Minutes of Atlantic Regional Council, October 2013

Jeannie Baldwin, REVP Atlantic
Katie Murphy-Langille, EA to the REVP
Cathy Murphy, Regional Coordinator
Darlene Bembridge, Provincial Director – NB
André Beaulieu, Director for Young Workers
Sandy Cake, Director for GLBT Members
Dina Crawley, Director for Racially Visible Members
Chris Di Liberatore, Provincial Director – NS
Shanny Doucet, Director for Francophone Members
Angela Decker, Director for Womens, NL
Rhonda Doyle-LeBlanc, Director for Womens, Maritimes
Anne Fagan-Wood, Director for Members with Disabilities
Dawn Hardy, Provincial Director – PE
Jim Hondas, Provincial Director – NB
Jody LaPierre, Provincial Director – PE
Robert Lewis, Director for Non-Treasury Board/Separate Employer – NL
Brian Oldford, Director for Non-Treasury Boad/Separate Employer – Maritimes
Lori Walton, Provincial Director – NS

Sue-Ann Sullivan, Provincial Director – NL
Charlene Vidito-Milne, Director for Aboriginal Members

Robyn Benson, PSAC National President
Debi Buell, NVP Charlottetown – Union of Veterans Affairs Employees
Debbie Kelly, RVP NS – Union of Solicitor General Employees
Michelle Bradley, RVP NB – Union of Veterans Affairs Employees
Rick Cormier, RVP Western Atlantic – Agriculture Union
Helen Zebedee, RVP – National Health Union

1. Hours of Atlantic Council Meeting
The REVP stated the hours of session as follows:
Saturday, October 19th 9 a.m – 5 p.m
Sunday, October 20th 9 a.m – 12 p.m

2.  Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 9:00am on October 19, 2013 with Jeannie Baldwin, REVP Atlantic Region in the chair and the above identified Council Directors, Guests and Alliance Staff in attendance.

3. Moment of Silence
A moment of silence was held in memory of our union brothers and sisters who passed away since the last Council Meeting. The following names were read into the minutes:

    •    90006 UTE Peter Turner and Eunice Trainor
    •    UTE 80003 Rodney Lawrence
    •    LUMUN Kate Bride
    •    Dr. Burnley ”Rocky”Jones, social activist on matters of human rights, race & poverty

4. Statement on Harassment
Sister Shanny Doucet and Sister Dina Crawley read aloud the PSAC Statement on Harassment.  Sister Cathy Murphy has been identified as the harassment coordinator.

5. Adoption of the Agenda
The agenda was reviewed.

Motion to adopt agenda.
Sister Anne Fagan-Wood/Brother Brian Oldford

6. Adoption of Previous Minutes
Review of the previous minutes from February 9-10, 2013

Motion to accept the minutes.
Sister Angela Decker/Sister Lori Walton

Review of the teleconference minutes from August 20, 2013.

Motion to accept the minutes.
Sister Rhonda Doyle LeBlanc/Sister Lori Walton

7. Opening Remarks
REVP Jeannie Baldwin welcomed the Guests and Regional Council Directors. She also apologized for the slight delay in the commencement of the meeting.

REVP made note that the day prior was Persons Day (October 18th) when women were declared a “person”!

Staffing Update:
Sister Cathy Murphy, Regional Coordinator will be retiring from the Alliance on December 2013 and a staffing position will be underway shortly.

Sister Lise Thibodeau, REO has taken on another journey and therfore the position of Regional Education Officer will be staffed shortly, with the REO working out of the Halifax Regional Office.

Brother Dave Merrigan is currently an Acting Rep in the Halifax Regional Office as Brother Alex Stuit has taken on the position of Regional Coordinator in the North.

Sister Corina Harding has accepted the position as administrative assistant in the St.John’s Office but will carry out her term as an Acting Rep for the meantime.

Brother Bill Walsh and Sister Melissa Hyde are currently in acting assignments out of the PSAC St.John’s Regional Office and have therefor resigned their positions as Regional Council Directors.

Sister Sue Ann Sullivan had accepted the position as Provincial Director for NL a few months ago, however due to other commitments has since stepped down.

An election to fill the two vacant positions for NL Provincial Director on the Regional Council will be held in the coming weeks.

Collective Bargaining:
After 30 months of bargaining the TC group signed their agreement on October 18th.

 The TCs have ratified their contract.

CFIA is back to the barganining table in December 2013.

CRA is will be at the table late October 2013.

Canada Post’s Employer is coming after their defined benefit planned; utilising a divide and concquer tactic. New employees will end up with define contribution plan and current employees with defined benefit.  However, the team remains solid.

FB will continue barganing October 21, 2013.

Directly Chartered Local, LUMUN are presently in negotiations.

The Bargaining Conference call out has been circulated and will take place in Ottawa February 13-16, 2014. The deadline to apply is Nov 30, 2013.

Closure of VAC Offices:
The video that was developed in Sydney NS around the closures of the VAC offices was shown.

Three offices in the Atlantic Region will be closing in February 2014, Charlottetown – PE, Cornerbrook – NL & Sydney – NS.

A March of concern will be held in Sydney NS, on November 9, 2013 to send a clear message to Stephen Harper.

The conference of the Directly Chartered Locals (DCL) took place in Moncton, NB October 11-13, 2013. Brothers Robert Lewis and Brian Oldford attended in their capacity as Regional Council Directors for Non-Treasury Board/Separate Employer.

The Atlantic Health & Safety Conference will take place at the Holiday Inn, Dartmouth November 1-3, 2013.

9.  Council Committee Reports

(a) Human Rights Committee
Sister Sandy Cake read aloud the committees’ report.

Motion to accept the report.
Sister Sandy Cake/Sister Lori Walton

(b) Health, Safety & Environment Committee
Brother Brian Oldford read aloud the committees’ report.

Motion to accept the report.
Brother Brian Oldford/Brother Jim Hondas

(c) Women’s Committee
Sister Rhonda Doyle-LeBLanc read aloud the committees’ report.

Motion to accept the report.
Sister Rhonda Doyle-LeBlanc/Sister Angela Decker

(d) Education Committee
Brother Andre Beaulieu read aloud the committees’ report.

Sister Baldwin advised that courses have been cancelled due to low enrollment.  Directors should encourage their members to attend.  The Regional Offices cannot send corespondence to entire membership. Information on courses and cancellations are sent to the Local Executive and also posted on the psacatlantic.ca website

Motion to accept the report.
Brother Andre Beaulieu/Brother Robert Lewis

(e) Political Action Committee
Sister Dawn Hardy read aloud the committees’ report.

Sister Jeannie noted that PSAC is participating in the Conservative Convention being held in Calgary – there will be a prescence there.

Motion to accept the report.
Sister Dawn Hardy/Brother Chris Di Liberatore

(f) Finance Committee
Sister Darlene Bembridge provided 3 motions from the finance committee, the committees’ report as well as review of the 2014 Atlantic Convention Budget.

    •    The following motions were brought to council:

1. 2012: Move $1,900 from Council Expenses line item to Convention Expense line item

Rationale: To cover off the stale dated cheques that had to be replaced from the 2011 Atlantic Convention.

2. 2013: Move $8,313.50 from Council Expenses line item to Education committee expense line item .

Rationale: The planning meeting of the Education Committee was budgeted for the year 2012 but due to time constraints the meeting did not happen until January 2013.

3. 2013: Move $1,800 from council Expenses line item to Promotional Items.

Rationale: There is a budget amount of $1,000 annually but the full amount was spent in the 2013 year.

Motion to accept the recommendations of the Finance Committee.
Sister Darlene Bembridge/Brother Andre Beaulieu

    •    Sister Darlene Bembridge read aloud the committees’ report.

Motion to accept the report of the Finance Committee.
Sister Darlene Bembridge/Brother Andre Beaulieu

    •    Review of Atlantic Convention Budget
The chair of the finance committee provided an outline of the Convention budget.

Motion to accept the Convention Budget.
Sister Darlene Bembridge/Brother Andre Beaulieu

Address from PSAC National President Robyn Benson

Sister Benson spoke about the concerns with the throne speech, in particular regarding changes to the labour relations act (pay in arrears).

Sister Benson also spoke with regard to the Pledge cards – campaigner training. Sister Benson and Sister Baldwin concluded that for those locals with at least 90% of signed cards returned to the Regional Offices, a congratulatory letter would be signed and sent.

Sister Baldwin also ensued discussion on pledge cards and asked Directors to encourage locals/members to sign cards by different ways of engagement i.e invitation to local AGMs.

A brainstorming session was carried out where directors and guests broke into groups to develop ideas on how to engage the membership in signing pledge cards.

Other group discussion was carried out as highlighted below:

Q: What is working and what is not working and what action needs to happen to make the fightback more effective – especially going forward to the 2015 Election?

Group Feedback:
    •    Publicity in community newspapers
    •    You tube videos
    •    Highlight some negative things that the government has done to Unions.
    •    Continue reiterating the Union’s message to the public.

Sister Baldwin explained the Atlantic’s role with the NS Provincial Election was with the NS Federation of Labour.  PSAC provided a non-partisan letter and there was additional literature provided by the Federation of Labour.

7. Reports – REVP & Directors
Motion to accept reports as a whole.

Sister Angela Decker/Sister Dawn Hardy

8. Atlantic Convention Update

Sister Darlene Bembride provided an update of both the Host Committee & Organizing Committee.

Host Committee:
The committee would like to host a meet and greet with delegates, observers and guests in the museum attached to the Saint John Trade & Convention Centre for the Thursday evening.  The committee would like to hold ‘fun night’ at the Cruise Ship Terminal on the Saturday evening.

Organizing Committee:
The committee went thru the Convention Agenda and discussed time frames to ensure equity groups, DCL and Components had a secure time slot for caucusing.

Included on the Convention agenda will be a Leadership debate for the position of the Atlantic REVP.

The committee discussed in regards to self idetifying for the equity cacuses at the Atlantic Convention that a deadline of 5 pm be put in place as this should keep caucuses on schedule. However, Sister Baldwin advised she would ensure this is in line with what is used for the PSAC National Human Rights Conference.

The committee would like to provide Atlantic Voice awards once again as in the 2011 Convention.  Brother LaPierre advised he would compile a lit of parameters for the award.

The Convention theme was discussed and determined ‘We Shall Not Be Moved’.
Also discussed were some options for guest speakers such as, Cathy Jones or Mark Critch.
The committee also reviewed the Convention Call and had suggested a few changes.

9. Next Atlantic Regional Council Meeting
Sister Baldwin provided the dates possible for the next Council Meeting.  Out of the dates provided, discussion ensued and date and venue determined. Delta Halifax, February 7-9, 2014.

10. CHMA First Responders Training
Sister Lori Walton advised that she has been part of this training within her local.  The training assists members dealing with crisis and assists in bridging the gap to those receiving EAP or otherwise.

11. Blueprint 2020
Sister Walton advised that her component has taken part in blueprint 2020 which falls under treasury board. The purpose is to get members out, engaged and create change. Essentially, small sessions with employees and management come together whereby both sides discuss problems and possible solutions.

Sister Benson advised that PSAC does not support this endeavour; however should Component Presidents want to take part then you will need to honor their decision to participate. Sister Benson advised she will contact the NBoD with PSAC’s position on Blueprint 2020.

12. Pay in Arrears
Sister Robyn Benson touched on this topic earlier in her address to the Regional Council.

13. Staffing
Sister Jeannie advised that Brother Bill Walsh is an Acting Rep in the St.John’s Regional Office.  Sister Melissa Hyde is acting Administrative Assistant in the St.John’s Regional Office.  Both Directors have resigned their positions as Provincial NL Directors on the Regional Council as a result of their extended positions in the PSAC Office.

Sister Cathy Murphy, Regional Coordinator will be retiring from the Alliance in December 2013.  

Sister Lise Thibodeau has left the Alliance and the position of the Regional Education Officer.

14. Other Items

Resignations & Member in Good Standing Status
Sister Jeannie advised that she has received the resignation of Sue Anne Sullivan’s position as Provincial Director for NL. The Alternates for the position have been exhausted, therefor and according to the Atlantic By-Laws, an election for two NL Provincial Directors and their alternates must take place.  
To be a nominee you must be a member in good standing from the NL Region and have a nominator and seconder that was a delegate at Convention. However, only delegates that attended the Convention in the NL caucus and are members in good standing can vote.

Sister Anne-Fagan Wood is off on retirement disability. However, the PSAC National President has made a ruling that Sister Fagan-Wood will remain a member in good standing until Convention has adjourned.  In light of this she will not be re-offering her postion on Council and will continue with her community work.

Sister Sandy Cake has taken Education leave and finished with the employer in September. Sister Cake will attend Convention; however, will not be able to re-offer in her position on Council.

Budget for next cycle 2015-2017

The Finance Committee will meet prior to the next Council Meeting to prepare the budget for the next cycle.

The chair of the Finance Committee advised that there is flexibiltiy in the budget and any ideas for allocating money are welcome.

Discussion ensued as follows:
 – Anti-harassment and safe spaces training would be beneficial for the beginning of the cycle.
– TA or RA group is only 2 year cycle and if we could keep them connected if they could get a sense of something beyond their local union it would be beneficial.
– Funding for Alternate REVP.
– Carryover of Directors Budgets.
– Specific training on the purpose and role of Directors and Regional Council. i.e include Rules of Order etc.

In closing, Sister Baldwin invited guests to say a few words and thanked all for their attendance and commitment to this battle on the Conservative Government.

Meeting adjourned 11:30 a.m