2024 Women’s Conference Steering Committee Selection

Greetings,

The Union of National Employees Women’s Conference will be held this fall in the National Capital Region. We are excited to begin planning for the event and to get started with the work needed to make the event successful.

The National President, Alisha Kang, has appointed the National Executive Vice-President, Hayley Millington to chair the committee and she has chosen Mirelle Jaillet, the National Equity Rep for Women as her co-chair.

In preparation, we are creating a small steering committee. Our Conference committee will meet weekly via teleconference and, when necessary, in person. Meetings will be scheduled during the day and if you miss work to attend the meeting, a union leave letter will be provided for you.

The steering committee will include the following members:

  • One woman from each UNE region
  • One woman from the Francophone Committee
  • UNE Event Staff
  • One woman who has never attended an event

The committee will assist UNE Event Staff with the following and contribute to the overall organization of the conference:

  • Determining the program and organizing the agenda
  • Selection of subject matter and speakers for the conference
  • UNE branded items & activities

Nominations should include a short paragraph from the nominee explaining why the member would be a good fit for this committee. Please submit your nomination to Suzanne Boucher no later than June 28, 2024.

Scrap the three-day in-person Mandate

Calling all UNE members in the National Capital Region! Let’s join the rally from 12:00-12:30pm in front of the Treasury Board office at 90 Elgin Street in Ottawa on June 11, 2024.

UNE is joining with USJE and other components of PSAC, as well as allies, to rally in front of the Treasury Board building in Ottawa with a strong message to “Scrap the Mandate.”

The rally is in response to President of Treasury Board Anita Anand’s arbitrary decision regarding the Direction on prescribed presence in the workplace (the “Direction”). Effective September 9th 2024, the Direction mandates all federal public service employees to be at the work site a minimum of three days per week, and Executives a minimum of four days.

This new Direction will further limit hybrid work options for federal public service employees.

The Direction flies in the face of the Government of Canada’s previous commitments of collaboration, flexibility, and consultation as expressed in the Letter of Agreement on Telework (2023).

Come out and show your support and wave those UNE flags high!

More information on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/share/awkHxJghwqDV23ZR/

UNE Young Workers Shine at First Conference; UNE To create first ever Young Workers Committee

UNE youth members gathered from April 18-21 for the first ever Young Workers Conference and left on Sunday looking forward to the next.

“You could feel the energy at registration on Thursday and it lasted all weekend long,” said UNE national president Alisha Kang. “The future of our union, our workforce, showed their strength and desire to make positive change.”

In the midst of networking opportunites, educational workshops and captivating guest speaker appearances, Allison Fraser, Vice-President of Local 80178, put the question to those gathered; why don’t the young workers have more voice within UNE?

The UNE president quickly came to the mic and declared the creation of the first ever UNE Young Workers Standing Committee.

Allison and her peers were impressed with how quickly their voices were heard.

“Better representation leads to better engagement and supports the union’s future success. Giving a voice to the younger demographic in our membership helps foster intergenerational solidarity and creates a mentorship environment that welcomes new members. Young workers have a unique perspective and different needs than older union members. By encouraging young members to take on leadership roles in the union as they advance in their careers, the union remains relevant and appealing to its new members.”

Ryan Lipski, who was on the steering committee for the conference, was happy to see their vision come to fruition:

“This conference encapsulates the power of young workers in standing up and advocating for the future they want for their union, their workplaces, and their communities.”

The next Young Workers Conference will be held during the next mandate, sometime after the triennial Convention in 2026.

Convention Day Two – We Have a Budget!

The Credentials Committee reported first thing in the morning that we have 180 delegates at this year’s Triennial Convention. After some administrative announcements, it was right back to business with the Finance Committee and a lively debate on the budget. Delegates got behind all the work done and passed the budget with a strong showing of support.

Next, the Constitution and Bylaws Committee presented its report. Three resolutions were debated and voted on:

  • CS 2 – The National Vice-President for Human Rights
  • CS 1 – Statement of Duties – National Vice-President for Occupational Health and Safety
  • CS 3 – Abolishment of Term Limits in 2026

Resolutions CS 2 and CS 1 passed, while CS 3 was defeated.

Following lunch, Larry Rousseau, CLC Executive Vice-President, gave the Convention a passionate speech that energized the delegates and left them singing in the hall.

The General Resolutions Committee were next up and dealt with three resolutions in the afternoon:

  • Composite GEN 7A – PSAC – Strike Pay
  • GEN 3 – UNE National Youth Conference – Each Cycle
  • GEN 12 – PSAC and any Canadian Labour Congress Sanctioned Education Event

All three resolutions were passed by the Convention Floor.

We hope all the delegates had a great time in the evening at the Royal Ontario Museum!

Are You Ready for Convention?

ELECTRONIC DEVICES

All Convention documentation will be available and updated electronically on the UNE website. As such, you should bring your laptop and/or tablet to follow along when discussing resolutions and Convention business. Should you require an electronic device be provided to you, please contact us at your earliest convenience. Members who require a paper copy of Convention documents may make a request to be accommodated.

TRAVEL

You should plan to arrive at the Sheraton Center Hotel, in Toronto by the evening of Saturday August 19, 2023.

Delegates travelling by air are required to make their arrangements with WE Travel for all air travel bookings. The toll-free number for WE travel Ottawa is 1-888-676-7747 and WE Travel Vancouver is 1-800-663-4703. They have been instructed to have you travel to Toronto on Saturday, August 19, 2023. Your return flight should have you depart Toronto after 6 p.m. on Friday, August 25, 2023. Should you be unable to arrive home before 10 p.m. that evening, you can choose to stay overnight at the hotel and depart Saturday morning.
Should there be any requirement to modify air travel arrangements from the proposed schedule, such arrangements must be approved in advance by the UNE office. Please contact Suzanne Boucher at Suzanne.boucher@une-sen.org or at 613-560-4359 to coordinate your travel requirements.

If you are not traveling by air, in order to be reimbursed, delegates must keep all receipts for transportation such as taxis, buses, and parking.

**Delegates in the GTA using their personal automobile will be reimbursed for mileage and parking at the hotel.

ACCOMMODATION

Reservations will be made for you to arrive at the Sheraton Center Hotel, in Toronto on the evening of August 19, 2023 and depart the evening of August 25, 2023.

FAMILY CARE

The Union of National Employees reimburses family care expenses in an effort to encourage full participation in union activities by members whom, in light of their family responsibilities, may otherwise be unable to do so. When you send your expense claim, please provide a receipt signed by the person providing the service. The receipt must clearly indicate the hours and dates of service. Please see the Family Care Forms for further information.
In addition, on-site childcare will be provided during Convention activities. Please indicate whether you require on-site childcare when you register online or send the attached Family Care Form. Last-minute registrations may not be accommodated.

FINANCIAL ALLOWANCES

Delegates will be reimbursed travel costs in accordance with regular UNE Policy. With respect to accommodation, delegate accommodation will be prepaid by the component (room and tax only). Incidental expenses are the delegate’s responsibility.
During registration, you will receive an expense claim to be completed for all expenses and loss of salary. Please submit your claim for reimbursement to the UNE convention office at the hotel or mail the claim to the UNE office in Ottawa, following the convention.

USE OF YOUR PERSONAL CONTACT INFORMATION

As a delegate, you have the right and responsibility to make informed decisions on issues which will be presented to you, including the election of your UNE Officers. Similarly, members who run for elected office within the UNE (candidates) have the right and responsibility to communicate with convention delegates.
As a result, upon request, candidates are entitled to receive your personal contact information from the UNE. Personal contact information includes your name, address, phone number and email address. Your personal contact information will be shared on a need-to-know basis only. Therefore, candidates may only obtain personal contact information from members who are entitled to vote on the position for which they are seeking elected office (e.g. candidates who run for National positions, or candidates who run for Regional Vice-President in your region only). Candidates may only use this information to communicate with you about their candidacy. They are also required to safeguard your personal contact information in accordance with UNE Privacy policies (Refer to Policy CE1).

Should you have any further questions, please contact Suzanne Boucher at 613-560-4359 or by email at events@une-sen.org.

Deadline Extended for Convention Registration and Resolution Submission

Due to the current climate facing our Union, we understand many of our members are either on strike or working hard to achieve Local Conformance. As a result, UNE has extended the deadline for Convention Registration and submission of Resolutions.

The new deadline is Monday, May 15, 2023 at midnight EST.

Convention Registration

Members need to submit their credential forms, minutes showing their election, Local finances and complete the online registration. Full details are in the callout on the website here.

Resolutions

Members should submit their resolutions and supporting documentation electronically on our website. You can find all the details here.

Click here to visit the Convention section of the website.

If you have any questions, please contact the UNE Events team at events@une-sen.org

Canada’s unions call for federal government to settle Black Class Action lawsuit

The Black Class Action Secretariat and several major unions are renewing calls to settle the lawsuit on behalf of tens of thousands of Black federal public service workers in the wake of the government’s admission the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) discriminated against its Black and racialized employees.

“It is inconceivable that the federal government would spend millions of dollars fighting Black public service workers in court, when the government itself has concluded that the very institution designed to address discrimination, is discriminatory,” said Nicholas Marcus Thompson, executive director of the Black Class Action Secretariat.

The recent ruling by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBCS) is a scathing admission that the CHRC – the government’s own human rights watchdog mandated to fight racism and discrimination – is itself plagued by anti-Black racism and systemic discrimination.

The federal government has been trying to dismiss the Black Class Action since it was launched in December 2020, arguing that the workers should pursue other avenues for redress such as filing a human rights complaint with the CHRC. This recent revelation puts the CHRC’s credibility into question as the appropriate avenue to achieve justice for Black public sector workers.

“Enough is enough. Our members deserve justice, they deserve respect, and they deserve to be made whole,” said Chris Aylward, PSAC national president. “It’s time for this government to make things right so we can move forward in creating a more equitable and diverse federal public service, free of anti-Black racism.”

The CHRC’s own figures also show the watchdog has been dismissing racism-based claims at a higher rate than any other human rights complaint.

In the 2022 federal budget, the government committed $3.7 million over four years to create a mental health program to address racial trauma and discrimination experienced by Black workers in the federal public service. However, the government has been accused of discriminating against Black workers developing the Black Mental Health Action Plan. Earlier this year, Treasury Board terminated the employees it hired to work on the plan after they raised serious concerns about experiencing anti-Black racism. PSAC has also filed grievances on behalf of those workers and has requested transparency from Treasury Board on how the Action Plan is being developed.

The Black Class Action Secretariat and Canada’s unions are calling for the government to cease its efforts in dismissing the lawsuit, and instead actively work towards redress for the workers who have been harmed and end systemic discrimination within its ranks. 

“This important legal action shines a light on systemic racism and discrimination within our workplaces, and it is a vital step towards fostering a more equitable and inclusive environment for all employees,” said Jennifer Carr, national president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada. “It is our collective responsibility to ensure that every individual is treated with fairness, respect, and dignity, and we must address the root causes of inequality in order to build a more just and compassionate society. We demand the government end its delay tactics and work with Black Class Action to bring equity and justice to public service workers.” 

“The CLC stands in solidarity with Black workers and against all forms of racial discrimination,” said Larry Rousseau, executive vice-president of the Canadian Labour Congress. “We support Black workers pursuing equity, equality, and full, fair participation in the labour market. We strongly urge the federal government to uphold the human rights of its workers and redress the injustices faced by Black federal public service employees.”   

BC & Yukon Territory Regional Seminar: Experienced and New Activists Coming Together

March 7, 2023

A diverse group of UNE Local activists gathered in Victoria from March 2-5 for their annual Regional Seminar. Shirley Torres, UNE Deputy Trustee for the BC & Yukon Territory Region opened the event with a powerful message for all the delegates : ‘’Your commitment to the union is a commitment to yourself’’. UNE Trustee Sharon De Souza gave an update on the ongoing trusteeship and answered questions.

It was the first time attending a UNE event for many members and learning about Local finances and the grievance process provided by UNE staff was the perfect opportunity for them to dig into what a UNE Local representative does as a volunteer. Denis St-Onge (Local 20088) explained the basics of bargaining and gave a brief update on the Parks Canada ongoing negotiations. James Little, from the BC PSAC Regional Office, went through strike mobilization.

During the second day of the event, Johanne Labine, from PSAC, held an interactive and energetic session on governance. The all-day session called UNE: Empowering our Future was the opportunity for the delegates to brainstorm, engage and learn about good union governance and sound leadership.

Youth Delegates Elections for Convention also took place. Congratulations to Sterling James (Local 20278, Delegate), Jonathan Shivam Jeet (Local 20278, Delegate), Oscar Rodriguez, (Local 20214 , 1st Alternate), Alexandra Lausanne (Local 20280, 2nd Alternate), and Carina McDonald (Local 29266, 3rd Alternate)!

The last day, Ann Birnie (Local 20278) gave a practical presentation on how to engage with members at the Local level, with plenty of useful examples for the delegates to take back to their respective Locals.

Ontario Regional Seminar – That’s a Wrap!

The UNE held its Ontario Regional Seminar this past weekend and we were delighted to host so many energized members in a jam-packed three day event in Niagara Falls.

“This year’s Ontario Regional Seminar saw a high percentage of first-time attendees, many of whom were young women,” said Diane Levola, Deputy Trustee for Ontario. “I’m pleased that the seminar learning modules elicited encouraging levels of participant engagement and enthusiasm.  I believe this is an indicator of a positive future for UNE.”

On Friday, the group heard from UNE Trustee and PSAC National Vice-President Sharon DeSousa, who shared an update on the trusteeship and answered questions about the coming months leading to the Triennial Convention. Then, it was time to get to work with sessions on Local Finance Training and Grievance Handling.

In the afternoon, Suzanne Boucher and Andria Meskauskas gave a presentation and answered questions about Convention and how to submit resolutions. Following that session, union veterans Michael Freeman and Phyllis Allen provided an update on current collective bargaining issues.

To cap the day off, Morgan Oddie, from the Ontario PSAC Regional Office, led an energetic presentation on mobilization and how members can prepare for possible strike mandates this year.

Saturday was all about “empowering the future of UNE” as members heard from former PSAC staffer Joanne Labine, who kept the team engaged for the entire day, speaking and discussing topics such as member engagement, education and many topics in the evolving landscape of human rights. You can download her presentation notes here.

On Sunday, it was back to training on Local Finances and Grievance Handling, followed by a discussion on human rights reconciliation.

Finally, congratulations to Lin Xi Yu, Local 00394 and Desiree Hickens, Local 00128, who were elected as Youth Delegates to Convention in Toronto this August.

Click here to check out all the photos on our UNE Instagram and Facebook.