February 2016 President's Report

I am pleased to submit the following report on my Labour Council work, and on some key issues I wish to bring to your attention.

  • Labour Council Budget for 2016
  • By-Law Amendments
  • Political Action - Meetings with Politicians
  • CLC Labour Council Conference
  • OFL Executive Council

I am pleased to submit the following report on my Labour Council work, and on some key issues I wish to bring to your attention.

Labour Council Budget for 2016
We will spend some time at tonight’s meeting reviewing the budget that your Executive has approved for our Labour Council for 2016. It projects quite a substantial deficit, so even though we are not required to obtain membership approval for it, we want to present it to delegates and explain why we want to spend as much as we’re planning. We want to give our Labour Council the resources to be a vibrant force for change in Waterloo Region, something that our affiliates will value and benefit from. Obviously, we will not be able to continue running high deficits indefinitely, so we will host a conversation with affiliate leadership in the near future to discuss how best to finance the work of our Labour Council.

By-Law Amendments
Tonight we will vote on a package of amendments to our By-Laws that was recommended by our By-Laws and Resolutions Committee in consultation with our CLC representative. We posted their proposed changes to our website in November, and invited delegates to review the proposed changes with their Local leaders, and submit written comments by January 13th. We also fielded comments and questions from delegates at our January 12th membership meeting. Based on the input the Committee received, a few further amendments were proposed. Tonight we will vote on the whole package of changes in a single motion. We will make time available for discussion on the motion, and if delegates wish to suggest amendments to individual sections, they may move amendments to that motion. Ultimately, the vote on the main motion will require support from at least ⅔ of delegates present to pass. Thanks again to Committee members Nathan Core, Dave Eales, and Nancy Hutcheson for their hard work on this project, and to CLC rep Mehdi Kouhestaninejad for all his support.

Political Action - Meetings with Politicians
Our Political Action Chair Lorne Bruce has been busy scheduling meetings with MPs and MPPs to share the Labour Council’s views on several issues. I accompanied Lorne to our first meeting with one of the newly elected Liberal MPs in our region, Raj Saini of Kitchener Centre. We had good discussions about the Canada Pension Plan, health care funding, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). By the time you read this, we will have met with MPs Bardish Chagger and Bryan May. We are also starting a round of meetings with MPPs: with them, we will be discussing employment standards and labour law, and hydro privatization. If you are willing to help Lorne organize these meetings or keep watch on any of our Waterloo Region politicians, please contact Lorne.

CLC Labour Council Conference
1st Vice President Mark Cairns and I just spent a weekend in Toronto at a conference organized by the CLC for Labour Council leaders from across Ontario. We received updates on several campaigns that Labour Councils will be asked to participate in this year, including:

  • the Ontario Health Coalition’s campaign to stop the cuts to hospitals

  • the Keep Hydro Public coalition’s campaign to hold Ontario Liberals to account for privatizing Hydro One and local electrical utilities

  • the OFL’s plan to augment the $15 and Fairness campaign with targeted action in several communities, including Waterloo Region

  • the CLC’s plans to ramp up the CPP and TPP campaigns, and to focus on getting the Canadian government to endorse the ILO’s Decent Work convention

  • the encouragement to Labour Councils to view all their work through a climate change lens, pursuant to the agreements made in Paris at COP21

  • a kit to provide resources to Labour Councils for helping out in the efforts to settle the thousands of Syrian refugees coming to Canada

  • the next phase in the Together Fairness Works campaign

You will hear more from us about many of these issues in the coming months.

OFL Executive Council
I attended the first Executive Council meeting of the Ontario Federation of Labour since we elected three new Officers at the November Convention. Here are some highlights from my point of view:

  • The President’s report is packed as ever with updates on several ongoing OFL campaigns.

  • The OFL posted a surplus for the six-month period from July-December 2015.

  • The OFL building is for sale. This may or may not result in having to move the OFL offices, as the new owner may choose to rent it back to them.

Respectfully submitted,

Marc Xuereb
February 9, 2016


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