Our National Executive Board met March 21–23, 2016 in Ottawa. These are the highlights of their deliberations and decisions.
The National Executive Board (NEB) observed a minute of silence to reflect upon the loss of members in our CUPE family. Remembered were: Brother Elwin “Sonny” Kalynchuk, Local 474; Brother Leonard Sarnosky, Local 941; Brother Thierry Leroux, Local 5153 (workplace fatality); Brother Claude Davidson, Local 3333 (workplace fatality); Sister Linda Hildebrand, Local 1858; retirees Sister Margaret Churchward, Brother Thomas Osborn, Brother Pierre Thériault; and CUPE Nova Scotia President Brother Mike McNeil. The NEB also remembered victims of the violent attacks in Belgium that morning.
The NEB met with Ed Broadbent and Rick Smith of the Broadbent Institute and discussed the work they have undertaken and their priorities for the coming year, including income inequality and democratic renewal. It was an honour to have Mr. Broadbent’s presence on his 80th birthday, and he was appropriately feted.
NEB Resolution – Electoral Reform
The NEB adopted a strong resolution which commits CUPE to support the introduction of proportional representation for federal elections, develop materials for internal use to explain and promote it, and work with civil society partners to engage in the conversation about democratic reform in Canada. View the full resolution at: http://cupe.ca/neb-resolution-proportional-representation.
The NEB also voted to join the Every Voter Counts Alliance: http://www.everyvotercounts.ca/
Support for Striking Workers
In solidarity with 61 members of the Halifax Typographical Union who have been on strike at the Halifax Herald since January 23, 2016, the NEB approved a donation in the amount of $10,000.
The NEB also approved a donation of $7,000 to seven members of the Nova Scotia Union of Public and Private Employees who have been on strike against Canadian Blood Services in Prince Edward Island for more than six months.
2016 Federal Budget
CUPE economist Toby Sanger joined the NEB on March 23 to provide an overview of the federal budget, which had been introduced the previous day. There was some good news in the budget, including some improvements to Employment Insurance (EI), measures to start combating climate change, investments in infrastructure, and new funding for Canada’s indigenous communities especially on education.
However, there are still significant improvements needed to EI; there was no commitment to expanding the Canada Pension Plan, no commitment on the creation of affordable and accessible child care. And while the Minister pledged in his speech to negotiate a new health accord with the provinces and territories, there is no new money to do so.
CUPE Fightback Fund
The NEB approved a request from SCFP-Québec for financial support in order to fend off an unprecedented attack on the province’s municipal workers, in anticipation of legislation that would undermine the right of these workers and their unions to free and fair negotiations.
A request from CUPE Nova Scotia, for financial support to mount a provincial fightback campaign in response to legislation that removes free collective bargaining in the provincial public service and mandates the terms of a public sector agreements, also received NEB approval.
The NEB approved 15 cost shares for a total of $762,089.46. The NEB also received and approved 14 requests for legal/arbitration costs for $508,933.