Workleaders Join Executive Board at Strategic Retreat

January 24, 2013

MoveUP’s staff workleaders joined the Executive Board on the Thursday of the Strategic Board Retreat. President David Black welcomed the staff to the retreat, stressing the importance of their inclusion at this session. “Times are changing – laws in BC are tilting away from workers and favour employers; we are seeing public support becoming much more important. We are seeing more litigation and legal processes and increasingly sophisticated employers,” Black explained. “We need to have a broad discussion about how we continue to evolve as an organization.”

The day began with an overview from each of the workleaders of their respective departments, starting with Yudon Garie, Administrative Component workleader. Garie explained that the nine staff in the Admin Component carry out most of the office administration for the Union Representatives. Admins are also assigned to the various committees as well as the Membership Services unit assignments. They take care of meeting room booking and lunch ordering, retirement recognitions, the union’s travel and hotel needs and more. Garie described Admin “pilot project,” designed to address workload issues, where an additional “floater” relieves pressures and interruptions on busy admins.

The agenda moved to Controller Barbara Liang who discussed the functions of the Finance and Membership Services departments. The two staff in Membership Services are responsible for receiving and processing dues, member information updates, and member reports and lists requested by the various departments. Finance includes the Accounts Payable/Payroll Clark. Liang’s role is to support the Secretary-Treasurer, manage the budget system, issue monthly financial statements to committees and departments, provide financial analysis, and administer benefits for the Columbia Hydro Constructor members.

At that point in the morning, Vice President Gwenne Farrell interrupted the departmental reports to let the group know the long-outstanding trademark dispute between the OEPIU and COPE-SEPB had finally been resolved in the Canadian union’s favour. The room erupted in claps and cheers.

Director of Communications Sage Aaron began by quickly outlining some of her department’s responsibilities. She and Communications Representative Jarrah Hodge help Union Reps to produce bulletins and sensitive correspondence, manage media relations, produce the quarterly member magazine, take care of advertising, and administer and create content for the website among other duties.

Aaron then asked the Board for help: the Communications Department always needs photos and stories from MoveUP’s worksites. She then went through her usual monthly Board update of media hits, advertising, social media updates and You Tube, website and sent-bulletin analytics.

Aaron went on to take the Board and senior staff through the fall 2012 round of member polling. Polling is normally done twice a year and serves to benchmark the union’s performance. The main take-away from the polling that the majority of the membership is consistently satisfied or very satisfied with the union’s representation.

After breaking for lunch, President Black asked the Senior Reps to give a report on the current servicing model and their suggestions for the future.

Senior Union Representative Jaime Zygmunt gave an overview of the current Union Rep structure. There will be a change from the two Senior Rep model to three as MoveUP has recently promoted Glen MacInnes and the structure will need to be amended accordingly.

The Senior Reps are mentors and workleaders, overseeing and approving policy grievances to ensure consistency between the groups. They also act as negotiators for certain worksites and train their reps on internal systems. The Senior Reps report directly to the President.

MacInnes gave the Board an overview of the organizing department both when he started in the unit last year and where it’s gone from there, referencing the report he put together to maximize the efficiency and processes of the department.

Senior Rep Brad Bastien detailed the pros and cons of the union’s current servicing structure and challenged the Board envision ways that would allow the staff to grow the union and bargain better contracts.

Board and staff engaged in a detailed discussion of the member polling, member needs and the union’s current structure. President Black finished the day telling the group that the discussion would result in a report to the Executive Council in February, and that dialogue would continue.