A Vision for the Future: Challenges and Opportunities for MoveUP

May 27, 2011

The second day of the council meeting began with an address from Jim Sinclair, President of the BC Federation of Labour.

Sinclair began by discussing Premier Clark’s latest position on the HST. He pointed out COPE members should not be fooled by her attempts to sugarcoat the HST:

“The HST is bad economics,” he said, noting the $8 billion in tax cuts BC families have paid to corporations due to Liberal tax policies. “They’re operating on a flawed idea that giving corporations money will cause them to create jobs, which we’ve seen doesn’t work,” Sinclair argued. He urged MoveUP members to vote in the HST referendum to get rid of the tax, reminding people who might be confused about the question wording: “You have to vote yes to defeat the tax.”

Sinclair also thanked members who helped the BC Fed work on the minimum wage campaign. “Make no mistake: Christy Clark did not do this,” he said. He told the story of a minimum wage worker at an airport White Spot who came up to him and thanked him for the work the BC Fed had done working on raising the minimum wage.

He also reiterated many important points that he had previously outlined in his Local Voice op-ed, including the problems with Smart Meters and the need to bring Accenture workers back into BC Hydro, and encouraged Councilors to make sure they’re getting members involved in the next provincial election.

“We know your policies are important to people, we just need the people,” Sinclair stated, “We’re going to win it by showing that working people make all the difference.”

Sinclair also took time to answer members’ questions on the Green Party, Grant’s Law, and BC Fed support for labour-friendly candidates in municipal elections.

Following Jim Sinclair’s talk, MoveUP President David Black gave his report, entitled: “Our Future. Our Union: A Vision for MoveUP.”

David Black outlined COPE’s pressing priorities, including growing the union and protecting more vulnerable workers through organizing, especially in the financial services sector; looking for ways to increase financial efficiencies; continuing to reduce our carbon footprint, recruiting and training more job stewards; and developing member activism.

Black cited some amazing examples of member activism, including strong bargaining action and solidarity from workers at Hertz and Yellow Pages, as well as the work of ABS members who continue to face an uncertain future under the BC Liberal government.

Finally, David Black pointed out that in the coming provincial election, COPE
378 members have a choice between Adrian Dix, who has met with Executive Council and members at ABS, or Christy Clark, who presides over a government that has refused to meet with COPE members time and time again and whose policies have put members’ families at risk.

After the President’s report, former President Andy Ross gave a presentation on parliamentary procedure and rules of order to help orient new Councilors.