I am pleased to report on my activities since my last report at the spring Executive Board meeting.
Representing the Local
This year was an IBEW convention year. Held each 5 years, the International Convention is an incredible opportunity to be involved in the governance of the union at it’s highest level. The 39th convention in St. Louis, Missouri lasted 5 days and included ceremony, speakers, elections for International Officers, as well as debate, discussion and voting on constitutional changes and a number of other resolutions. Our local was represented by our 7 elected delegates, 1 alternate delegate and 2 members who participated as NextGen delegates. More information about the convention can be found on the IBEW’s web site and in my web post from Sept 28.
The change in leadership at Nav Canada has resulted in some changes to the way the company interacts with its bargaining agents. In particular, there has been a renewed recognition of the employees as stakeholders of the corporation. In that spirit Nav Canada invited all of the unions to attend a session on the topics of pensions and service charges. I attended along with the Dan Boulet, Paul Cameron, Michel Gaulin, and representatives from all of the other Nav Canada bargaining agents. During the day long event Nav Canada reviewed the financial position of the company and how it relates to its legislative obligation regarding service fees. The balance of the day outlined the current status of the pension plan and how circumstances could change depending on the then unknown outcome of the application to OSFI. All of this provided context for a couple of reasons: the bargaining agents are now equipped with the background information and knowledge on these topics to answer members’ questions more accurately, and the same information will help all parties navigate their upcoming negotiations with collective agreements beginning to expire in the next year.
Business of the Local
As reported by Daniel Boulet, the local and Nav Canada have begun discussions on employee compensation in the context of some sort of gain sharing. In preparation for the opening of these discussions, I participated in a meeting with the local's team at the Business Office in early September. This was the first time we had the opportunity to talk about the subjects and the 2 day meeting was spent reviewing concepts and brainstorming on ideas to get more value from the company for our members. We also tried to consider what the company’s thoughts might be to be as prepared as possible for the ground-breaking meeting.
It was a treat to spend a day at Pearson Airport visiting members at the ACC and Tower. Unit chair David Witherspoon arranged for workplace visits and gracious enough to be my guide. I also attended their unit meeting at the tower which was well attended. The members of the Toronto unit are generally active and engaged in union activities. I very much appreciated the opportunity to gain some insight into their perspective and challenges.
The 2015 President's award was presented to Donald Dionne in Montreal at a dinner help in his honour in September. Region 2 Representative Michel Pettigrew organized the dinner with some of the Local’s Montreal officers and staff to celebrate Don’s achievement. Don is a devoted union officer and advocate and it was a pleasure to recognize him in this way. While in Montreal I also attended a unit meeting along with other officers visiting from neighbouring regions. Their meetings are conducted very well and I was pleased to attend to answer some questions and add my remarks on some important business being discussed.
IBEW Local 2228