PRC Meeting Minutes (Oct 2012)


October 12 & 13, 2012 Regina, SK

Marianne Hladun, REVP Prairies
Imy Bhatty, Racially Visible Representative
Amanda-Rose Bourget, Young Workers Representative
Shaun Brennand, Regina Area Council Representative
Dave Burchell, Persons with Disabilities Representative
Jerad Cooper, Northern Alberta Representative
David Fandrich, Southern Alberta Representative
Deborah Ferguson, Alternate REVP
Alex George, Aboriginal Representative
Alec Goertzen, Calgary Area Council Representative
Timothy Hunt, GLBT Representative
Glen Johnston, North West Manitoba Representative
Nina Kiviluoma, Edmonton Area Council Representative
Denni Nelson, Northern Saskatchewan Representative
Jackie Nettleton, Saskatoon Area Council Representative
Susan Norman, Westman Area Council Representative
David Pearson, Lethbridge Area Council Representative
Petrina Runns, Directly Chartered Locals Representative
Steve Van Opstal, Southern Saskatchewan Representative
Lisa Garnier, Regional Coordinator - Prairies
Jeffrey Vallis, Regional Political Communications Officer - Prairies

Tim Hogan, Prince Albert Area Council Representative
Nancy Johnson, RWC Representative
Chad Kemery, Separate Employer Representative
Matt Tijani, Winnipeg Area Council Representative
Clint Wirth, South East Manitoba Representative

1. Call to Order: October 12, 2012

The meeting was called to order by Sister Marianne Hladun at 9:10 am. 

2. Adoption of Agenda
The agenda was adopted.

3. Hours of Session
The hours of session were adopted.

4. Opening Remarks 
Sister Marianne Hladun welcomed and administered the oath of office to Sister Deborah Ferguson, Alternate REVP -  Prairies and introduced Sister Lisa Garnier, the new Regional Coordinator - Prairies.

Sister Hladun has been on the PRC since the first Council; at that time their initial objective was to set up Area Councils. Committees and Area Councils are struggling with their mandate and to engage members. There is a need to define goals and to think outside the box while still maintaining fiscal responsibility and accountability to the membership.  These discussions are happening at the AEC regarding accountability and transparency.  There has been a shift in leadership with all the changes since Convention and members spoke clearly as to the direction they wanted taken. 

A draft copy of the PRC Handbook has been provided to the Council and it will need portions filled in and defined.  It will be a useful tool for Council members coming into the position so they have a better understanding of their role.  This will be a very full two days. Everyone should be engaged and it is important that everyone’s voices are heard.

5. Finances
The Balance Sheet and Income Statement January 1, 2012 - August 31, 2012 were circulated and approved.

6. Reports of Elected PRC Officers
There is a requirement in the PRC By-Laws for all Representatives to submit a report. The reports are attached as they are received. 

The reports submitted were circulated and approved by the Council and can be found on the Prairies website.

Additions to reports:

Marianne Hladun:

  • AEC meets monthly and general information will provided to the PRC on a regular basis.
  • The Council should have received invites for a website usability test.  The national website needs a lot of work and they are consulting members and leadership to get feedback on what works and what needs improvement.
  • A decision was taken to close the Gander Regional Office. This was a difficult decision. We are $4 million dollars over budget, the membership is declining in Gander and the lease is expiring. There was consultation with every national officer, every local, the regional council, and with staff. It was not something simply based on dollars, it was looking at numbers and the government’s plan to cut jobs and close offices. There is the potential that in the future there will be less than 100 members living in Gander. They’re still going to maintain the number of reps in the region; it is just out of a different office. Some of the responsibilities were already being done out of St. Johns because there was only one rep in Gander.
  • Sept 15 – The NBoD is having a strategy session in two weeks and one of the items on the agenda is an autopsy of the September 15th Day of Action. Did it work or not? After the NBoD decides what our priorities are, the AEC will meet at the beginning of November to discuss how to implement.
  • Policy Suite Review - Treasury Board advised us that there are over 60 policies (duty to accommodate, EAP, term employment, workplace childcare) and they want to take 60 policies and turn them into 5.
  • National Health and Safety Conference, originally meant for 2015, will now be held April 11-14, 2013 in Montreal. Resolutions submitted from the Prairie Region H &S Conference will be timely.
  • We’re looking at reorganizing and shifting within PSAC. We need to be down to 349 positions by 2014.
  • Sister Benson will be meeting with Tony Clement next week. 
  • Regional Women’s Conferences will need to take place from January to June of 2013.
  • The Committee for Compensation Advisors is still meeting. We need to know if members are having problems accessing information about their compensation.
  • Political endorsements – There was no political endorsement in Quebec, it was how the media framed the headline. The AEC has had a discussion on this matter.
  • DCL Committee will be struck shortly. This is a follow up from Convention.  There will be equal numbers from DCL’s and Components.  REVP’s will be asked to submit names and it will likely be chaired by Sister Robyn Benson.
  • Discipline – Committee looking at Regulation 19. There are some gaps in how we do discipline. If PRC members have ideas, questions, concerns or suggestions, please send via email by the end of the month.
  • She has been assigned the Young Workers portfolio and Parks bargaining.
  • Brother Chris Aylward has the Finance portfolio.
  • Bill C-377  - If it passes, PSAC will have to hire 3-4 people full time in accounting to track finances. Locals, Area Councils and Committees will also have to comply.  The CLC believes that many Labour District Councils will fold because they will not be able to meet the finance requirements.

Susan Norman:

  • Brandon Labour Council will be holding an event & social on November 9 as a way of supporting the We Are All Affected campaign.

Petrina Runns:

  • Separate Employer Conference has been cancelled.  DCL and SE PRC reps will be contacting the locals involved to determine why registrations were not being submitted and based on feedback, will look at re-scheduling for 2013.

Dave Burchell:

  • Edmonton HRC is back up and running.

Timothy Hunt:

  • AFL 100th anniversary was a great success.
  • Globalfest had a lot of traffic at the booth.
  • Large turnout at the Calgary Pride Parade and it marked the 1st appearance by CBSA and Calgary Police walking in uniform. 
  • Calgary Police Service did a powerful ad campaign recently.
  • Just attended the AFL Executive Council meeting and Pride and Solidarity meeting where they joined the Lilydale picket line in solidarity.
  • Plans to push the GLBT agenda next year and is contacting all HRC Committees to fill in a 12 point plan.

Sister Lisa Garnier gave a brief overview on the staffing, in the region, particularly administrative positions that are being filled.

Sister Hladun explained the PSAC is not paying for staff and elected leaders with dual living situations. There is a relocation policy and process in place that is used.

WFA discussion:
The Council had a lengthy discussion about WFA, which led to a WFA discussion group during the Committees meetings (for those not on a Committee).
Some of the key points during this initial discussion were:

  • the possibility of setting up a regional WFA Committee or a sub-committee within the PRC
  • how to get current and accurate numbers
  • how to provide support to those affected
  • networking and communication

7. Agenda Items

Prairie Region Bylaws - submitted by Sr. Marianne Hladun

A bylaws committee has been established to work on the PRC Handbook and to look at potential bylaw changes to bring to the PRC before the 2014 convention.  This will not be the final Bylaws Committee established for Convention.  

The members on the Committee will be:
Glen Johnston (Chair)
Susan Norman
Imy Bhatty
Nina Kiviluoma
Jackie Nettleton
Amanda-Rose Bourget
Shaun Brennand
Deborah Ferguson

Prairies Website - submitted by Sr. Marianne Hladun

The Council was asked to contact Jeffrey Vallis, Communications Officer if they have any feedback regarding the Prairies website.  This topic will also be covered by the Communications Committee.

PRC Handbook - submitted by Sr. Marianne Hladun

This PRC Handbook was drafted to address the fact that members ask, “What does the PRC do?”.  It is completely open to suggestions and changes and is meant to open discussion with the caveat that we must meet requirements specifically stated in the Bylaws.  The new Bylaws Committee will work on the final version with a target to have something back out to the PRC by year end.

Committee/Area Council Allocations - submitted by Sr. Marianne Hladun

The 2012 allocation from PSAC has not yet been distributed.   The Council agrees to hold back $700.00, for the years 2012-2014, for every HRC, RWC, AC & RAPC.  This means every committee would have $2100.00 in reserve for delegate costs for the 2014 Convention.

These funds will be held by the REVP office and all claims, travel and hotel will be processed there.  This will make the entire process run more smoothly and will mean less administrative work for Area Councils and Committees as there will be no need to invoice loss of salary or travel costs back to the committees.  These funds will be held in a dedicated reserve and not be used for any other purpose.  Following the 2014 Convention, the PRC will have a discussion to determine what to do with any surplus, if any exists (e.g. continue to roll it over or divide the surplus and return to committees).

Any Committee currently holding funds for Convention will be advised they can put those funds back into their operating budget.  Area Councils may want to consider holding some of that money for the registration to the PSAC National Triennial Convention. 

There may be a need for some Area Councils to make a bylaw change if the holding of Convention funds is in their Bylaws

After the hold back of funds this year, cheques will be sent out.  The amounts will be approximately:
Area Council - $218
Human Rights Committee/RAPC – $548
RWC - $750

Orders of the Day –

Bill C-377 – Alex Furlong , CLC Prairies Director

Brother Alex Furlong provided an overview of Bill C-377 and the enormous impact it will have on labour organizations. 

Committee Meetings - Committee Reports:

Communications Committee:

  • The Committee discussed the website and the design at length and how to make it easier for members to find their area. How to make it easier for our activists who just want to get there in two or three clicks. Talked about usage stats.
  • Discussed the e-newsletter and the frequency. The committee likes the fact that it’s weekly.
  • Social media, discussed how to increase followers.
  • Logos and branding: Committee came to the conclusion that there should be a regional logo that identifies the region as unique.  They will put it out to the broader membership to see if anyone has an idea, in consultation with a graphic designer, for use in 2014. Will continue to use slogan “Union Pride, Prairie Wide’ and come up with something new for 2014.
  • Banners will be ordered for every area where there is an Area Council.
  • Looking for feedback on what type of swag is most useful and popular.
  • Touched on internal communications, but it may require a conference call or email exchange in the near future.

Education Committee:

  • Reviewed the current regional education program that is coming to a close. There were a huge number of participants in 2010/2011.
  • Coming to the end of 2012 there was a small, unallocated surplus that needed to be used due to the cancellation of the separate employer conference.
  • There will be an e-mail survey and specific meetings in each of the regional offices and other areas to gather feedback
  • Discussed pilot program for the Prairies Facilitator Network.
  • Discussed key activities to include in the next education cycle. These are subject to change because there has not been consultation with members as of yet. Possibilities include: bargaining and union school as there was not a union school in the last three-year cycle.
  • Specific roles for the education committee: basic consultations, promote the education program, encourage and support the AF network. Ensure the pilot project is successful. Make sure everyone is aware of the network and know whom the AF in their areas is and if they so choose that they can utilize it.
  • Didn’t elect a chair because they were missing a member of the committee.

Health & Safety Committee:

  • Focused on attendees for the Health & Safety Conference in Edmonton.
  • There will be a selection of 50: 10+ PRC from MB, 10+ PRC from SK, 29+ PRC from AB. It is rotated from province to province each time therefore the host province has more opportunity to attend.
  • Keynote speakers are on hold, due to costs. With education having a surplus, they are hoping to get more money from there and have speakers.
  • Missing two committee member so no Chair was selected.

Finance Committee:

  • The 2011 Financial Review was completed by an auditor.
  • The REVP office has moved to Simply Accounting software.
  • Committee members looked at the submissions of documentation for the purpose of allocations. A template needs to be developed for reporting so that the all Committees/Area Councils are reporting in a consistent way. The Committee will work on some checklists and templates for committees.
  • The committee discussed how those submissions should come in. There was a suggestion that the PRC member responsible for those committees would gather that information. Finance committee could help with that, as well. If submissions are not submitted by a reasonable deadline, that committee will not be considered for allocations for that year.
  • Committee will be chaired by Marianne

WFA Discussion Group:

  • We should have a Work Force Adjustment hot button on the website that leads to: FAQ, who can I talk to? How can I get marketed as an employee? What are my rights for WFA or getting a letter (what avenues do they have)?
  • An area of the website for members dealing with WFA such as areas they can go to get counseling (United Way counselling program that takes you through different services that are available locally for jobs, services, etc.)
  • We need to get back to humanity and start helping our members more. Do a “member give back” through the Area Councils and encourage Locals to take a look within their membership for those who may be struggling because of job cuts.
  • Area Councils need to have a higher presence in the workplace. Jerad and Nina through Edmonton AC have committed to putting together a biography of who they are to send out in the next week or two before locals have their AGMs indicating they can attend the AGMs to speak and ask if there is a need for lunch and learns, AF training, workshops
  • Nina suggested she would make a blanket letter that would be generic that Area Council reps can plug their information into so that people can get invited to AGMs, etc.
  • Putting local contact information on the website when possible. Contact information for those committees right on the website.
  • Link to WFA questions on the PSAC Prairies website and on the Facebook
  • Recognized there was no need for a WFA Committee out of the Prairie Region Council, but there is a need to provide support to these people who don’t know where to turn.
  • Any additional thoughts should be sent to Marianne.

By-Laws Committee:

  • By-Laws Committee is typically established prior to Convention to look at resolutions. Do we need to consider re-establishing that as a standing committee?
  • Council agreed to establish a By-law committee that would take over the consultation process for the PRC Handbook. 
  • It was pointed out that according to the By-Laws, all PRC reps will serve on a PRC committee.
  • Glen asked that last time, convention committees were set up based on provinces due to cost of meeting face-to-face. Are we going to go across provinces this time?
  • Marianne says we need to have that discussion and should put Convention Committees into the By-Laws so it is identified and vested into the structure.
  • During the fall 2013 meeting there will be in-depth discussions about subsidies, etc.
  • Suggestion about extending a future meeting by one day so that committees can meet for a full day.
  • David says that this committee should be to do the work of the council and put forward changes of By-Laws, etc., and then we establish a new By-Laws committee at Convention time to make recommendations on and prioritize resolutions, etc. He thinks there should be a shake up between the two so you have a new viewpoint. The people on the original committee who put forward changes have a vested interest and you need a second opinion.
  • The possibility of using Skype for committee meetings was suggested as an innovative cost-saving measure. 
  • Communications committee will hold an upcoming meeting via Skype and test it out.
  • Bylaw committee: Glen Johnston (chair), Susan Norman, Imy Bhatty, Nina Kiviluoma, Jackie Nettleton, Amanda-Rose Bourget, Shaun Brennand, Deb Ferguson
  • Imy Bhatty (Communications) and Shaun Brennand (Education) requested to stay on their previous Committees in addition to joining the By-Laws Committee. Glen Johnston will move from the Communications Committee to the By-Laws Committee and will act as Chair.

Convention Committee:

  • Standing PRC Convention Committee is dissolved and Committee members will join other Committees
  • The Committee was established to assist with site selection for the 2014 Convention.  This task has been accomplished. A Host Committee will be established, from the membership, at a later date to assist with the planning. 

Other Discussion:

  • The PRC has agreed to hold monthly conference calls.  They will happen the first Tuesday of every month at 7:00 pm MB time. The calls will happen regardless if there is quorum or not. The purpose of the calls will be to exchange information on a more timely manner and as such minutes will not be posted for these calls.  If a decision needs to be formally made, there will be a separate conference call and the PRC will be advised that it is a formal meeting of the PRC as a decision needs to be made.
  • If Council members are away for an extended period of time, they will advise Sister Alison Davis so that she can make a note.
  • If you have not received an email in your Groupwise account in a week then it would be safe to assume there might be an issue.  Please contact Brother Jeffrey Vallis to get some assistance.
  • It was suggested that Committees and Area Councils have a generic email set up through Groupwise.  This would not be the best solution as Groupwise auto archives after three months and the data would be gone.  Jeffrey will check to see how other regions are set up.  Getting generic Hotmail or Yahoo accounts was suggested. 
  • The Council discussed the possibility of creating a calendar with different months representing a different service (Ex: January - food safety, February - transportation, April - tax month because taxes are due, June - collage of public services for NPSW, Christmas - postal workers because everyone’s using postal services, July & August - Parks members, November - veterans affairs).  The Communications Committee will follow up with this idea.

 Meeting adjourned at 4:57 pm.  

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