Sisters and Brothers:
The year end is always a time for reflection. As we close out 2010, our union has much to be proud of and much to anticipate in the coming year. I am particularly proud to be presenting a budget proposal for the tenth time since being elected in 2001.
These are challenging times, but the plan I proposed back then is serving us well. We are closing out this year in sound financial health. We are in a position to consider a sober budget proposal but one that still moves us forward both in the fight to protect and improve our members’ conditions of work and in the struggle to improve the lives of all people at home and abroad.
At the end of our third quarter, we are in a strong financial position, which we expect to continue through to year end. The Fund Balance in the General Fund at the end of the first nine months of 2010 was $46.6 million with a ratio of total assets to total liabilities of 1.65:1.
While some budget lines are underspent to date, this is primarily a matter of timing. Our union has been busy at every level campaigning against privatization and building our capacity for the challenges ahead. The evidence is in the National Defence Fund. As of the September National Executive Board meeting, the board had approved cost-share programs totaling $2.2 million or 96% of the annual budgeted amount.
We have been grappling with provincial governments’ intent on trying to deal with the recession on the backs of our members. To date we have been successful in pushing back so that no government has brought in legislation to force a wage freeze. With at least eight provincial elections coming next year, we know we have more of those fights ahead of us.
Through the Year of the Steward, we have been building our capacity at the local level. In this report, you will read that more than 5,000 members have participated in our Steward Learning Series. What a fantastic accomplishment!
We are also developing our capacity as a national union. Last month, we held our first Senior Management Retreat with managing, branch, regional and assistant regional directors from across the country where we worked toward a common vision on staff recruitment and retention, succession planning and many other matters. This is teamwork.
I am especially proud of the leadership we have been able to show in helping sisters and brothers in other unions build their capacity through our international solidarity work. In Haiti, we are moving forward through Public Services International to help our sister union with construction of a building following the devastating earthquake earlier this year. As well, I recently travelled with our delegation to Cancun, Mexico to once again participate in the UN Climate Change discussions and pushing for a legally binding agreement to take global action on climate change.
With the outcomes of municipal elections in many parts of the country this year and provincial elections in most of the country next year, we know there are many challenges ahead. The good news is that our union at every level is ready to take them on.