Winnipeg Area Council
Annual Chair’s Report, AGM, May 3, 2017
Sisters, Brothers and Friends,
On behalf of the Area Council I would like to thank each and every one of you who participated in making last year a very productive year with your Area Council.
This last term, the Area Council met 10 times; that’s more than any other year as far as I’ve been attending area council meetings. I am proud to report that every meeting was a success and It couldn’t have been done without your participation.
Early in the year, our activists contacted their MPs voicing our concerns about negotiating our contracts, our banked sick leave and the insulting offer of 0.5 % wage adjustment increment. Interestingly, it was noted that conservative MPs were trying to show they wanted to listen to our union now and that they are a better choice for Public Service Workers than the Liberal Government.
For the Manitoba Provincial Election, we planned a Mail-Out letter and information. It was paid by REVP’s political action fund and all was done by Canada Post, as Manitoba has strict communication requirements that we had to meet. It seemed to be a good idea, unfortunately many members reported not receiving a letter. We also planned an all candidate forum, but had to be cancelled last minute as we only had two parties willing to participate after two other parties cancelled, and the Tories never responded as usual.
The Area Council participated in the 2016 May Day march, and it was a great show with PSAC flags and Brother Frank Janz’s drum. The exciting part is, we’re noticing more and more PSAC members participating all the time.
In Early June, the Area Council supported the Winnipeg Human Rights Committee, and participated with the annual Winnipeg Pride Parade. Again, we see more and more annual participation of PSAC members at such events.
As the Public Service Week was boycotted by PSAC again last year, we promoted a National Day of Solidarity – on June 8 - asking members to step out of work all at the same time (Lunch), to show their support for bargaining teams. We also joined a Rally which was led by the Prairies A/REVP – Brother Frank Janz – on Tuesday June 14, in Winnipeg Downtown. The Rally started at the Legislative building, and walked down Broadway ending at train station. The BBQ lunch was donated by Brother Janz to all participants. This was a powerful message of solidarity and respect for public services.
The Area Council also volunteered for the first time with the Manitoba Marathon on June 19. We greeted participants at the start line and directed traffic. This was a great opportunity for us to be visible in the community. We are looking forward to doing it again this year and sponsoring a water station, this time with a larger number of activists hopefully.
On Saturday, June 25th, the Area Council volunteered with the Human Rights Committee at the Forks to celebrate National Aboriginal Day. Many people stopped by the PSAC tent to get swags and write their wishes on “The Grandparent Tree”. We just needed to have more swags to give away besides the few prizes we entered participants in draws for.
In July, the Area Council, Human Rights and Women committee’s activists joined many other unions at the first ever Steinbach Pride March for Equality. It was an eye opener to see the support this parade received from local citizens and neighboring communities, despite the conservative politicians’ boycotting the event.
On September 1st 2016, Brother Greg Ballendine co-chaired – along with Sister Gloria Kelly – a Tri-Committee meeting. The meeting was very positive and productive, as it was decided to be vigilant when timing some of our events not to conflict with one another. The three Bodies looked at their common goals to better achieve it jointly with as little money as possible. Ideas were discussed on how to better mobilize and engage more members especially younger activists.
The September annual Labour Day event took a place at Central Park after the march. This is a huge park; we ran out of swags and freezies in no time. It was great to see PSAC members engaging with guests and handing out freezies, balloons, psac tatoos, etc...
The Area Council’s October meeting resulted in electing Brother Greg Ballendine as our new PRC Rep. Congratulations to Brother Ballendine. Also, I’d like to express our gratitude to Brother Matt Tijani for serving as our PRC Rep over the last few years.
It was great to be able to observe Remembrance Day this year. Brother Frank Janz laid a wreath on the Area Council’s behalf, at the Fort Garry Horse Armory on McGregor Street.
Again, I would like to thank Brother Janz for his leadership in entering the Winnipeg Area Council at the annual Santa Claus Parade, which took place on Saturday November 12. The Float, decorations, face painting, and music were amazing. I can’t wait to do it again this year.
One disappointment I wanted to express though that we couldn’t access any fund on time to support other union’s (University of Manitoba Faculty Association) lengthy strike. We do need to have a Strike Emergency Fund in place to use in support of other union’s legal strike action in the province, so we can support and offer coffee/donuts to sisters and brothers on the picket line.
During the Christmas season, activists in the Winnipeg area volunteered at the Siloam Mission. Thank you Sister Sheilagh Hanson and Brother Frank Janz for taking the lead and organizing all of the volunteer activities, dates, and calendar.
I would also like to proudly report that two out of the three Area Council nominations to receive the Prairie Voice Awards at the Triennial convention won the award. Another Winnipeg activist, who won a Prairie Voice Award as well, I partly contributed in recommending, and nominating with the Winnipeg Women’s Committee.
Another disappointment I must report, is the National Area Council Presidents’ Conference-Call did not take place again this past year. This is supposed to happen once a year to fulfill a resolution which was passed years ago.
At last, I would like to thank each and every union activist for participating in the Winnipeg Area Council’s events/meetings. I hope you continue to support the Winnipeg Area Council, as I plan to re-offer chairing the Council this AGM . I would like to ask for your support in getting a delegate status to the 2018 PSAC National Triennial Convention to continue representing and defending the Winnipeg Area Council’s interest on the convention floor.
In Solidarity and Respect,