April 2014 President’s Report

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

  • Urgent All Unions, All-Locals Meeting
  • Upcoming Provincial Election
  • CUPE Book-offs
  • Rally for Unifor Toyota Organizing Drive
  • Better Choices Waterloo Region
  • Living Wage Leaders Program

Urgent All Unions, All Locals Meeting
Last night’s event at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium was a huge success. Almost three hundred people attended and heard a strong message from the OFL about the need to talk to our members about the threat of a Hudak government. Thanks to all of our activists for helping recruit people to attend and for volunteering as table hosts and registration clerks. I repeated our Labour Council’s offer of sending one of our activists to a meeting of any Local that wants support in coming up with a plan to reach all their members, and we already have a few requests from last night. Keep up the work: #StopHudak!

Upcoming Provincial Election
It looks like CUPE is going to book me off full-time for the provincial election, and it looks likely that I will be co-managing Catherine Fife’s campaign. Managing a campaign is full-time plus, but I will make every effort to keep up basic Labour Council responsibilities. One consequence of this is that, if the campaign overlaps with the CLC Convention, I may need to assign my alternate to attend the Convention in my place. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make that decision until the writ is dropped, which according to insiders could be next week, or could be mid-May, or not at all! For this reason, I am suggesting that we name an alternate to attend the CLC Convention in case I cannot go.

CUPE Book-offs
I spent two of my Labour Council days this past month being booked off by my own union, CUPE. On March 25th, I was in Richmond Hill speaking to a conference of CUPE Ontario Library Workers about the municipal elections organizing we have done in Waterloo Region. Last week, on April 1st, I was in Ottawa in meetings of CUPE’s National Political Action Committee, hearing political updates from all ten provinces. The Labour Council will be reimbursed for my lost wages for both days.

Rally for Unifor Toyota Organizing Drive
The Record asked me to write an extra opinion piece last week on why Toyota workers should vote for Unifor to become their union. It was published in Saturday’s paper opposite an anti-union piece by Peter Shawn Taylor. Read it here.

Better Choices Waterloo Region
This week our community coalition to endorse and support progressive candidates will be interviewing five candidates for municipal Councils in Waterloo Region who are asking for a Better Choices endorsement. We’ll be making decisions on them at our Executive meeting next Monday. Later in April, Better Choices will be hosting an evening for candidates interested in our endorsement and individuals and organizations interested in supporting the campaign. This would be a good opportunity for you to bring out your union leadership to hear about the status of this campaign: April 30th, 7pm, at the Unifor Meeting Hall.

On a related note, the Labour Council is recommending a donation to Better Choices’ first endorsed candidate, Cameron Dearlove, at tonight’s membership meeting. If your union is considering donating to municipal or school board candidates, please check to see if they have the Better Choices endorsement before making your decision.

We are still trying to finalize a date for a training session for potential candidates, campaign managers, and union organizers in May or June: we’re trying to avoid the provincial election campaign, which is making the scheduling difficult. I will be calling on unions to send activists to that session when we have a date finalized. To receive updates from Better Choices, sign up for their emails at www.betterchoiceswr.ca or Like or Follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

Living Wage Leaders Program
Now that our Labour Council has agreed (through a motion passed at last month’s meeting) to join this to encourage employers in Waterloo Region to pay a living wage to all their employees, they are asking us to help find ways to fund the program. Our Executive decided to invite Lyndsey Butcher, who is the campaign co-ordinator, to make a presentation to this month’s membership meeting, with the hope that some of our Locals will take the information back to their Executive to consider donating to it. The group already has funding from Mennonite Central Committee, the Mennonite Savings and Credit Union, and both Social Planning Councils.

Respectfully submitted,

Marc Xuereb
April 8, 2014

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