Thank you to all who came out, participated in the elections, and engaged in wonderful discourse on the issues of the Local. And a special thank you to members who agreed to stand for positions. It's crucial to the work of the Local to have volunteers willing to participate and I thank each and every one of you. In particular, I'd like to welcome Teresa Wehrle as a new steward!
I'm sure you're curious to learn about the outcome of the elections. I am absolutely thrilled to announce that Stephanie Jenkins-Moss is now the Local's Vice-President. In her role as Chief Steward, Stephanie has been very involved in the workings of the Local, grievances, and meetings with management. I am delighted to have Stephanie as a partner in holding management accountable to the Collective Agreement.
Stephanie's new role leaves the Chief Steward position vacant. Here's a list of the roles and responsibilities of the position. Which steward do you think would be great at this job? Talk to them and encourage them to run at the next GMM.
One of our two trustees, Nadine Vertes is resigning as trustee as of March 31st. Nadine, thank you for your service to the Local. The audit of the Local's financials is fundamental to fiscal responsibility and I thank you for stepping up and completing this. I'm also happy to announce that Cheryl Van Every joins Julie Bergwerff as our second trustee. Thanks Cheryl!
Our Pay Equity team was in need of a new member and an alternate, as Luis Quinteros resigned from the committee last year (making the alternate a full member of the team) and Eileen Kilbride left the organization at the end of 2017. Keehan Koorn was elected as the newest member of the PE team and Susan Kilpatrick as the alternate. On behalf of the team (Shannon Tobin, Ruth Linnen and myself), I offer a warm welcome to you both. I think the membership has chosen very wisely and look forward to the perspective, experience and wisdom you bring.
If you're still curious about convention, you can read about it on OPSEU's website here. With the number of signed members we currently have, Local 291 sends two delegates to convention and can send an alternate for each delegate. According to OPSEU's constitution, the Local President is an Automatic Delegate, leaving the second delegate to be elected (as well as two alternates). Kristin Tokarsky was elected as the Local's second delegate, and Stephanie Jenkins-Moss and Piri Roberti as first and second alternate respectively. It's going to be a great few days participating in the governance of the union.
Communications Officer, Keehan Koorn announced that a survey about accommodations in the workplace will soon be sent to your personal email. The LEC is looking to gather information about how many of our members have asked for accommodations and have been accommodated, or refused. This survey will be confidential and no information provided in the survey will be acted upon; this is simply information gathering from a numbers perspective.
Accommodations in the workplace are based on the grounds of the Human Rights Code and the employer has a duty to accommodate up to undue hardship. Accommodation must be fully explored, and the union should be a part of those meetings as the employer and the union have a joint duty to make sure that workplaces are free of discrimination and harassment. I would encourage every member that requires any kind of accommodation at work to contact a steward for support and information to ensure your rights are honoured.
We appreciate you taking the time to complete and submit the survey and ask that you encourage others to do the same. The more we know, the better we can support and represent our entire membership.
I neglected in my president's report to discuss two important OPSEU conferences that are occurring this year and so want to mention them now.
The first is the Indigenous Conference. Being held in Little Current June 22-24, the theme of the conference is "Cultural Reclamation and Restoration: Weaving Culture Back Into our Blanket". Applications are due April 6th; further information and the application form can be found in this document:
In closing, I want to repeat yet again how grateful the bargaining team is for all of your support, your cards, your messages and emails, your blue-wearing and bracelet-wearing. With your vocal support, we continue to represent your demands at the table. Our next dates are March 5th, 6th, and 8th and we can't wait to see all the pictures and tweets of you showing your solidarity as we Stand Together for One Another! It is an honour and a privilege to represent you and I thank you.
President, Local 291