NBoD Report (Oct. 5-8, 2010)


Report of the Regional Executive Vice-President, Prairies to the National Board of Directors, submitted for the October 5-8, 2010 meeting. This report covers the period from the last NBOD meeting.


October 5 – 8, 2010

This report covers the period from the last NBOD meeting.

Regional Council

The Prairie Region Council had a conference call August 9 to discuss the pending changes to the Prairies 2011 Convention. Unforeseen circumstances – including space requirements, hotel availability and sharing the same month as the annual Farm Progress Show and grad season – forced us to rethink our original plans and consider major changes.

In consultation with PRC members, we made a collective decision to move Convention from Regina to the Fairmont Winnipeg. Since the Fairmont has hosted our Convention before, we are hoping that it will be an enjoyable experience for everyone.

The new dates for the 2011 Prairies Regional Convention are Friday, June 11, 2011 to Sunday, June 12, 2011. During our PRC meeting, September 23-24, we moved ahead with planning, as the Convention date approaches.

Casino Regina Strike

During the Casino Regina strike this summer, members spent seven weeks on the picket line fighting for a fair and equitable collective agreement. Many of these members had never been on strike before, but the solidarity and enthusiasm of the group was unparalleled.

One of the highlights from the strike was the rally at the Legislative Building. Almost every Union in the Province attended and offered words of encouragement, support and solidarity. Brother Paul Moist, CUPE National President, Brother Larry Hubich, President of the SFL and, of course, Brother John Gordon, our National President, walked the line, spoke to the members and offered words of encouragement and praise. The Casino members had countless supporters, from other PSAC Locals, Unions, friends, family, members of the public and Casino patrons.

After seven weeks, we reached an agreement with SGC and our members returned to work with a new collective agreement that includes improved wages and benefits, mention of family leave and weekday night shift premiums.

Area Outreach

Members met with NDP MP Jim Maloway in Winnipeg to voice their concerns about Bill C-391. They discussed how important the long gun registry is to them for the safety of their communities and families, and also the proven benefits of the registry.Maloway, however, stressed that he has a position on this bill and that he will not be flipping his vote, unlike some of his colleagues. He plans to vote with Hoeppner on the elimination of the registry and will also vote in opposition of the Standing Committee’s report.

Lethbridge Area Council has been working with the Lethbridge Food Bank in recent months on several projects such as a school supply drive and planting vegetables in a community garden at the Lethbridge research station to provide locally grown vegetables to the food bank.

The Edmonton Area Council sponsored a float in the Capital Ex Parade on July 22 in support of protecting and ensuring quality public services. The float was decorated with displays of the services our members provide. Approximately 30 members from various components helped to decorate the float and participate in the parade.

The Edmonton Committees held a Solidarity BBQ on June 19 to promote “Think Public” and to send a strong message to the Government that we are prepared to fight for our jobs, provide quality services and that we expect and demand a fair increase and fair compensation. The event was a huge success and attended by over 900 members.

Calgary Area Council, Regional Women’s Committee and the Human Rights Committee worked with the Calgary and District Labour Council to host the 2nd annual Labour Day BBQ on September 6. The BBQ was a huge success. Brother Alec Goertzen was elected as the Area Council PRC Representative, replacing Brother Daniel Curotte who has left the PSAC.

Empowering Equality

At a recent meeting the Calgary HRC invited a guest speaker from Calgary Handibus, which lead to the Committee’s involvement in the Rides and Rods handibus fundraising event. Our members are assisting in various activities including awareness raising and fund raising.

Our members were present at the Pride Parades and events planned in our Region. We supported Heterophobia, a play during Calgary Pride which aims to engage the community in dialogue about homophobia and The Laramie Project, the true story of the homophobic murder of Matthew Sheppard, during Winnipeg Pride week.

Sisters in Solidarity

Our Sisters were involved in the “No Stone Unturned” fundraising concert in support of missing and murdered women in Manitoba;

Saskatoon hosted our 2010 Regional Women’s Conference under the theme, “Putting Our Passion Into Action”. We had more than 70 delegates attend. We were very pleased to have as guest speakers, “Women and Pensions” – Irene Mathyssen MP – Federal NDP critic for the Status of Women, “Child Care & Women” – Ann McCrorie, Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada Saskatchewan

Representative and “Mobilizing for Change” – Pat Atkinson NDP MLA Saskatoon Nutana. After the panel presentations, the Sisters participated in workshops to put their passion into action on the three issues. Sisters participated in a mock convention including convention committees. Of course, we also signed Bill C-391 postcards, urging NDP MPs to change their vote and keep the gun registry.

The Winnipeg RWC’s annual “Adopt-a-Box” school supply drive has been the biggest success yet. They’ve already received $1225 in donations from Winnipeg Locals, some of which have been using some rather ingenious ways to collect donations. One Local ran a “Pennies for Pencils” campaign over the summer and collected $405.The RWC used the money to purchase 13 boxes of school supplies, including crayons, pencils, markers, erasers, rulers, scribblers, paper, duo-tangs, pencil cases, etc.

On September 24, volunteers from PSAC Winnipeg Locals and the Winnipeg RWC were at the Winnipeg Blue Bombers gates collecting more school supply donations from Bomber fans. All monies raised at the game are donated to the inner-city school lunch programs.

In Calgary, the RWC took the lead on canvassing for donations for the Casino Regina School supply drive and raised several hundred dollars. Sisters in Saskatoon participated in the Walk for Justice, in support of missing and murdered women. They also handed out Think Public material, alongside the members of the Area Council at the Public Service Appreciation Week BBQ on June 18.

Looking Ahead

We’ve received approval from the Social Justice Fund for several anti-poverty initiatives, which will be executed throughout the next year. A few of these projects are: Build the Power of Youth, in support of the Core Neighbourhood Youth Coop in Saskatoon; Project Mobility, a campaign to raise awareness about access to public transportation for persons with disabilities in Calgary; Ma mawi wi chi itata Centre, which provides support to Aboriginal families in the Winnipeg area; Brandon Homelessness Committee, to support low-income or homeless persons in the Brandon area.

Respectfully submitted,

Robyn Benson
Regional Executive Vice-President – Prairies