General Membership Meeting Notes: Feb 13, 2018

OPSEU Local 561 held a General Membership Meeting on Tuesday, February 13th, 5:30 pm, in the Senecentre, at Newnham Campus. Dinner was served. Quorum was exceeded, and there were two part-time workers who attended as guests. The meeting was called to order at 5:40, and Janice Hagan, who chaired the meeting, read the statement of respect. The agenda was approved by consensus.

The following members were elected to represent OPSEU Local 561 at the Divisional Meeting of College Support Staff (Full-Time and Appendix D), on March 24th and 25th:      Mary Kernohan, Virginia DiMonte, Rod Bemister  (Alternate: Derrick Gunning)

Janice Hagan and Tracy MacMaster will be attending the meeting as Divisional Executive delegates. Frank Sturm will go as local President, in Janice’s place. It was announced that the Local will also bring two (2) part-time representatives, including one “regular” part-time worker, and one “student” part-time worker. These reps will be chosen by the part-time members, once stewards have been nominated.

The following members were elected to represent the Local at Convention, 2018:  Tracy MacMaster, Virginia DiMonte, Mary Kernohan (Alternates in order: Rod Bemister, Ahmed Chakera, Lily Tsonis).

Janice Hagan will be attending Convention as Vice Chair of the Union’s Constitution Committee, and Frank Sturm will attend as local president, in Janice’s place.

In addition, Tracy MacMaster, Rod Bemister and Virginia DiMonte were elected to represent our local at the Greater Toronto Area Council (Toronto OPSEU Locals), and Janice Hagan, Tracy MacMaster and Virginia DiMonte were elected to the Toronto and York Region Labour Council.

An Interim Budget for 2018 was passed, and it was explained that when OPSEU’s Executive Board passes a motion to add the newly organized Part-Time workers into our local Union, we may have to made some additions related to meetings and collective bargaining. Two motions to amend the proposed budget were passed: 1) the “Negotiations” line was amended to add $5,000, to allow for mobilizing and meetings around our new Bargaining Team’s mandate (instead of bargaining) to improve job security and fight contracting out at the colleges; and 2) to donate $1,000 to a provincial celebration dinner on March 24th for Organizers and Activists, including retirees, who worked on the Part Time Organizing campaign.

The participants voted to submit a Constitutional Amendment for the consideration of Convention this year, as follows:  That OPSEU’s Constitution be changed to allow electronic forums to be used for general membership meetings and elections. This motion would open the door for locals to allow for greater participation in decision making, by allowing members to “log in” to a membership meeting, debate motions and amendments, and elect officers, as long as the process was secure, allowed members enough time to visit throughout the week, and was approved by OPSEU.

Frank Sturm and Janice Hagan led a presentation and discussion on Bill 148. Janice assured members that they could now take up to two days off, per year, with pay (and 8 others without pay, if needed) to assist with family care for grandparents, parents, spouses and children (including foster and step), as well as for any relative for whom the member is the primary caregiver. The time off would be posted on i3 as a leave with pay, and the explanation would go in the details. The two days cannot be broken up, so that if you have to leave work two hours early to attend a doctor’s appointment with your child, that would count as one of the two days. A full chart of all the Bill 148 improvements for full-time, Appendix D (replacement workers), Appendix G (summer student workers) and part-time employees is being finalized and translated, and would be distributed soon to all members.

Finally, there was a long discussion of part-time workers joining our Local as a composite unit. Janice explained that a composite local has one executive (ie. President, VPs, Secretary, Treasurer), except they will have two chief stewards: one for the FT bargaining unit and one for the PT bargaining unit. Bargaining meetings will be held separately, but all other meetings will include FT and PT members. We also discussed whether or not the college will be providing “equal pay for equal work” to part-timers, on the April 1st, 2018 deadline. Participants wondered whether Premier Kathleen Wynn would “put her money where her mouth is”, or pull a “Tim Hortons” in the colleges. The provincial EERC has started the conversation centrally, with the College Employer Council, and time will tell.
The meeting was adjourned shortly after 7 pm.

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