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OPSEU/SEFPO among growing number of unions postponing elections

Coronavirus Update
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OPSEU/SEFPO is far from the only Canadian union to postpone elections and extend leaders’ terms, says National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) President Larry Brown.

In an email to OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas, Brown says that the Canadian Labour Congress, BCGEU, SGEU, and MGEU are among the growing number of unions to make the responsible decision to postpone election Conventions because of COVID-19.

“You’re certainly not alone in having to wrestle with this issue,” said Brown in the email to Thomas. “We are now trying to work through the very complicated issue of a virtual CLC convention, and to say that is very complicated is an understatement.  Trying to retain membership involvement and democratic decision making for a huge virtual convention is quite a challenge!”

Here’s the complete text of Brown’s email to Thomas:


Hi Smokey,

Thanks for the note yesterday advising that OPSEU has decided to delay Convention for a year.

You’re certainly not alone in having to wrestle with this issue.  On Friday I have another meeting of the CLC Executive Committee; as you know the CLC Convention, with the election of a new President, was supposed to have happened in June of this year but has been delayed for a year, based on a unanimous decision of both the Executive Committee and the full Canadian Council.  In order to make that work we had to ask the current Officers to stay in place for the extra year.

We are now trying to work through the very complicated issue of a virtual CLC convention, and to say that is very complicated is an understatement.  Trying to retain membership involvement and democratic decision making for a huge virtual convention is quite a challenge!  And the CLC doesn’t have to deal with the issue of delegate selection, they just turn that over to the affiliates.

And of course as you probably know too, several NUPGE Components have had to delay their election year Conventions. BCGEU has delayed their Convention and elections for a year; SGEU was to have held an election year convention in the spring and it hasn’t been held to date, with real uncertainty as to when it will be held; and MGEU was to have held their election year convention in October but that has been delayed for an indefinite period while they try to figure out whether they can hold a virtual convention.

As always, we will continue to provide information to the National Board as Components deal with all the complicated logistics of member democracy in the time of COVID.

Best,

Larry