The Members’ The newsletter of CUPE Local 15, Vancouver Municipal Education and Community Workers
Inflammatory report criticizes trustees’ focus on education The B.C. government claim that the Vancouver school district has no real financial problems, not only demonstrates a lack of respect for the parents, students and elected trustees – but also a lack of understanding of the education system.
Commenting on the Comptroller General’s review of Vancouver School Board operations, CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill says that excluding the education funding model from the review makes it particularly hard to understand how government can conclude that there is ample funding. “From the outset – when the Board of Education had to learn about this review in the media – the process has looked like pure politics. And while we are not surprised, we are very concerned that the B.C. government has used the Comptroller General’s office to put a chill on its critics,” says O’Neill. O’Neill says that at first glance some of the recommendations show a failure to comprehend the role that schools and public education play and the important links that schools have with their communities. The report suggests that the Board export its budget problems to non-profit groups by increasing fees charged to child care programs using space in schools by $1.8 million. O’Neill says this would place a crippling burden on the backs of non-profit groups, working parents and families who rely on community-based child care.
Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: CUPE Local 15 545 W. 10th Ave. Vancouver, BC V5Z 1K9
O’Neill also says that the report’s critique of the Board philosophy that ‘public education should be needs-based as opposed to operating within a defined budget’ is wrong-headed. “Parents elect boards to be concerned about the educational needs of students, not simply to find ways to operate within increasingly inadequate budgets,” says O’Neill.
JUNE Date & Time: Location: Under Discussion:
The report suggests that the Board could save up to $5.7 million per year by shedding surplus school space through closing and consolidating schools. O’Neill notes that boards are obliged to hang on to surplus space in light of the intended expansion of early childhood education. “Where exactly are the cost savings going to come from with this recommendation?” asks O’Neill.
Boards of Education throughout the province are struggling with budget shortfalls – which the BC Association of School Business Officials recently estimated to be over $300 million. CUPE BC has called for an emergency summit on education funding to address the situation facing VSB and districts throughout the province.
General Meeting Wednesday, June 23, 5:30 p.m. Italian Cultural Centre 3075 Slocan St. Vancouver, Room 5 • Executive Board By-Elections: City Sector and College/ University Sector Reps • Vancouver Coastal Health Layoffs • Bargaining Updates • VSB Update • COV Shared Services General Meetings provide all members with an opportunity to participate in decisions that affect the union. (Childcare assistance and Interpretation available upon request.)
Update from your Executive
We’re Building Partnerships – Pivot Legal is the Latest President’s Message by Paul Faoro
For the last several years our union has been increasing our support of progressive organizations in our city which I think has been a smart move on many fronts. At the top of the list we have been able to reach out to these organizations and their memberships for support when we have needed to maximize our efforts on a campaign that we have initiated or a fight back effort. Case in point is our advocacy on the budget cuts at the Vancouver School Paul Faoro, President Board where we have been coordinating our efforts with several grass roots community groups and other progressive organizations. Working collectively with the community has made us stronger and more effective. Recently we have been meeting with representatives of the Pivot Legal Society to build another new partnership as both of our organizations share many common goals and the same vision for community. Several years ago during the Sam Sullivan dark era I can remember CUPE 15 and Pivot speaking at a Council meeting opposing the City funding private security guards, otherwise known as the Downtown Ambassadors.
With this in mind, I am thrilled the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has started hearing a human rights complaint made by Pivot Legal Society and the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU) against the Downtown Ambassadors program, which is operated by the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association and funded by the City of Vancouver. Their complaint alleges that the Downtown Ambassador Program repeatedly engaged in harassment and “removals” of individuals who are located on public space and who are, or appear to be, street homeless or drug users. The City has used money to fund this program which I believe would be better off used towards enhancing our community centres and keeping libraries open longer. Pivot Legal Society is a non-profit legal advocacy organization located in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Pivot’s mandate is to take a strategic approach to social change, using the law to address the root causes that undermine the quality of life of those most on the margins. Pivot Legal Society brings a new and dynamic approach to advocacy on behalf of marginalized persons. Their legal campaigns include: the Housing Campaign, which is working towards ending homelessness in Canada by building a movement for a national funded housing strategy and engaging in strategic litigation to push government to ensure that there is safe and affordable housing for everyone; the Sex Work Human Rights Initiative, which focuses on protecting the rights of sex workers to live free from violence; the Child Welfare Initiative, which aims to increase supports to families involved with the child welfare system; the Police Accountability Initiative, which works to improve the quality of policing through complaint advocacy and
policy reform; and the Addiction and Human Rights Campaign which is working towards establishing compassionate and effective drug policies in Canada. In addition, the Hope in Shadows Project brings together 150 community members each year to produce an award-winning calendar which generates public awareness as well as income for the street-vendors and photographers. For more information, please visit www. pivotlegal.org. Pivot Legal LLP is a social enterprise law firm that provides quality, affordable legal representation to individuals and organizations. This law firm dedicates 100% of its profits to the social justice campaigns of the Pivot Legal Society which I think is simply awesome. Their socially engaged lawyers take a principled approach to the practice of law, combining a strong focus on client service with an engaged sense of social responsibility. Through our discussion with representatives from Pivot I am pleased to announce that they will offer preferred rates to CUPE 15 members if you or a family member needs legal services. They provide assistance in family law, real estate conveyancing, immigration, refugee & citizenship, employment law, business, non-profit & charity, civil litigation (including ICBC and personal injury), wills & estates, motor vehicle and criminal defence. They can be reached at 604-255-9700 or visit www.pivotlegal.com. I have used the services of Pivot Legal LLP and found them to be extremely helpful and they provided good service. If you need legal services you should consider them. Over the coming months our Executive Board will be exploring some other expanded services with Pivot Legal LLP for CUPE 15 members which we hope to announce later this year.
Have a happy and safe summer! by Leanne Toderian, Secretary Treasurer
Leanne Toderian Secretary Treasurer
“Every advance in this half-century: Social Security, civil rights, Medicare, aid to education... one after another, came with the support and leadership of American Labor.” Jimmy Carter, Former US President
It is now June and this year’s elections are almost now complete. Joining our executive board is Brother Warren Williams as K-12 Sector Rep and stepping up to 2nd Vice President is Sister Sally Bankiner. Sister Bankiner vacates her position as City Sector Representative and that position will be subject to a by-election at the June General Membership meeting. Look for details on the front page of this newsletter. We encourage our members at the City to participate in this process. I am now through my first month as Secretary Treasurer and it is all that I hoped and expected. The above quote, while from a noted American, confirms the labour movement knows no boundaries. There have been questions from time to time about why we, as CUPE, support labour movement campaigns in South America or China. It is because we are the workers’ army. A win is a win for all and that is how we build our strength; each win builds on the next. Our executive, at our first executive board meeting as a whole, spoke about renewing our commitment to each other and to the integrity of the process and the labour movement and subsequently to our members. Our fight for workers’ rights is never over. How we do it has evolved but only marginally so. It remains a grassroots movement. I am excited and pleased to be surrounded by committed individuals who are ready to go to the mat for our
members. It is a proud moment for me and I am honoured to be part of this renewed enthusiasm. As usual the past month has been a lively one around every sector. Members in the K-12 Sector have faced uncertain times. Layoffs, budget deficits, and the shared services review all sounds familiar as the City Sector is enjoying its own version of this scenario. It has been a marathon of meetings with the VSB, members, and elected officials. We continue to seek involvement and consultation in an effort to work together to solve issues. It is a challenge we are up for. We will make every effort to communicate to the K-12 members as information becomes available.
If you are not currently a site contact and would like to be, please contact me or our office and we will set you up. A reminder to all stewards, I am committed to providing support to you whether it be through advice or direct help. Please do not hesitate to contact me. This is the last Members’ Voice until September; enjoy whatever breaks you may have over the next few months.
Notice of By-Elections
Elsewhere, we continue to monitor activity in the Parks Sector. We remain glued to our seats on the action down at the Vancouver Parks Board. There was a lot of faith in what we hoped was a common goal to protect not only our Parks and facilities for the citizens of Vancouver, but to also ensure quality of service via our highly skilled and trained Park Board employees. Let’s file this under “Block Watch” for now.
There will be a by-election for the following positions at the June General Membership meeting:
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, another sector facing challenges is our Health Sector. The steps taken in this sector have perhaps the most immediate effect on members and the citizens they represent. Closures of key resources in the Downtown Eastside have set heads a shaking. It fails me how key government officials promise more resources and attention to the DTES, yet they make decisions that contradict their assertions.
The Executive Decided
Now, I will move on to more positive news and action; steward and member education. First, I will point to our recent upgrade of the CUPE Local 15 website. If you have not seen it I urge you to check it out. We are still a work in process, but hope it will draw a large audience and provide some very basic information to stewards and members. Please bear with us during this growth period. Our education committee is in the process of coordinating a Fall education schedule and we will have details once confirmed. You can also check out our Steward and Site Contact mailings that go out monthly.
The Members Decided
• College Sector Representative • City Sector Representative Only members of the College or City sectors may vote for candidates in that sector.
At the May 2010 Executive Meetings the following decisions were made: • To donate $1500 to Justice Rocks • To purchase six tickets to the CoDev Fundraising Dinner • To make a group ticket purchase for an upcoming BC Lions game
At the May 2010 General Membership Meeting members approved a donation of $500 to Open Media and supported the upcoming Justice Rocks Festival. Members also elected Sally Bankiner, 2nd VP, and Warren Wlliams, K-12 Sector Rep.
Letters, Notices, & Updates
Thank you! We would like to thank you for the recent opportunity to attend the CUPE BC Preretirement Seminar. We found it to be a comprehensive overview of a variety of retirement related subjects and are looking forward to putting our newly gained knowledge to good use. The facilitator, Anita Moore, had a broad knowledge and engaging manner. We highly recommend this course and suggest that younger members consider taking this course long before the retirement crunch. Thank you - Jim and Irene McCorkindale
VSB Bargaining Update submitted by Craig Hopkins At a meeting on April 13, 2010 the bargaining team presented a package of proposals to Vancouver School Board CUPE Local 15 members. The members voted and ratified the proposals. On June 1st the CUPE BC K-12 Presidents’ Council served notice to the BC Public School Employers’ Association that they are prepared to bargain provincial wide issues on behalf of 55 separate CUPE locals representing K-12 workers from around the province. The first week of June, CUPE Local 15 served notice to bargain to the Vancouver School Board. The Bargaining Committee will keep CUPE 15 members updated with any bargaining news. Our present collective agreement is in effect to June 30, 2010. If a new agreement is not ratified by that date, the present agreement will continue in full force and effect until we enter into a new collective agreement.
2010 VSB Bargaining Committee: Craig Hopkins, Paul Hayes, Miriam Pulsifer, Carley Romas, Kenny Brett, Warren Williams, not shown - Tina Meadows (National Representative)
Local Elections College Sector News Task Force recommendations are positive — CUPE BC submitted by Steve Baker, Staff Representative
Langara members have started bargaining for a new agreement. The collective agreement expired March 31, 2010. The first meeting with the employer was held on May 6th with another seven days scheduled in June and July. With the government mandate of net zero, we do expect this bargaining will be addressing a lot of language issues.
The recommendations of the Local Government Elections Task Force to make local election campaigns more transparent are a good first step towards improving voter participation and re-building trust between elected officials and their constituents, CUPE BC Secretary-Treasurer Mark Hancock said today. “CUPE BC argued very strongly against the introduction of a corporate vote in BC, and we’re very pleased the Task Force listened to the voices of the many British Columbians who shared our view,” said Hancock. “We’re also glad that the Task Force is recommending that Elections BC take on overall responsibility for local elections and that records of political donations throughout the province will be centrally available to the public for inspection electronically.” Hancock said that CUPE BC would closely monitor the progress and content of the enabling legislation, which is not expected to be ready for introduction in the Legislature until 2011. “While we understand the logistics of the timeline, it will be crucial to the success of the 2011 local elections that the changes be implemented and communicated very clearly. We also want to ensure that the recommendations are carried out fully by the government,” said Hancock.
Emily Carr University is also going into bargaining. While dates are not scheduled yet, the members have ratified proposals and the Bargaining Committee is meeting in preparation for a first meeting with the employer. Given the summer schedule, it is likely that bargaining will proceed slowly.
Vancouver School Board News By Paul Faoro, President Things are changing so fast at the Vancouver School Board that this update will probably be dated. However, here is the latest on several major issues that we have been working on. Please remember for recent developments visit our revamped website, www.cupe15.org. We have been putting in a lot of time towards the 2010/2011 VSB operating budget and to date we have made several submissions and have been working with the other stakeholder groups to push back on the proposed cuts. I want to remind everyone again that the budget situation facing the VSB is due to improper funding by the Provincial Government. Vancouver is not the only district with a large shortfall and in fact almost every other school district in the province is having to slash programs, close schools and cut jobs. Even though the VSB budget is not finalized their HR department is executing the proposed staff cuts. Our union has taken issue with the layoff process they are planning to use, as it undermines collective agreement rights. This has led to the union requesting the School Board to agree to utilize a mediator to resolve the outstanding issues around the layoffs. We are pleased that the School Board has accepted our request and we have agreed to use the services of Irene Holden who is a very experienced arbitrator/mediator. This process began on Monday, June 7th and we are hopeful that it will finalize the process for the proposed layoffs. At time of writing, the report from the special advisor who was reviewing the VSB’s operation was just released. We are extremely troubled by its inflammatory nature and I know you will be hearing a lot more on it. We have been working on the school calendar proposal with the employer, using the guidelines our membership approved. It is close to being finalized. As well, we are monitoring closely the shared services initiative just announced by the Education Minister. Anything coming from Ms. MacDiarmid we should all be concerned about.
Events & Credits
The Members’ Voice is published nine times a year for members of CUPE Local 15 - Vancouver Municipal, Education and Community Workers. The Deadline for submissions is 9:00 a.m. on the first Wednesday of each month. All submissions may be edited for brevity and clarity. Signed articles and letters do not necessarily reflect the views or policy of CUPE Local 15.
CUPE Local 15
545 West 10th Avenue Vancouver, BC V5Z 1K9 Phone: 604-879-4671 Fax: 604-879-7582 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.cupe15.org Local 15 is a chartered affiliate of the Canadian Union of Public Employees and is also affiliated with the CUPE British Columbia Division, CUPE Metro District Council and the Vancouver & District Labour Council. CUPE 15 is a member of the Canadian Association of Labour Media (CALM).
CUPE Local 15 Executive Board Table Officers:
President: Paul Faoro
Join Local 15 for an Exciting Evening of BC Lions Vs Saskatchewan Roughriders! Local 15 is taking advantage of a group sales opportunity and has arranged for a discount to the regular priced tickets which are $45 and is offering them to you for $30 per ticket. Due to limited quantities the tickets will be distributed on a first come, first served basis to Local 15 members only.
1st Vice President: Miriam Pulsifer 2nd Vice President: Sally Bankiner
Sector Representatives: City: vacant, Diane Brown
College/University: Emma Somers Cultural: Matthew Quiring Health/HSSCBA: Patricia Taylor Health/HSPBA: Caroline Mewis Parks: Anne-Marie McGee, Barb Dickinson K-12: Peggy Wong, Warren Williams
Joey Lau, Michelle Alexander, Arthur Lum
Steve Baker, John Geppert, Keith Graham, Graeme Moore
Office & Administrative Staff:
Mark Gloumeau, Accounting Coordinator Maureen Dorratt, Office Assistant Rosemary Matheson, Office Manager Barbara Simpson, Office Assistant
Building Maintenance: Jeff Zaharia
CUPE National Representatives: Justin Schmid, Tina Meadows, Matt Yun
Saturday, July 10th
A maximum of two tickets per member can be reserved by calling the Union Office at 604-879-
Secretary Treasurer: Leanne Toderian
4671 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. The deadline for payment in full is 12:00 noon on July 1, 2010. Any unpaid tickets will be released back for distribution to other members. Payment can be dropped off at the Local 15 Union Office by cheque or cash only. Cheques must be made payable to “The VMECW Society”. Thanks everyone and see you at the game….
In Solidarity with First Peoples June 21, 2010 is the first day of summer and is also recognized as National Aboriginal Day, a day for all Canadians to celebrate the cultures and contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.
While June 21st is a day of celebration, it is also a day to remember that governments have not taken into consideration the unacceptable conditions faced by Aboriginal Peoples. It is deplorable that year after year governments have failed to provide for the basic necessities such as safe water, health care, and economic sustainability. The inability of governments to recognize that these necessities are fundamental rights of citizenship has lead to many negative statistics.
National Aboriginal Day was proclaimed in 1996. Today National Aboriginal Day is part of the annual nation-wide Celebrate Canada events, with celebrations centering around National Aboriginal Day, but continuing through Saint Jean Baptitse Day, Canadian Multiculturalism Day, and concluding with Canada Day. Setting aside a day for Aboriginal Peoples is part of the wider recognition of Aboriginal Peoples’ important place within the fabric of Canada and their ongoing contributions. We encourage CUPE members to support and enjoy activities around the Aboriginal culture and traditions. These activities are for all people of every nation, to have some fun and gain insight into the beauty that Canada’s original people have to share. Although the official day is June 21, celebrations in many parts of Canada last the entire week.
CUPE stands firm in our commitment to further Aboriginal rights. We will continue to fight for equality, justice, full inclusion and the right to self government. We call on all governments to respect treaties and the agreed to and inherent rights of Aboriginal Peoples. We encourage all members to celebrate National Aboriginal Day on June 21 and other activities during that week, as a way to acknowledge the unique heritage, cultures and contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples in Canada.
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