NBoD Report (June 2-5, 2009)


June 2 – 5, 2009

This report covers the period from the last NBOD meeting.

Regional Council

The Prairie Region Council met March 12th and 13th in Winnipeg and had a full agenda.  Some of the issues discussed were e-learning, Bill C-10, the Activists’ Conference strategic plans and our Prairies website.  Our PRC sub-committees met to review their plans and prepare their update for the leaders meeting.

We held a Leaders Meeting on March 14th to provide the Leaders an opportunity to discuss resolutions to the PSAC National Triennial Convention from the Prairie Region.  I provided an overview of the reports from Constitution Committee, General Resolutions Committee and Finance Committee and Brother Steve Pellerin-Fowlie gave an overview of the Collective Bargaining Committee.  The leaders in the region were encouraged to review the Activists’ Conference report, which contained the action plans of the Regional Committees and Area Councils.  As well, the PRC sub-committees gave an update on the activities and goals planned for the up coming months.  This meeting gave me an opportunity to thank the Leaders of the Prairies for their hard work surrounding the C-10 Campaign.  I would like to thank everyone who attended for the respectful and informative discussion and look forward to meeting again.

In the last period, Sister Heike McRae, the PRC Southern Alberta Geographic Representative resigned from her position on the PRC.  I wish Sister McRae all the best in her future endeavours and would like to thank her for her hard work and dedication as an activist and as part of the Prairie Region Council.  I, as well as all the members of the Prairie Region, would like to welcome Brother Bill Osborne, to the PRC as the new Southern Alberta Geographic Representative.

In April, Phase I of the PSAC Leadership Program was offered to Regional Council members.  I am looking forward to our next meeting, where we can review and debrief on the training.

C-10 Campaign:

The members in the Prairies were actively engaged in the C-10 Campaign with the Area Councils, Regional Women’s Committees, Human Rights Committees and PRC taking the lead.  We held rallies in Calgary and Edmonton and produced a You Tube video in Winnipeg.  In all three provinces, information packages were mailed to our membership, packages were delivered to Members of Parliaments (MPs) as well MPs were lobbied.  We sent over 3000 postcards to Senators, MPs and the Prime Minister.  It should be noted that these postcards were shared with other labour and social justice groups.

Other Activities:

The Winnipeg Area Council is currently involved in the fight back against the privatization of the Winnipeg Water Utility.  We had the President of CUPE Local 500 as a guest speaker, so that we could plan activities in support of this campaign. 

The Prince Albert Area Council was involved in the public forum on the planned Nuclear Energy Plant.  I anticipate the Saskatoon Area Council attending these public forums as well.

Lobby training took place in Edmonton for all members of the Area Council, Human Rights Committee, and Regional Women’s Committee.

The Calgary Area Council and Regional Women’s Committee are in the planning stages of a workshop for recruitment, rejuvenation and retention to our committees.

Social Action:

I am proud to report that the “Tools for Schools” or school supply drive project has expanded across our Region.  This fall we will see the Prince Albert Regional Women’s Committee, Westman Area Council, Winnipeg Regional Women’s Committee and Edmonton Area Council all working with our Locals, various community and sports organizations to ensure that children in inner-city schools have the tools they need to enhance their learning. 

The Prince Albert Area Council, Saskatoon Area Council and Winnipeg Regional Women’s Committee members will don their tool belts to work with the Habitat for Humanity.  Photos of last years participation can be found on our website and of course new photos will be posted. 

International Women’s Day was a busy time for all of our Regional Women’s Committees in light of this government’s treatment of women in our country.  Letters were sent to members, bookmarks and flyers were delivered to Locals and our Sisters attended seminars and community events. 

On the National Day of Mourning, April 28th, many of our committees were involved in events such as leader walks, candle-light vigils or wreath laying. 

All of our Area Councils, Regional Women’s Committees and Human Rights Committees have had their planning meetings for 2009.  Involvement in activities such as the Capital X parade, presentations on internet child exploitation and the Day of Caring are planned.  I look forward to reporting to the NBoD on the continued work of the members in the Prairies.   


I am excited to report that our 2009 Prairies Union School will be taking place May 27 – 31 in Edmonton Alberta.  Our theme is “Building our Union – Yes We Can”, and we will be offering the following five courses: Growing Our Union, Building Equity, Popular Economics, Unionism on Turtle Island and Building a Greener World.  The school gives an opportunity for activist to come together to learn and network.  It also gives an opportunity for our Alliance Facilitators to hone their skills.  To date we have eighty-plus participants registered and have planned a trip to Elk Island where we will be able to connect with our members from the National Component. 

There are several Local Development projects currently in the planning and approval stages. 

The Prairie Region Council Health and Safety Committee is in the process of planning our Regional Health and Safety Conference for the fall.

Regional Activities & National Portfolios

I was very honoured to represent the PSAC as an observer at the Commission on the Status of Women Fifty-Third Session of the United Nations.  I worked with many Union Sisters from around the world who were there to influence changes to the “Agreed Conclusions” on the equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including care-giving in the context of HIV/AIDS.  I was part of the delegation from the Public Service International and worked not only with other International Unions but NGO’s as well.  The PSAC held a press conference on Thursday March 5th at the entrance to the UN building after hearing Canada blatantly lie about what they are doing for Women’s Equality.  Information can be found on the PSAC web site.

During this timeframe the Alberta Federation of Labour held their Convention.  I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Sister Brenda Skayman and Sister Elaine Alt who were elected as the PSAC Alberta Federation of Labour Vice-Presidents. 

For a full overview of my activities please see the attached itinerary.  My National Portfolios are covered in the report of the National President as well as, in the Committee reports to the NBoD.

Respectfully submitted,

Robyn Benson
Regional Executive Vice-President – Prairies