REPORT OF THE REGIONAL EXECUTIVE VICE-PRESIDENT, PRAIRIES
TO THE NATIONAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS
June 19-22, 2018
This report covers the period from the last NBOD meeting in February.
Phoenix Day of Action
On February 28, PSAC held rallies across the country – including here in the Prairies - to mark the second anniversary of this fiasco, and to deliver “Phoenix First Aid” to members who have been burnt by Phoenix.
In Winnipeg, members gathered in front of 280 Broadway in the morning with coffee, donuts and materials for members with information on what to do if they have been affected by Phoenix. We were thankful for the support we received from the MFL, MGEU, CUPE and other allies who braved a very cold morning to show their solidarity.
A rally was also held in Brandon. PSAC members were joined by allies from the Brandon and District Labour Council, MGEU and Brandon Teachers for a rally in front of Conservative MP Larry Maguire's office over the lunch hour. They took the opportunity to speak to the constituency staff and have requested a follow up meeting with the MP.
Over 100 people rallied in front of Service Canada in Regina. Thank you for the solidarity of the larger labour family for joining in.
In Prince Albert, members gathered outside of the Saskatchewan Penitentiary. Mayor Greg Dionne also joined our members to show his solidarity, which was greatly appreciated.
Several Lethbridge members took part in the National Day of Action for Phoenix on February 28th. This included workplace plant-gates and information pickets. Some members display our “Burnt by Phoenix banner” and had others sign postcards to the Federal government demanding they #FixPhoenix.
Many of these events drew positive local media coverage and fed into national stories about the Day of Action.
Young workers have been busy this year! The PSAC Prairie Region held a Young Workers Conference in Edmonton, Alberta from April 13th to April 15th. The Edmonton Young Workers Committee was formed in February and immediately began to work as the host committee to the Prairie Young Workers Conference.
The AEC has approved Young Worker committees in Calgary and Regina and the work is being done to fill the executives and develop action plans for 2018.
The Winnipeg Young Workers’ Committee had their inaugural meeting at the beginning of 2018. They are organizing a BBQ in May for young workers and their families. It is also an opportunity to get contact information for young workers and encourage them to get involved in the committee and other events. The next item on their plan for this year is a Child Care Rally that will be held in the Fall.
Support Our Port
The PSAC Social Justice Fund, PSAC Prairie Region and UCTE covered the cost of the air freight with the help and support of Calm Air, to support an Emergency Food Drive for the community of Churchill initiated by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Alumni Association.
The people of Churchill are still facing a crisis, one year after the rail line was cut off as a result of flooding. With the rail line out of commission, food is often of poor quality and staggeringly expensive. PSAC has been fighting since day one for an immediate fix to the rail line to help get Churchill back on its feet.
With the help of the Hungry Bears Food Bank in Churchill, food supplies were distributed throughout the community, including to the School Breakfast Program, daycares and community members. 30,000 pounds of food supplies were raised for the Churchill community through the Emergency Food Drive.
The thoughts of all members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada are with the families, friends and communities affected by the devastating accident in Saskatchewan. No words can express our sorrow for the lives cut short.
PSAC represents members in Humboldt and in many rural communities across the Prairies. We know that many members have personal connections to players and families and we send our support to all those who directly or indirectly have been affected. We also stand in solidarity with all of the emergency workers, law enforcement officers, nurses, doctors and hospital staff who have done their very difficult jobs in the face of this tragedy.
Hockey is a way of life for families throughout Canada. We are united in our grief, and in our thoughts and concern for all affected. “An injury to one, is an injury to all” is as applicable in this situation as in our workplaces.
Alberta's Bill 30 - An Act to Protect the Health and Well-being of Working Albertans - was passed in December 2017, and takes effect June 1, 2018. As part of the consultation process on the implementation of this Act, PSAC - Prairie Region submitted recommendations in regards to harassment and violence in the workplace and the establishment, training requirements and operations of the joint committees in the workplace.
The Government of Manitoba has initiated a review of the Pension Benefits Act in Manitoba. We have presented the government with a submission in this regards. PSAC stands in favour of strong pensions that protect not only our members under federal and provincial legislation, but all workers.
The Government of Manitoba has also signalled that they will be enacting Bill 29 – Health Sector Bargaining Unit Review. This bill allows the provincial government to appoint a commissioner to determine the number of bargaining units delivering healthcare in the province and order representation votes to reduce the number of collective agreements from approximately 180 to 7. The commissioner’s decision are final with no right of appeal. Currently PSAC represents UVAE members at Deer Lodge Center. No further details of how the process will work and/or which unions will be on each of the ballots.
International Women’s Day
Members of the committee were in attendance to support the PSAC Lethbridge Regional Women’s Committee event, The Lethbridge Living Library. This event was in recognition of the second anniversary of the Women’s March on Washington and solidarity events in Canada. The Lethbridge Living Library included various organizations (including PSAC) and speakers from within their community who serve the principles of human rights, social justice, equality and compassion.
Winnipeg Women’s Committee representatives attended the IWD Breakfast hosted by the Manitoba Federation of Labour. In addition, the Co-Chair attended Domestic Violence Workshops and workshops with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission for IWD.
The Edmonton Regional Women’s Committee held a dinner and then went to Audrey’s Book Store to celebrate women authors where they each read a passage from their book which had themes around Indigenous Youth struggles, sexual abuse and exploitation and marriage struggles. After each author read a passage they discussed the research they did in order to write this book. Some familiar and startling statistics were shared about Indigenous peoples’ struggles and intergenerational trauma.
The Calgary RWC has partnered with the Women’s Centre of Calgary and other unions (UFCW, CUPE and UNA) for a number of years for the IWD Potluck Supper. This year 315 individuals registered for the event. The Calgary Regional Women’s Committee contributed to the supper by donating door prizes, contributing to the food for the event, and by operating the Wheel of Questions and awarding prizes to those giving correct answers. This year we were also pleased to be able to give an honorarium to the performer doing the treaty land acknowledgement and blessing song at the beginning of the evening.
On May 8, the Sask. Labour Relations Board issued a certificate to PSAC for veterinary residents and clinical interns at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon. The members will be part of DCL Local 40004 at the University of Saskatchewan. Negotiations will commence shortly.
Negotiations are ongoing at the Centre for Aboriginal Human Resource Development in Winnipeg. We believe our members deserve a fair contract that recognizes their work, regardless of which unit of the organization they belong to.
The Royal Canadian Mint - Winnipeg Protective Services Officers Collective Agreement expired on December 31, 2017. Our team is in place and ready to commence bargaining.
The collective agreement at Regina Airport expires Jun 30, 2018. Our team is working on finalizing the proposals.
Negotiations continue at the Calgary Airport. The employer is proposing concessions this round and the team is committed to no concessions.
Firefighters at the Edmonton Airport have ratified a tentative agreement as of May 8 with no concessions.
Employees of Pro-Tec at the Saskatoon Airport have ratified a tentative agreement as of April 17.
Negotiations for Post Doctorate workers continue at the University of Saskatchewan. As of this date the employer has proposed an unprecedented wage freeze, consistent with the unhealthy labour environment in Saskatchewan.
Bargaining is still ongoing for DCL Local 40004 at Casino Regina. The provincial government is in negotiations with several unions at this time and is looking for savings in this round of negotiations. We will stand strong to deliver a fair contract for our members.
Negotiations continue for the UVAE members at Deer Lodge Centre in Winnipeg.
First contract negotiations for the Research Associates/Assistants Unit is underway at the University of Winnipeg, and the Academic Capacity Unit is in negotiations for its second contract.