1st Vice Presidents Report - June 2006
1st Vice Report
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I too would like to thank all those that took the time to attend the May 23rd special meeting, including Brothers Coles, and Hughf, who were here at the request of the membership to explain their actions and involvement in the "Pulp Fiction Agreement" between JVDriver and CEP 470.
The meeting began with Brother Hughf giving a thorough recount of the history leading up to the development of our Code of Ethics language including a lengthy slide presentation outlining the CEP / CMAW strategy to rid the BC Pulp & Paper sector of CLAC, after which the floor was opened for questions. Speaker after speaker, some more colourful than others, brought up legitimate concerns about the JVD agreement. Won’t our maintenance and labouring workforce slowly be replaced by less expensive contract employees? Won’t the Company stockpile work for JVD to do on shutdowns? Won’t this lead to a travelling road show?
Not to worry, said Brother Coles. "We have a commitment from Catalyst that Article 25 of the CA is unaltered and continues to be in force", the words sliding off his tongue so smoothly, it was apparent he had been practicing this sell job for quite some time. "It’s your collective agreement and it’s up to you to enforce it", he concluded.
Brother Coles assurances that having JVDriver as the "contractor of choice" would ultimately result in less contracting out rang hollow with those in attendance. "Bullshit" was the response I recall hearing most frequently. Many of the crowd still remember the Company’s lines in 1998. "Flexibility won’t mean a downsizing of the maintenance workforce, in fact it will result in less contracting out and more work being performed by our own crews". Yeah Right – how’s that working out around the province?
Personally, I started to get a little bit of satisfaction when Brother Coles finally admitted that the JVD agreement does have an enabling clause in it. "But, we will only use it to enable up" he said. "It wouldn’t make any sense for us to enable down"
Somewhere about half way through the meeting, Brother Coles realizing that there wasn’t anyone in the hall naive enough to buy any of what he’d been pushing started answering questions with "We’ll agree to disagree, and then in a few years we’ll see who’s right".
In the end people stopped asking questions. Coles & Co left town. Some members left, feeling a little better having had the opportunity to vent, but most continued to feel as they have all along, that we’ve been screwed by our own Union.
One of the only things I agreed with from their presentation was the wording on brother Hughf’s final slide which concluded – "It’s our work and our future". By that I mean - CEP1123’s work and future, not CEP 470’s or JVDrivers. Our local is the one certified to perform all the maintenance and repair work on the Elk Falls site and we will take whatever steps necessary to ensure it stays that way. So Screw JVD and to hell with CEP 470.