february member's voice

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  • by Jean Swanson and Dave Diewert, Social Housing Coalition

    Most city workers are lucky enough to be able to afford decent housing. But some city workers work with people who cant afford adequate housing. Some work with homeless people and probably dream of the day that homelessness ends. Across BC the low estimates put the number of absolutely homeless people at around 10,000; hidden homeless (sleeping in a car or with friends) at almost 40,000, and at risk of homelessness at about 66,000. In addition, we need about 2,700 more units of social housing every year just to keep up with population growth. Indigenous people, migrants, and women are especially at risk.

    As a way to generate popular political pressure for more social housing, the Social Housing Coalition is holding STANDs FOR HOUSING every Saturday at noon for one hour across the province. So far STANDS have been happening in Kamloops, Port Alberni, Vancouver, Surrey, New Westminster, Burnaby, and Victoria, with others posed to start in Campbell River and Smithers. The Coalition hopes they will become contagious and spread throughout the province.

    The idea of a STAND is based on the action of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, an association of Argentine mothers whose children disappeared under the military dictatorship between 1976 and 1983. The first STAND in Vancouver began in October, 2007. Community Advocates for Little Mountain (CALM) held a STAND every Saturday on the corner of East 33rd Avenue and Main Street to protest the destruction of social housing and forced dislocation of a meaningful community.

    Now we are asking people from around the province to take up a STAND for social housing.

    All you need is a handful of people willing to gather on a busy corner in your community from noon to 1:00 p.m. on any Saturday beginning now. The Coalition will provide STAND kits with a banner that says, Social Housing Now on it, eight red scarves, and leaflets explaining the

    housing crisis and the demands for social housing.

    If you would like to order a STAND kit and organize a STAND, please email Dave Diewert at ddiewertt@shaw.ca. Check out our website at http://socialhousingbc.com/2013/01/14/15/.

    Will you STAND for social housing? We hope you will.

    Social housing is: Non-institutional housing that is owned by

    government, a non-profit group or a co-op; not run for profit; Available to people with very low incomes

    who pay either 30% of their income or the welfare shelter amount for rent;

    Available to ALL who need it. No one will be excluded from a social housing unit because their income is too low. If a social housing resident increases their income, they dont have to move, but their rent will go up as they pay 30% of their income for rent.

    The newsletter of CUPE Local 15, Vancouver Municipal Education and Community Workers

    Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to:CUPE Local 15545 W. 10th Ave.Vancouver, BCV5Z 1K9

    General Membership MeetingFEBRUARY

    Date & Time:Location:

    Under Discussion:

    Wednesday, February 27, 2012, 5:30 pm, Room 5 Italian Cultural Centre, 3075 Slocan St., Vancouver Election of delegates to the 50th CUPE BC Convention Bargaining Updates: Vancouver Coastal Health,

    Vancouver School Board, Langara College, Emily Carr University and Langara Students Union, Vancouver Art Gallery

    Notices of Motion, see page 3 General Meetings provide all members with an opportunity to participate in decisions that affect the union.

    (Childcare assistance and interpretation available upon request.) 2013

    The MembersvoiceFEBRUARY

    2013

    Will You STAND for Social Housing?

    Photo: STAND for Social Housing at the Corner of Hastings and Princess on November 24, 2012

    CUPE 15 is very -able!Are you on Facebook? If so, come join us on our new CUPE 15 Facebook Page. You will find updates, news, and the occasional photo of what were up to at your union. Links to local stories and like-minded folks will be posted too. Be sure to share it with your fellow members and friends!

  • The MembersvoiceFEBRUARY

    2013

    2

    WWW.CUPE15.ORG CUPE Local 15, Vancouver Municipal Education and Community Workers

    Times up for the BC Liberals

    Update from your Executive

    by Leanne Toderian, Secretary Treasurer

    My position is all about numbers. How many stewards do we have? How many collective agreements? How many people took training? How much is in the budget for education? How

    many members do we have? How many delegates do we get? While a lot of my day is about that, I am also responsible for a whole host of other things and I would like you give you an update on what else has been going on at the union office.

    I am happy to announce we

    launched our new website. A great deal of thought was put into how to make a website relevant and useful to over 7,000 members across eight different sectors. In addition to union news and announcements, we are canvassing activists to post useful links and information related to their sector. We ask for your patience while we populate the site. Our staff and consultants did a great job of providing

    what I believe is an easy to navigate page with more room to grow than our old website had. Thanks to all who participated.

    Our union is growing and a steady pace. The result of this growth is that we are no longer a small organization that began in a most humble way back in 1918. The impact of this growth necessitates a re-think of how we manage our finances. The Finance Committee has started the year with some ambitious projects which they feel will track spending patterns in an effort to deliver the best budget. In turn, these projects will service the membership in the most efficient manner possible and provide a comprehensive understanding of what needs the most financial support.

    We recently sent 10 activists to the Canadian Labour Congress Winter School in Harrison. We are also sending stewards and members to various training courses on topics such as Representing Members, Conflict Resolution, and Retirement Planning.

    CUPE BC is hosting its 50th Annual Convention this year in Victoria and we are sending delegates to participate in the discussions which will mould the action plan for coming years. We will also be supporting your president, Brother Paul Faoros bid to become the next CUPE BC Secretary Treasurer. While this is a great opportunity for both CUPE members across this province and

    Brother Faoro, we will watch the results come in with mixed emotions; but alas we wish him well.

    I was happy to attend the Langara Employee Wellness Fair this week. These employees are members of Local 15. I was able to meet and chat with a few members and share some CUPE information. The Langara membership is resolved to resist the austerity message consistently delivered not just at their bargaining table but all provincially bargained collective agreements in education, health and post secondary. Lets hope we can encourage your friends and family to get out and vote in May and elect a government which values public education and services!

    On that related topic, there was a ratification vote held for the Health Members who work in the Community Bargaining Association. The results are not yet available but watch your email and Local 15s website for more information.

    Lastly, February is Black History Month and the steward mailing that goes out to all stewards and site contacts contains some interesting information on this topic.

    If you are interested in finding out more about being either a steward or site contact at your work site please contact me at the union office or email at ltoderian@cupe15.org.

    Change is going to come this spring!

    Leanne Toderian Secretary Treasurer

    Paul Faoro, President

    May 14, 2013 will be an historic day for workers in British Columbia. After 12 years of attacks on working families, times up for the BC Liberal government. Thats the message we hope to deliver on Election Day.

    It wont be easy though.

    While the BC Liberals remain unpopular, big corporations continue to back them. With big money rolling in, we can expect the BC Liberals to saturate television and radio with negative ads attacking Adrian Dix and the BC NDP. They have already spent $15 million of your

    tax dollars on ads promoting a non-existent jobs plan.

    Its time for CUPE members to step up. In the 2009 election, the BC NDP lost government by just eight seats and they lost those eight seats by a combined total of fewer than 3,500 votes. Approximately 7,500 CUPE members live in those eight constituencies. This highlights how crucial it is that we talk to our members about the

    coming election, and it shows that our members can make a difference.

    CUPE BC is conducting a member-to-member campaign, aiming to contact our 85,000 members to talk about the election. Through this direct contact we can motivate our members to vote for candidates that will represent their interests.

    Our efforts cant stop there. BC NDP candidates need our help. Volunteers are essential to any NDP campaign, whether its helping with office work, putting up signs, phoning supporters, knocking on doors, or helping on Election Day. All efforts in this election are vital if we want to take power away from the BC Liberals.

    I have been very impressed with Adrian Dixs leadership and the strong team of BC NDP candidates working hard to create change for the better. The shameful record of the BC Liberals has seen child poverty continue to rise, cuts to health care and education, stagnant wages and job losses, and an agenda to privatize services and sell off public assets. Adrian has committed to turn our province