Uniforum 506 Newsletter – March 2023 Edition
March 31, 2023
2023 Local 506 Election for Vice President
September 8, 2023

Click Here to View Newsletter in PDF Format

Atlantic Regional Council

Local 506 delegates attend the 2023 Atlantic Regional Council in Moncton June 1-3. Unifor’s Regional Councils are a democratic force for union activism, solidarity, and strength. Delegates voted on the priorities and projects the union will tackle in the coming year.

In addition to the usual business of council, this was an election year for ARC Executive and Standing Committee members. Two Local 506 members were re-elected; Region 3 Chair, Adam Costain as a Member-at-Large and Local 506 Women’s Advocate, Erin Howell Sharpe as a member of the Political Action Committee.

Unifor donated $50,000 to support relief efforts for the Nova Scotia wildfires following an emergency resolution passed at the ARC.

Issue Proposals

The voices of our members are of utmost importance to us. Traditionally, we reach out to our members six months prior to the expiration of the current collective agreement to request bargaining proposals. However, we recognize that our members’ issues and needs are not bound by timelines. We want to create an open and ongoing dialogue that allows our members to share their concerns and ideas at any time.

Whether your concerns are immediate or long-term we encourage you to come forward and make your voice hear. Your input is invaluable in shaping the direction and priorities of our union’s bargaining efforts.

Please take this opportunity to engage with us, share your concerns, and help shape the collective bargaining agenda. Your active participation is vital to our success as a union! Click here for an Issue Proposal form or send an email to unionoffice@unifor506.ca.

UACL Biennial Meeting

Local 506 delegates attended the 2023 Unifor Atlantic Communication Locals Biennial meeting June 5-6 in Moncton.

Elections for Council positions saw a shift in leadership. Local 506 President, Sandy Brideau was elected as Chair; Local 410 President Lee Pearce was elected as Vice-Chair; and Local 506 Region 2 Chair Leesa Allain was elected as Treasurer.

The Biennial meeting provided a valuable platform for Atlantic Telco workers to come together, discuss important issues, pass resolutions and gain insights from expert speakers. Guest speakers were Dave Kuntz, President of Unifor Local 1-S; Roch Leblanc, Telecommunications Director & National Rep; and Atlantic Regional Director, Jennifer Murray.

Through these discussions and presentations, attendees were inspired to continue their work in advancing workers’ rights, improving workplace conditions, and promoting solidarity in the Atlantic region.

Unifor 2023 Pride Conference

The Unifor 2023 Pride Conference aimed to celebrate diversity and strengthen the commitment to fight for 2SLGBTQIA+ rights in and beyond the workplace. Delegates attended workshops, shared experiences, and stood in solidarity with drag artists. However, the event faced backlash on social media with homophobic and transphobic comments.

Unifor National President Lana Payne emphasized the need for safer spaces and the enforcement of anti-discrimination laws. Strategies to counter-protest and protect drag events were discussed, including creating barriers and using copyrighted music. The conference also explored the theme of “Winning the Fight” and emphasized the importance of collective action and mutual aid.

Speakers highlighted the challenges faced by the trans community, including attacks, harassment, and the need for government and union support. The conference concluded with recommendations for improving conditions for queer and trans members in the workplace and calls for political and social change. Participants left the conference with strengthened bonds and a renewed commitment to fight for equal rights.

Telco Conference

Local 506 attended the 2023 Unifor Telecommunications Conference in Port Elgin April 12-13. The conference focused on empowering workers and promoting activism. Delegates engaged in discussions led by union specialists and reflected on successful bargaining efforts in the telecommunications sector.

Unifor’s elected leadership, including National President Lana Payne and National Secretary Treasurer Len Poirier, encouraged delegates to participate in the Bargaining Workers’ Power strategy sessions and celebrated recent negotiation successes.

The conference emphasized the importance of unity and collaboration among workers from different provinces and companies. Topics covered included telecom and BCE business performance, pay equity, changes in the federal labour code regarding sick days, racial justice advocacy, and anti-scab campaigns. Local reports highlighted strategies to combat contracting out through membership mobilization and coordinated bargaining.

The conference also addressed the need to raise working standards and push back against contracting out in the sector. Valuable knowledge and skills were shared regarding workers’ rights, paid medical leave, workplace health and safety and pay equity.

Retirements

Best wishes to the following Local 506 members who have retired recently:

  • Sheila Lingley – Region 1
  • Don Painter – Region 3
  • Gloria Matthews – Region 1
  • Nancy Griffiths – Region 1

The Local gives retiring members a $150 gift to celebrate this milestone. If you are retiring in the near future, please contact the union office at unionoffice@unifor506.ca to ensure we have your current mailing address, phone and email information.

New Members

Local 506 welcomes the following new members!

  • Samuel Leclerc – Region 2
  • Tyler Porter – Region 3
  • Jason Melanson – Region 4
  • Connor Griffin – Region 1
  • Anders Good – Region 2
  • James Hindle- Region 4
  • Jacob Macneil – Region 3
  • Sam Ricker – Region 2
  • Cooper Dickson – Region 3
  • William Wilcox – Region 3
  • Olivia Stewart – Region 1
  • Joshua MacDougald – Region 3
  • Brett Hemphill – Region 1
  • Griffin Bell – Region 3

Home Dispatch

The recent decision by the company to move away from home dispatch has caused significant concern among members. There was no official announcement made to the Union regarding this change; however, we will continue to monitor this issue and keep you updated.

Local 506 Pride Committee

A Call to Action for members interested in joining the Unifor Local 506 Pride Committee

We are forming a Pride Committee for members of Unifor Local 506. As a committee we will:

  • Attend community events and lobby for 2SLGBTQIA+ rights in the workplace and in the community;
  • Raise funds for 2SLGBTQIA+ organizations in our province;
  • Network with pride committees in other Unifor Locals;
  • Discuss issues important to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community

Allies are welcome to participate in most of the events we plant to attend, but members of the committee must identify as members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.

Some of the events we plan to attend include:

  • Pride Parades
  • Marches for International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia
  • Vigils for Transgender Day of Remembrance

Committee members must fit the following criteria:

  • Be a member in good standing of Unifor Local 506
  • Identify as a member of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community
  • Be willing to put in some volunteer time for some activities (not all members will participate in all activities)
  • Be willing to support the rights of all members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community

For more information or to express interest in the Local 506 Pride Committee, please contact Erin Howell Sharpe at erin.howellsharpe@unifor506.ca

Day of Mourning

Unifor Local 506 Secretary Treasurer, Carlos Vicente, laid a wreath at the April 28th Day of Mourning ceremony in Saint John to honor and pay tribute to the lives lost in workplace accidents or as a result of occupational illnesses.

Local 506 acknowledges the profound impact that workplace tragedies have on families and communities. The Day of Mourning ceremonies serve as a moment to reflect on the sacrifices made by workers, ensuring their memories are honored and their voices heard. Unifor is committed to promoting and advocating for safe working conditions and dedicated to preventing workplace accidents, injuries and fatalities.

Collective Agreements

Collective agreement books are now ready for distribution. Please contact your shop steward to arrange to pick up your copy! Collective agreement books will also be available at Sub-Local union meetings.

Pay Equity Day

This year, Equal Pay Day was recognized on April 4, meaning that women will have worked an extra quarter of a year just to earn what their male counterparts made last year. Yes, we are still fighting for pay equity in 2023!

We must draw attention to how the pay gap increases substantially for those who face other forms of discrimination. Indigenous and racialized women, migrant and immigrant women, women who identify as 2SLGBTQIA+, women with disabilities, and elderly women face additional barriers to pay equity.

Together, through organizing, collective bargaining, and making political change, we can eliminate the gender pay gap. Let’s keep organizing until we win!

Support for PSAC

Local 506 members supported striking Public Service of Alliance workers on the picket line in April. After nearly two years of bargaining leading to one of the largest strikes in Canadian history, PSAC has reached tentative agreements for more than 120,000 workers who deliver critical services to Canadians. The agreement includes wages that close the gap with inflation, new and improved remote work language, safer and more inclusive workplaces and protections against contracting out.

Unifor Recreation Councils

Members from Saint John and Moncton recently attended meetings regarding the formation of Unifor Recreation Councils in New Brunswick.

The objective for the Recreation Councils is to plan and establish recreation programs and promote participation with the Local unions.

By offering a diverse range of programs, promoting active living, and involving the local community, the Recreation Councils play a vital role in fostering a strong sense of community and support within Unifor.

The Saint John Council of Unifor Locals met on June 16th and discussed upcoming events; the first being the Tears to Hope Relay at Fisher Lakes in Saint John on Saturday, June 17th.

the Tears to Hope Relay was created five years ago by the Tears to Hope Society whose goal is to provide support to the families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. This year Unifor has partnered with the Society to hold solidarity run/walks across the country.

The Council also discussed plans for the Labour Day Parade and preparation for the back-to-school barbecue. We’ll keep you updated on future events!

Unifor Local 506 Health & Safety Representative

We are currently accepting applications for the position of Health and Safety Representative within our Local. This is a vital role that focuses on safeguarding the well-being and protection of our members in the workplace.

The Health and Safety Representative plays a crucial role in ensuring that our members have a safe and healthy work environment. They act as a liaison between the union, management, and employees, advocation for and promoting occupational health and safety standards.

To qualify for the position of Health and Safety Representative, applicants must be members of Unifor Local 506 and have a previous experience in a health and safety role. Involvement in joint health and safety committees is an asset.

As a Health and Safety Representative, you will be responsible for conducting regular inspections of the workplace to identify potential hazards and ensure compliance with safety protocols. Additionally, you will investigate incidents and accidents, identify the root causes, and recommend corrective actions to prevent future occurrences.

If you are interested in the Health and Safety Representative position – Click Here for an application form or send an email to unionoffice@unifor506.ca. Together we can create safer and healthier workplaces for all members of Unifor Local 506!

Local 506 Women’s Committee

Members of the Local 506 Women’s Committee attended Unifor’s Sisterhood Outreach workshop on May 31st in Moncton.

This program provided our sisters – one Region 1 member and four Region 2 members – with the tools to mobilize on equality issues in the workplace and the community. A Local Union Women’s Committee works toward bringing attention to and supporting campaigns that focus on improving the issues that affect women’s lives and supporting our members. This day was also an excellent opportunity to network and grow the sisterhood in our region!

Mobilization Committee

We want to start preparing now for the bargaining in 2025 to ensure that the union is well-equipped to negotiate effectively. Organizing a mobilization committee can be an excellent first step in this process.

A mobilization committee plays a crucial role in union activities by building support, motivating members, and coordinating collective action. It’s primary objective is to engage an organize fellow union members who share concerns and are eager to take action. The committee serves as a platform for discussing ideas, strategizing, and mobilizing resources to advance the union’s goals at the bargaining table.

If you are interested in working with the Mobilization Committee, please send an email to unionoffice@uniforlocal506.ca.

REMINDER

If you have a question, an issue you need to discuss, a safety concern, require personal support, or wish to have a union representative at a meeting with the company, please contact us at 506-634-8810 or unionoffice@unifor506.ca.