I’ll begin by thanking the members who have entrusted me with the privilege of serving on this council. I look forward to being productive, progressive and returning the pride to our region.
The day following another successful Regional Convention, I requested the contact info for the Winnipeg Area Locals from the REVP. At the time of writing this report, that contact info has not yet been provided. I intend to seek improvements as we move forward with communication and have this information available to the council representatives very soon after future conventions have concluded.
The Conservative Government in Manitoba has launched an all out attack on workers, wages and the closure of a few hospitals. Sister Michelle Lang and I attended a public forum a few days before our convention and she had an impact on the room. Most notably, she encouraged those in attendance to support the work the MLA’s were doing by taking some action themselves and not relying on the elected officials to carry the load. I sent an email to my Conservative MLA asking him about the closure of my local hospital and wished him a “One and Done” term in office. I have yet to receive a reply.
On June 27th, I attended a fundraiser for my MP Daniel Blaikie. As I sit on Daniel’s EDA Executive, we organized a small fundraiser which provided community members an opportunity to meet with Daniel and a few MLA’s and discuss topics of interest in Ottawa as well as in our community. Many members in Winnipeg have built good relationships with the MP’s in Winnipeg which has allowed us greater access to lobbying. I hope to expand our lobbyists in the area now, so that we can work to improve our workplaces and our communities.
As an elected member of the NDP Federal Council, I look forward to bringing my experience and hopefully some training opportunities to our members in advance of the next Federal election. The Federal New Democrats will elect a new leader later this Fall and our direction will soon be set before us.
May 3rd, the Winnipeg Area Council(WAC) met. We discussed our plans for our events for this year. While many of our usual events will continue, such as the May Day March, we made improvement by entering a float into this year’s Pride Parade. Once again, A/REVP Frank Janz has shown his carpentry skills and numerous other members helped decorate our fabulous float! Brother Gus Mardli was elected to attend the PSAC National Convention and I was elected as the alternate.
May 6th, a number of members and staff attended the Communities Not Cuts Rally at The Forks. Members from various organizations stood together against provincial budget cuts, legislative changes and for creating a powerful movement to create positive change.
May 16th, I attended the Winnipeg Labor Council(WLC) general meeting. Although we are not affiliated, the WLC allows guests to attend. This is a great opportunity to meet with other activists and learn about the various opportunities for working together with our allies(and for good and welfare afterwards). Over the past few years, we’ve been building solidarity within our two organizations by attending each other’s events. Of note is the 100 year anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike in 2019. Planning is underway for this historic event in labor history.
Throughout the month of May and June, I spent numerous nights and weekends volunteering in the Point Douglas by-election. This has been an NDP stronghold which was eventually won by the NDP.
June 3rd, I attended the Manitoba NDP Provincial Council Meeting. Plans are underway for the upcoming leadership convention later this year. As always, members are encouraged to become members so that our voices are heard and so that we can be included in our democratic processes.
June 7th, the WAC met. Plans were discussed for NPSW week and volunteering with the Manitoba Marathon.
June 14th. The WAC hosted a Member Appreciation BBQ and Burnt by Phoenix rally during NPSW. Although the morning and portion of the rally started with a downpour, we served approximately 100 members. A/REVP Frank Janz led a group of rain soaked members through the streets of Winnipeg getting our message out that thousands of our members have been Burnt by Phoenix. Members enjoyed a BBQ once the sun came out and PSAC National President and I addressed the crowd on issues such as Phoenix and the Liberal Government’s unwillingness to sign a number of our Collective Agreements. Is it any coincidence that our event occurred only hours before the Liberals bowed to the PSAC pressure? Who knows, but we like to think so! A few lessons were learned from this event and we plan to make improvements for 2018!
Speaking of being Burnt by Phoenix…I suffered my first wound from Phoenix. Maybe I should’ve knocked on wood at the rally earlier that day? It’s been almost 2 weeks since I contacted the pay centre and have not received a reply. I emailed MP Scott Brison and my MP Daniel Blaikie. Brison’s office replied that I should direct my email elsewhere despite his asking for Public Servants to contact him directly. Ensuring our members are paid MUST continue to be a priority for the PSAC.
June 18th, Brother Gus Mardli organized numerous members to assist with the Manitoba Marathon. Our members served refreshments to numerous marathoners and once again, continued to show our commitment to our community.
June 20th, I attended to WLC general meeting. Again, opportunities for working together with other activists and increased communication to allow increased participation were discussed.
I’m looking forward to seeing familiar faces at our first meeting of the PRC and getting to know new ones. As I stated in my introduction, I anticipate a productive term and working together to improve our region.