Minutes from the February 2016 Prairie Region Council meeting
Marianne Hladun, Regional Executive Vice-President (REVP) Prairies
Sam Akinsanya, Racially Visible Persons Rep
Nathaniel Angus-Jackman, Young Workers Rep
Satinder Bains, Regina Area Council Rep
Shannon Blum, Prince Albert Area Council Rep
Deanna Getz, Southern Saskatchewan Rep
Kim Haynes, Persons with Disabilities (PWD) Rep
Timothy Hunt, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered (GLBT) Persons Rep
Janette Husak, Aboriginal Peoples Rep
Frank Janz, Alternate REVP Prairies
Glen Johnston, Westman Area Council Rep
Gloria Kelly, A/Regional Women’s Committees (RWC) Rep
Deb Kosteniuk, Southern Alberta Geographical Rep
Gregory Krokosh, Lethbridge & District Area Council Rep
Michelle Lang, Directly Chartered Locals (DCL) Rep
Ben Lemon, Edmonton Area Council Rep
Gus Mardli, South-East Manitoba Geographical Rep
Jackie Nettleton, Saskatoon Area Council Rep
Murray Pruden, Northern Alberta Geographical Rep
Matt Tijani, Winnipeg Area Council Rep
Matthew Brett, Regional Political Communications Officer – Prairies
Alison Davis, Assistant to REVP – Prairies
Alec Goertzen, Calgary Area Council Rep
Chad Kemery, Separate Employer Locals Rep
Michael Weisgerber, North-West Manitoba Geographical Rep
Melanie Markling, Northern Saskatchewan Rep
1. Call to Order:
The meeting was called to order by Sister Marianne Hladun at 9:09 a.m. Sister Shannon Blum was sworn in.
2. Adoption of Agenda
The agenda was adopted.
3. Hours of Session
The hours of session were adopted.
4. Opening Remarks
Sister Marianne Hladun welcomed and introduced new PRC member Sr. Shannon Blum as the Prince Albert Area Council rep and Sr. Gloria Kelly as the interim Regional Women’s Committee Rep covering while Sr. Nancy Johnson is on term at the Saskatoon Regional Office (until end of June 2016). Matthew Brett was also introduced as the term Political Communications Officer while Br. Jeffrey Vallis is on leave. Question was raised about members continuing in union positions while acting in term positions in Regional Offices as this has been applied inconsistently within the region.
Action: Sr. Hladun to seek clarification from Sr. Benson
She advises that the PSAC Harassment Policy is in place for the duration of the meeting and Sister Deb Kosteniuk will be the Harassment Coordinator. The Scent Policy is in effect and the meeting is being recorded but will not be released or posted, it is for internal use only.
5. Approval of Council Reports
There is a requirement in the PRC By-Laws for all Representatives to submit a report. The reports are attached as they are received.
The reports submitted were circulated and approved by the Council and can be found on the Prairies website
- Traveled to Bangladesh with the Social Justice Fund, it was inspiring to see their organizers continue to work even though their lives are at risk. Br. Bob Kingston, Agriculture Union also attended.
- Thank you to Sr. Deanna Getz.
- Br. Bains, Br. Gilchrist and herself volunteered to do calls for lobbying.
- In her report she mentioned she would send her newsletter to the other Geo Reps and it is coming.
- Attended lobbying training and attended the last Area Council meeting.
- Br. Mardli asked for more info on paragraph two of the report. Sr. Lang explained that there was an arbitration that was won but PSAC did not know about it.
- At last Winnipeg HRC meeting there was a discussion of creating a sub-committee of RAPC.
- Br. Hunt asked if a sub-committee is kind of redundant and is there not a requirement to have three Components/DCL’s in support of establishing a RAPC. Sr. Hladun responded that you do need three to formally establish a RAPC but if it is established then the HRC no longer will deal with Aboriginal issues. There needs to be capacity to have a Circle and if there is not, then a sub-committee makes sense. Br. Hunt did not think it should be called a RAPC because it is a misnomer. Sr. Hladun suggested that Br. Mardli, Sr. Husak and herself should have a further discussion. Br. Pruden shared that this topic came up at Unionism on Turtle Island and that Aboriginal members should be asked first what they want and see how they would like to participate, it should not be dictated.
- The Saskatoon & District Labour Council held their AGM last week and they acknowledged the Area Council’s participation in the Summer Snack Program.
- Working with the Edmonton Regional Office on the lobbying campaign. The goal is fifteen to twenty people and the training starts next week.
Rep reports are found at Appendix A.
6. Committee Reports
Committee report found at Appendix B.
Committee report found at Appendix B.
Action: correct spelling of Matt Tijani’s name in the report.
Action: follow up on visual inventory with Sr. Lisa Garnier
Action: Sr. Davis to send out PRC contact information list
Action: follow up with Sr. Garnier on email tree information
Committee report found at Appendix B.
The committee selected Sr. Kim Haynes as the interim Chair. The committee would like Revenue to be called Rebate. Sr. Hladun asked the committee to let her know how they would like reports to be formatted and to confirm which reports they would like provided.
The January 1 – December 31, 2015 Income Statement was presented and can be found at Appendix C.
No written report submitted.
Health & Safety Committee
No report submitted.
7. Agenda Items
- (a) A/REVP Duties – submitted by Br. Gus Mardli
Br.Mardli asked about the role of the Alternate REVP when the REVP is away specifically when Sr. Hladun was in Bangladesh. The Regional By-Laws Section 6 sub-section 2 state that the Alternate has a role. He would like clarification on what are the Alternate’s duties. He knows of members who are considering sending resolutions to dissolve the PRC.
Sr. Hladun says that when the REVP is away, the Alternate does not assume the position in the interim and when she was in Bangladesh, she was available by email daily as per the email sent to PRC. When Sr. Baldwin was on leave, Sr. Benson was responsible for the Atlantic Region and when Sr. Docherty was away, Br. Aylward was responsible for the North. She advised that the only time the Alternate assumes REVP activities is if the position becomes vacant and that there is an XO that clarifies.
Br. Janz says that when he ran for the position that he thought the duties were in the By-Laws. Br. Krokosh advised that the document provided is not an XO but rather a memo. He would like to know if the Alternate duties in the PRC Handbook have been ruled out of order. If not, they should be reviewed again so that National can rule them out of order if they are. Sr. Hladun advised that all regional bylaws were reviewed by HQ before the regional conventions and nothing was identified as out of order.
Sr, Hladun also advised that this discussion took place when the PRC Handbook was initially developed and PRC did not provide any specific duties they would like to see assigned to the Alternate. She also advised that at the September 2014 PRC meeting, she put forward that the Alternate REVP should be assigned as the Chair of the PRC Finance Committee and it was a PRC decision that the Finance Committee should get to select their chair.
Br. Pruden recommends that Sr. Hladun put a practice forward in good faith as the Alternate is the REVP’s understudy and should know what is going on. He asked if she will and she advised she would.
Action: Get copy of XO issued by Sr. Nycole Turmel regarding Alternate’s
Action: Get clarification on what exactly an XO is
(b) Webinar Topics – submitted by Sr. Marianne Hladun
Sr. Hladun advised she would like to restart ‘Webinar Wednesdays” which were previously held on the second Wednesday of every month. Previous topics included childcare and writing letters to the editor.
The PRC suggested the following as possible future topics:
e-learning and intro to the website
your contract is more than just your pay scale
occupational health & safety – what are your rights?
where do you fit in the structure – mobilizing members
what it takes to be a shop steward
how to plan an event
chemical sensitivity in the workplace
your rights as a member
members with disabilities and ergonomics
I’m a term – do I have rights?
bullying and harassment – what’s the difference?
cultural identity and respect in the workplace
understanding the structure of PSAC
duty to accommodate and return to work
If you know of a speaker for any of the topics, please let Br. Matthew Brett know. Webinars will likely start in April and a schedule will be put together. None will be scheduled in July or August.
- (c) Provincial Election, Sask. – submitted by Sr. Marianne Hladun
The election will be held April 4, 2016. There are two PSAC members running and one retired member. There are no financial restrictions and will look at making donations. The newsletter is being finalized for the mail out by the Area Council.
- (d) Provincial Election, Manitoba – submitted by Sr. Marianne Hladun
The election will be held on April 19, 2016. There are lots of rules regarding spending and there is a $5000 limit. We are trying to clarify the definition on communication and we can’t fund partisan activities. There are plans for a mail out in Winnipeg and Brandon and the material will be ready by March 14th.
Telephone town halls are being planned for both provinces.
- (e) Regional H&S Committee (as mandated by PSAC Convention) – submitted by Sr. Marianne Hladun
The PRC discussed how to meet the mandate of Resolution GEN–50 from the PSAC National Convention as there was no clear direction given on how to form the committee.
The PRC Health & Safety Committee drafted and presented a working document to use as a starting point for discussion.
The following motion was approved by show of hands:
The Regional Health Committee be compromised of the Prairie Region Council Health & Safety members.
Mover: Sr. Michelle Lang
Seconder: Br. Greg Krokosh
- (f) PRC reports, Deadline and content – submitted by Sr. Marianne Hladun
A reminder for the new Reps on Council that there is a requirement to submit rep reports and they should reflect the activities of the position.
- National Lobby Campaign – submitted by Sr. Marianne Hladun
Sr.Hladun said that the focus needs to be on lobbying and this will be further discussed at the upcoming NBoD meeting.
The PRC discussed the difficulty of building capacity and the concern that current activists are getting burnt out. It was suggested that a word besides lobbying be used as that can be intimidating for members and to not say that lobbying is difficult. Sr. Hladun said that at no point since regionalization have we gone to the membership to see if we meet their needs. She suggests that it is time to do a membership survey and ask the questions. The information collected could assist in determining how to move forward and to engage the membership.
- (g) Organizing Update – submitted by Sr. Marianne Hladun
There is no permanent organizer position in the Prairies. The current term organizer is in Ontario on a term, so we may have to re-staff. The process for an organizing lead is: when the organizer receives a lead they have a discussion with the person who called to get all the information. A proposal is then put together and sent to the Director of Regional Office Branch, the REVP and the Regional Coordinator. They have a discussion and decide if it makes sense to move forward. If you have any leads, please let Sr. Hladun know.
Currently, the University of Saskatchewan drive is done. There will be a hearing March 21 & 22, 2016 regarding the post-docs after which the ballots already cast will be counted.
- (h) Collective Bargaining Update – submitted by Sr. Marianne Hladun
Everyone should be following the website as that is where the most current info will be found. The honeymoon with the liberal government is over and it’s clear they have put the same proposals on the table.
Br. Bob Campbell has met with CRA to try get CRA/UTE bargaining dates and the Royal Canadian Mint just ratified a contract where sick leave was taken off the table.
There are plans to hold multi-local meetings again after March.
There are no plans for a rally on Parliament Hill at this time. That would need to be decided at the NSCC and they are having those discussions.
- (i) Local Development Program – submitted Sr. Marianne Hladun
The objective of the Local Development program is to look at Locals where they may be isolated and may need support, there is a new executive or perhaps difficulties within the Local. The request should be made to the Regional Rep responsible for the local who will bring the proposal to the REVP and Regional Coordinator. The Regional Rep does an analysis and if it’s within the program guidelines, there will be a discussion with the Local and Component (if applicable) determine the cost share. HQ is working on a booklet about local development.
- (j) Member Mobilization/Recruitment Strategy (continuation of discussion from Nov. 2015 PRC meeting) – submitted by Sr. Marianne Hladun
Sr. Hladun suggested that a phone survey with the membership may be useful. She will have some costing to the Finance Committee by their April meeting, so they can put a recommendation forward to the Council.
The PRC, based on the Communications Committee recommendation, chose the 2017 Prairies Convention theme ‘Celebrating our history, inspiring our future’
- Potential Speakers
Ideas proposed were: Dr. Leigh Quesnel, the Blaikie’s (father or son), Robyn Benson, a speaker on mental illness, a panel that represents past, present and future. PRC will send additional ideas to Matthew Brett.
- Host Committee
Brother Janz will chair the host committee and Br. Angus-Jackman and Br. Tijani will also be part of the committee. A call out will need to go out to the members for more volunteers
9. Roundtable Discussion
Sr. Kelly asked for information on the new Executive Director position. Sr. Hladun advised that it is Jennifer Howard and she will be starting in early March. She will work with the National President on administrative and management functions in the Executive Office and is a new position.
Br. Mardli asked if there will be funds for the People’s Social Forum. Sr. Hladun advises that a proposal should be sent to the PRC Finance Committee for a recommendation and the PRC would then vote on it.
Sr. Kosteniuk asked if there is any idea when Convention Committees will be set up. Sr. Hladun advised that she will send out an email asking the PRC to identify their committee preference and the final appointments will be done at the November PRC meeting.
Br. Pruden asked if the November 2016 meeting will be moved up. Sr. Hladun advises that October and November dates were put forward at the last PRC meeting and Council selected November. Br. Pruden asked if the observers at the meeting can share what they thought. Sr. Hladun advise that observers have no voice or vote so that would need to happen after adjournment.
Br. Johnston asked that PRC members send in resolution ideas in advance so the committee can work on it. Sr. Hladun encourages PRC to ask other PRC members for assistance when drafting resolutions. The next meeting will be very busy as all resolutions will require recorded votes.
Order of the Day – Saturday, February 20, 2016 – Kent Peterson, SFL Strategic Advisor/Communication Officer
Meeting adjourned at 4:16 p.m.