MoveUP Council: New Faces, Big Decisions

October 6, 2014

MoveUP’s October executive council began with the oath of office for all of MoveUP’s new councillors. This meeting was special as there were over 20 new councillors from a variety of workplaces taking their oath for the first time. 

The spring round of member polling was presented to council by MoveUP Communications Director Sage Aaron. The union had recently changed its methodology to include online surveys that succeeded in reaching out to a new, younger group of members. Following the polling presentation Aaron moved into a discussion of MoveUP’s current brand and the need to refresh the brand of the union to clearly communicate MoveUP’s values and service.

As part of the president’s report David Black talked about the efforts the union’s senior representatives and union representative have taken on with regards to bargaining. “We plan on being current on all our bargaining as of next year,” said Black.

Just before lunch, New Westminster mayoral candidate Jonathan Cote visited council to speak with the members. In addition to being a New West city councillor, Cote is also a MoveUP member. He thanked the leadership for bargaining the benefits that help him care for his young family and giving him the ability to contribute to council while working as a bodily injury adjuster at ICBC.

Cote talked about how proud he is of the progressive policies brought forward by New West council, foremost among them the fact New Westminster was the first municipality to become a living wage employer. “We believe the people who work for us should be able to live here,” he said. He also talked about how the New West council tackled homelessness, which has decreased by 52 per cent. Cote said this was a true reduction; they didn’t push people out of the city into neighbouring communities. Council dealt with the issue locally by increasing transitional housing.

Cote’s goals for New West include showing other municipalities and levels of government that local governments can implement progressive ideas and policies that make a difference.

After Cote’s report John Hooker, Political Action Committee co-chair, advanced a proposal to increase the PAC budge for the year. Following a robust discussion council decided to increase the budget past Hooker’s initial ask, based on the union’s projected operating surplus and the fact the union is supporting five member and staff candidates in municipal elections across the province.

At lunch the BC Federation of Labour presidential candidate Amber Hockin came to address the union’s council. Hockin is currently the director of the Canadian Labour Congress’ Pacific Region and MoveUP’s executive board endorsed Hockin for president and her running mate Aaron Ekman the previous week.

Hockin spoke with the council members about five commitments she will enact if elected president. She promised a stronger focus on organizing, saying: “the Federation will do a better job of assisting affiliates to train organizers, coordinating organizing strategies and best practices, and developing new tactics to rebuild union density in BC.”

Under her leadership, Hockin said, the BC Fed would also rebuild a strong research and legislative department, ensure that equity-seeking groups—including young and new workers—are integral to the Federation’s initiatives and programs, secure the BC Fed’s standing as the authority on OH&S in B.C. and support struggling rural and resource based communities in transition to dynamic and sustainable economies. 

After lunch, the board voted on a motion of concurrence to support the payment plan for MoveUP’s new office space.

Vice-President Gwenne Farrell announced the theme of the upcoming job stewards’ seminar as part of her education committee report: “Shifting our Union: MoveUP Gets into Gear”. Courses will include Job Steward 1 & 2; Facing Management, Organizing, Conflict Resolution, Health & Safety, Job Evaluation, Bullying & Harassment and “Our Union” (a tentative title), built around the CLC’s Together Fairness Works campaign.

Vice-President Annette Toth spoke to the council about an issue the union will be watching in the coming years: self-driving or autonomous vehicles. Self-driving vehicles have the potential to completely reshape the auto insurance industry. More information will come out as testing continues; in the interim, Toth encouraged all members to write their MLAs to suggest that ICBC expand it’s product line.

At the end of the agenda, an election was held for MoveUP’s audit committee and FortisBC member Norm Sticklemann was elected.

Six delegates were also elected to attend the BC Federation of Labour convention in addition to the executive board, who are all automatic delegates.

Following a request from the BC Federation of Labour the council voted to donate $3,000 to support the legal clinic for migrant workers.