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Call for input: The future of CULE

CULE Members,

At our September 2011 Executive meeting the following motion was unanimously carried by your Executive:

THAT we set up an independent committee of no more than four CULE members to use the future scan document (below) to survey all CULE members about what they see as the way forward for their union. Members of the committee will not be on the current CULE Executive and were not involved CULE/ CEP voting process. A reasonable budget will be provided along with terms of reference. Potential candidates are to be submitted to the CULE Executive by the end of September.

If you are interested in being a part of this independent committee please forward your name to Bob Allen, CULE Secretary c/o PSAC Ottawa Regional Office prior to the deadline of September 30, 2011.

CULE Executive

CULE Future Scan

As we enter the second last face to face Executive Meeting for the current CULE Executive we need to look ahead and address a number of issues which lay before our small but vital union. Some of these are noted below and may even have been placed on the agenda for this meeting. Others may only emerge as we go forward. Included are a few which readily come to mind.

The next CULE Convention

As those who served on previous convention organizing committees will no doubt attest a lot of work is involved in making our conventions the overwhelming successes that they have been to date. Initially, CULE members need to be solicited for ideas about where and possibly when the next Convention is to be held. Once members have had a chance to vote on their preferred location the committee will need to determine how best to organize ourselves to hold the Convention in that location, etc. We should start this process sooner than later.

The future of CULE as it is presently organized

One thing the CEP Raid in Ontario pointed out to us is that there really is no guaranteed way to ensure that CULE stays together. In other words since we cannot be certified under existing federal labour legislation, we remain vulnerable to any provincial part of CULE picking up its marbles and leaving the rest of us flapping in the wind. Had the CEP raid been successful yet another bargaining unit would have been created to represent Alliance staff in the regions. Far from bringing people together this would further fragment us and divide us in dealing with an Employer which, in so many ways has been actively attempting to carve its staff unions out of any meaningful control over important areas of our employment relationship. To wit, their unilateral elimination of union reps on the JPAC, the constant overriding of our negotiated rights under the guise of pursuing employment equity, their abject failure to stand up against the most obvious examples of racism, the list goes on and will only grow in direct relation to the extent to which regional staff continue to divide ourselves.

The next CULE Executive

Half way through our mandate it is not too early to begin recruiting to replace ourselves. There is plenty of work and having new eyes brought to bear on many of the problems we have had to face never hurts. It doesn’t mean that those who come after us will necessarily have an easier time of it. However, they will have a few more among their ordinary members who will have lived through the experience of trying to balance out the personal interests of individual CULE members against the larger interests of the collective.

The Aftermath of the CEP Raid

While the attempt by certain Ontario members to go to CEP may not have served the interests of many CULE members outside of that province, it would be a mistake to assume that there is no support for such a move elsewhere. The grass is always greener on the other side of the road even in the absence of any tangible proof to the contrary. Sitting here in 2011 months removed from that skirmish what should be done about those CULE members who took an active part in the raid? What about those rand deductees who refuse to reaffirm their membership in CULE or to join in the first place? What steps, if any, should we take to address these issues? We need to have a serious discussion about all of this, and then take the necessary steps to move forward as an organization.

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