Brothers and Sisters:
I am pleased to submitmy activity report since the last meeting of the National Board of Directors as the Regional Executive Vice-President, Atlantic. My activities are set out under the following headings: Regionalization, Negotiations/Mobilization and Political Action.
The Atlantic Regional Council met on October 11-14, 2012, at the Atlantica Hotel & Marina Oak Island inChester, NS. The meeting included presentations by PSAC Social Justice Fund’s Louise Casselman and by Marla Leblanc, one of the Atlantic Region’s most recent members to travel to Guatemala with Breaking the Silence. CLC Representative Tony Tracy also gave a presentation on Bill C-377. The next meeting of the Atlantic Council will take place February 7-10, 2013, at the Westin Nova Scotian in Halifax.
Review of the Gander Regional Office
All levels of PSCA leadership with members in Newfoundland and Labrador were consulted in August and September, 2012, as part of the review of the Gander Regional Office. The results were compiled and a report was presented to the Alliance Executive Committee on October 1, 2012. The AEC determined that consolidating resources to the St. John’s RO would allow PSAC Atlantic to provide the best possible service to its membership. The Gander Regional Office officially closed on November 30, 2012, and resources have been relocated to St. John’s.
Launch of CCPA study – Public Disservice: The Impact of Federal Job Cuts in Atlantic Canada
PSAC Atlantic and PIPSC provided financial support to the Nova Scotia chapter of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives to conduct a study on the economic impact of federal cuts to jobs and services throughout the Atlantic Provinces. The report was officially released at a press conference in Halifax on November 27, 2012. I spoke at the press conference on behalf of PSAC. Other spokespeople included Christine Saulnier, Executive Director, CCPA-NS, Yvan Thauvette, National President, UVAE, and Gary Corbett, National President, PIPSC.
Briefings were held with stakeholders in Halifax, NS, on the release date, in St. John’s, NL, on November 30, 2012, and in Moncton, NB, on December 3, 2012.
To broaden the reach of the report even further, PSAC National Vice-President Chris Aylward and Union of Veterans Affairs Employees (UVAE) National President Yvan Thauvette to tour Veterans Affairs Canada’s Regional Office in Sydney on November 29, 2012, to see first hand which services Canada’s veterans stand to lose when the office closes its doors in 2014.
The report finds what many have suspected. Atlantic Canada stands to suffer disproportionately in cuts and in consequences. CCPA-NS calculates that at least 4400 full-time equivalent jobs will be lost by the end of March 2015. While 43% of the cuts will occur in the national capital region, 22% of all the rest of the cuts will be in the Atlantic region — 12% of all estimated job cuts will be in the Atlantic Region. And those job losses are in addition to the jobs that have already been lost, at least 1057 positions as of the end of March 2012.
The report received national media attention, as well as attention from Treasury Board.
Launch of CCPA report – “Globalization, Trade Treaties and the Future of the Atlantic Canadian Fisheries”
PSAC Atlantic assisted in the launch of another CCPA report made possible by funding from PSAC and UEW. Globalization, Trade Treaties and the Future of the Atlantic Canadian Fisheries was launched at a press conference on January 9, 2012, in St. John’s, NL. I spoke at the press conference alongside Scott Sinclair, author and CCPA Senior Research Fellow, myself, Mark Power, National Vice-President, Barb Neis, Principal Investigator, Community-University Research for Recovery Alliance, and Earle McCurdy, President, Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union.
The report describes how new trade treaties, CETA in particular, could undermine the abilityof Canadians to pursue public policies thatcurb domination of the fisheries by largecorporations and help spread the benefits ofthe fishery more widely among independentfishers and coastal communities.
The release of the report garnered national media attention and forced the provincial Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture to hold an impromptu press conference the same day to respond.
The report launch also included a public presentation in St. John’s, NL, on January 9 2012, with over 70 people in attendance, and a briefing in Halifax, NS, on January 11, 2012 with 25 stakeholders and community partners in attendance.
Directly Chartered Local Conference
On November 25, 2012, I attended a DCL conference in Moncton, NB, and led a round-table discussion on the PSAC structure and the power of DCLs within the union democracy. Also discussed was the resolution coming out of the PSAC National Triennial Convention that establishes a committee, 50% of which will be comprised DCL members, to discuss PSAC’s organizing work. Participants chose a member to represent Atlantic DCLs on this committee.
UNDE National President John MacLennan and I traveled twice to Goose Bay, Labrador, to meet with UNDE members who work for Serco and management at Five Wing Goose Bay. The contract Serco held with the base is soon to expire and DND is receiving bids.
Negotiation and Mobilization
An agreement was finally reached in October between the Fredericton International Airport Authority and PSAC on the terms of a Return to Work Protocol that ended the prolonged strike that began on February 13, 2012. Members of UCTE Local 60601 went back to work on Thursday, October, 18, 2012.
St. John’s Airport
85 PSAC members at the St. John’s Airport, UCTE Local 90916, have been on strike since September 11, 2012. They provide operational services, including runway clearing, buildings and equipment upkeep, fire, security and emergency services, as well as administrative and billing services. The union is holding fast to its demand for wage parity with Halifax Stanfield International Airport. The union is also refusing to relinquish existing protections around job security and contracting out. PSAC National President Robyn Benson and Vice-President Chris Aylward will travel to St. John’s on January 31, 2013, to offer support to strikers and apply pressure to the Airport Authority.
Deer Lake Airport
After just five days of negotiations, a tentative agreement was reached on October 24, 2012, with the Deer Lake Regional Airport Authority Inc. PSAC represents 15 members of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE) Local 90945 who provide operational and technical services, including runway clearing, firefighting, electrical and mechanical maintenance of equipment, as well as administrative services, at the airport.
FB Black Friday information Picket
On November 23, 2012, I spoke at the Black Friday rally and information picket organized by CIU at Halifax International Airport. Over 100 people took part including, employees of the Canadian Air Transport Security Agency represented by United Steel Workers local 5319 and two recently laid-off CBSA detector dogs.
Commissionaires win fight for labour standards
On December 18, 2012, PSAC Atlantic was proud to announce a major win for past and present members of PSAC Local 85100 employed by Commissionaires Nova Scotia at Halifax Stanfield International Airport. On December 18 and 19, 2012, payment was issued to 400 former and current commissionaires, and to the estates of 12 deceased, to compensate for lost over-time pay and statutory holidays denied by their employer despite two federal court rulings.
Political and Social Action
Parks Canada is seeking to put the management of Highlands Links, a world-famous golf course, into private hands. Currently, the course is a public resource that employs 22 full time workers, as well as a number of term and student workers. The facility provides millions of dollars worth of economic benefits to the surrounding community. PSAC Atlantic and UNE collaborated on a campaign to stop the privatization of this public asset. It was launch on October 6, 2012, at a community event in Ingonish, NS, where almost 200 people gathered at the Ingonish Fire Hall to send a message to Ottawa. Speakers at the event include Eddie Kennedy, National Vice-President, Union of National Employees, myself, and Mark Eyking, MP for Sydney-Victoria.
On December 15, 2012, 200 residents of Ingonish and surrounding area held a candle light vigil and community walk as part of their continued battle to keep Parks Canada’s Highlands Links golf course public. I had the honour of addressing the crowd alongside local business owner Bob Doucette.
We were please to learn recently that after the completion of the RFP, no successful bidder was found. The process has been put on hold for a year.
Coalition to fight the closure of Parks archeological facility: MP tour and media event
On October 13, 2012, we coordinated a visit by members of Parliament Robert Chisholm and Megan Leslie of Parks Canada’s Regional Archeological Facility in Dartmouth that is slated for closure. The MPs made themselves available to media for comment directly afterwards alongside representatives from labour and the Maritime Aboriginal People’s and Acadian communities. The MPs have backed a coalition spearheaded by PSAC Atlantic that is fighting the closure of this facility. The coalition, consisting of user groups, stakeholders and the union that represents workers who stand to lose their jobs, are calling on the federal government to keep the facility open and the artifacts in the region. The state of the art laboratory was built in 2009 at a cost of $6 million dollars. 17 years remain on a lease that costs $400,000/year. The laboratory houses over 2 million artifacts whose shipment and relocation will also cost dearly.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the membership, PSAC Atlantic Council, RVP/NVP’s, local leadership and staff for their commitment and hard work in the Atlantic Region.
Lastly, you will find enclosed, the details of my activities from October through January.
Respectfully Submitted for your approval,
Regional Executive Vice-President, Atlantic