Unifor’s Regional Councils and the Quebec Council are a democratic force for union activism, solidarity, and strength. They are forums of accountability and organizing centres that involve and engage local union activists in the life of the union.
The Atlantic Regional Council held its inaugural meeting April 3-6, 2014 at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax.
Nearly 200 elected delegates, guests, and staff met to strategize about national and local campaigns. Throughout the weekend, local Unifor activists debated resolutions that will shape the work of the union during the next year:
1. Adopt the proposed Atlantic Regional Council Bylaws and refer to the Atlantic Regional Council Executive the matter of possible additional delegate representation as per Article 10 Paragraph 8 for a report at the next Atlantic Council meeting.
2. All Atlantic Regional Locals call, write, lobby and petition the Federal Government in support of the Native Women’s Association of Canada’s demand for national public inquiry and a national action plan to address the issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls in Canada. It is recommended that the Atlantic Regional Council support the Loretta Saunders Scholarship Fund with a $2,500 contribution and I further encourage locals to show their support in any ways or means that they can.
3. It is recommended that the Unifor Atlantic Council actively support the Passenger Rail Campaign. It is further recommended that all Atlantic locals contact their Municipal Councillors and ask them to support, and take forward for adoption, a municipal motion on Passenger Rail. 4. It is recommended that Unifor Atlantic Local Unions carry out the Rights at Work Campaign workplace canvass.
5. It is recommended that we continue to support the CLC’s campaign to expand the CPP. It is further recommended that Atlantic Unifor locals write their Premiers and Finance Ministers to express their support for an expanded CPP thus calling on them to stand up for retirement security for all.
6. It is recommended that the Atlantic Unifor Region be a voice of workers’ safety and health by advocating for stronger health and safety laws, practices and education whether it is the offshore of Newfoundland and Labrador, the shipyard, mill, hospital or nursing home shop floor or on our rails, oceans and roads.
7. It is recommended that Atlantic Regional Council of Unifor support the Good Jobs Summit and organize around the summit themes in Atlantic Canada.
8. It is recommended that Unifor Atlantic Council express its support for the concept of a national energy and environmental strategy for Canada.
9. It is recommended that Unifor will work to ensure that labour rights and a progressive agenda are advanced in the New Brunswick election campaign this summer.
10. It is recommended that we join with our allies, including health care coalitions and unions, to play a leading role in defending Canada’s health care system from the Harper government’s neglect. I recommend we launch a campaign to defend the labour rights of Unifor Nova Scotia health care members who deliver these much needed services – including their right to fair and free collective bargaining, their right to strike and their right to remain proud Unifor members.
11. It is recommended that with the National Organizing Department, the Atlantic Unifor local unions, NEB members, and regional staff representatives work together to develop a strategic organizing plan for the Atlantic region that builds upon our strengths and achieves the goals developed at our founding convention. Those goals included building an organizing culture, engaging our locals who are our biggest organizing asset and broadening union citizenship through our Community Chapters model.
It is further recommended that local unions support unorganized and precarious workers by identifying groups of workers who could form community chapters and work to include them in the membership of our union.
12. It is recommended that Unifor’s Atlantic Regional Council contribute $2,500 annually to Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – Nova Scotia, matching the National Union’s contribution and thus ensuring support for research on public policy issues of importance in Atlantic Canada.
For more complete information on the recommendations, please see the complete document below.
Bill 37 passed in the early hours on Friday, April 4 and the Unifor members and staff gathered led a march to the Nova Scotia Legislature in protest of the anti-worker bill aimed at health care workers in the province. National President Jerry Dias, Secretary-Treasurer Peter Kennedy and Atlantic Regional Director Lana Payne spearheaded the march and then spoke to the crowd gathered at Grand Parade, which included sisters and brothers from CUPE and NSGEU, about the need to fight such sweeping legislation.
“We can’t be silent in the face of this type of sneaky legislation,” said Dias. “Premier Stephen McNeil needs to know that if this is the kind of game he wants to play, then Unifor will fight back with all we’ve got. Healthcare workers are the most dedicated workers and want to be at work helping people – they don’t deserve this.”
Unifor delegates elected their 2014-2015 Atlantic Executive Board and selected members to sit on standing committees as well as committees for equality-seeking groups:
Chair Penny Fawcett, Local 2289
Vice-Chair Patrick Murray, Local 4000
Secretary-Treasurer Judy Day, Local 597
Members at Large: Susan Gill, Local 4600
Ian Hutchison, Local 601N
Roy Langdon, Local 2121
Bobby MacDonald, Local 401
Darlene McIvor, Local 2215
Tammy Moore, Local 2002
Keith Sullivan, FFAW
Political Action Committee: Dwayne Hancock, Local 181
Roch LeBlanc, Local 506
Shauna Wilcox, Local 4600
Health & Safety Committee: Jennifer Benoit, Local 2107
Richard Fournier, Local 29
Darlene Parrott, Local 597
The council’s five equity-seeking committees were elected at caucus meetings of their peers:
LGBT Committee: Kevin Banfield, Local 4606
Catherine Butler, Local 4600
Kelly LeBlanc, Local 2215
Aboriginal and Racialized
Workers Committee: Christina Ashe, Local 4606
Brian Mazerolle, Local 875
David Ladouceur, Local 1
Workers with Disabilities
Committee: Leigh Derry, Local 2289
Jeanne Doiron, Local 2107
Eric Leukert, Local 2182
Women’s Committee: Koren Beaman, Local 1
Lisa Martin, Local 506
Mildred Skinner, FFAW
Young Workers Committee: Suzanne MacNeil, Local 2040
Luke Woodworth, Local 4005
Amanda Young, Local 2121
Other documents and stories related to the April 2014 Atlantic Regional Council: