Local 1944’s Local Union Delegated Meeting

December 23, 2020 - Dear Members,

The Executive Board held an emergency meeting this past Saturday December 19, 2020 to deliberate on a recommendation brought forward by Administrator Omero Landi to postpone our Local Union Delegated Meeting until the fall. After a thorough discussion on the recommendation, a motion was put forward to postpone our Local Union Delegated meeting originally scheduled for March 16, 17 and 18, 2021 to the fall of 2021. With Acting President Donna Hokiro in the chair, the Executive Board voted its unanimous consent to the motion.

The following are the reasons the Administrator gave as rationale for the necessity of the postponement. Keep in mind that those elected as delegates to the March LUDM will remain the delegates for the fall LUDM. 

“At this time, I am aware that the Local Union is planning on moving your in-person LUDM to a virtual meeting instead, given the global pandemic and government restrictions on gatherings.  I instead recommend that you postpone the virtual LUDM so that it can be held as an in-person meeting. Such a meeting could be held in the fall of 2021. It is expected that the pandemic should be under control at that time given that an effective vaccine should have been readily available and that those who would want to be vaccinated will have already done so by at least September.

Rationale of such a move is based on several key factors. We now have had the experience of being guests at other virtual conventions and conferences. While the effort and experience was mostly enjoyable, they lacked the impact that an in-person meeting would have had.  Additionally, there were technological glitches on the end of the hosts of some virtual meetings which affected the whole process.

Between Delegates and guests, we were planning on having approximately 100 people attend the LUDM.  If any of the participants had issues with their own internet they would miss out on parts of the meeting providing for less than an optimal experience. In fact, there is the prospect of having one or more delegates missing out on some of the program and this could be very impactful during debates and or voting on resolutions.

I am aware that Local Union 1944 has not had a LUDM since March 20-22, 2018. While the Local Union historically had annual meetings you are no longer doing so as Local 1944 has now aligned with the rest of the USW by having triannual conventions. This is the new practice as adopted by the general membership three (3) years ago. Although the delegates haven’t met in-person for several years, I believe a delay to when a vaccine will be available is well worth the wait.

Another consideration is that we are heading into bargaining against our largest employer Telus in 2021. I think everyone realizes that it will be another challenging negotiation. We will need to rally the support of our members in every way we can. As such, bonding is much more likely to occur in-person than virtually. Being in a room, hearing speakers and picking up on their energies is what is most invigorating and what most people remember about presenters and the issues discussed. While in a virtual meeting some of this is portrayed, the energy can only truly be felt in person. It is difficult to have a passionate debate on issues over our computer screens rather than seeing and hearing speakers at microphones in front of all the other Delegates. We expect bargaining with Telus to be well on the way in September, 2021. We need to have the Delegates bring the enthusiasm generated by the LUDM back to the members in their Units.

Postponing the LUDM would not be out of the current norm. The USW International Convention postponed its convention from August 3-6, 2020 to a date yet to be determined in 2022. In addition to our own USW International Convention being cancelled, so have the conventions for District 3 (B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan & Manitoba) and District 6 (Ontario and the Atlantic Provinces), as well as the National Gathering of Indigenous Steelworkers and the Justice Conference. In fact, a whole host of other initiatives through our partners in the labour movement, that were scheduled for late 2020/early 2021 were either cancelled outright or postponed and have yet to be rescheduled. Of note, even the Canadian Labour Congress postponed their convention despite the fact that it postponed the election of its Executive Board for at least a year. 

We would not under any circumstances hold up our elections for Local Officers and Unit Officials that are scheduled for April 2021. Nominations will proceed in the usual manner during our next set of Unit meetings as was the case last time and election day will be April 22 held by electronic balloting – one member – one vote. All those running will be able to campaign as afforded in our rules, again in the exact same manner as last time. As far as the election for Telecommunications Workers Pension Plan Trustee – only LUDM Delegates who are members of the plan are eligible to vote, and that will be incorporated without delay, into their electronic ballot from the safety of their computers, in March. 

In summary, I believe this decision will allow for a safe and enthusiastic LUDM in the fall of 2021 when it will most be needed as we go through the bargaining process with Telus.

In Solidarity, 

Omero Landi”

USW Local 1944