Housing, welfare rates and minimum wage among key issues addressed by delegates
Burnaby (10 Nov. 2006) - Delegates at the 2006 policy convention of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) debated and approved a wide variety of resolutions making the case for the province to reinvest in public services and address other important public policy issues.
Key questions included demands that the government of Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell address the province's severe housing crunch - especially for lower income residents - and that it significantly boost welfare rates and the minimum wage.
Union activists also strongly backed two important campaign initiatives: child care and global warming.
The resolution on global warming included commitments that union leaders and members work aggressively with other groups to press governments at all levels to deal with an impending environmental catastrophe.
Stopping forest privatization
An emergency resolution was unanimously approved to condemn recent suggestions by a top ministry of forests official that forestry tenure be entirely privatized.
Delegates also passionately signalled that they’re ready to fight any further move by the Liberals to privatize public services.
BCGEU president George Heyman thanked union activists for their commitment to help the union defend jobs and services and win important gains during the past year of bargaining. Heyman urged delegates to reach out and engage the membership to help strengthen the organization.
“We should take every member and engage them in their union. Let’s build the union one member at a time, and let’s act to make a better society,” Heyman said. “It was a great convention."
He added that the key resolutions, and those prompting the most debate, were about social justice, public services and the people whom BCGEU members serve daily in their work.
In addition to Heyman’s key note address, delegates also heard inspiring presentations from Dr. David Suzuki and B.C. Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair. Convention webcasts
Meanwhile, delegates also took part in a series of workshops on issues like global warming, reinvesting in public services, racism, health care and climate change. Another special session addressed the issue of workers’ rights in the global economy. The event featured NUPGE secretary-treasurer Larry Brown, NDP MP Libby Davies, and Philippines health care union leader Annie Geron by phone from Manila. Convention resolutions Photos
Then next BCGEU constitutional convention is set for June 6-8, 2008 in Vancouver. NUPGE