"Organizing for Success Organizing for Success"
Convention ‘05 • M2M ‘05 • What is STV? • ‘Broken Promises’ MAY 2005 A Publication of the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union • www.bcgeu.ca Agreement No. 40010201 Volume 53, Number 2 Organizing for Success B.C. ELECTION IN THIS ISSUE: B.C. Election pages ............................. 2-3 STV Referendum pages ................................ 4 ‘Broken Promises’ video pages ................................ 5 Member-to-Member pages ............................. 6-7 Convention Candidates centre insert News & Views pages ............................. 8-9 Bargaining & News pages ......................... 10-11 The Provincial is published eight times a year by Solidar- ity Publications Ltd., Suite 206 - 4911 Canada Way, Burnaby, B.C. V5G 3W3 E-mail: email@example.com This edition of the Provincial is edited by Chris Bradshaw. Signed articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the publishers. We cannot guarantee the return of unsolic- ited editorial contributions. Provincial Executive Table Officers President: George Heyman Secretary-Treasurer: Diane Wood Vice-President: Catherine Bell Vice-President: Michael Clarke Vice-President: Darryl Walker Component Representatives: Component 1: Graham Trotman Component 2: Helen Lindsay Component 3: James Cavalluzzo Component 4: Bobbi Pettett Component 4: Brenda Brown Component 5: Robin Rutherford Component 6: Doug Kinna Component 7: Dan Bradford Component 10: Mike Nuyens Component 12: Sandi Mclean Component 12: Lori Joaquin Component 17: Dave MacDonald Component 20: Byron Goerz B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union 4911 Canada Way, Burnaby, B.C. V5G 3W3 Phone: 604-291-9611 Fax: 604-291-6030 1-800-663-1674 (toll free) www.bcgeu.ca A component of the National Union of Public and General Employees. Affiliated with the B.C. Federation of Labour/ Canadian Labour Congress Authorized by BCGEU, registered sponsor; Mary Rowles; 4911 Canada Way, Burnaby BC V5G 3W3 COVER PHOTO: Matt Salli and Linda Sonmor preparing to talk to members outside a Ministry of Children and Family Development office. 2 The Provincial May 2005 B.C. ELECTION HERE’S WHY: Since being elected in 2001 the Campbell Liberals have engaged in an unprecedented attack on working people and families across the province, by cutting public services to women, families and our most vulnerable citizens – while giving huge tax breaks to the wealthiest British Columbians, privatizing public service jobs, and removing workers right to collective bargaining. Below is only a partial chronicle of Gordon Campbell’s record in office. • Ripped up legal collective agreements • Eliminated the Human Rights Commission. and rolled back wages for health and community social service workers by up • Closed psychiatric facilities and beds across THE CHOICE IS CLEAR to 15 per cent. the province. • Eliminated over 8,700 public service jobs, • Eliminated 550 corrections jobs, closed Before the last election, Gordon as part of their plan to cut civil service by facilities and doubled inmate to staff ratios. Campbell said he would respect freely one third. • Closed forestry services offices in 19 rural negotiated collective agreements. • Forced through anti-worker legislation that B.C. communities. After being elected, the Campbell violates UN labour standards. • Closed Ministry of Community, Aboriginal Liberals ripped up collective agree- and Women’s Services offices in Courtenay, ments, privatized public service work- • Cut more than $460 million from the ers’ jobs, and rolled back wages. Ministry of Children and Families budget. Duncan, Vernon, Prince George, Nelson and Cranbrook. The International Labour Organization • Cut $40 million from childcare funding and severely restricted elegibility for • Changed Employment Standards Act to (ILO) – an agency of the United Nations allow employers to force employees to – has condemned the Campbell govern- childcare subsidies. ment nine times for violating workers’ work up to 80 hours a week with no • Cancelled the $15.6 million Universal overtime, introduced the $6 minimum right to freedom of association. Childcare Initiative. wage for young people, and allowed 12 Recently, the Supreme Court of Canada year old children to work up to 35 hours a • Cut more than 3,300 acute care hospital agreed to hear a charter challenge to Bill week with no monitoring for abuse. and long term care beds. 29 – the 2002 legislation that shredded • Eliminated youth employment initiatives, collective agreements, privatizated • Closed 12 hospitals and 113 schools. and cut the the Industrial Training and health care services, and fired more Apprenticeship Commission. than 8,000 workers – mostly women. • Increased MSP premiums by 50 per cent. • Cut Pharmacare funding by $150 million, • Sold BC Rail after promising not to do so, The Campbell government has also and privatized BC Ferries. targeted women. After eliminating the increased deductible fees for 250,000 Ministry of Women’s Equality, they individuals and de-listed 17 drugs. • Cut more than 1,800 staff from three eliminated funding for women’s cen- environmental ministries – crippling the tres, cut $40 million from child care • Increased surgery wait lists by more than crown’s ability to enforce its own laws. 20 per cent. funding, and slashed over $460 million from the Ministry of Children and • Eliminated the Ministry of Women’s • Continued with plans to contract out $1.3 Families. billion worth of government services to Equality. American-linked companies, despite a Women, children, seniors, students and • Cut funding to women’s centres by 100 report by BC’s Privacy Commissioner that the disabled have all borne the brunt of per cent. our personal information is at risk of being Gordon Campbell’s massive cuts – to turned over to the FBI. pay for the government’s $2 billion tax • Forced the elimination of more than 2,500 cut for B.C.’s wealthiest citizens and full-time teaching positions. • Massive cuts to social assistance has corporations. resulted in a doubling of the homeless • Eliminated student grants and doubled population on the Lower Mainland. A government that shows contempt for tuition fees for colleges and universities. society’s most vulnerable citizens and • Privatized MSP and Pharmacare administration the workers who provide public services • Cut legal aid funding by 40 per cent, by contracting to US-based Maximus Inc. including assistance to enforce family doesn’t deserve to be re-elected. Please maintenance and restraining orders. • Signed 10 year contract with EDS Ad- join us and VOTE FOR CHANGE. vanced Solutions Inc. to privatize provincial • Closed 24 court houses across the province. revenue collection services. May 2005 The Provincial 3 B.C. ELECTION S of 79 MLA’s remains. WHAT’S IT This means the current electoral districts will be combined into groups of 2 to 7 and the number of MLA’s will correspond to ALL ABOUT? T growth in the size of the electoral district. (i.e., If the riding of Columbia-Revelstoke is combined with the riding of East Kootenay, there will be 2 MLA’s representing the new On May 17th, we will be asked to cast our V combined riding.) vote in a referendum initiated by the Citizens’ Assembly to change the way we elect MLA’s to Q: How will I reach my MLA if he/she has the legislature. Here are some questions and to represent an area two to seven times larger than they had before STV? answers to help members make their choice. While there will be a corresponding O n May 17th, 2005, you will decide preferences of some and 3rd preference of increase in the number of MLA’s in each whether or not to vote to change others will be counted, and so on. constituency, each elected official will be to a new electoral system that responsible for their entire riding. came out of the Citizens Assembly process If not enough candidates to fill the seats – BC Single Transferable Vote. are elected, the candidate with the least amount of votes is dropped off the list and Q: Will STV help elect a more diverse The BCGEU supported the work of the their 2nd choice will be transferred at full group of candidates? Citizen’s Assembly – many were union value. The process continues until all the The difficulty answering this question lies members – and thank them for their time positions are filled. in the limited use of STV in other jurisdic- and effort in looking at our electoral Q: Is BC-STV a proportional representation tions. Where parties are required to nomi- system. Now union members across BC are system? nate more than one candidate, they will searching for more information on this feel pressure to, and are more likely to new electoral system in order to make an It is important to note the term ‘propor- nominate a more diverse group of candi- informed decision at the ballot box. tional representation’ has come to mean dates. But only experience will tell. While the BCGEU has not taken a position that parties gain seats in approximate on this particular proposal, it was felt that proportion to the number of votes cast for that party in an election. Q: How does STV make every vote count? some of the questions raised by members Does it end “wasted ballots”? about this complex issue should be shared. The answer to whether or not BC-STV is proportional representation depends on Like other electoral systems, there will be Q: What will the referendum question be where you live. those voters who will cast ballots that will on STV? not help elect a local MLA. “Should British Columbia change to the To quote from the Citizens’ Assembly fact sheet, “once the number of seats per However, under STV, some voters will have BC-STV electoral system as recommended district drops below five, substantial their second, third, and fourth preferences by the Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral reductions in proportionality occur...” counted. In theory STV increases propor- Reform?” tionality and the likelihood that one of a Q: Is Single Transferable Vote currently This means if you live in an electoral voter’s preferences will be elected. But it is used in any other jurisdiction in Canada? district with five or more MLA’s (usually not a true proportional representation urban areas), your chances of achieving system, and results in more than one MLA No. STV is currently only used in Ireland, proportionality will be greater than in being responsible for a group of electors in Malta, the Australian Senate and a few electoral districts with less than five MLA’s larger constituencies. municipalities. (usually rural areas). Q: How exactly do ballots get counted Q: Why are the under STV? constituency boundaries being Voters rank candidates according to their expanded? Will the preferences on a ballot. Then all the number of MLA’s candidates ranked first will be counted. If increase? one or more candidates gets enough votes to exceed a preset number, he or she will In order for STV to be elected. work, there must be at least two MLA All the ballots of the person(s) elected will positions in each then be assigned a “transfer value” based electoral district. on a mathematical formula and those Unfortunately, the ballots will be transferred to the voters Citizens’ Assembly second preference. was not mandated If after the transfer of ballots, another to increase the candidate is elected. Their ballots will be number of MLA’s so assigned a transfer value and the 2nd the present number 4 The Provincial May 2005 NEWS Broken Promises BCGEU exposes the Campbell Liberals’ abandonment of BC’s families and communities in a half-hour television broadcast on Global A s part of Russell Katzer at the end of the program. “Last election, they gave the union’s commitment us a bunch of promises. The next day, we learned it was a bunch to engage in a public education of lies.” campaign, the BCGEU recently broadcast a half hour prime-time video program on The program shows how the cutbacks to home support have Global television, on April 23. affected the ability of elderly and disabled citizens to live inde- pendently in their communities. “Broken Promises” builds on the success of the 2003 program “Cuts to the Heart”, and chronicles the effect of the Campbell In the town of Hazelton, the mayor relates how their community Liberals’ broken promises and neglect of lost 1,000 names from the local phone book BC communities. directly following the loss of government services in their community. Heli-tour The program takes viewers outside the hub of the Lower Mainland to BC’s rural communities hard-hit by the BC Liberals’ massive cuts to government services – “ ’Broken Promises‘ clallenges the recent on- slaught of taxpayer- operators show photos of the massive waste of timber resources since the Campbell government de-regulated the forest indus- try. providing citizens in areas like Lilloet, funded propaganda, by Hazelton, Terrace, Parksville and Qualicum In communities like Terrace and Parksville, Beach an opportunity to tell their stories to showing how Campbell’s local residents and community profession- British Columbians. cuts have impacted als show how the use of food banks have risen dramatically, as cuts to social assist- families across BC The record of the Campbell Liberal’s legacy of broken promises is aptly summed up by ” ance and other services have been cut by the BC Liberal government. Community elders testify to the “criminal” nature of cuts to seniors long-term care, medical and Pharmacare services, and the loss of more than 1,400 long term care beds, despite Gordon Campbell’s promise to add 5,000 beds. “Broken Promises” challenges the recent onslaught of taxpayer- funded government ad campaigns, by showing how the Campbell Liberal government’s ideologically driven agenda of government service cuts has impacted the lives of individuals and families across the province. RUSSELL KATZER (left) participated in the production of “Broken Promises”, which aired on Global Television to an audience of hundreds of thousands of British Columbians, on April 23rd. May 2005 The Provincial 5 MEMBER TO MEMBER HAVE YOU? The BCGEU’s Provincial Executive, sporting the “I’ve Had Enough!” t-shirts, capturing members’ anger over Campbell Liberals’ attack on members. M2M campaign reaches out to members, promoting workplace leadership and the importance of the May 17 provincial election In many parts of the province, the cam- A midst a sea of white t-shirts in this “BCGEU members disagree with the year’s Vancouver Sun Run you could government’s job cuts, and program cuts paign started in early April, with phone find a group of BCGEU activists that compromise the services they de- calls to people contacted last November, to sporting bright yellow “I’ve Had Enough. liver,” said BCGEU President George see if they would take part. In Prince Vote for Change” t-shirts. (until the rain Heyman. “They’re concerned that they George at least half the volunteers had forced a cover up with BCGEU rain ponchos.) never taken part in a campaign. Activists on the area planning committees “ In the Fraser Valley teams descended on worksite parking lots to reach government Hundreds of activists decided which worksites and communities were telling their fellow to visit, and how to reach members in workers with signs, commitment cards, community health for example, who work postcards, and a magazine called “This members, ‘you can in private homes, or community social Election; It’s about PEOPLE” featuring BCGEU members talking about why they change government services members who are scattered across the area, often in agencies with small were voting for change. policy and you can numbers of staff. A Victoria “sign crew” distributed a couple change the government’ On North Island, more than 75 members – use your vote. of thousand window and lawn signs that said I’ve Had Enough’ vote for change “ putting them at member homes. In local coffee shops members met to talk ” won’t be able to get health care when they need it, or when their parents need it. were distributing materials. BCGEU retirees also pitched in. Several campaigns went on to plan special events—The Victoria Cross Component about the election—and they held picnics They worry high tuition will mean educa- Committee held an information evening in warmer areas of the province. tion is out of reach for their children. “ on STV, with Wendy Bergerud, BCGEU steward , and member of the Citizen’s The activities were all part of the most Hundreds of activists were telling their Assembly. Vancouver and Kamloops held recent Member to Member campaign to fellow members—you can change govern- a workshops on the nuts and bolts of reach members on issues that matter ment policy and you can change the election campaigns, and political to them. government—use your vote. “ he continued. awareness. 6 The Provincial May 2005 A candidate guide for electing your Table Officers T he BCGEU’s 46th Triennial Constitutional Convention is being held this year, from June 24 - 26, 2005, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Vancouver. Every three years, delegates to the Constitutional Convention elect a new Executive Committee – consisting of President, Secretary-Treasurer, and four positions of Vice-President. This guide provides candidates an opportunity to publish a personal statement and photo in the Provincial, which is distributed to all BCGEU members. All candidates who submitted statements by April 22nd are included in this publication. About the guide In accordance with BCGEU Policy (Section H, Policy 10), each declared candidate for Full-time Officer and Provincial Vice President positions may have a picture and a personal statement of up to 1000 words published in a special election issue of the Provincial, and on the BCGEU website. Candidates are listed first by elected position (President, Secretary-Treasurer, Vice-Presidents) in alphabetical order. Candidates for Vice-President are listed by gender, in alphabetical order, reflecting the constitutional requirement for gender equity in these positions. in this issue • Candidates for President ...................................................................... 2 • Candidates for Secretary-Treasurer .................................................... 3-5 • Candidates for Vice President ......................................................... 5-10 President ited their privatization plans. And, as a result of our negotiations, GEORGE affected members were offered jobs by the contractors – with their collective agreements and union representation intact. HEYMAN Where we’re going – Bargaining has been hard and frustrating the past two years. Job The Campbell Liberals have protection was our first priority. We saw Campbell tear up con- attacked working people’s rights to tracts which protected against contracting out, and then impose fair wages, free collective bargain- wage freezes and cuts. We chose to shape our outcomes the best ing and safe workplaces. They’ve we could rather than have them forced on us. Thousands of systematically cut or weakened BCGEU members are still working as a result. social programs which ensure our communities are healthy, support- But members expect and deserve more as every sector resumes ive places to live. bargaining in 2006. Together we must develop smart, aggressive bargaining strategies to make gains. We’re ready to strike if neces- They’ve sacrificed the well-being of sary to get fair contracts, as college support staff and B.C. Place kids, seniors and the vulnerable to members recently demonstrated. We have built our strike defence enhance the profits of a privileged few. They’ve handed over fund to over eighteen million dollars in the past 6 years – the government’s responsibility as environmental steward to corpora- largest it’s ever been – and your executive is proposing that tions whose activities threaten our air, water and climate. convention increase strike pay. BCGEU activists and leadership were challenged to protect both We must find new, effective ways to publicize the value of the members and important public programs against Liberal attacks. work you do, and the importance of fair compensation to retain Faced with a government eager to legislate away obstacles to their valuable workers. If appreciation is not demonstrated with fair objectives, whether privatizing public services, stripping union treatment and good contracts, it’s just empty words. Your well- contracts or reducing workers’ wages, we responded with the best being must not be shunted aside by employers or the public. of our creativity and collective strength. We will continue exposing the lie that starving public services of Where we’ve been – the resources necessary to protect the public interest, or contract- We‘ve challenged cuts and privatizations using funds our 2002 ing them to a low wage sector, makes British Columbians better convention dedicated to fight-back. Union activists and staff off. The Liberals’ pre-election spending spree – with money they campaigned – issue by issue, community by community – building yanked from your wallets and from important community services roadblocks to Campbell’s plans. Our strategy is simple – mobilize like legal aid and women’s centres – is the best indication that our members and neighbours, from seniors to concerned parents, to consistent work has heightened public awareness of the damage resist bad public policy which harms communities and workers. these cuts have done. Members gathered tens of thousands of names on petitions We won’t let people forget. Through community campaigns and opposing liquor privatization. Working with municipal councils, TV shows like “Cuts to the Heart” and “Broken Promises” which school boards and diverse groups including Mothers Against we aired across B.C., we continue to present the need for quality Drunk Driving, we turned up the heat on MLA’s across B.C. – public services and for government that looks out for all citizens – including in Gordon Campbell’s own constituency. not just the richest among us. How we get there – Our 2003 contract extension reversed government plans to privatize all public liquor stores and warehouses. Activist commit- Your union represents you best when we listen to you and act on tees throughout the province keep the pressure on, organizing the issues you raise. That’s why we initiated Member-to-Member strong opposition to individual store closures. (M2M) campaigns last year, where local elected representatives meet members at or near your workplace. I intend to continue this Our ongoing work in environmental coalitions focuses public program – taking union meetings to the members in an accessible attention on understaffing, most recently through media coverage way that respects your busy lives. I believe this direct contact is of Fraser Valley groundwater pollution. We’ve worked with other crucial to increasing your union’s responsiveness. advocates to put quality, affordable, accessible childcare on the agenda of federal and provincial politicians. We’ll continue until M2M is part of our Workplace Leadership program, begun in 2000 we have provincial accountability linked to federal funding. to strengthen the skills of local activists and build a strong union presence on every worksite. But Workplace Leadership is also We’ve highlighted the need to enhance long-term care, home about making the union more relevant, and more inclusive of you. support and other community health services, placing these on the public agenda during this provincial election campaign. We are most effective when we work together. I am committed to listening to you and acting on what you say. I and other elected The Liberals have tried in vain to convince the public that priva- officers will continue to seek innovative ways to involve you in tizing data management to American based companies poses no standing up for our interests as workers, for our families and our risk to our private, personal information. The BCGEU first raised communities. the threat of the U.S.A. Patriot Act to the privacy of medical and financial records. Our warning caught the attention of B.C.’s I am always tremendously energized by meeting and working with privacy commissioner and brought changes to B.C. privacy laws. members and activists committed to making a difference. I feel very rewarded by the work I do. We believe the best protection is not to privatize. Polling reveals that 80% of British Columbians heard our message and agree with I hope I have earned your trust in the past six years. I ask your us. Our campaign hurt government in public opinion and discred- convention delegates for the opportunity to serve another term. 2 Table Officer Candidates May 2005 Secretary-Treasurer JUDI SANDI FILION MCLEAN Sisters & Brothers, “The position of Secretary- I am seeking election to the Treasurer is that of both a position of Secretary-Treasurer. I steward of our Union’s first became involved in the labour resources and a leader.” movement in 1983 when I was elected to the position of Sisters and Brothers Secretary-Treasurer of BCGEU I am asking for your support to Local 59. I decided to become an become the next Secretary- activist as a direct result of not Treasurer of our union. As I write knowing what a union was about. this, we are only weeks away from I had no idea at that time the the provincial election. Across the different roads I would travel throughout my many years of province we are working to change the political landscape by activism. I have seen remarkable change and growth in this making our own commitments and working with other activists organization. My journey has been a constant learning curve for in our Member-to-Member campaign, talking to our members me, and one that will continue as I take on the new challenges of about the importance of a Vote for Change. this important Union position. We’ve reached this critical moment equipped with the many The opportunities afforded to me by the BC Government & ‘tools’ we’ve assembled over the past few years. Our toolbox Service Employees’ Union have been immense, helping me to includes the activists we’ve recruited, the allies and friends we’ve grow both personally and professionally. The support and made, the skills we’ve strengthened and learned through our encouragement I have received over the years has helped me to workplace leadership program and our experiences campaigning become the advocate for positive change in the workplace that I in workplaces and communities. am today. Our strong team of enthusiastic and energetic elected and staff In this new role, I plan to continue the tremendous efforts that activists has led the charge against Gordon Campbell’s mean- Sister Diane Wood has brought to this position since 1987. I spirited agenda. We all know first hand the effects of the Liberal’s believe in the saying “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” That is not policies on our members, in our workplaces and communities: to say that I am not open to change. privatization, job loss in all sectors, increased poverty, Since becoming Secretary-Treasurer of Component 7 – Education, environmental degradation, a health care crisis, unaffordable Scientific, Technical & Administrative - in 2000, I have worked tuition fees, hospital beds and schools closed, women’s centres hard to streamline the financial reporting of Component 7’s shut down, broken contracts. finances. I introduced a new process for managing our budgets. In the face of these attacks, we have supported each other and Local accounts were closed and expenses processed directly made new friendships. We’ve forged relationships with through the Component Secretary-Treasurer. I recommended the community groups and learned how to speak truth to power. changes because I believed that our Component’s current We’ve shared tears, but also laughter. We’ve come to know and processes were being duplicated. The time and efforts of the Local depend on each other in new ways. Building our union strength, Secretary-Treasurers could be better-spent identifying creative building for the future. ways to expend Local allocated funds and focusing their efforts towards Workplace Leadership and Fightback Campaigns. Our successes in challenging Gordon Campbell’s agenda have been possible because we’ve built and focussed our Union’s I have held various activist positions since 1983. Currently, I am resources. Elected and staff activist, financial and community the Chairperson of Local 707 (elected in 1994). I am a shop resources, our most important assets. We will continue to build, steward and bargaining committee member of the Support Staff improve and secure our resources in ways that both serve the best bargaining unit at Okanagan University College. In 2001, I was interests of our members and have their support. We all have an elected to the position of Secretary-Treasurer of the North important role in doing just that, as your Secretary-Treasurer, this Okanagan Labour Council. will be my priority. While I wear many hats, the positions I hold intersect in many The position of Secretary-Treasurer is that of both a steward of areas, making my “second job” as an activist much easier. Being our union’s resources and a leader. involved in the labour movement has given me the chance to meet sisters and brothers from unions across Canada and to share A steward – As a steward of our members’ dues, I am committed my knowledge and experiences with them. It is good to know to supporting our members, activists and staff with: that we are not alone in the struggles that we face. • Effective administration, which supports our daily operations. I have worked at Okanagan University College, Kelowna Campus since 1989. I am a Data Entry Clerk in the Registrar’s Office. We • Transparent financial practices and clear financial policies. are currently going through a transition of splitting the • Sound finances and budget planning reflecting our members’ institution into two – UBC Okanagan and the new Okanagan priorities and input. College. I am a member of the support staff bargaining committee, which has been involved in establishing transition • Resources to continue to build our Union. documents for the two institutions. (please see ‘Filion’, page 4) (please see ‘McLean’, page 4) May 2005 Table Officer Candidates 3 Filion, cont... McLean, cont... The committee has also been doing extensive analysis of the And a leader – I will lead by example: various collective agreements at UBC. Though the process has • Actively participating in policy development that reflects our been very trying, I am proud to say that our Union has been members’ principles, goals and priorities. there to ensure the rights of our members are protected at both of the new institutions. • Emphasizing a collaborative approach, creating opportunities for discussion at all levels of our union. I am a strong believer in justice, fairness and equality for • Consulting with the Provincial Executive, Component and everyone. What is happening in this province is appalling and Local Executives, other activists and members. unacceptable. Most of us would agree that we would like to live in a province that is both economically prosperous and socially • Supporting our Workplace Leadership program, the strong. I was involved in organizing three successful rallies in integration of our Member-to-Member campaigns and new 2002 in conjunction with activities coordinated by the BC initiatives to reach out to members and recruit new activists. Federation of Labour. The “Save Our Community Services” rally • Acting as President of our union, when called on to do so. held on February 23 in Kelowna attracted over 1,500 people. “Bridging the Gap” held on May 25 involved 300 people Experience – I am well grounded in both my union involvement marching across the Okanagan Lake bridge. On October 26 a and work life, which has been administration/finance in both the “Parade of Lost Services” was held in Penticton at the Liberal private and public sectors, to assume the responsibilities of Party Convention. Secretary-Treasurer. The BCGEU has undergone vicious attacks by the current As a member of the Provincial Executive and Finance Committee government and it is time to make a change. On May 17, I for nearly nine years, I was active early on in establishing a strongly encourage all members of this union to make sure their change in the funding process for components. Funding which vote counts. We can no longer stand by and allow the created stability, enabling components to meet their continuing destruction of our social safety net. responsibilities, focus on issues specific to their membership and self-determine, within our broader financial policies, their use of The education the BCGEU provides is immeasurable. In 1994, I financial resources. was awarded a full scholarship to attend the Labour College of Canada’s two-month residency program. I have attended As the President of the Victoria Labour Council for five years and numerous education courses over the years, ranging from the as a Board member of the United Way, I was an advocate for BCGEU’s Local Officers, to the BC Federation of Labour’s responsive and accountable governance. Summer Institute for Union Women, to the Canadian Labour I have participated in leadership development learning Congress’ Instructor Training. I am a strong advocate of opportunities with our National Union, the Canadian Labour education for our members and believe there is no greater power Congress and the Governor General of Canada’s Leadership than knowledge. That is why as an activist trainer, I have co- Conference. facilitated numerous basic stewards courses for new stewards. I believe that stewards and local activists are the foundation of this For two years, I represented the Women’s Rights Committee as a union. I plan to work hard to ensure that this foundation Vice-President of the BC NDP. continues to be built upon and see it through to its strongest possible potential. I have been a trustee on the Public Service Pension Board from January 2000. I believe in the BCGEU and am extremely proud to be a member. Once elected to the position, I will work with the President and And Vision – The BCGEU will move forward, building on our Provincial Executive to ensure the needs of the membership are strengths, our activists and creativity; whatever political met. I am committed to continuing to be accountable and to landscape we face, whatever regressive legislation we fight, providing access to our financial revenues and expenditures. I whatever right-wing ideology comes to the front. look forward to the opportunity of working on behalf of the Our activists must be supported, mentored and encouraged in members on a full-time basis. I ask for your support and look taking on their responsibilities, continue to grow and learn. Our ahead to a very exciting convention. Workplace Leadership program and Member-to-Member In solidarity campaigns should be evaluated, renewed and developed further. We need to invest in more opportunities for education and Judi Filion leadership development. We need to find ways, at the local and all levels, to attract participation in our union, which reflects the very broad diversity of our union. We learn and draw inspiration from the struggles of working people all over the world. We will continue to challenge ourselves and hold our place as the most innovative and forward-looking union in BC. I am incredibly proud of our union, proud to be a member and activist working alongside each of you. I look forward to talking to many of you about your ideas for our future. In solidarity Sandi McLean (please see ‘McLean’, page 5) 4 Table Officer Candidates May 2005 Vice-President CATHERINE ANN BELL CHAMBERS Dear Brothers and Sisters, Over the past three years we have been challenged to fight against Please allow me to introduce mean spirited attacks to our jobs, myself. My name is Ann our communities and the labour Chambers. I am running for the movement. This has made us as a position of Vice President. movement search our collective souls and our proud history to I was born and raised in Scotland, come up with ways to hold on to moving to this great Country, what we have gained and make the Canada, back in 1986. most of some very difficult situa- My first job experience in Canada tions. While we have not always became my life’s passion when I became a nanny. While I was been successful because the odds were against us, we are still here working as a Nanny, little did I realize the impact it would have working hard to make sure BCGEU members are protected, that on my future as a community health care worker and attacks to the fabric of our communities don’t go unchallenged subsequently as a union activist. This should really not have and that solidarity with our sisters and brothers in other unions is come as a surprise to me. My Dad was a very proud and active maintained. member of his union in Scotland and his inspiration is one of the As a result, our union membership has also become much more driving forces that have helped shape my activism to date. politically conscious and active than we have ever seen. You have In 1989 I was trained as a community health care worker and taken up the challenge to become involved at many levels and have worked for Greater Vancouver Community Services Society have challenged us as an executive to be creative in our resources for the past 15 years. I quickly became aware of the many to support you in your work. challenges faced by community health workers and the growing I have always had an activists heart, but I don’t think I’ve ever inadequacies in our health care system. Senior citizens were not been so proud to call myself a Trade Unionist as I am today. And receiving proper home support services and some seniors were it’s not so much anything I have done but what WE have done not receiving services at all. In 1990 there were many challenges together. It is the very essence of how we achieve social change, facing community health workers and a number of seniors in our WE WORK TOGETHER! province were at risk. This prompted me to attend my first Union meeting where I was elected shop steward. We must continue to work together, not just for ourselves and our families, but to bring about social and economic justice for all For over the past 14 years I have became more involved with the workers and their families in our province, our country and BCGEU. The support, training and encouragement I received around the world. As a movement we can make a difference in have been instrumental in my being elected as Secretary- peoples lives thousands of miles away by being conscious of our Treasurer of Local 403 in 1997. I continue to serve my local in politics, how we live, what we buy and how we treat one another. this capacity. With the added experience I gained in this position and encouragement from my Local I felt I was ready to run for I have been part of raising that collective consciousness for the the position of Secretary-Treasurer at the component level. I was past 9 years as one of your Provincial Vice Presidents. I am asking successful in 2000 and continue to serve in this capacity. for your support to continue in this work. During the past 4 years I have been very involved in other union The role of Vice President is constantly evolving as we take on new activities both within the BCGEU, other unions through various struggles and recommit to existing ones. In the coming months coalitions and community group. One of the ongoing issues we and years we will again be faced with tough decisions, no matter have been addressing is the Fightback Campaign against the who the government or our employer is. I have the experience current ruling government. Specific issues include the Liberal (please see “Bell”, page6) (please see “Chambers”, page6) McLean, cont... 2001/2003 Elected Vice-president of the BC NDP, endorsed by the Women’s Rights Committee Some highlights 2001 NUPGE Leadership Development 2003 NUPGE Women’s Leadership & Development 1988 February 29th BCGEU membership! Auxiliary employee 2004 Governor General of Canada’s Leadership Conference at the Superannuation Commission 1989 elected steward I have also worked on these policy and other committees: Health 1990 elected 2nd Vice-chair, Local 1201 Care Reform, Grievance Appeal (Local and Provincial Executive), 1992 elected to Component 12 executive Pension, Education and Activism, Resolutions, Women’s, 1993 BCGEU Leadership Development Community and Social Action, Political Action, Finance (both as a 1993/96 Elected 2nd delegate to the PE for Component 12 co-chair and member), Component 12 Bargaining for five 1994 Elected Local 1201Chair agreements and the Government Master Bargaining committee 1998/2003 Elected President, Victoria Labour Council for four agreements. 1999 Elected Component 12 chair 2000 First appointed trustee to the Public Service Pension Please watch for my website at www.member.shaw.ca/ Plan board firstname.lastname@example.org May 2005 Table Officer Candidates 5 Bell, cont... Chambers, cont... and commitment to take on whatever is dealt to us, and to government cuts to welfare, women’s centers, childcare and the work with the Executive for the benefit of all our members. privatization of liquor stores. I have also helped to organize rallies and demonstrations against the introduction of Bill 29 (the Education and opportunities are key to developing strong activists Health and Social Service Delivery Improvement Act), increases in and leaders within our union. I have taken those opportunities to tuition fees and the $6.00 per hour “Training Wage” and the expand my horizons, building my skill and knowledge base to governments attempt to privatize the Coquihalla highway. become a better activist, sister, mentor and leader. But it doesn’t stop there, education really is a two way street. I have shared that I am a delegate to the New Westminster & District Labour Council knowledge, through workshops, in meetings, at the bargaining and have been appointed to represent labour for the Lower table and wherever BCGEU members work. Educating members Mainland United Way as member of the Board. is one of the most important things we can do as a union-it helps you become better activists, it makes all of us stronger! In 2003 I sat on a committee for “Work Life Balance” that was responsible for organizing a North American conference and the Several conventions ago we passed recommendations that would release of the Linda Duxbury report on “Work Life Balance” here move us to an organizing model of unionism- we now call it in British Columbia. workplace leadership. I have always been an advocate of this model because the union is more than just an organization that I currently sit on the Provincial Executive’s Children and Family workers join. The union is a movement for social and economic Committee. One of the objectives of this committee is to forward change. It is how we can have a stronger voice in the workplace resolutions to community groups, the BCGEU, NUPGE BC and in our communities. We can see evidence of this through Federation of Labour and CLC conventions on issues regarding locals and cross component committees, where we have seen a children and families; most recently we have been working with progression from social activities to real social justice initiatives. community groups on a national child care program. I am also a But we can’t forget the social activities-they are what sustain us to member of the BC Health Coalition, and sit on various do the hard work, those are the times we celebrate our successes. committees dealing with issues such as healthcare, Pharmacare and senior’s concerns. As your Vice President I have had the opportunity to work with other labour activists and leaders in many other unions, affiliates The BC Liberals have affected the members our Union in an and organizations. I have been called on to facilitate workshops, extremely negative manner with their legislative changes. Each present on panels, deliver greetings and our message. component of our union has had to face the challenges of “privatization”, “contracting out” ” offloading” of services from I am committed to doing my best on your behalf to the Government to smaller communities and municipalities who ensure the BCGEU is respected throughout the labour movement can “ill afford” it. Imagine having the gall to actually eliminate and in the community. Working together with other organiza- ITAC and “rip up” collective agreements! tions is an important avenue to share our experiences and get our message across-we know we’re not in this struggle alone. Our As a union activist I know I have made a difference for the allies in the community need us and we need them. members in the workplace. During the first few months of this year we saw the devastation of My priority is to listen to membership concerns and work in whole communities on the other side of the planet and conse- partnership with the members of the union and community as a quentially a growing awareness of the need for foreign aid and whole, in order to have a strong voice for every worker and every international solidarity. Those events have made everyone stop citizen. We not only deserve respect as citizens we “demand it” and take stock of how we live in the world, but we need to do I am further committed to continue participating and supporting more. We need to take action. Fair trade is a natural extension of the Provincial Executive’s initiatives in developing the member to what we fight for as union activists. Fair trade means that workers member on a going basis. I am further committed to working who make and produce the products we consume, who work in hard to earn your trust and lead our union into the future, a the resorts where we vacation have what they need- adequate future of good health, safe workplaces and the best working housing, the ability to send their children to school, fair wages, conditions for all. I know we can achieve this together. health, safety and human rights protections, and basics like enough food and clean water. I have been advocating for fair In solidarity, trade for many years and am proud of the work our union is doing Ann Chambers on that front. I know we can make a difference, with your help we’re Peace and Social Justice! doing it. Catherine Bell I tell you these things because I am passionate about them. I am Contact me by email: email@example.com also committed to working with and for you on many other Phone: 250-336-8458 issues. It is important work that we do representing you, both internally and on a broader scale. It is rewarding and a privilege to work with so many dedicated activists at every level of union involve- ment. I ask for your support to continue in this work. I look forward to hearing from you in the coming weeks on these and many other issues of importance to you. I look forward to meeting old friends and new at convention where we can discuss issues and recommit ourselves to working together for the things that make life better for workers. 6 Table Officer Candidates May 2005 LORENE Information needs to go out to the activists and members and there must also be a corresponding flow of information back to the leaders. I am determined to work on the information flow and OIKAWA ensure that I keep in touch with activists and members. Another key piece to supporting activists is through education. I It weighs less than 25 grams. am a strong advocate of training and life-long learning. I am a member of the BCGEU Education, Activism and Communications It’s slightly larger than a loonie. Committee, the New Westminster and District Labour Council Education Committee, and I am the education liaison on the Its size belies its worth. Fraser Valley Cross Component Committee. Its value is in the words displayed I have facilitated training courses including the BCGEU Stewards’ on the front: “we are the union.” Course. And I practice what I promote: I continue to take both I wear this BCGEU button proudly union and non-union courses (including completion of a certifi- – I believe in the principle and I cate program specializing in communications at BCIT) even after believe we can make a difference. graduating from UBC and working fulltime. My name is Lorene Oikawa and I am committed to making a real I will continue to promote education and the strengthening of difference. And with your support, I will use my skills in the training opportunities for stewards especially upgrading and position of Vice-President to stand up for members and provide a refresher courses, and building on resources (for example, online fresh perspective on the challenges we have ahead. tools) for stewards. As a union activist and a political activist I have worked hard on Our union’s strength depends upon the strength of all our activists behalf of members and the community. I offer you that same drive – new and experienced. Each has a role to play. While I respect and and passion in addition to strong communication skills, creativity, value the contributions of those who have fought before us, I also and a broad range of experience. embrace the new energy and ideas of our diverse membership. As a fourth generation British Columbian I have a lot of history Where some see differences, I see our common goal – our desire to with this province and I am appalled at the Campbell Liberal do the right thing and achieve the best for our members, our government’s actions to sell our assets, cut services to communi- communities, and ultimately the world. ties, and their attacks on workers. We are in the fight of our lives. Problems provide the opportunity for deeper understanding and a And I am even more determined to defend the rights of workers in chance to go beyond the talk. I have a track record as a problem this hostile environment. solver and am known for coming up with ideas and putting them You can continue to count on me to speak out and be an effective into action. voice and representative for all members. Some of you will know From a communications piece for the Provincial to organizing me from my creative presentations at the BCGEU and BC Federa- campaigns to leadership roles within the BCGEU, I am energized tion of Labour conventions when I have voiced the concerns of by the challenge and get the job done. members. In particular, people remember my rendition of a voice mail loop which was one of my cautionary points to address a Besides my work on campaigns and committees, I’ve also been resolution on technological change. able to “get the job done” in my various roles within the BCGEU such as: I have experienced many changes as a front-line government worker. I wept with colleagues as we said goodbye to those work- • Website Editor for Component 6 ers who were dismissed or displaced as part of workforce adjust- ment. And I, too, felt the sharp blade of the Liberals’ cuts when • Component 6 Secretary-Treasurer my position was deemed redundant. If not for the processes in our collective agreement I would be just another statistic – another • Local 604 Chair, 1st Vice Chair, and 2nd Vice Chair notch in Gordon Campbell’s union busting belt. • Component 6 and Local 604 Education Liaison Detrimental changes have been imposed on workers who have • Cross Component Committee Member and Education dedicated their lives to providing quality services for the public. Liaison Changes have also been inflicted upon society’s most vulnerable people. People barely surviving tragic circumstances of poverty, • Component 12 Executive Member abuse, and deteriorating health are forced into more dire situa- tions and last year, almost 8,000 more children (than the previous • Local 1204 Chair, Website Contact, and 1st Vice Chair year) were in food bank lineups. • Steward We, the front-line workers, are caught in the middle. It is unfortu- • Staff Representative nate that those who impose the damaging changes don’t experi- ence the negative impact or listen to the front-line workers before As a Vice-President, I know the challenges are larger in scope and they make their decisions. Too often, as is the case with the greater in number and I am ready to get to work. I am excited by current government, those in leadership roles fail to put a priority the possibilities and the opportunity to work with the BCGEU’s on listening. elected leadership, staff and you. I will listen. I have been going out to various local and component Choose me – Lorene Oikawa, as your voice for VP. meetings and have listened to members express their concerns. Also, as the chair of the Fraser Valley Member-to-Member (M2M) Let’s work together, because we are the union and we can make a Steering Committee and working on all phases of the M2M real difference. campaign, I have heard loud and clear that members want the opportunity to be heard. firstname.lastname@example.org May 2005 Table Officer Candidates 7 MIKE definitely have a lot in common. It has been a privilege for me to be involved at the onset of developing our presence in a broader perspective with groups like Firstcall, and the Child Care Coalition CLARKE of British Columbia. My work within the realm of occupational health and safety has It seems so very long ago that I been equally rewarding, even through the drastic struggles we face cautiously stepped forward, and with an employer dominated agenda from the Workers Compensa- into a role of union activism. tion Board. As part of the BC Federation of Labour’s Health and Safety Committee it has been a real eye opener to see what all I can remember the day in 1986 union members face on a daily basis in their worksites. But this when co-workers encouraged me to has also been a significant opportunity in respect of getting a represent their concerns to man- broader audience for some of our training modules that are the agement as their first shop steward. best in the Province, as well as relentlessly pushing for training After being active in getting co- that is geared for the highest risk group of all, young workers. workers to vote for joining the Union, I thought my role was Increasing membership awareness about the massive changes to complete. Many were fired during the organizing drive, but the WCB regulations, as well as increasing member participation in thankfully we now had a union behind us. I felt so honoured that public hearings to slow the change down as best we can, has been people trusted in me. a priority in the last few years. Publishing our OSH newsletter at regular intervals has been very helpful, and has had a very positive The utmost concern to everyone was a complete lack of respect response from members. Education modules that reflect the from the employer. Working in an atmosphere that had frequent regulatory changes have also been developed for the membership. occurrences of violence towards staff was extremely difficult. This was compounded by the fact that the only response from manage- It has been extremely rewarding to have the opportunity as Vice ment was that this was part of your job, and the pay was less than President to visit a variety of worksites over the years. In many $6 an hour. Yes six bucks sucks!! instances this segways into a chance for me to assist with specific projects. Some of these included eliminating glasscrushers in Certainly things did not change overnight. liquor stores, improving safety practices for sheriffs that escort As the years progressed I found myself taking on more roles prisoners, initiating cancer research projects for tree nurseries, and within my worksite and beyond. Besides the Shop Stewards preventing violence in the workplace for health and community position, I also joined others on the Health and Safety Committee social service members to name a few. to start some serious work on addressing the very real and damag- Drastic cuts, uncertainty, and excessive workloads have contrib- ing issues on workplace violence. uted to highlight workplace stress as a significant, and serious When collective bargaining started I was encouraged to take that concern for many members which will be a continuing focus for position on, which I did from 1986 to 2000. The BCGEU then me as well. started a bargaining council for this group to represent over 40 It has been a most extraordinarily positive experience to serve as agencies across the province. I was privileged to become the chair one of your Vice Presidents over the last six years. To be involved of this bargaining council that ultimately represented additional with members at many levels in projects that I have always felt groups from women’s centres, counseling and addictions services strongly and passionately about is a privilege beyond compare. It and childcare as we bargained for a first ever provincial agree- has always been my goal to provide the tools and assistance to ment. This group of nearly 10,000 workers from four separate members that empower them to challenge the wrongs they see in unions took the Government on in a 12 week strike in March of their workplace with confidence and ability, and I hope to 1999 to finally win some of the recognition they so clearly continue to do this for you. deserved. In addition to this venue, I also became more involved in the local structure of the BCGEU when I became Chair of Local 0406 in 1994. A few years later as Component 4 continued to grow, there was a split which became Component 3. As Chair of Component 3 I also became a member of the Provincial Executive, with further responsibilities both as Component Chair, and as a member of the PE Finance, Education, Health and Safety and Grievance Appeal Committees. In May of 1999 I was honored to be elected as Vice President of the BCGEU. In this position I was fortunate to rekindle an original passion, which was health and safety, when I was appointed by the President as chair of the Provincial Executive committee. I also took on the role as chair of the Child and Family Care Committee which is equally as gratifying in many ways. My involvement with these committees certainly opened up many other areas for some work to be done. Working with our committee, as well as developing networks with advocates in the community has been an enlightening and very positive experi- ence. Many of the advocates that we have connected with, previously had little or no working knowledge of our union movement. However it became very apparent after a short while that when it comes to many social issues around families, we 8 Table Officer Candidates May 2005 DAVID DARRYL KNOWLES WALKER My name is David As I put my name forward for Knowles. I’m a liquor another term as one of the Provin- store worker and I’m cial Vice Presidents, I reflect on the running for Vice Presi- past three years and think back on dent. the many successful campaigns and For the past three years I have fought alongside other members of yes our failures. Since our 2002 my local, my component and the union against the Campbell convention, we have taken great government’s attempts to destroy the jobs and livelihoods of strides as a union and have become liquor store workers, health care workers, community social service an important part of not only the workers and others. labour movement but also the social justice movement in BC. A good deal of the credit must go Our fight has had some successes. Outright privatization of the to our members who have fought a great fight community by liquor stores was halted and creeping privatization was partially community around the province. blocked by victories at many city councils through restrictive zoning bylaws and policies. As a member on the Executive I have enjoyed the opportunity of working side by side with our activists during this time and I The most memorable action for me is the day that many activists would appreciate your support and seek to continue in this role including myself shut down the Coquahalla toll booths. and relationship. The Coquahalla sale was subsequently sidetracked. I have been active in this union since the early 1980’s as a steward at the Forensic Institute, a member of the Executives of Local 203 Like you I have learned a lot about building community coalitions, and Component 2 and finally as Component 2 Chair, a position I mobilizing public support for public sector workers, getting the held form 1994 to 1999, at which point I was elected as Vice members onboard and communicating with the public through President. During that time I served twice on the Master Bargain- newspapers, TV and radio. ing Committee, and four times on the Component 2 Bargaining We have also learned a lot about strategies for change and how to Committee. effectively execute those strategies. I also sat on the Joint OSH Committee from the Master, Article 29 The next three years must be about winning back the ground we Committees for Health as well as Riverview and Forensic, have lost in the last three. That means restoring lost rights benefits Downsize and Closure Committees at Riverview and Woodlands and wages. That means creating more powerful labour and com- and the Ministry of Health Regionalization Committees. I continue munity coalitions. That means strengthening the sinews of the to act as a facilitator for OSH training in both the public and union by increasing local leadership and responsibilities, building a private sectors. strong bond between members and our brothers and sisters on the As VP I have chaired the Resolutions and the Constitution and staff and improving the responsiveness of the provincial union to Structure Committees. This has given me a feel for the inner workings membership needs. That means building a union that will lead us of the union. While this work may at times seem tedious, it is essen- forward. A union that sets goals of regaining lost ground and that tial that bylaws and policies are updated and maintained so that pursues improvements for workers and their families in areas of locals, components and committees can do their jobs. With that in health care, community services and a strong public sector. mind, I was pleased to receive an appointment to the Finance Com- We deserve a union that stands up for its members in the mittee during this term. Again this allows myself to gain a greater workplace that fights for its members in the community and knowledge of the financial operations of the union as we deal with provincial arenas. We deserve a union that has enough strength to much needed policy and procedure changes and updates. win these vital battles. It has however been the Environment Committee that has given The past three years were a tough school that taught me how to me and the union the most outreach. The relationships we have fight and win battles in the workplace the community and the built and the coalitions we have worked with have gone a long province. Those years honed my skills as an organizer a leader and way to protect and maintain the jobs of our members and empha- a communicator, skills that I started to learn when I first became size the importance of their work. The committee and the union active as a steward over 12 years ago. Since that time I have served has listened to our delegates and taken up the fight for forestry on the local as 2nd vice chair and currently as the local chair. regulations that respect community and first nations needs and rights. We have argued for clean safe water and healthy wholesome I have been on the Component 5 Retail Store and Warehouse food and fought for the protection of wild salmon stocks. We have executive ever since and have been the Component 5 Secretary- called for parks to be maintained as public assets and not be Treasurer for the past 10 years. privatized or commercialized. Again we are working in coalition with a number of Environmental NGOs on this issue. My strong family values are also a big asset, My Wife Debra and my 6 year old Daughter Angela and my 5 year old son Jacob have Beyond the union, I have been involved with a number of other been the driving force behind me and they have attended almost organizations and have used my role on these boards to broaden as many rally’s as I have and my son constantly asks when are we the focus and enhance the profile of the BCGEU. As a board going to get to go to our next parade Daddy. member of the Occupational Health and Safety Agency for Healthcare, I have pressed the needs of our members in the com- Childcare issues are also dear to my heart as both Debbie and munity, facility and paramedical professional sectors. In discus- myself are working parents we have seen first hand the difficulties sions with OHSAH, the other health care unions, WCB and other that can arise without adequate childcare and am prepared to fight (please see ‘Knowles’, page 10) (please see ‘Walker’, page 10) May 2005 Table Officer Candidates 9 Knowles, cont... to ensure working parents have access to professional, affordable childcare. Also caring for an elderly parent has shown me first hand how LEADERSHIP devastating this government’s policies and cutbacks have been on Summer our seniors. McFayden - Together we can build the union we deserve. If you give me your BC chairperson of support, I will pursue that objective single-mindedly. the Canadian In solidarity, Federation of Students (CFS), David Knowles accepts the 2002 Spirit of Leadership Award on behalf Walker, cont... of the student provincial organizations I have along with Brother Clarke and organization. Sister Sykes stressed the need to include our members in the community social services sector in programs dealing with work place safety and violence prevention. The Spirit of Lead- ership Award is a As a member of the West Coast Environmental Laws Board I have highlight of BCGEU represented the needs of our members especially in the so called “Dirt Ministries.” Our union worked closely with WCEL on the conventions, and has report on deregulation which exposed the Campbell Liberals role become a tradition in putting our environment at risk. among members and I continue to sit on the Labour Environmental Alliance Society delegates: along with other unions and environmental organizations. LEAS has taken a lead role in exposing toxins and cancer causing agents • The award enables us to recognize and honour a in the work place. British Columbian for outstanding leadership in their The union is involved in the latest update of the cancer smart community. guide to toxins in the workplace. • The award is presented at the BCGEU Constitutional As a member of the Vancouver and District Labour Council, I am involved in a number of projects. The Sustainable Regions Initia- Convention to someone who has made a very special tive through the Greater Vancouver Regional District will impact contribution on social issues. our members in the twenty plus municipalities throughout the Lower Mainland. If sustainability is to be achieved, the services our • The award symbolizes our union’s commitment to members provide must be maintained. the goal of leadership in social action. I believe we need to be at the table and in conjunction with the • The Spirit of Leadership Award is the BCGEU’s Sustainable Communities Initiative involving the CLC, BCFL and a number of other unions I believe we are. highest honour to someone outside our union. Brothers and Sisters, in the next few month, elections of crucial • The last time the award was presented in 2002, the importance to our union and our province will take place. In each union recognized and honoured the important role case the future well being of our members will be at stake. I am that youth have played on many social issues, asking the delegates to convention for their support as I seek a third term as Provincial Vice-President. I believe I have the experi- including standing up for the rights of young people, ence, background and knowledge to allow me to represent all and the fight-back campaign against the Campbell members no matter their region or component. attacks on youth and children. As I have traveled the province and met our members I have gained an understanding of their needs and desires. In most cases The BCGEU realized that the collective action of many the needs are a decent job with good wages and benefits, healthy individuals contributed to the campaign’s success. In safe communities where families can thrive and grow, and respect recognition of their contribution to the fight for social for who we are and what we stand for. Whether as a union or a society this is what we must continue to fight for and this my justice, the union presented the award to the Canadian commitment to you. Federation of Students. Having said this, I am seeking your support in my bid to continue The CFS is an organization whose efforts on behalf of to represent yourselves and our members as Provincial Vice young people have succeeded in bringing social issues President. into focus during the public debate over the role of In soldiarity government in providing service to its citizens. Darryl Walker 10 Table Officer Candidates May 2005 Come to the NEW DELEGATE WORKSHOP Find out about: Why we hold conventions Resolutions:Preamble & Motion Delegate preparation Resolutions Committee Policy positions Convention Committees Rules of Order Reports Chairperson’s rules of order Voting Charperson’s role as leader Delegates Role The Agenda ... and more! Watch for an announcement on time/place prior to opening of convention May 2005 Table Officer Candidates 11 Kids matter more than the bottom line Don’t take public services for granted. Sometimes, the importance of the work done by public employees isn’t recognized until it’s too late. When governments cut public services like child care, families and communities pay the price. It’s time to speak out. Ask candidates if they oppose cuts to public services, to pay for whopping tax giveaways to corporations and the rich. B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union MEMBER TO MEMBER M Workplace 2 Leadership M B uilding on the past success of the Workplace Leadership Program (WLP), the Provincial Executive has approved a number of activities for 2005: SURREY – April 11, 2005. Bill Wiseman (504 Retired), Lorne Malen (604 Retired) and Linda Sonmor (1204) agree with the message on this WORKPLACE INVENTORY – Building on the efforts from M2M poster. recent M2M campaigns, each local will develop a summary of all confirmed membership worksites. Included with this inventory is a listing of all worksites that have no steward or contact person. With the recent government restructuring and its resulting im- pacts on the public sector, worksite visits may be required to determine which services are being provided by union staff. MEMBERSHIP OUTREACH – Each local will identify new membership outreach options that would complement traditional meetings, with a focus on engaging members away from the union office. Worksite meetings, educational forums, community meet- ings, newsletters, and phone trees are tools that may be used to develop a communications plan designed to increase the local’s presence at the worksite. STEWARDS RECRUITMENT – Stewards elections will be held in the fall of 2005. Building on the efforts of the M2M campaigns, local strategies will be developed to target specific worksites that have no steward representation or contact person, with the goal of recruiting members to serve as stewards. With 2006 being such a SUNSHINE COAST – BCGEU activists met with members in April to key bargaining year for a large percentage of the membership, a discuss workplace issues, and to sign up campaign volunteers for the strong steward base will be critical to maximize the union’s opportu- M2M campaign. nities and meeting goals and challenges at the bargaining table. SURREY - April 11, 2005. John McKeigan (1704) and Larry Jandu (304) TERRACE - Canvassers trying on their “I’ve Had Enough” t-shirts, during at an early morning coffee shop meeting before heading out to meet the M2M pre-canvas training session. Seen here are (l-r) Susanne with members starting their work day. The Fraser Valley M2M campaign Bellefontaine (Local 412); Dorothy Bartsoff (Local 312); Doug McKay included early morning visits with members arriving at their work (Local 1712). locations. May 2005 The Provincial 7 NEWS & VIEWS Canada’s hidden human rights deficit: Freedom of Association by James Clancy to freedom of association is under sustained attack in Canada. Governments can’t just pick and choose which human rights and F reedom of association is freedoms they obey and defend. a right spelled out in the Canadian Charter of An ‘à la carte’ approach to human rights undermines Canada’s Rights and Freedoms, and reputation, and provides examples for other countries to engage in includes the right of workers anti-democratic activities. to join a union, bargain collectively and withhold services by going on strike. The National Union and UFCW Canada are working together, to focus attention on the human rights of workers in Canada. It is also guaranteed in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Labour Organization’s Conven- Our clear message to all governments and employers is that the tion No. 87 – Freedom of Association & Protection of the Right to time has come to address this hidden human rights deficit by Organize Convention (1948). Yet, today our right to freedom of taking three critical steps: (1) enacting progressive labour law association is at risk. reforms; (2) complying with and ratifying all ILO Conventions; and (3) respecting and upholding workers’ human rights to join a An extensive new study by the National Union of Public and union, bargain collectively and go on strike. General Employees (NUPGE) and the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada (UFCW Canada) documents how the human right Campaign materials and a number of other documents can be to freedom of association has been abused and eroded in Canada found on our new campaign web site at www.labourrights.ca over the past two decades. or you can obtain copies of the material by contacting NUPGE by email at email@example.com “Collective Bargaining in Canada: Human Right or Cana- dian Illusion?” analyzes 170 pieces of legislation passed by James Clancy is the National President of the 340,000-member National Canadian governments since 1982 that have denied or abused Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE). The BCGEU is one of freedom of association rights – denying workers the right to join a 14 NUPGE Components across Canada. union, outlawing the right to strike, imposing collective agreements on workers, and allowing employers to engage in anti-union activi- ties. The study also examines Canada’s dismal record of compliance with the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) freedom of association principles. The ILO is an agency of the United Nations governed by a tripartite body with representatives from the govern- ment, labour and employers of member countries. Since 1982, Canada has the worst record of any ILO member state as measured by the number of complaints filed with the interna- tional body over restrictive labour legislation. When Canadian governments abuse the human right to freedom of association, they send a clear message to other employers: It is okay to bust unions and deny workers their right to bargain collectively. The most striking private sector example is Wal-Mart, a US-based company with a deplorable record of respecting workers’ rights and basic human rights. The Quebec Labour Relations Board recently found Wal-Mart guilty of intimidating and harassing employees who wished to exercise their right to form a union at an outlet in the Ste-Foy area of Quebec City. And when Wal-Mart workers in Jonquière, Quebec, recently exercised their democratic right to join a union, Wal-Mart went one better: It announced the permanent closure of the outlet rather than deal with a unionized staff. The conclusions of our study are undeniable: The basic human right 8 The Provincial May 2005 NEWS & VIEWS At Stake: local economies and food security I n their zeal to ensure that multi-national corporations are • Continue the secrecy about how CFIA operates and what profitable, the Canadian and BC governments are neglecting policies it applies to determine food safety; their responsibility to ensure that our food system is sustainable and our food safe and healthy. This is part of a massive global effort, • Result in one size fits all regulations which will destroy much through such organizations as the World Trade Organization and of the small and medium scale and local (family farms) agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement, to put in agriculture; place an international set of trade rules that ensure corporate and The BCGEU has been working with NUPGE our national union, investor rights, at the expense of citizen and community rights. the CLC and a wide range of groups interested in food security, to The BCGEU, in conjunction with the Canadian Labour Congress is establish a broad based national food security organization. The opposing Bill C-27, the Federal government’s attempt to rewrite founding meeting of this organization will be in late September the legislation and regulations protecting the safety of our food this year in Waterloo, Ontario. Its goals, like ours, are: system. Bill C-27 will alter the role of the Canadian Food Inspec- 1. Zero hunger tion Agency (CFIA). Instead of enhancing the protection of food safety, the Bill will: 2. A sustainable food system, and • Deepen the ethical conflict in CFIA’s mandate, which has it 3. Healthy and safe food. responsible both for promoting trade and products and for regulating, monitoring, and enforcing food safety and agricul- As part of a large national food security group, we will be better tural practices. These two aims are incompatible as effective able to promote food security for Canadians. regulation can sometimes act as a constraint on trade, com- merce and the flow of goods; This rationalization of global trade rules is now hurting British Columbians, in the form of the Liberal government’s new Meat • Promote ‘smart regulations’ which are designed to enhance Inspection Regulation. We are working with two coalitions that we market performance and competitiveness, and which further are a member of, the BC Food Systems Network (BCFSN) and the deepen the ethical conflict in CFIA’ mandate; Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable (CRFAIR) to fight this new regulation. The new Meat Inspection Regulation will destroy local, small and medium scale production of red meat and poultry. The new regulations require such a large investment that abattoirs need to process much larger volumes of animals than are produced in any local area. For example, one small processor found that he will need to invest nearly $1 million and process over 3,000 birds per day, to comply with the regulations. This is far more money than most local processors could ever obtain, and far more birds than local producers can provide. Thus the result of the regulation will be a very small number of large processors. This will eliminate large numbers of jobs, destroy the local agricultural infrastructure in many areas, have negative impacts in the growing agri-tourism industry, reduce the viability of many local farmer’s markets, and make local food production and local economies less sustainable. It will not do anything to increase the safety of meat. The government has been unable to produce even one study or incidence of unsafe meat from small and medium scale facilities. There are, of course, many examples of unsafe meat from the large, centralized, industrial agricultural facilities - think BSE and the avian flu. In effect, in order to promote the profits of large scale corporate agriculture, and in the guise of protecting food safety, governments are promoting the very sector, industrial agriculture, which creates food safety problems and destroys local economies, jobs and food security. May 2005 The Provincial 9 NEWS & VIEWS Bargaining NEWS International Day of Mourning honours workers killed and Community Health — The community health care sector may soon achieve an agreement with the employer on regular sched- uling for Community Health Worker2. This has been an issue for injured on the job several years; Article 15 of the current community health agree- ment provides only a ten hour window in which these workers may be scheduled. A subcommittee has been meeting regularly I n Canada two workers are killed every day. In BC in the year 2000, the last year for which we have complete statistics: with the employer and there are indications that both sides are • 156 workers were killed on the job close to reaching an agreement. • 6 workers between the ages of 15 and 24 were killed on the job. Health Services — The contract review committee for Health Services Component (4) met in April to take a look at the ques- • 3,796 workers were permanently disabled on the job. tionnaires on bargaining proposals sent to members before the • 3.4 million workdays are lost annually because of workplace injuries. last round of bargaining in Community Health, Facilities and Paramedical Professional units. With bargaining coming up In the year 2000 over $1 billion was paid in compensation again, the committee is preparing to again solicit members’ benefits. Of course injured workers and their families pay the suggestions for their next contracts. highest price when left to deal with the emotional and economic impact of severe injury, industrial disease or death. Community Social Services — hundreds of BCGEU members in community social service agencies are receiving retroactive Our focus is prevention! payments from their employers after successful reconsideration of their jobs under the job evaluation plan. The payouts are the Workers have the right to return home, healthy and safe at the result of a $1.5 million fund negotiated in the current collective end of each workday. agreement, that was provided for the joint job evaluation com- We need: mittee to use. Payments will be based on a formula that assesses hours worked during the retroactive period which is October • proper and full enforcement of strong health and safety regulations 2002 to march 2004. • education and training for workers to carry out their work Childcare — The union has succeeded in setting up a common tasks in a safe manner table for 5 daycares owned by the same employer. Boat Day Care, • timely and fair compensation benefits and services for Mount Pleasant Grandview Terrace, and Lord Nelson childcare are workers who suffer from a work-related injury or disease. in negotiations jointly and the employer has already agreed the same conditions and terms will apply to all. In 1998 and 1999 the BC NDP government adopted tough standards requiring employers to improve on workplace health and safety, and they put in place strong regulations for workers compensation on behalf of those who are injured on the job. Aboriginal Council BC businesses claim health and safety regulations and workers Update compensation benefit levels make BC businesses uncompetitive, discourage business activity and depress job creation. T he Aboriginal Council held its But legislated standards that are monitored and enforced by the second meeting on April 18 & 19, public service guarantee fair competition in the market place. 2005, and included additional representatives from aboriginal In an interview with the Journal of Commerce, Gordon worksites that did not send participants Campbell recently stated that if elected the Liberals intend to to the first Council meeting. Among the significantly change workers’ compensation levels –that workers worksites represented were Aboriginal Child receive too much. Care Services, Liquor Control Board, Ministries of Attorney This year, the Day of Mourning Theme is “Safe and General, Treaty Negotiations, and Corrections as well as representa- Sustainable Workplaces for All Workers”. In the coming year BC tives from community social services, and community health, activists will have to work to ensure health and safety standards, health services, tree nurseries, village schools and Indian bands. and the workers’ compensation system itself are not dismantled. The council reviewed and approved work done so far by a Day of Mourning observations were organized by labour coun- sub-committee to revise the basic steward course which the cils in New Westminster, and Vancouver, as well as in Council members are overhauling to include aboriginal content. Cranbrook, Kamloops, Williams Lake, Powell River, Quesnel, Work has also started on an aboriginal section for the BCGEU Port Alberni, Nanaimo, Gibsons, Esquimalt, and Prince George. website. The Council also discussed issues arising from CLC Vice President, Marie Clarke Walker attended ceremonies in provincial/federal jurisdiction; aboriginal rights and awareness; Nelson, Trail and Castlegar. and provincial political party platforms and issues. Since 1984, when the Canadian Labour Congress declared April Participating in the council has encouraged some members to get 28th an annual day of mourning and remembrance, Canada and active in other ways. We have two delegates going to the BCGEU more than 100 countries have recognized the day. convention; another member is becoming a steward, and others are showing interest in this role. We also have a young worker interested in becoming involved in this area of activity. 10 The Provincial May 2005 NEWS & VIEWS Community living P rolonged bargaining has surrounded the transfer of commu nity living services to Community Living BC. During several days of talks in April the union team identified relevant terms of component agreements which need to be included in the collective agreement with Community Living BC. The team reached agreement of 15 exclusion requests from CLBC, but CLBC tabled requests for more exclusions and these are under consideration. Unfortunately, Community Living BC and the government have indicated that voluntary departure options will not be available Union negotiators met for long talks with the Public Service Agency and commu- nity social service employers, to negotiate the transfer process as community for members affected by this devolution. Their intended transfer living services are devolved to Community Living BC. Shown here, are Mike Eso date remains July 1, although there are a number of issues (staff), Don Philpott, Component 6, Marny Grafton and Sandi McLean outstanding. . (Component 12) and Helen Lindsay, component 2. Doug Kinna not shown. Work and Labour in Canada; Critical issues By: Andrew Jackson A new book by researcher Andrew Jackson, the Canadian Labour facing immigrants. He also includes reflections on how Congress senior economist examines the global economy, gender unions have dealt with these issues experienced by the workforce. and race inequalities in the workforce, and issues for older workers The book is available from Canadian Scholars’ Press Inc, at in transition to retirement. Jackson has included chapters on the www.cpsi.org/books impact of free trade, unemployment, women at work, and issues BCGEU Area Office Fax List: Secret government documents reveal Victoria HQ Toll-Free: 250-388-4752 1-800-946-0246 plans to privatize Victoria VAO Toll-Free: 250-384-8060 1-800-946-0246 B.C. parks North Island Toll-Free: 250-338-1345 1-800-946-0247 Lower Mainland 604-215-1410 • Plans to build numerous luxury lodges Toll-Free: 1-800-946-0248 in BC Parks by private investors. Fraser Valley 604-882-5032 • Associated development including Toll-Free: 1-800-946-0249 hydro electric generation systems, golf courses, gift shops, restaurants, swim- Kamloops 250-554-1910 ming pools, and tennis courts. Toll-Free: 1-800-946-0250 • Aggressive promotion to real estate Cariboo 250-392-5582 investors in Japan, Europe, and the US Toll-Free: 1-800-946-0251 – who will be sold long-term leases for Okanagan 250-763-9233 permanent developments in BC parks. Toll-Free: 1-800-946-0252 F or nearly 100 years, BC governments of all political leanings have honoured • The Park Act is to be totally rewritten East Kootenay 250-489-4700 our parks as a sacred trust. in 2007. Park management plans will Toll-Free: 1-800-946-0253 be rewritten, amended or ignored to Then, in 2002, the Campbell Liberal West Kootenay 250-354-3966 accommodate development projects. government began to privatize the park Toll-Free: 1-800946-0254 system, including massive budget cuts, new The BCGEU has joined the Valhalla Society Peace River 250-785-0048 user fees, public-private partnerships, and and the Western Canada Wilderness Toll-Free: 1-800-946-0255 private management control. Committee to print a special four page information supplement that is being Prince George 250-562-9012 Nothing more was heard until February printed and distributed throughout B.C. Toll-Free: 1-800-946-0257 2005, when the Public Service Employees for Environmental Ethics leaked secret If you would like more information, check Northwest 250-635-3588 documents exposing plans to dramatically the Western Canada Wilderness Committee Toll-Free: 1-800-946-0259 expand privatization, including: website at www.wildernesscommittee.org. May 2005 The Provincial 11