Over 2,000 Union Delegates Met At Canada Place In Vancouver For the Week of May 9-13
Delegates concentrated on several important areas of business:
- Introducing new mechanisms to resolve inter-Union raiding
- Restructuring of the CLC Executive to make it more accessible for smaller Unions
- Preparing for the Harper government’s attacks on workers and their families
- Promoting improvement to Pensions for all Canadians
Delegates approved amendments to the Constitution creating a new mechanism to mediate disputes between Unions over raiding of members. Previously, all disputes were dealt with by the President and Executive Council. This led to the preception of bias towards the larger Unions. Now an independent Umpire will mediate disputes. Another problem was Union Presidents blaming ‘rogue’ locals for raiding. The ranking Union officer for each of teh 52 affiliate Unions will swear to “not attempt to recruit their [other Union’s] members”.
The Executive will be replaced as the governing body of the CLC by the Canadian Council which has representation from:
- all 52 affilliate Unions,
- 12 territorial and provincial Federations of Labour,
- 10 women from the largest public and provate sector unions,
- 2 representatives of workers of ‘colour’,
- 1 representative of Aborignal workers,
- 1 resprestnative of disabled workers,
- 1 represetative of GLBT,
- 1 young worker representative,
- 1 representative of retired workers
as well as the CLC President, Secretary-Treasurer, and 2 Vice Presidents
Delegates are heartened by the electoral success of the New Democrats in forming the official oppostion for the first time. It is as strong an opposition as any in Canada’s history. But the joy inthe success of the friends of labour is tempered by the Harper majority government and his undisclosed policies to be implelments to the detrimet of workers in Canada.
Jack Layton gave a rousing speech to the thunderous applause of the delegates.
The CLC policy initiative to improve pensions has nationwide appeal. The banks and Harper are trying to divert this need to create yet another fund for banks to manage and so profit from the basic needs of workers. The CLC will contimue this high profile campaign, looking to enroll the support of Provincial Governments and Canadian from sea to sea to sea.
Panel discussions , with moderators such as Wendy Mesley and Ina Hanomansing of CBC, deal with the topics such as “What Derailed the Post-War Social Contract?”, “The Silent Majority: Starting the Conversation” and “The Solution is Political: Moving to Political Change”. expert panelists gave their opinions and fielded questions from the floor.
Evening sessions included a showing of the Academy Award winning documentary “Inside Job”. The director, Charles Ferguson, spoke at the main session and answered questions before the screening. An International Forum gave delegates a chance to interact with labour leaders from Tunisia, Kenya, Bangledesh, and Columbia.
Dance and music acts started each morning and afternoon session, highlighting the diversity of Canadian culture. Sek dancers, native dancers, a jazz band, Japanese drummers and a blues band were among the highlights.
The last day was taken up with workshops on using the new social media and pension security.
The IAM was represented by 31 delegates from across Canada. The Convention was a great success and every delegate left enthused and ready to face resist the anti-worker agenda of the Harper Government.