Our Local Union Delegated Meeting (LUDM) continued yesterday in Burnaby.
The day started with a report from our Secretary-Treasurer Michael Phillips, explaining the cost-saving measures and investment strategies that were implemented over the previous year.
Delegates heard speeches from the nominees for TWPP Pension trustees, Czar Loquia (from Unit 10) and Candace Knoll (from Unit 51).
The report from the Executive Board commenced following the TWPP Pension trustees' speeches.
Our National Vice-President and Chair of the Women of Steel Committee, Betty Carrasco, talked about the numerous actions of the Local 1944 Women of Steel throughout Canada.
"In 2017, the participation of women from our Local has increased significantly," she stated. "The Committee members have organized countless solidarity actions to give back to our communities."
Lee Riggs acknowledged the constant activism of the Women of Steel Committee.
Aaron Ekman, Secretary-Treasurer of the BC Federation of Labour, addressed the delegates about keeping jobs where our people live.
"The government has to set a legal framework to prevent companies from taking the resources out of the country", he said.
Alain Croteau, USW District 5 Director, put the emphasis on the strength of our Local 1944 and on its solid reputation throughout the Canadian provinces.
Our guest speaker, Lindsay Waddell, Labour and Human Rights lawyer, also addressed our delegates. She raised the issue of privacy rights in the workplace, which is especially problematic for workers using company-owned devices.
After lunch, Steve Hunt, USW District 3 Director, spoke about the merger. He stated that the new By-Laws that came into effect this month will help our Local to fully integrate the USW.
"We need to try something new to make progress and not get stuck in process," stated Brother Hunt. "In April this year, the members of your Local will vote for their new leadership. This is an opportunity to motivate the membership. I want to congratulate the current leadership for the extraordinary work they achieve daily. I also thank each of you: without you, there would be no union. Your Local fights for the people who cannot fight for themselves, and this is how each of you makes a difference. I trust every one of you to take up the challenge of making our union a better union."
The Executive Board and Credential reports continued in the afternoon, with the arbitration summary report, the NextGen report and the Women of Steel report.
Dave Michie and Sandra Hunter, Regional Executive Officers, announced that they will not be running again for their positions at the Local Union elections in April, and the delegates thanked them warmly for their good job with the Executive Board over the past years.
Bob Matters, USW Wood Council Chairperson, delivered a speech highlighting the needs of the workers, and how a union can support a worker in communicating his/her needs to his/her employer.
The USW Local 1944 National Health and Safety Committee delivered its report, which started with the Hang Up On Abuse Committee.
"We are proud of the success of this campaign," said Michelle Dey, Chair of the National Health and Safety Committee. "However, we need to provide our members, and all the workers in call centre, harassment-free workplaces, and that can be possible only if the call centres' managements are involved in the process."
Followed were several reports from incidents that occurred in the workplace, such as deficient elevators that triggered a Right to Refuse from an employee, power contact injuries and pole inspection hazards. "Too often, the companies put the responsibility of safety on the employees," said Betty Carrasco, USW Local 1944 National Vice-President. "This is the companies' way to deny their responsibilities towards their employees and clients, because to them, liability is cheaper than maintenance."
The LUDM adjourned for the day and delegates attended the Concert Properties Social.
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The Telecommunications Workers Union, United Steelworkers National Local 1944