Report from the CAPE Atlantic Region Forum September 21, 2007Memramcook, New Brunswick

November 23, 2007

The Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE) Atlantic Region Forum was held in Memramcook, New Brunswick at the Memramcook Institute on September 21, 2007. The following local leaders and headquarters representatives attended the event(from left to right):

Michael Zinck, President CAPE PEI Local 102
Claude Archambault, LRO, Atlantic Region
Manon Mallet, VP CAPE NB Local 202
Ben Black, President CAPE NS Local 201
Jose Aggrey, President CAPE
Anne-Marie Leger, VP Cape NS Local 201
Sherri Doherty, CAPE PEI Local 102
Samuel LeBreton, President CAPE NB Local 202
Missing Charles Gilbert , Secretary/Treasurer CAPE NS Local 201

Also present was Gary Vermeer Alliance of Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) Regional President

The intent of the Forum was to convene as a regional group and discuss issues/items that are similar amongst our provincial locals. The goal was to be able to develop ideas that would result in a tangible product with recommendations that could be presented to the National Executive Council (NEC).

The following text highlights the updates provided on the individual agenda items and includes any recommendations made by attendees of this event.

Item #1 – Discussion on Collective Bargaining Issues

Claude Archambault informed us that the notice to bargain had been given June 8, 2007

Negotiating Team met with Treasury Board Secretariat for a preliminary meeting on September 11-12, 2007

Anticipating a possible tentative agreement by Fall of 2008, with ratification by January 2009

Negotiations could be delayed by arbitration (if it happens), a federal election, or by a Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC)strike. If PSAC strikes, we’ll likely wait until their issues have been resolved before pressing forward.

Claude mentioned he is seeing more young members who value flex-time as a part of their concerns for negotiations.

A discussion took place around possible incentives for retaining older employees.

Samuel LeBreton agreed to send an article he authored to Jose.

Item #2 – Update on EC Conversion

Claude informed us that the classification standard has been released

The original Advance Personal Notification (APN) date has been extended from September 21, 2007 to early November 2007.

Members are advised to watch for an ‘official’ or ‘effective’ date on their new work description. If this wording is on the description, members will have to provide their comments prior to this date.

Our new level (EC 1-8) will be given to us at the APN stage.

The new EC classification will not differentiate between ES/SI, but will differentiate between streams of work.

Item #3 – ACTRA (Gary Vermeer)

Gary Vermeer (ACTRA Maritimes President) did a PowerPoint presentation on ACTRA’s experiences in setting up a functional regional presence with their union.

Atlantic Forum attendees thought it would be useful to obtain a copy of ACTRA’s presentation so we can review their structure and how members move from local to regional to national executive.

Atlantic Forum members found the following points from ACTRA’s presentation particularly useful:

-That ACTRA has been around for nearly 70 years in some form or another. It takes time to work out all of the nuances of a local with members across the country.

-That the strength of ACTRA lies in it’s broad based representation. ACTRA has 10 branches located across the country. Members in each area elect Branch Councils that work on Members' behalf on local issues and determine national policies for support and adoption. Branch autonomy reflects the geographic diversity of ACTRA Members and ensures that regional and local concerns are identified and addressed in a timely manner.

-On a national scale, Members of ACTRA elect a National Council charged with advancing policies affecting all Members.

CAPE should consider enacting a structure similar to ACTRA’s in which we have Branch/Regional Councils to ensure that regional and local concerns feed into the national agenda.

Item #4 – Guide for Local Leaders

Jose Aggrey provided attendees with a copy of the Framework By-laws for CAPE Locals and opened the floor for comments.

The Forum passed a motion:

“To adopt the Framework By-Laws for CAPE Locals”.

The motion passed unanimously.

A second motion was passed:

“That Michael Zinck (with the assistance of head office) be responsible for consulting with all Locals to obtain their input on this Framework. A final copy of the framework will then be drafted and recommended to NEC for approval”.

The motion passed unanimously. CAPE Head Office will circulate this document to all locals.

Item #5 – Training for Members

The Forum suggested that CAPE try and do a teleconference orientation session with new CAPE members a few times a year welcoming them to the union, and providing members with basic information.

The Forum suggested that all CAPE members be reminded of various training opportunities available to local leaders and members interested in getting involved as shop stewards, etc.

Item #6 – Member Representation on Department Committees

Michael Zinck / Anne-Marie Leger presented their research on member representation on CAPE committees. The research showed that regional representation on committees is quite low. The committees are largely made up of NCR members.

They pointed out that there are a number of committees that members can get involved in: Audit, Finance, Elections, Governance Review, Equal Opportunity and Diversity.

Forum members feel it is important to have regional representation on these committees, a minimum of one regional member per committee.

Therefore, the Forum passed a motion that:

“The Governance Review Committee examine the idea of regional representation on National CAPE Committees”.

Motion passed unanimously.

Item #7 – Social Advocacy

Sherri Doherty (PEI Local Leader) presented to the Forum on the idea of Social Advocacy. Sherri defined social advocacy as a process of reducing inequalities and imbalance amongst those who are disadvantaged.

-Sherri gave the example of a Canadian company called Gold Core, whose activities in the mining industry were having a negative effect on a South American country. This country was now seeing Canada in a negative light due to its operation.

The Forum passed a motion:

“That the National Executive Committee form an exploratory committee regarding social advocacy and whether it should be pursued by CAPE’.

Motion passed unanimously.

Item #8 – Roundtable on Regional Issues

The following were some of the common regional issues identified. Due to time constraints, the Forum was unable to discuss solutions to the issues.

-Systemic problems of under-classification
-Limited career mobility/advancement
-Lack of Official Language Training
-Lack of developmental programs (Accelerated Economist Training Program, ES Development Program)
-Isolation/Limited membership communication
-Jack of all trades positions that encompass much more than one level of work

Conclusion

Given that the Forum was a pilot, the participants were quite satisfied that the initiative was able to accomplish its objective of identifying and discussing regional issues with the purpose of seeking regional solutions. As well, the participants were pleased with the motions passed and recommendations made to the NEC for its consideration.

In all, the participants considered the Forum a success and wish that it become an annual event and broaden scope to other regions.

Recommendation

The participants, therefore, enthusiastically recommend to the NEC that:

“The Atlantic Forum be an annual regional event rotating in location between the four Atlantic Provinces”.