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 Prairie Regional Council held it’s inaugural meeting during February 28–March 1, 2014 at the Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg.
Over 200 elected delegates, guests, and staff met to strategize about national and local campaigns. Throughout the weekend, local uniform activists debated resolutions that will shape the work of the union during the next year:
- Support Unifor’s campaign to defend the Rand formula as the top political priority over the next year, including participation in the leadership tour, and a full commitment to symbolically re-sign all members as a symbol of the strength and solidarity of our union.
- Affiliate to the respective provincial federations of labour and that the locals commit to playing an active role in the labour movement in their communities
- In conjunction with the political action committee and the executive committee, local unions shall develop a strategy and action plan for the upcoming municipal elections.
- Participate in the Unifor Good Jobs Summit, to occur in Toronto in October 2014, including sponsoring pre-summit forums and other events in their communities, engaging with youth and social partners, and sending delegates to participate in the Summit itself.
- Support the concept of a national energy and environmental strategy for Canada, including the following principles:
- Binding and ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
- Future expansion of bitumen production needs to be managed in line with those greenhouse gas caps;
- Systematic efforts to ensure more Canadian content and Canadian value-added at all stages of the energy supply chain, including machinery, services, extraction, upgrading, processing, and manufacturing;
- Prohibitions on the export of raw bitumen, and requirements for upgrading and processing of petroleum in Canada;
- Efforts to match Canadian energy production with Canadian needs, and reduce imports of oil;
- Completion of a Canada-wide energy grid (including pipelines and electricity transmission) to improve Canadian energy security and independence;
- An ambitious green energy investment plan, including investment in alternative and renewable energy sources, energy conservation, urban transit; and,
- Support the National Executive Board’s call for a moratorium on unconventional fracking until safety, environmental, and First Nations’ concerns have been fully addressed.
Delegates also adopted bylaws to govern the Regional Council.
Unifor President Jerry Dias opened the convention with a speech to delegates about the historic threats facing workers on the prairies and Unifor’s plans for the fight-back.
“The trade union movement is about raising the standard of living for everyone,” Dias said February 28. “And that means getting out and working in the community.”
Unifor delegates elected their 2014-2015 Prairie Executive Board and selected members to sit on standing committees and committees for equity-seeking groups:
Chair: Christy Best, Local 649
Vice-Chair: Guy Desforges, Local 445
Secretary-Treasurer: Chester Lagman, Local 2169
Members at Large: Mark Armstrong (Local 468), Clayton Burkholder (Local 892), Steve Kelly (Local 707A), Suzanne King (Local 681), Dave Kuntz (Local 1-S), Valerie Saliba (Local 4050)
Political Action Committee: Michelle Carter (Local 649-2), Darren Gibson (Local 144), Brian Lackey (Local 4534)
Health & Safety and Environment: Brent Charron (Local 144), Kim Conway (Local 707A), Dave Kindred (Local 1-S)
Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgender: Kevin Awey (Local 4534), Kelly Ries (Local 650), Krista Wagner (Local 649)
Aboriginal & Racialized Workers: Dean Carvey (Local 773), Turesh Harnarine (Local 3007), Don Wren (Local 1-S)
Workers with Disabilities: Kevin Boutet (Local 2002), Mike Kapalka (Local 21A), Roger Taylor (Local 777)
Women’s Committee: Joyce Coleman (Local 3), Wilma Ellenburgh (Local 52A), Carmen LeDarney (Local 2169)
Young Worker’s Committee: Jesse Allaman (Local 3003), Jennifer Mestrovic (Local 468), Ashley Wright (Local 191)
Check out the photos!