Newsletter - CMAW Convention Makes Progress for Members

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The week of May 6th, 2012 CMAW held its 4th Convention in Kelowna, BC at the Coast Capri Hotel. Fifty-nine (59) delegates representing twelve (12) Locals and many guests attended the event.

The CMAW Executive Board met on the Monday and the Committees met on Tuesday, with the Convention held the following two days; Wednesday and Thursday.

The Convention had the pleasure of hearing from four guest speakers; BC Provincial MLA for Vancouver-West End and Offi cial Opposition Critic for Tourism, Culture and the Arts, Spencer Herbert-Chandra.

Guy Beaulieu from Total E & P Canada, a Calgary-based energy company focused on oil and gas exploration and production in the Athabasca Oil Sands, Jonathan Whitworth from the Washington Marine Group (Seaspan), Bob Matters from the Steelworkers Union who is also the Chair of the Canadian Wood Council and Patrick Daigneault from CSD Construction in Quebec.

Spencer Herbert-Chandra touched on topics such as the sale of BC Rail, HST and lack of training and apprenticeships being offered in BC. His comment was that "Adrian Dix has made it clear to the caucus, that if they are going to achieve the success they want on education, health care and a whole range of issues such as a strong vibrant economy, they are going to have to choose bite size pieces and set modest but bold goals."

Guy Beaulieu provided a PowerPoint presentation with his speech and explained the direction in which Total E & P is developing the Joslyn Creek Oil Sands Project. You can access the presentation from our webpage at www.cmaw.ca but you will need to request a password.

Jonathan Whitworth discussed the rapid growth of Seaspan with the announcement of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy.

Bob Matters spoke of the tragic explosions in two sawmills (Babine Forest Products Sawmill-Burns Lake and the Lakeland Sawmill-Prince George) and the importance of health and safety in the workplace and provided a history of the IWA joining the Steelworkers. Bob elaborated regarding Bill C-45, the 'Westray Bill', the Bill that amended the Criminal Code of Canada to hold corporations, their directors and executives accountable for their criminally negligent acts in the workplace.

Alain Daughnault expressed their solidarity with CMAW and shared the commonalities as he provided a brief history of CSD Construction.

The purpose of holding a Convention is to allow the membership to express their views and set the direction of the Union. When the Convention is in session, it is the highest governing body of a Union. Resolutions are presented, discussed, debated and passed or rejected. For the first time in a while, the delegates attending the CMAW Convention were for the most part on the same page and the flow went considerably well. It was good to see the unity of our Union, CMAW. Most of the resolutions brought forward were for the betterment and growth of CMAW, a common goal that all delegates shared.

The Convention was not without a few glitches and the big one was regarding the benefit plans; specifically the Carpentry Workers' Benefit Plan (CWBP) decision to eliminate retirees benefits. We were very pleased that a resolution was presented and carried by the Convention that will have the Carpentry Workers' Benefit Plan offer retired members extended health care benefits at an actual cost basis. We will see if the Trustees of the CWBP act on this resolution that clearly represented the view of the majority delegates attending the CMAW Convention.

Other notable resolutions were:

  • All references to CEP were eliminated in the CMAW Constitution and Bylaws.
  • Changes were made to the Constitution that allowed for Honourary Withdraw and Reinstatements.
  • An Alberta Vice-Presidents position on the CMAW Executive Board.
  • Clarification was made regarding the Shipbuilding Vice-President's position on the CMAW Executive Board.
  • That any newly elected Trustee of the Carpentry Workers' Pension and Benefit Plan nomination must be submitted to the CMAW Executive Board for affirmation and appointment.
  • That the Carpentry Workers' Pension and Benefit Plan Trustees elections fall in line with the local union elections; no later than July 1, following elections in CMAW Local Unions.
  • That the current director of Concert Properties who is a retired plan member and a retired trustee not represent the Plans or the Union on the Concert Board when their term expires.
  • A resolution passed that allowed for temporary trusteeship of a CMAW Local Union in a time of crisis.

Again, we thank the delegates and guest who took the time to attend; it is a cliché but it really is the 'U' in the Union that makes us stronger.

We look forward to seeing you at the next CMAW Convention!