Highlights from PSAC Atlantic Regional Council Meeting

The Atlantic Regional Council met in Halifax on February 9 and 10, 2013.  Despite a major storm, the meeting went ahead and a lot was accomplished.  Here are some highlights.

Increase in weekend course per diem
Based on a recommendation from the Education Committee, the Atlantic Regional Council voted to increase the per diem for PSAC weekend education from $25 to $50.  Council members agreed that this small sum was no longer sufficient to cover basic costs often incurred during weekend courses like lunch, coffee, parking, etc.  The council hopes that this increase will make course attendance less financially prohibitive for union members. 

A brief hiatus for the Atlantic School
The Atlantic Council made a big decision regarding the Atlantic School.  Typically, the school takes place twice in a three year cycle. The last school took place in the summer of 2012.  In this cycle only, the council decided that a second school will not take place.  The decision was made to make staff resources available to work with PSAC members and activists in taking on one of the biggest hurdles we may ever have to face. “Right to work” style legislation is expected to be tabled in Parliament that seeks to eliminate the Rand Formula.  This will put an end to automatic dues check off, the mechanism that guarantees union security.  This struggle will define the labour movement in 2013 and will determine our future as union members.  The Atlantic Council asks for the entire regions cooperation in ratcheting up our We Are All Affected campaign and the struggle to save our union as we know it.

Breaking the Silence
The Atlantic Region will once again participate in the Breaking the Silence tour in Guatemala in Fall 2013.  The Political Action Committee of Council will invite applications in the coming month and select one participant.  Funding for the Atlantic’s ongoing participation in the Breaking the Silence tour, comes from PSAC’s Social Justice Fund.  Atlantic Political Communications Officer Lesley Thompson has also been approved to by her employer to be part of the delegation. 

Labour College of Canada
We are proud to announce that four PSAC members from the Atlantic will be attending CLC Labour College in 2013.  Sister Sue-Anne Sullivan, Sister Dawn Hardy and Brother Roger Duffy will attend with the support of the PSAC.  Isaac Armstrong will also attend with the support of his component, UNE.

Action planning
The morning of February 10th was dedicated to gathering input from Directors that will help shape the 2013 regional fight back plan.  PSAC National President Robyn Benson joined the meeting via telephone, instead of in person as planned, due to the weather.  Robyn spoke about the new National Board of Directors mission statement which expresses the resolve of the board to be united and work tirelessly on behalf of PSAC members.  She also discussed the massive threat we have before us in the form of impending “right-to-work” legislation and the PSAC’s commitment to fight that threat through our We Are All Affected campaign.

Young workers
I am proud to announce a new financial allocation to support the work of young workers in the region.  $12,000 has been allocated for the next two years, which will provide sufficient funds for a Young Workers Retreat in 2014.

Regional Aboriginal Peoples’ Circle in Miramichi
The first ever Atlantic Regional National Aboriginal People’s Circle is ready to start work in the Miramichi.  The Circle intends to mark its launch with a celebration in the coming month. 

National Aboriginal Peoples’ Circle training
I’m thrilled to announce that funds are now available for Atlantic wide NAPC training in 2013. 

PSAC Atlantic Regional Triennial Convention
The Atlantic Region is proud to announce the dates for the next PSAC Atlantic Regional Triennial Convention.  It will take place June 19 to 22, 2014, in Saint John, New Brunswick, at the Saint John Trade and Convention Centre.  Block bookings have already been made at the Hilton and the Delta.

Next meeting of the Atlantic Council
The Atlantic council will meet on October 19 and 20, 2013, in Saint John, New Brunswick at the site of our next convention

On behalf of the Atlantic Council, I would like to thank you for your continued solidarity and activism.  PSAC members have never been under so much pressure.  Our jobs, the services we provide Canadians and our basic rights as workers and union members hang in the balance.  We Are All Affected by this conservative government, and so we must all fight it together.

In solidarity,

Jeannie Baldwin
PSAC Atlantic Regional Executive Vice-President