Recap of MoveUP May Council Meeting

May 27, 2013

MoveUP’s Executive Council dealt with many weighty items at its May 27 meeting. Starting off the morning, councillors heard a report from the Communications Director on recent member polling. One of the highlights was the result of a new question, which found more than 7 in 10 members would recommend MoveUP to a friend who is not a union member. This result is encouraging as we continue to look for workers at new workplaces that might be in need of our representation.

Later in the morning, outgoing Vice-President Jeff Gillies gave a report on international labour issues, on behalf of Vice-President Gwenne Farrell. One big issue that came up was the recent tragic garment factory collapse in Bangladesh, which killed over 1,100 workers. UNI Global Union and IndustriALL Global Union, which MoveUP belongs to, both are working to implement and get corporations to sign onto a new Bangladesh Fire and Safety Accord. Gillies urged members to learn more about the issue and think about their personal choices when buying clothing in the future.

First thing after lunch the ICBC councillors elected new ICBC board member Annette Toth to the position of vice-president, replacing Jeff Gillies.

Of all the regular committee reports, perhaps the most anticipated was that of the Political Action Committee. Former co-chair Jeff Gillies gave the report, which reflected on the recent provincial election results.

Gillies noted how shocked people were by the unexpected Liberal win: “The BC NDP had a 12-year record with countless blunders to choose from but it wasn’t until the last week of the campaign that they really started to contrast themselves.”

Gillies also felt the Liberals seized their opportunity to negatively define NDP leader Adrian Dix to the electorate, but stated more reflection will be needed to find out “exactly what happened and what we need for next time.”

On the positive side, Gillies said he was happy about the gains the NDP made in three previously-unheld seats: George Heyman in Vancouver-Fairview; Vancouver-Point Grey, where Christy Clark lost her seat; and Jane Shin in Burnaby-Lougheed, whose campaign was managed by MoveUP Communications Director Sage Aaron. 

Looking forward, Gillies said we’ll need to prepare to keep taking our issues forward to government and opposition.

President David Black concurred, saying as soon as Christy Clark has appointed her new cabinet, we will be seeking meetings with the ministers representing portfolios that affect the work our members do. He noted Christy Clark’s announcement immediately after the election that she wants to set a new, more positive tone with labour:

“I think we have to take her at face value and be willing to meet with her to discuss that,” Black stated, though he anticipated challenges based on what we’ve seen under her government previously.

In addition, Black said our union will need to step back and reevaluate our plans for the next few years, and said that process of strategizing will be happening very soon among our board, council, and membership. 

The last item on the council agenda was the organizational audit undertaken by Radical Inc. The presentation was led by Joanna Gislason who started by describing the methodology and then moved to the findings of the audit. The audit identified cultural and structural challenges facing the union and pathways to empower staff and members to address these challenges. The union’s not-yet-struck change committee will be moving the recommendations of the audit forward.  

Flowing out of the recommendations of this audit and other reports council amended the union’s by-laws to remove all Human Resources and Labour Relations functions from the responsibility of the Secretary-Treasurer.