kennie, Secretary-Treasurer CUPE Local 813, Saint John, New Brunswick, who passed away on August 1st and Brother Paul Senay, a retired staff member, who passed away on August 24th. Our sincere condolences are extended to their families, friends and co-workers.
NEB Resolution – United Steelworkers of America
In Sudbury and Port Colborne, Ontario and Voisey’s Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador members of three USW local unions are engaged in a strike against Vale Inco. Vale Inco is 100% owned by Brazilian interests. The company wants to wipe out gains made over many years by moving to a two-tier pension plan substantially reducing pension entitlement for new employees, attack seniority rights and limit bonuses paid that ensure workers share in profits. The company has resumed production with the use of scab labour.
The NEB adopted a resolution that provides financial assistance to USW in the amount of $10,000.00 and encourages CUPE locals to provide whatever support they can give. The resolution also calls on the federal government to ensure that majority ownership of resource based companies remain in Canadian hands. Letters will be sent to the Premiers of Ontario and Newfoundland/Labrador asking that they take the necessary steps to stop the use of scab labour during this dispute.
If and when a federal election is called the NEB has endorsed the participation of CUPE. As a result the NEB has appointed Brother Claude Généreux, National Secretary-Treasurer as CUPE’s Financial Agent in accordance with the requirements under the Canada Elections Act.
2009 National Convention
The Board dealt with numerous issues in preparation for the National Convention, including approving convention committees and a Strategic Directions Policy Paper to be debated by delegates. Preparations for convention are now in the final stages. Judging by pre-registrations it would appear that our 2009 Convention in Montréal will be the largest convention in CUPE’s history.
THE NEB adopted the quarterly financial statements for the General Fund, Strike Fund and Defence Fund.
Financing of fifteen cost share campaigns were approved, totaling $198,995.82, which will help locals improve member awareness, raise public profile, prepare for bargaining and protect public services. In addition, our legal/arbitration support for locals totals $271,581.58 in response to ten applications to assist locals.
CUPE Energy Policy
NEB members debated and approved an Energy Policy as directed by Resolution No. 188 that was adopted at the 2007 National Convention.
CUPE’s electrical energy policy is guided by key principles that will provide direction to members and staff. Principles include universal access to affordable energy, public ownership and control, job security, promotion of environmentally sustainable consumption and generation of electricity; new technologies must meet higher environmental standards and a new industrial strategy on energy infrastructure that incorporates “green jobs”. The policy also provides for strategic measures to be taken over the next two years
Economic Climate for Bargaining
Once again the economic climate generated ample discussion on where collective bargaining may be ahead. Despite pronunciations by some economists that the recession is over, CUPE members will continue to face challenging times as governments will attempt to turn deficits around. The quarterly “Economic Climate for Bargaining”, produced by CUPE’s senior economist, addresses a number of issues for CUPE members. While government spending has slowed down job losses more government stimulus funding is required to stop Canada’s growing unemployment problem.
Household debt in Canada continues to grow. High levels of debt are a symptom of slow wage growth. This information can be found at www.cupe.ca and can help locals prepare for collective bargaining.
NEB members participated in the 2009/2010 United Way National Office campaign kick-off by attending a luncheon barbeque where over $900.00 was raised. National President Paul Moist accepted, on behalf of all CUPE members from coast to coast, the “Thanks A Million” award for its nationwide fundraising accomplishments in 2008. This was the third year in a row that CUPE members were recognized by the United Way-Centraide as contributing more than one million dollars nationwide.
Brother Wayne Lucas was sworn in as the new Regional Vice-President representing Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Board members look forward to seeing many of you at the 2009 National Convention in Montréal in October!