June 7-9, 2013
Report Submitted by Heather Dillabaugh
The COPE Conference is the first conference I’ve ever attended and was completely enthralled by everything!
There were a number of speakers that were very interesting to listen to.
Ken Georgetti, President of the Canadian Labour Congress, spoke and thanked COPE for its work on Bill C-377. He predicts that Bill C-377 will end up in the courts. Georgetti also stressed that we (unions) have to learn to communicate differently and put out a different image of ourselves. We are about fairness and have to explain the union advantage.
Another speaker was Education Rep Marie-Josee Naud from the Quebec Federation of Labour and she spoke on defending define benefit pension plans.
Alexandre Boulerice, MP, Rosemont-Petite-Patrie, NDP Labour Critic, spoke and states that be believes Stephen Harper’s strategic plans are a quick, irresponsible exploitation of natural resources and lowering Canadian wages by abusing the temporary foreign worker programs. He also noted that it’s interesting that Harper prefers to use private members bills to attack unions as opposed to Lisa Raitt, Labour Minister to change the labour code.
Kevin Rebeck, President of the Manitoba Federation of Labour, stated that it’s not perfect in Manitoba but with and NDP government they are inside rather than outside the bull horn.
Rebeck explained that federal trade deals are costing Canadian manufacturing jobs and those jobs are transferred to low wage non-union jobs.
There were other speakers but this report is getting very lengthy so I will close.
I encourage everyone to try to attend a conference, even if as an observer only. It will be well worth your while and you will receive a tonne of education in a short period of time!