Alec Goertzen PRC Report (Oct. 2013)

Report of the Calgary Area Council Rep to the Prairie Region Council submitted for the October 2013 meeting. This report covers the period from the last PRC meeting.

Alec Goertzen
Calgary Area Council Rep
Prairie Region Council October 2013

Brothers and Sisters of the PRC, this reporting is for the period: April – Sept 2013

Regional Committees –

Health & Safety: I was proud to be attend as a delegate as well as to service on the General Resolutions Committee of the National H&S in Montreal Apr 12 – 14th . The theme was “Mental Health at Work – We Are All Affected”, and was certainly a good followup to our own Regional Conference from November 2012 on the same subject matter. It’s a wakeup call that we must continue to ensure prevention laws and principles are enforced in the workplace. Workers need to play a greater role in the enforcement of health and safety laws and policies as safety inspectors are being cut back and employers are reducing their education and prevention funding. A complete report, with attachments of presentations and handouts, is posted on PSAC website.

In addition, the Regional H&S committee continued with conference call to move on developing a communication tool to members thru the Prairie Newsletter, as well as participating in the H&S training modules.

With a well deserved retirement opportunity, Br. Bruce Campbell left his role as H&S Representative for our region. I’m sure you will join me in congratulating and wishing Br. Campbell all the very best.

Other activities –

Calgary Flood Relief – Calgary and outlying communities in Southern Alberta experienced heavy rainfall that triggered catastrophic flooding described by the provincial government as the worst in Alberta’s history. Initiated by the REVP, I participated in a conference call with other Alberta PRC reps on how we would respond to our members and the community with support. A call for donations was made to our members wanting to help, and with the support of the Social Justice Fund our members provided assistance to the Calgary Drop In Center, and the Stoney Nakoda First Nations.

Conservative Convention – in mid-June, I participated with other Alberta PRC Rep’s to develop an action plan for the upcoming event while the Convention was originally scheduled for late June. However, with the Alberta flood forced this event to be rescheduled into October. In August, the discussions were restarted and response going forward is to have a rally close to the BMO Center (convention location); plans are to invite and include many of our affiliates in the city and outlying areas.

GlobalFest – this still is the largest venue for exposure of our committees in the city. This year, we had record numbers of the general public visiting our booth (well over 700 people), and were able to get our message of We Are All Affected out and many hearing it for the first time. This was encouraging as these people were able to respond with their own experiences of what ways the government workforce reductions are putting them through.

Minister Jason Kenney was onsite attending as a guest for the citizenship ceremony. Calgary Regional Rep Dolly Ablitt and myself approached him with our questions and concerns about the recent forced vote against the FB members trying to negotiate a fair contract, and the refusal of TBS to participate in the bargaining process. While he was not able to directly action our concerns, he did close our conversation with an interest to look into the matter. Clearly he was of ‘split’ mind for any sort of decision he could give us.

Members Celebration – the CAC took on another plan to celebrate with our members in having an evening in labor history. They hosted Juno nominated artist, storytelling thru song Maria Dunn. Her performance was the video ballad GWG: Piece by Piece, a musical multimedia piece depicting the experiences of immigrant women who work in Edmonton’s GWG clothing factory over its 93 year history. The telling of these stories provides important lessons particularly the current generation of members of the labor movement and young people. It was entertaining and clearly emotionally moving evening.

Respectively submitted,

Br. Alec Goertzen