A first for CAPE, four union presidents spoke to a packed room at its 2018 Annual General Meeting held in Ottawa on Tuesday December 4. Debi Daviau, President of PIPSC, Dany Richard, President of ACFO, and Chris Aylward, President of PSAC joined Greg Phillips, President of CAPE on stage to exchange views on issues affecting all federal employees, before an audience of over 160 participants.
The theme of the AGM this year was “Strength in Unity” to remind everyone of the tremendous power we hold when members and partners stand together. “None of the progress we have made on our various files − may it be Phoenix, collective bargaining, health benefits, and wellness, would have been possible without the direct or indirect involvement of a community of people that includes staff, members, the national executive committee, local leaders, volunteers, and other unions” noted Greg Phillips during his introductory speech.
The program included a discussion with all four presidents, followed by a review of CAPE’s audited financial statements, of its budget and of the recent resolution put forward.
- The audited financial statements were presented by Sami Rehman, Chair of the Audit Committee.
- The budget for fiscal years 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 was presented by Nick Giannakoulis, Chair of the Finance Committee.
- The resolution being put to a vote and the elections update were presented by Richard Kulesza, Chair of the Elections. Resolutions Committee
Different approaches, converging views
Having presidents from three other unions representing federal employees at the AGM offered CAPE members a unique opportunity to hear different perspectives on Phoenix, political activism and collaboration between unions.
First at the podium, Chris Aylward spoke about the need to be politically active. “We have to be more politically involved as unions, we have to get our membership engaged, we have to mobilize more and effectively because we have to have a say, we have to start being listened to and respected.” He also stressed the importance of putting elected officials on notice when unions and members’ pleas are being ignored and wrongs aren’t begin corrected.
Debi Daviau, suggested a complementary approach, talking of the importance of nurturing a cordial relationship with the government. “We are going to continue to work collaboratively; we will continue to be partners and continue to do things that improve the lives of all public servants not just our own members.” Debi who spoke extensively about the Phoenix failure, reminded the audience that while she generally preferred a collaborative approach to negotiation, she said that at all costs pressure needed to be maintained on the government to solve the Phoenix debacle, one of the greatest crises ever experienced by public servants.
Meanwhile, Dany Richard brought to everyone’s attention the critical importance for union representatives to engage and mobilize members to increase their chances of success on every front. Unions drive change through their ability to energize and activate members and volunteers, and the more people get involved, the better. “There’s strength in numbers, there’s a reason why unions exist, and collectively together we are better.”
The spirit of camaraderie between the four union presidents was palpable throughout the evening and their commitment to working together emphasized as they concluded with a collective cheer.
President’s Year in Review
Following the panel discussion, Greg Phillips presented an overview of last year’s accomplishments and shared several updates. Topics touched upon included Phoenix, collective bargaining, local leaders, the pension advisory committee, the translation bureau as well as health and mental health benefits. A more detailed review will be provided in the President’s Report 2018 expected to be published and shared with members in early 2019.