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Convention 2024 Day 2: inSolidarity Update

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Hornick re-elected President and Nancekivell acclaimed First Vice-President/Treasurer

Marilyn Ott, InSol

Day 2 of Convention 2024 opened with electricity in the air — who would delegates elect as the union’s 2024-2026 President?

The room was filled with green and yellow t-shirts — those wearing green advocating for Sarah Labelle and those wearing yellow supporting JP Hornick.

The two candidates gave thought-provoking and motivating speeches and then the doors were “tiled” — the union word for “closed” — and delegates voted. Awaiting the vote-count, clapping and chanting kept the energy going in the room. The excitement mounted.

Ain’t no power like the power of the people because the power of the people don’t stop!

O-P-S-E-U- we want what’s right for you and me

Anywhere we go people always ask us, who we are? We are OPSEU! We are SEPFO!

We are going to fight for all our union rights

1,086 ballots were cast. Labelle received 479 votes and Hornick received 607 votes, meaning delegates had elected Hornick for their second term.


LCBO workers — and all the workers in OPSEU/SEFPO — are fighting back!

A loud and enthusiastic crowd of OPSEU/SEFPO members spent their lunch hour what our union’s members do best: standing up — and speaking up — for quality public services.

Friday’s march and rally was led by LBED members — who are already deep into bargaining — but it was a rally by and for workers who are fighting back against all of the Doug Ford government’s privatizations and cuts.

“This bargaining round is unlike any previous round, we’re energized, organized and prepared to do whatever it takes to keep the LCBO public and get our 9,000 members everything they deserve” said Colleen MacLeod, bargaining team chair.

The key bargaining issues revolve around privatization, precarious work and working conditions.

“I’ve attended a lot of OPSEU/SEFPO rallies, but this one, this one, had energy like I’ve never seen. There’s definitely something special happening within LBED, you can feel it from across the province” Rachel Brunet, bargaining team secretary.

The LBED Bargaining team returns to the table on May 7.

 


The five things you can do to help make OPSEU/SEFPO more equitable and inclusive

 

During the Equity Update, Taylor McPhillips challenged delegates with five calls to action for making the union more equitable and inclusive:

  1. Engage with your community through events like Pride, Caribana, Grassy Narrow River Run, and International Women’s Day
  2. Participate in your OPSEU/SEFPO Area Council, which gives members who share a community but not necessarily a workplace to share ideas, challenges, and build strategies for strengthening our union
  3. Create a space for equity within your local through active outreach to all members, and by creating space specifically for equity positions on your local executive committee (LEC)
  4. Support equity campaigns and events, such as the Disabilities Rights Caucus’s first-ever conference taking place next year,
  5. Start your succession planning by focussing on mentoring and preparing our next generation of union leaders. support workers in applying. vibrant future for our union with unions equipped and committed to our values.

“We need you to get involved!” said McPhillips. “Find your members who aren’t coming to GMMs and show them how powerful collective action can! And, please — document your work as you answer these calls to action. Take pictures at meetings and events and send these along to the Member Equity Unit (equity@opseu.org).

“Let’s showcase hard work of our locals! Together, we can make our union more inclusive and representative of all members.”

Check out this video: https://youtube.com/shorts/X_PqEy0B_dQ


Get ready for another Social Mapping Census!

Spurred on by the Workers of Colour Caucus (now known as the Coalition of Racialized Workers), OPSEU/SEFPO made history in 2008 when it became the first major union to undertake a detailed, equity-focussed census of its membership.

“It was the first of its kind in the labour movement, and other unions have been striving to follow ever since,” said Taylor McPhillips.

In 2019, OPSEU/SEFPO undertook a second census and systemic review to track its progress on equity and it’s now time to do a third census.

McPhillips said the new survey will going out next year and urged everybody at Convention to spread the word in their locals and get as many members as possible to fill it out.

“The more members who fill it out, the bigger the wins we will all have,” said McPhillips.


Overwhelming Generosity of OPSEU / SEFPO!

Marilyn Ott

You, you know who you are, OPSEU/SEFPO members, you / we, are finding new and creative ways to come together and care for each other.

You, our members have donated more than $5000, ($5027.65) from your hard worked money! Thank you!

The money that was donated by members of OPSEU /SEFPO will be matched up to $5 000 according to the donation policy. The money will be split accordingly for the approved donations requests.  You could feel the generosity in the room! You can see the smiles, as you imagine, how YOUR DONATIONS are helping the orphans, the widow, and the needy, so to speak! In doing this, we recognize that we have jobs and that part of stewardship is giving to others in tangible ways through helping secure better jobs for all, and through our kind and generous gifts!  It was so nice to see how happy the membership was to help in such a tangible way. We are truly a great group of giving people! We are an example to other unions in our words and deeds!

This is truly a creative way to help each other. We are pulling together through challenges and opportunities, renewing, and embracing our commitment to fight for a better, stronger public sector and province.


Empowering Women in Labour: Reflections from OPSEU/SEFPO’s Annual Women’s Breakfast

Lorinda Seward, InSol

On the second day of the Convention, amidst the bustling energy of solidarity and activism, OPSEU/SEFPO’s annual Women’s Breakfast celebrated the critical role of women in the labour movement. The event, an annual tradition of convention, provided a platform for voices advocating for gender equity, health, and solidarity within the labour force.

Addressing the attendees, President JP Hornick underscored the urgency of prioritizing women’s issues in the current socio-political climate. With unwavering determination, they emphasized that waiting another century for equity is not an option. Hornick’s words resonated deeply, echoing the sentiment shared by countless women within the labour movement: the time for meaningful change is now.

First Vice-President/Treasurer Laurie Nancekivell harkened back to discussions from the previous year about health and well-being. Drawing a poignant connection to this year’s theme of solidarity, Nancekivell remarked that true solidarity entails caring for one another’s well-being. Her words served as a reminder that solidarity extends beyond mere rhetoric—it’s about actively supporting and uplifting each other.

Region 3 Regional Vice-President Sara Labelle passionately addressed the concerning trend of women falling behind in public services, particularly in the face of deliberate underfunding by the Ford government. Labelle highlighted the indispensable role of women in healthcare, emphasizing that the fight for equity in this sector is paramount. Her rallying cry echoed throughout the room, emphasizing that the pursuit of revolution must include and prioritize women’s voices.

Laura Walton, President of the Ontario Federation of Labour, offered heartfelt gratitude to the activists of OPSEU/SEFPO, recalling their unwavering support during challenging times faced by her union. Walton poignantly remarked that women are not just participants in politics—they are symbols of resilience and determination.

A highlight of the event each year is the presentation of the prestigious Bread and Roses Award.  This year, that award was bestowed upon Maggie Wakeford from Region 6. Wakeford’s exemplary dedication to the theme of Bread and Roses—a symbol of workers’ rights and dignity—epitomizes the values championed by OPSEU/SEFPO. Her tireless efforts serve as an inspiration to all, embodying the resilience and fortitude of women within the labour movement.


Wellness Lounge

Marilyn Ott, InSol

Soft, billowing music beckoned as I entered the Wellness Lounge, the  entrance. The lights were dim, the mood calming, and staff member Patrick’s gentle voice, told me that I was welcome and that’s exactly how I felt!

This the second Convention with the Wellness Lounge and Patrick says it has been well attended. While I was there for my short tour,  two of the day beds were being used, and another five people arrived while I was there.

Patrick said common requests have been from “neurodivergent folks, who often feel incredibly stimulated by sound or other sensory inputs of the Convention Hall, so they come here to calm down.”

Additionally, crisis councillors are there to meet you in a confidential attempt to give participants a safe space to express concerns, or issues as they may or may not arise. Also available are Indigenous elders to come and chat with you.

For the next Convention, Patrick is hoping also to provide stress balls, weighted blankets, fidget spinners, and perhaps even a mechanical massage chair.

The wellness lounge is a great quite place to recharge and destress at this busy conference!


The Market Place

Marilyn Ott, InSol

When a Convention session, the Marketplace becomes scurrying place, full of excitement and bustle as crowds pour in to get some union-made merch and swag, check out the booths brimming with information about things like pensions, insurance, and a variety of other progressive groups coalitions.

Many conversions are waiting to heighten and consume one’s interests. One can develop one’s awareness of novel ideas and newfound initiatives!

Two things that stood out for me at the tables was a pamphlet that stated that only 26 per cent of Canadians have defined benefit pension. One can sign up to lead conversations that every Canadian deserves access to a defined pension with predictable, secure income in retirement. To this end, one can become a pension plan ambassador. When you become a plan ambassador one, can receive a free tee shirt. If this discussion interests you, go check it out!

At another table, you can sharpen your French language skills in a safe, non-judgement space to build your confidence. The bonus – you can enter a draw for bottle of Canadian maple syrup!

And of course, the Marketplace is the well-known home of the OPSEU/SEFPO Convention’s famous Silent auction, and Raffle tickets.

The last chance to bid on Silent Auction items and purchase raffle tickets is today (Saturday) at 11 am.

There are may good items, up for the raffles / silent auction. Don’t delay and keep your eye on the prize!


Observance Room

The observance room is a quiet room void of influences and pressures. It a place for you to destress and observe and contemplate things as they are coming up in your life. Feel free to utilize this place for your personal rejuvenation based on your personal observances!


What a way to start the Saturday!

Marilyn Ott, InSol

Ed Faulkner, Chair of the Retired Members Division, opened the day with a very nice comment about a colleague Janine Johnson, Chair of Region 6. He stated that “Janine has been an active member of OPSEU/SEFTO since 1971.”

Ed reflected on how, “She has contributed for 52 years to this union, sat on countless committees, and how she has donated thousands of hours to the cause.” She “has held almost every executive position, both locally and provincially over the years.” “She was involved in many committees!”, Ed reiterated.

It takes a deep love and dedication to our union to make it a success! Hard work and sacrifice is nice to be recognized by colleagues formally and informally!

Ed set an amiable tone for goodwill, collaboration, and recognition for his fellow union member from Kirkland Lake Region 6!

Thank you, Ed, for your positivity and your kindness setting the tone for the day!


Constitutional Amendments

A.1 PASSED Amend the Preamble, Article 2 and Article 28 to read as follows: (changes in bold)

This proposed amendment is H01 in Section H

The Committee has made the required constitutional language changes to enact this amendment as detailed below.

Submitted by the Executive Board

Moved by: Janet Heyman

Seconded by: Stacy Grieve

Summary: This amendment would change the OPSEU/SEFPO Constitution by updating references to current legislation and our current name.

The Committee recommends ACCEPTANCE.

Rationale:

This change would update the language in the constitution to match the name of the relevant legislation, and update the Preamble to reflect the current name of OPSEU/SEFPO and the current legislation under which it operates.

PREAMBLE

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union was founded in 1911 under the name Civil Service Association of Ontario. The Association was incorporated under the Corporations Act of Ontario in 1927. The members and officers adopted the name Ontario Public Service Employees Union in 1975 and restructured to become a member-driven Union. In 2022, OPSEU formally changed its name to Ontario Public Service Employees Union/Syndicat des employés de la fonction publique de l’Ontario (OPSEU/SEFPO).  As the need for a trade union approach to be applied to relations between public employees on one hand and their employers and managers on the other hand has been increasingly accepted by employees, public, and government, and as the Members and Officers of the Civil Service Association of Ontario, Inc. were and are desirous of re-dedicating and re-structuring their organization to parallel more closely the aims and forms of other Canadian employee organizations, the said Members and Officers adopted the present name of the Union in 1975, in accordance with, and to be governed by, the provisions that follow in this Constitution.

Article 2 INTERPRETATION AND ABBREVIATIONS

2.7 As long as the Union remains incorporated under The Not-for-Profit Corporations Act of Ontario, this Constitution shall be understood to be the “By-laws” of the Corporation, “Convention” shall be understood to mean “General Annual Meeting,” “Board” shall be understood to mean “Board of Directors,” and other terms found in this Constitution shall be understood to bear comparable meanings attributed to such terms.

Article 28 NOT-FOR-PROFIT CORPORATIONS ACT REQUIREMENTS

28.3 Upon dissolution of the Union as a corporation under the Not-for-Profit Corporations Act and after payment of all debts, all property and assets shall be distributed to a class of members, hereby established, to be known as and restricted to “Ontario Public Service Employees Union/Syndicat des employés de la fonction publique de l’Ontario”

28.8 The Officers and Board shall be responsible for ensuring the Union’s compliance with those provisions of the Not-for-Profit Corporations Act which are binding or peremptory. Where the Act is permissive, this Constitution shall govern.

A.2 PASSED Amend Article 13 to read as follows: (changes in bold)

This proposed amendment is H2 in Section H

The Committee has made the required constitutional language changes to enact this amendment as detailed below.

Submitted by: Sault Ste. Marie District Area Council

Moved by: Arlene Proulx

Seconded by: Michael Hamilton

Summary: Closure is a motion that ends debate and proceeds immediately to a vote. In order for Convention to benefit from a fulsome discussion this amendment proposes to permit closure only after both sides have had an opportunity to speak.

The Committee recommends ACCEPTANCE

Rationale:

While closure can be a useful tool to expedite the business of Convention, it can be misused to stifle healthy and necessary discussions.

Article 13 CONVENTIONS

13.11 A Convention shall be governed by the following rules of order (and in any matter not susceptible to regulation by these rules, Robert’s Rules of Order and O. Garfield Jones’ Parliamentary Procedure at a Glance shall be applied):

  1. A delegate may move “that the previous question be put.” It is not debatable and, if adopted by a two-thirds majority, has the effect of closing debate on only the immediate motion, amendment, or sub-amendment. This motion is in order only if Convention has had the opportunity to hear from at least one speaker on each side of the question. 

A.3 Amend PASSED Article 13 to read as follows: (changes in bold)

This proposed amendment is H03 in Section H

The Committee has made the required constitutional language changes to enact this amendment as detailed below.

Submitted by: Local 310

Moved by: Michael Hamilton

Seconded by: Janet Heyman

Summary: This amendment proposes to increase the amount of time before Convention that Resolutions and Amendments must be submitted by submitting bodies.

The Committee recommends ACCEPTANCE

Rationale: The current timeline as stipulated in the Constitution significantly limits the ability for the Committees and staff, including Equity staff, to review, prepare, translate, digitize, and publish documents in time for Convention.

Article 13 CONVENTIONS

13.8 Resolutions and constitutional amendments may be submitted by any Local, Area Council or Division, by the Executive Board, by the Article 19 Provincial Committees and by the executive of the Retired Members’ Division. They shall be attested to by two officers of the Local, Council, Division, Board or Committee and, except for resolutions and amendments from the Board, shall be forwarded so as to reach Union Headquarters not later than 45 60 calendar days prior to the opening of the Convention. Resolutions and constitutional amendments submitted contrary to this procedure may be dealt with by the Convention only with the consent of the majority of the delegates and only after all regularly submitted resolutions and constitutional amendments have been dealt with, except that the delegates may accept a resolution but not a constitutional amendment, as an emergency and deal with it immediately.


Resolutions

A1      Statutory Resolutions

Submitted by the Executive Board

Therefore be it resolved that as required by section 17 of the Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act, Convention confirms and approves the actions of the OPSEU/SEFPO Executive Board that created or amended a bylaw of OPSEU/SEFPO, as reflected in the minutes of the meetings of the OPSEU/SEFPO Executive Board from the closing of the last Convention until the closing of this Convention.”

Passed

A2      Statutory Resolutions

Submitted by the Executive Board

Therefore be it resolved that as required by section 68 of the Ontario Not-for-

Profit Corporations Act, Convention appoints MNP LLP as Auditors of

OPSEU/SEFPO for the fiscal year 2024 or until their successor is appointed.

Passed

J5

Submitted by Local 701
also submitted by the Thunder Bay and District Area Council

Therefore be it resolved that OPSEU/SEFPO where possible, will add a full day to convention;

Be it further resolved that where possible that the additional day will be added to the 2025 Convention;

Be it further resolved that where possible, the Convention will be 3.5 days going forward.

Passed

E1

Submitted by the Region One Area Council

also submitted by the Thunder Bay and District Area Council

Therefore be it resolved that OPSEU/SEFPO permit 1st Vice-Presidents to attend presidents training to educate them and give them the skills, tools and resources to be able to take on the presidents duties when required. 

Passed

ER1

Submitted by Local 595, also submitted by Local 583, Local 513

Therefore be it resolved that OPSEU/SEFPO recognizes that a diversity of opinions related to international conflicts is an inevitable consequence of our diverse membership and;

Be it further resolved that OPSEU/SEFPO reaffirms the paramount importance of human rights, and, through its national union, NUPGE, calls upon the Government of Canada to demand that all countries and parties involved in global and regional conflicts respect the human rights of both combatants and civilian populations under international law and;

Be it further resolved that OPSEU/SEFPO, through NUPGE, calls upon the Government of Canada to promote peaceful resolutions to international and regional conflicts.

Passed