• 900 Devine St.Sarnia, Ontario N7T-1X5

Critic claims tribunal could thwart justice
Friday March 30, 2001

By Neil Bowen of The Observer

Creation of a mega tribunal to replace groups like the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal will push people further away from justice, according to an experienced tribunal participant.

“It will be more complicated. It could be impossible to reach them. There is no way it will be simpler,” said Tony Barbato, director of Injured Workers In Need in Sarnia.

Labour Minister Chris Stockwell said the proposal, which would see 35 to 50 adjudicators appointed to replace about 150 adjudicators now leading the separate bodies, is not a bid to appoint Conservative supporters to carry out an anti-labour or anti-worker agenda.

The new appointments would help reduce backlogs in the various commissions by working full time, rather than part-time and in the evening – as current adjudicators do, he said.

Earlier this month the provincial government introduced a “white paper” out-lining the so called “Unified Workplace Tribunal” – a “mega tribunal” which would replace up to 10 current tribunals and boards of appeal.

The Ontario Labour Relations Board, the Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal, the Board of Inquiry under the Human Rights Code, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal, the Education Relations Commission, and the College Relations Commission are all on the block for amalgamation.

Some tribunals now have cases that have been backed up for years, Stockwell said.

Barbato agrees there are backlogs but this shows the WSIB needs a better claims-handling system rather than the necessity for a mega tribunal.

“If it doesn’t work, they (claims) will pile up at the tribunal.” he said

As an example of ongoing difficulty with some claims is represented by 42 year old carpenter Dan Gray. He suffered a head injury in 1995 when a sheet of plywood fell on him.

His claim was approved and he receives a monthly payment but in recent months his case has been reviewed. He was directed to take training so he can start working again.

Barbato said WSIB authorities have judged Gray able to work five hours a day in retail sales. But he said the original judgment supported by doctors that Gray was unable to work should prevail.

“The fight never ends” said Gray who is plagued by headaches and balance problems.

He is trying to complete the training course but he is struggling due to his inability to concentrate.

“Let me try to get a job with what I have to offer. Stop the pressure I am underneath all the time…It seems like after every Christmas they go after me .” he said.

Barbato has started proceedings to return Gray’s status as unable to work. Gray keeps trying to follow the WSIB direction but his headaches have gotten worse since he started the training in January.

He appears exasperated as he talks about it. He is fearful he will lose his income if he doesn’t try but is uncertain he can meet the demands.

“They don’t listen to anybody,” he said

HSIRTF conference in Niagara Falls.
The theme was the Next Generation.
It was a leadership building conference.
1st HSIRT Conference Highlighted by David Suzuki and Quality Facilitators
by Cory Sommise

Recently I had the privilege of attending the HSIRT Conference in Niagara Falls. The experience was great! I had the opportunity to meet other CEP Brothers and Sisters from across Canada; many of whom are also in the oil refinery sector. I had the opportunity to take 5 workshops designed to improve me as a fellow union member while also using these skills in my personal life. The highlight of the conference for me was the presentation given by David Suzuki. He spoke to us about the environment and ways we can help improve the dire situation we are all facing. On his web site davidsuzuki.org you can join the David Suzuki challenge. There are 10 different ways we can improve the environment. Suzuki says that if each of us did just 3 things it would be a substantial improvement. He was a great motivational speaker and left quite the impression on everyone at the conference. Along with Suzuki the conference employed great facilitators for each workshop. Each one kept the topics interesting and relevant. Below are the courses I took and a summary of the content of each. I would like to thank our Local for allowing me to attend this conference and I hope others would like to get involved to get this type of union and life experience.

Managing Interpersonal Conflict: In this workshop we learned to recognize our own and others habitual responses to conflict – Duke it out? Avoid it? -and become aware of the consequences of these choices. In addition, we practiced an array of tools for resolving conflict in ways that can strengthen and energize our Local members. And as a bonus; how we could apply the learnings to our home life.

Who Are You?: This was an interesting workshop that uses a Myers Briggs Type Indicator test to determine what type of a person you are as well as the types of others and why we each handle situations differently; what we value and how we communicate.

Meetings that Work: Meeting “A place where the minutes are kept and the hours are lost”. Many people say they hate meetings. When questioned further, they say they really just hate bad meetings. Good meetings are a place where decisions are made or explicit results are achieved. Participants learned “Best Practices” for creating agendas, facilitating the meeting itself, the role of the Timekeeper, the Scribe and the Chair, how to encourage and control participants and much more. Make your meetings “must attend“ events; not gripe sessions!

Adventure Learning (Learning by Doing): More and more organizations are using adventure or experiential learning methods to build teams and develop leaders. Learning by doing can take the form of short problem solving scenarios, contrived rescue simulations, high ropes courses, or rock climbing. The experiential approach is both physical and intellectual and allows people to draw on a lifetime of their own experience to discover (or rediscover) latent knowledge, skills, and talents. This was a great workshop that was very participatory and could be used here at Shell as a good team building workshop.

Survival tips for Local leaders:
Learn how to avoid the three most common leadership traps (the “Me Me” trap – my needs are all that matter, the “You You “ trap – whatever the members want is what I want, and the “True Believer” trap – the cause is all that matters). Leverage seven different types of power – position, person, coercive, information, connection, reward, and expertise. And practice the art of speaking so others (including management) will listen.

CEP Hall Nov 26 & 27/04
I had the pleasure of attending the Links to Life Conference at the CEP hall on Nov 26&27/04. The Workers Health and Safety Center, Sarnia District Labour Council, Victims of Chemical Valley and the OHCOW clinic sponsored it. On the Friday night we had the honor of listening to Homer Seguin of the United Steel Workers of America national union. He talked about the Elliot Lake issues of the 70’s, which brought about the Occupational Health and Safety Act and created the Hamm Commission. The other speaker was Gilles Bisson an NDP, MP.
On the Saturday we heard from Dr. McKenzie. He ended up substituting for Jenny Schieman of the OHCOW clinic. He spoke on the rise of finding Pleural Plaques and the evidence that they are caused by the exposure to asbestos. The next speaker of the day was Sandi Kinart her husband was Blayne and he died from mesothelioma. He had worked at various places around the valley in his life but the major portion was spent at Welland Chemical. Sandi talked about the fight that ensued to get WSIB to recognize his illness as work related. She also discussed the processes that fought her and how she over came them. Sandi has put a book together that explains the forms and where the hurdles were and how she over came them. All in all this was probably one of the most powerful speeches that I have heard come from any ones heart.
After a much-needed emotional rest period we heard from Ivan Hillier. He talked about his fight over about 2 decades to end the mercury pollution going to the St. Clair River from DOW. He also discussed how his action alienated him from his supervisors and even his co-workers. In the end he said it was all worth it for the lives and illnesses prevented in the outside community.
After a lunch break a work shop was held on strategies and solutions we can use to help us in our fight for healthier and safer work places. This was quite informative especially the section handed out from the CAW collective agreement on the Health and Safety language written into it. This was the final part of the conference except for the awards banquet held later in the evening after dinner.
I would like to thank John Millholland and the local for recognizing all the hard work and dedication that Dan put in over the many years with the union.
To end the night we heard from Minister of Labour Chris Bentley and the president of the OFL Wayne Samuelson.
Pete vanWijnen

Oct 16-Oct 21-2004
Chemical Energy & and; Paperworkers Union
Unions are the people that brought you week ends!… Ken Georgetti

Brothers and Sisters:

I would like to thank the Members of local 848 for sending me to this national convention in Quebec City along with the other members of the executive committee (Mark Mathewson, Dan Hennaert and Steve Rumbold). There were more than 1500 delegates representing 439 locals along with hundreds of observers from politicians to other union representatives.

The convention saw literally dozens of resolutions for our national constitution come to the floor to debate. Along with these we also elected our Nation Board. The following list is the CEP National Executive board for 2004-2006 as elected or acclaimed:

Brian Payne President Acclaimed
Andre Foucault Sec. Treasurer Acclaimed
Peter Murdoch VP Media Acclaimed
Clement L’Heurex Executive VP, Quebec Acclaimed
Michel Ouiment VP, Quebec Acclaimed
Joe Gargiso Admin. VP, Quebec Acclaimed
Max Michaud VP, Atlantic Acclaimed
Ervan Cronk Admin. VP, Atlantic 8172 votes
Cec Makowski VP, Ontario Acclaimed
Bob Huget Admin. VP, Ontario Acclaimed
John Edwards Admin. VP, Ontario 30750 votes
Dave Coles VP, Western region Acclaimed
Don MacNeil Admin. VP, Western region Acclaimed
Wendy Sol Admin. VP, Western region Acclaimed
There were also many Rank & File members elected and I apologize for not being able to get all their names.

Resolutions: Out of all the resolutions passed the biggest ones pertained to:
Mentoring people for the positions soon to be vacated by retirements.
Having an alternate for the aboriginal and peoples of colour representative.

The biggest of all and the most likely to get people’s attention is the one passed to make the National Union our kind of union. In the words of Brian Payne:

“In order to continue our fights at the bargaining tables, make new inroads like Pharmacare and continue CEP’s activism the National union needs more resources.”

He explained to delegates that a loss of membership and increased costs has resulted in a deficit for the union. That is why a resolution was before the delegates for a modest per capita increase to the CEP the necessary resources to continue the good fight. Doing nothing is not an option for our union.

This resolution brought out a very long period of debate. So long it was finally brought to question. After lengthy debate even involving the discussion of “Taxing” O/T the delegates decided to increase dues rather than rely on unreliable income. Especially since the National doesn?t support O/T but instead would rather see more members hired. In the end it passed not unanimously but darn close. So the news here is our dues are going up.

CEP Humanitarian Fund: “‘The CEP Humanitarian fund equals solidarity-Not charity.”

With these words Quebec administrative VP Joe Gargiso announced that our national union would fund a program to help relieve the suffering of workers in Africa afflicted with HIV/AIDS. We heard that 6,000 people a day are dying in Africa. The hope and solidarity program announced will raise $500,000 over the next 2 years.

On the home front the fund allocates 15% of its money to projects in Canada. This year they supported the Canadian Council for refugees with a re-settlement and education program for woman coming to Canada who have been trafficked as slaves, and the Good Food box project of Food share. There was also a substantial donation to relieve flooding impact in Badger, Newfoundland.

Through out the week there were many guest speakers speaking on many issues effecting the world and all our locals.

On this note I would like to finish with once again thanking the people who made this possible and say that a lot was learned and the experience was extremely valuable.

Thanks Pete vanWijnen

Good Morning Mr. Chair,
CEP Local 848 in Corunna represents about 200 members employed in oil refining, oil movements (tank farm), specialized and general maintenance, provision of steam and other plant utilities and laboratory testing services. Occupational disease is of great concern to our local, and we thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Draft Report of the Chair of the Occupational Disease Advisory Panel.

It is clear that the WSIB is failing to recognize some Occupational Disease. CEP was of the view that the ODAP process initiated by the Board could make some substantial changes for the unacknowledged victims of occupational disease.

As recently as this weekend a 30 year worker at my work site has called to let me know that his Repetitive Strain Injury claim, previously accepted by the board, has now been denied. The worker has cancelled scheduled surgery that may have relieved his pain. He feels without the protection of the board his job may be in jeopardy as his surgeon has insisted that he not return to the same work he has today Sometimes workers are hurt and in pain. They feel powerless in the face of unintelligible decisions made about them. The appeal process can be long and difficult and all the while the worker and their family and the employer continue to suffer.

As a complex oil refinery our work site is influenced by many factors. Hydrocarbons, chemicals and combinations of each, under heat and pressure, creating a cocktail of unknown results, are commonplace in our work site.

Petroleum Products
Treatment Chemicals
Solvents and soaps used in equipment maintenance
Metals, including vanadium and other heavy metals

Silica and Asbestos
Noise and Vibration
Carbon monoxide
Carbon Dioxide
Sulfur Dioxide
Hydrogen Sulfide
Repetitive Strain Injury
Organic Land Farming
These are but a few of the hazards that we as workers are subject to in our workplace.

At our work site I feel that sometimes CEP Local 848 has been virtually alone in trying to inform workers of their rights and obligations under the Act. Often we have had to encourage workers to report an injury to the health center and then we send them back to insist that the employer complete a form 7 for the board. I know that these are basic expectations under the act but it still happens where opinions differ or a short explanation form the company nurse conveys to the worker that a formal report just isn’t necessary. When events are handled properly by the worker and the health Center in our workplace, other hurdles often occur. For instance, when medical evidence is required and a worker asks for a copy of their medical file, from our health Center, that file is first sent to the head office in Alberta for a review and only then is it given to the worker. This causes questions and distrust between the health center nurse and the worker. Also when doctors and specialists reports are part of a medical file they cannot, under the rules of our employer be given to the worker without first securing individual permission of the physicians involved. This can make the gathering of medical evidence a cumbersome and time consuming exercise.

When the worker has to deal with the board it seems that any problem at all no matter how minor is enough to deny benefits. It has been my experience that a worker can have many individual pieces of medical evidence to support their claim, as well as peer testimony and yet the board with a simple doctors review that focuses on one conflicting medical or non-medical opinion may deny benefits. I believe that sometimes the board hopes the worker will just go away if they the board, put up enough resistance.

Any insights that you gather from these hearings that can be used to bring back a degree of fairness and justice to injured workers will be a step in the right direction. To do otherwise will leave some workers on a path towards disease, depression and bankruptcy. Thank you for listening to me.

Dan Hennaert CEP Local 848

From May 8-14/2004 I had the chance to attend the WSIB III Course (Appeals and Disputes Resolution) put on by the ODRT (Occupational Disability Response Team) a part of the Ontario Federation of Labour. I would like to thank John Millholland for putting forth the motion and the rest of the membership for sending me on the training.
The course was developed in September 2003, with the most current and up to date polices and legislation. One must always keep in mind though the rapid changes that are made to these laws (especially to board policy).

For those who are not familiar with the WSIB (Workplace Safety and Insurance Board) it is the agency responsible for administering the laws pertaining to workplace accidents and receivable benefits. These laws are the WSIA (Workplace Safety and Insurance Act).

One of the main reasons for the course’s development was because every year in Ontario over 300,000 workers are injured on the job. Sometimes when a worker suffers an injury, they lose earnings or require special services or treatment. This becomes the responsibility of the WSIB.

Many workers receive entitlement for their injuries from the board without any delay or difficulty. However, there are a great number of decisions that are denied and therefore become subject of a formal appeal.

This is where this course is designed for workers or worker representatives who are exposed to negative decisions and attempt to resolve issues through the appeal system. The emphasis is on resolving these issues in a timely fashion using facts, medical opinions, jurisprudence (knowledge of the laws) and sound legal arguments.

This course also benefits people who will act as representatives of injured workers before appeals at the WSIB and Workplace Safety Insurance Appeals Tribunal (WSIAT). In simple terms I received the necessary tools to be an advocate on behalf of injured workers.

Now in simpler words, I found this course to be very intense. There were two days where between 16 and 19 hours were put in just to be ready for the next day. After learning how WSIB files are organized, we were given an actual file at the appeal level where and ARO (Appeals Resolution Officer) will hear your reason why the previous decision should be overturned and the reason from the employer why it should be upheld. The employer usually has a high priced lawyer to fight their side. The injured worker who most likely is not receiving any income or very little cannot afford a lawyer. They then need a qualified or effective person to represent them.

If for some reason the decision is not overturned the forms are filled out for a WSIAT (tribunal) hearing. At this level it can be requested to have the case heard by a single adjudicator or a tripartite panel consisting of a vice-chair and two side members one representing the business community and the other representing the labour community. If the decision is not overturned at this level, it is now next to impossible to get it overturned.

At the end of the course I understood quite a bit about the following:

-the structure of the appeals branch
-applicable legal principles
-the steps taken in preparing for an ARO appeal
-Participate in a a mock ARO appeal
-How to examine a witness
-the steps taken in requesting a WSIAT appeal
-Participate in a mock WSIAT appeal
-how to request an adjournment
-how to request a reconsideration of a WSIAT appeal

I would like to thank every one who made this course possible for me one last time. It was probably the best and most educational course I have ever taken.

Peter vanWijnen

CEP Ontario Council – Tenth Annual Conference
March 28, 29, and 30 2003
Brothers and Sisters,

75 delegates gathered in St. Catherines for the Annual CEP Ontario Council conference. President Rick Williams welcomed everyone to the conference and introduced the executive. Brother Bob Huget A.V.P. for Ontario, brought greetings from the Evans Ave. National office and from V.P. for Ontario Cec Makowski who could not attend due to other commitments. Brother Huget touched on the Medicare Campaign, which is progressing and the Tory election (alleged) budget infomercial presented at Magma Corp. He says the NDP are getting the best poll results that they have had since 1990. He urged CEP members to buy memberships in the New Democratic Party and to support local candidates. An NDP government would bring back anti scab legislation and reinstate worker protections like real safety inspectors who visit work places. The NDP would also protect public power and refinance public health and public education and protect other vital public services.

Bob spoke on the roll back of the sale of Hydro One, which is great but warned that the Tory agenda is not over. The legislation to sell Hydro One is still on the books and could be used by the government to sell the utility if given a new mandate.

On the Bell pay equity issue the corporation (Bell), launched and appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada of a decision by the Ontario Human Rights Commission on the basis that the Human Rights Commission was biased against Bell.

Keith McMillan, formerly of Dow, has become a full time Health and Safety Rep with the National working out of the Evans Ave. office. Keith has helped to file over 200 claims with regard to asbestos and helped to change policy for the better at the WSIB.

Organizing continues across Ontario. Strike votes are pending or already taken in the Natural Gas Industry, Black Diamond Cheese in Eastern Ontario, and Sifto Salt in Goderich.

I have some more information to post on the web site for the Al McLeod Scholarship. Congratulations to Dan Rawlings who was awarded a scholarship. Dan applied through Local 848, and was one of 12 application and one of three scholarships awarded. Congratulations again Dan. Well Done.

Brother Andre Faucault, CEP National Treasurer told us that the finances of the National are good at this time and reminded us that the CEP has the highest strike pay of any major Union in Canada. We remain a militant and progressive union.

Steve Rumbold and I took training on Saturday on organizing and legislative changes.

On Sunday we heard from Erna Post on the First Ontario Fund, a Labour Sponsored Fund that the CEP participates in. We also heard from Peter Kormos MPP for Welland and the NDP Labour Critic. As usual Peter was in fine form railing against the Tory/Liberal Conservative reactionary agenda.

Thanks for sending me to this conference.

Dan Hennaert

5th National Convention Toronto Sept – 29 – Oct 3, 2002
Last week we attended the National Convention in Toronto. There were just over 1100 delegates representing 174,810 people. Approx. 260 locals did not attend.

We had 2 delegates for this convention. Dan Hennaert attended the entire conference and Steve Rumbold and I split the time for our second delegate (Steve attending Saturday and Sunday while I was there Sunday night through the end of the convention Thursday afternoon.

On Monday the delegates discussed and voted on Constitutional and General resolutions…amongst the Constitutional resolutions it was agreed to amend Article 16:03 to read ” Members on strike receive $200 on fifteen (15th) day of the strike or lockout and $250 each seven days thereafter…”It used to be $150 and $200 respectively.

Some highlights of coming out of the General resolutions are:
The “CEP Energy Policy” was adopted as CEP Policy by this convention. this policy is available for any of our members to read.

The CEP will demand that the Federal government renegotiate the NAFTA so that this trade treaty gives back full jurisdiction over our economic, cultural and social development to the Canadian government.

The CEP will mount a campaign to educate to educate it’s members on the impact of these international treaties and on the course of action to take to prevent the adoption of treaties which threaten our rights as workers.

The CEP will support the Canadian Health Coalition in their efforts to save our medicare system.

Shirley Douglas was one of the guest speakers at the convention Shirley is the daughter of Tommy Douglas (former Premier of Saskatchewan and founder of our Medicare system as we know it) Shirley, like her father Tommy, is very inspirational and motivational speaker. Highlights of her speech included: The Harris government has closed radiologist schools and cancer clinics amongst other things. There are 11,000 nurses gone due to conditions that were created not due to lack of money but due to the fact that they don’t want and now they say they can make things better. We just have to privatize. She urges all CEP members to call or fax the people on this yellow sheet because once private for profit clinics are established, under the NAFTA agreement they can’t be delisted. Glen Sonnier, CEP National Rep., has arranged for Shirley to come to Sarnia in early November. I will keep you updated and urge you to attend.

Other speakers at the convention included Stephen Lewis, Alexa McDonough and Sandra Cordero (a lady from Columbia, South America) who told here tale, through an translator of how 300 Union leaders have been murdered in the last 3 years. The union is the target of the para-military. She evaded the death squads and was able to come to Canada sponsored in part by the CEP.

Elections of our National Executive were held and some of the results are:
President… Brian Payne
Secretary Treasurer… Andre Foucault
VP for Ontario… Cecil Makowski
AVP for Ontario … Joel Carr
Bob Huget is now a full time board member as Administrative Vice President, Ontario Region (replacing Dawn Van Nostrand).
Brother Ken Glassco declined to run again for Rank and file Board member because he has plans of retiring.

Jeff Belanger

Communication Energy and Paperworkers Union,
National Convention – Toronto, Sept 28, thru Oct 3, 2002

Brothers and Sisters,

This quote from the floor of the convention caught my attention. It was attributed to Nelson Mandela and came up in discussion around nominations and elections. Think about it, consider what it means and act accordingly the next time you cast your ballot for an election.

The recently completed convention of the CEP National Union celebrated the last 10 years of our merger. The highlights talked about were:

Fair Play for Women at Bell Campaign: we marched through the streets of Toronto to the Bell Canada head office for a street side rally.

Shorter Work Time plans that some locals have taken up as priorities were presented as a film. They want to reduce overtime and or change work schedules to sometimes preserve jobs were fellow workers are on layoff and also enhance opportunities for family and community involvement.

Campaign Against Hydro Privatization: These focused on the recent court victory were your national union was instrumental in stopping the sale of Hydro One. The action made the Ontario Government rethink the whole plan and declare publicly that they would keep control of the asset by selling only 49% of the shares. The practicality of this is in question as it is thought that the large investors will be unwilling to commit to a company 51% owned by the province for fears of political interference and political considerations being a priority over strictly business considerations.
All of these issues contributed to a general theme around anti globalization. We as unionists obviously want to preserve jobs, benefits, wages and union contracts in a era of globalization. World Corporate Government aims to keep workers poor (i.e. competitive)… in fear of loosing what they have, therefore compliant, (move your job to another country)… and also in some cases to make you fear for your very life if you choose to fight back.

The convention affirmed that the CEP is to be an

Activist, Progressive, and Militant Union.

Other Highlights: The convention increased strike pay by $50.00 per week. Brother Bob Huget, the former MPP for Sarnia was elected as an Administrative Vice President for Ontario. Other elected National offices remained unchanged for the most part; the rank and file board members for Ontario (4) all attracted new people. I don’t have the names. None were from the Sarnia area.

Thanks for sending me to Convention,

Dan Hennaert

Brothers and Sisters,
Jeff Belanger and I recently had the opportunity to attend the CEP Ontario Council Conference on March 30, 31 and April 1 2001 at St. Catherines.

Rick Williams, council president, welcomed us to the conference.We heard from Ces Makowski CEP Ontario Vice President. He spoke about the “Its all on the line campaign” and the desire of Trade Unionists in Ontario to challenge the changes to the Employment Standards and Labour Relations Acts. He said that polling suggests that the people of Ontario view the changes negatively. Specifically the regulations that permit longer working hours (up to 60 per week) and the ability of an employer to designate individual vacation days rather than vacation blocks of 1 or 2 weeks as major concerns. Also overtime hours (over 48 I think) can be averaged over a period of weeks so that the effect will be to deny workers any premium rate of pay. While we as Unionized workers may not feel the effects of these changes, it should be remembered that only about 27% of the Ontario labour force is unionized. These changes could well effect our children and other family members. They also tend to lower the floor of guaranteed working conditions making it harder for unions to negotiate better working conditions than now exist under current contracts.

Brother Makowski also spoke about union raiding that is continuing by the CAW, how this hurts the OFL and the Labour movement and diverts us from our true objectives.

We also listened to the plans the CEP has to participate in the “Peoples Summit” in Quebec City. The aim is to bring Union Activists together and to raise worker right’s issues in the forum of free trade. He said that free trade agreements have to recognize workers and environmental rights. To this end the CEP is sponsoring a train, leaving Toronto at midnight on April 20, traveling though the night and arriving at Quebec City in time for the day of events, then returning to Toronto that evening. The cost for a seat on the train is $220.00.
David Christopherson MPP for Hamilton spoke to the group about the Tory legislative agenda. He said we are living in the worst climate for organizing workers since 1946. He reminded us that in 1990 SCABS were made illegal and in 1995 the Tories rescinded the law. He also reminded us that the Liberal platform in 1995 was the same as the Tories.

The minimum wage in Ontario is $6.85 and has not changed since 1995.

The Treasurer of the National Union, Brother Andre’ Faucault, told us that the Unions funds are healthy and that all accounts are now operating in the black. The strike fund is increasing gradually to the $20 million level. It is at about $15 million right now and should reach the $20 million goal in the next 10 to 12 months with a corresponding reduction in our per capita levy at that time.

On Saturday Jeff and I attended training sessions. Mine was on financial planning and Jeff attended “Innocent Absenteeism”.

On Sunday Brother Wayne Samuelson the President to the Ontario Federation of Labour spoke to the conference about the activities and goals of the organization. He felt the changes to Employment Standards and the Labour Relations Acts were an attack on fundamental rights. Workers wages are being suppressed yet as an example of how the Tories manage things, he cited the income of David Williams the CEO of the WSIB who is paid $752,000/yr under the Tories while the NDP government paid the same position $150,000.

The government is creating a Mega-Tribunal system that combines 6 areas of administrative justice into one. The plan is to fire approximately 150 adjudicators and replace them with 35 new ones. It should be remembered that the government has made all of these changes, that effect the labour movement with virtually no consultation of those who will be effected.

Brother Samuelson concluded his talk by stating how important it is to organize for the next provincial election and to organize more people into unions.

I want to thank the members for sending me to this conference. It certainly is worthwhile to touch base with other CEP members in the province and to become energized by the issues and leadership of the day.

Dan Hennaert

Ontario Federation of Labour Convention Report
Report by Alan Gates (Recording Secretary of CEP Local 848)

Convention Dates: November 22, 2009 through November 27, 2009

First of all, I would like to thank Mark Mathewson for encouraging me to attend this convention. As I have previously turned down all opportunities to travel on union related trips as a member of the executive, this was my first time attending the OFL Convention. This was an eye opening experience which furthered my understanding of how decisions are made on which items the labour force wants to push forward and lobby governments to tackle.

This convention lays out a plan for the week which is changed on a regular basis depending upon pressing needs and/or time commitments. Although an item may make the shortlist of debatable topics, there is never a guarantee an item will even see the floor. This was apparent from the very outset of the convention and held true until the final debated agenda item was complete on Friday. This particular item was pertinent to Local 848 members and one of the Pro speakers to stand up in the “House of Labour” was our own president, Mark Mathewson. The item asking the government to retake ownership of TSSA instead of leaving it privately run was accepted by the house.

Any union delegates, are given credentials based upon the number of members they have in their union or local. For Local 848, we are actually only given 1 spot for a delegate and that spot is generally reserved for our president. At the start of the week, it appeared that Rick Harris and myself may be relegated to guest status and required to sit in the audience seats rather than on the floor where those in attendance do not have a vote and may not speak. Thanks to Mark’s networking, both Rick and myself were able to “borrow” credentials and were able to spend the week on the floor where we actually were able to vote and speak although neither of us chose to speak to any item during debates.

Each day, guest speakers are invited to stand before the delegates and talk on many different topics. This particular week, we listened to many different speakers including the Honourable Jack Layton, Leader of the federal NDP party and Andrea Howarth, Leader of the provincial NDP party. The chosen speakers are quite enlightening and it is enjoyable to listen to their speeches.

Some highlights of my week included:

Marching through downtown Toronto to the TD/Canada Trust tower with hundreds of other labour leaders in support of our locked out/terminated CEP brothers and sisters from Cadillac Fairview. While we effectively shutdown streets during this march and rally, it was extremely disappointing to read Canada’s largest newspaper the following day and not see a single mention of this show of solidarity from the many unions and delegates.
The show of solidarity from the OFL Leaders and other unions when President-elect Sid Ryan led a picket the following day for the CEP members locked out by Cadillac Fairview. Being that we were members of the CEP we were not included in this action as any involvement by CEP members could have resulted in an injunction against the CEP and the members on the street.
The collection of over $100,000.00 in support of locked out and striking members across the province from the delegates and union leaders in attendance on behalf of their memberships as well as personal donations during the strike appeal.
The aid the convention provided in attaining an agreement with the Sheraton Centre to provide a subsidy for their workers to purchase TTC passes. The cost of a monthly Toronto transit pass will be rising to $121.00/month and with the OFL convention support, the members of Unite Here were able to join their brothers and sisters at other local hotels including the Marriott, the Hilton, and the Delta Chelsea in securing subsidizing from the employer for these passes to make the monthly cost $93.00.
The participation of the delegates staying at the Sheraton in ensuring that scheduled housekeeping worker’s shifts were not being cancelled through the hanging of door placards. This item is still an issue, but with education of the masses and solidarity of labour, hopefully a successful outcome will also be achieved on this item. During our week there, very few workers would have had shifts cancelled due to delegates hanging these door placards.
The election of Sid Ryan to OFL President, Terry Downey to OFL Vice-President, and Marie Kelly to OFL Secretary Treasurer.
In all, this was a very enlightening experience for me and I want to thank the members of local 848 for allowing me to experience this event.

In Solidarity,

Alan Gates (Recording Secretary)