Saturday, 1 November 2008

Convention Report Day 5

The final day of convention started with the credentials report that indicated there were 1014 delegates with a total of 1591 in attendance representing representing 399 locals.

Most of the morning was spent in an Action meeting dealing in part with how to implement the Petro-Canada boycott. For anyone interested I have a few bumper stickers and hard hat stickers plus some information of how terrible the treatment has been by Petro-Canada of the workers from Local 175.

The afternoon was spent finishing up all the resolutions remaining and it is unfortunate that this is always left to the last day because far less debate seems to occur, there is not time to refer anything back to committee and there is even greater pressure not to call for a roll call vote because it is too time consuming. So we basically rush through these final resolutions with little thought given to most of them in my opinion.

There were two resolutions that I spoke of on behalf of the local. One entrenched a rule into all bargaining group rules and the chair ruled that it carried. I challenged it by calling for a roll call vote. Instead, the president called for another vote and ruled that it carried again and though I was standing back at the microphone, I wasn't recognized and that was probably for the best. The resolution wasn't as critical as the next one which I also spoke on. This would have given more power to the National President and allow him to impose a cease and desist on voting on his own authority. I spoke against this because I want the President to consult with others on the Executive Board, including my rank and file reps before issuing any orders. In this day of Blackberrys and conference calls this should not be difficult. This motion was defeated so win one, lose one.

One final resolution calling for CEP to launch a national campaign that pressures provincial and federal governments to make Occupational Health & Safety and labour education mandatory in all secondary schools. The committee recommended non-concurrence and this led to a number of delegates rising up in opposition to the committee's recommendation. I spoke on this as well because I remember all too vividly the last fatality in our mill and my feeling that they were killing our babies. The floor of the convention was clearly in favour of this resolution and soundly defeated the committees recommendation and then overwhelmingly voted acceptance of a motion of concurrence.

Overall, it was a good convention and I enjoyed it although it certainly wears you down during the course of the week. I would like to thank the past President and the Executive and membership for allowing me to go on behalf of the local. I think I represented 592 honourably and partcipated in discussions that had a potential impact on our local.

I don't know how interested anyone is in this since it failed to spark any comments, but we must remember the importance of this convention because decisions are made that can impact our local. I once heard someone describe convention as being like a general meeting for the whole union. This is essentially what it is with resolutions being like motions at one of our general meetings, with some coming from the executive and some coming from the mill.

Personally, the inspiration I mentioned the other day fades fast, but I am still rethinking my decision to not run again. I'll let you know when I decide.

My thanks to those of you who did find some of this of interest and read my lengthy posts. We definitely need members to get more involved in the local for the general good and interest of the membership and not just for specific reasons. I will try and have more to say about the future of the local in my next Forward Look article.

See you around the mill.

In solidarity,


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