Last year CULE members voted to increase their dues to begin funding a CULE Convention at which all CULE members would be able to actively participate in the political life of their union. Dues deduction began with the last pay of October 2003. It remains to be determined precisely when and where such a Convention would be held.
The Convention will be held over a Saturday and Sunday with the preceding Friday and the following Monday being travel days. As stated during the vote, CULE members will have input into this process and will ultimately decide where and when our Convention will be held. The first step is to identify all the possibilities. For example, someone might suggest Ottawa in the summer months at one of the Universities in order to save some money and be minimally disruptive to our Employer’s operations. Or, another proposal might be at Mt. Tremblant in the February because it can accommodate our numbers and that particular time is relatively cost effective. So, if you have any suggestions please forward these to the undersigned at your earliest convenience but no later than June 21, 2004. It would also be appreciated if you could include a brief statement supporting your suggestion. Once we have compiled a list of possibilities we will put these out to the membership along with any rationale for a vote of the CULE membership. Ideally, we would be in a position to offer members three choices from which to select a site.
Of course, a lot of questions remain to be answered and the CULE Executive will address these as they arise. However, some concerns have already been identified.
1. Would this be a regular event to be held every year? every two or three years? Initially, this is a pilot. Once we have tried it we will need to evaluate whether or not it has met our needs. The membership itself will ultimately decide. However, given the expense, it is unlikely that CULE would be able to hold such an event every year or every second year even if the membership were to decide to continue holding Conventions. We would be hard pressed to hold this first Convention before 2006.
2. If I cannot attend or for some other reason all the money is not spent, what will happen to the surplus? CULE dues, by necessity, have always applied to everyone who occupies a CULE position whether short term, acting or on an indeterminate basis as well as those who will do so in the future. The dues are used to fund specific services and programs even if not everyone on staff at a particular point in time directly benefits from them. It follows, that dues increases such as this one will apply in a similar manner. Likely some members will not be able to attend the Convention. By the same token, it can be anticipated that certain members will be able to attend the Convention without having contributed to the costs to the same extent as others.
3. What expenses will be covered? As a minimum it is anticipated that CULE will cover costs of travel, accommodation, meals and the like for each member on staff at the time. Whether other costs such as loss of pay for the two travel days, ground travel, family care, etc. are paid will depend on monies available and how soon the Convention is be held. All these are directly related to where and when the Convention happens. To further stretch our dues dollar we would likely use W.E. Travel to actually set up the travel.
4. Will the Employer allow the R.O.s to be closed for two days? Obviously this will depend on when we propose to hold our Convention and how much advanced notice can be given the Employer. However, there should be no reason why this cannot be done with proper planning as is already done when there have been Regional Staff Conferences, Administrative Staff Conferences and the like. At any rate, once we have a clearer idea of when and where the membership would like to hold their Convention the CULE Executive will enter into discussions with the Employer to work out these details.
5. What about extending our stay beyond the weekend? Preliminary research suggests that the cost of travel and accommodation for a weekend is often not much less than that for a week long package. Again it depends on the type of facility, etc. But, if this were the case we would need to know how many members would like to take advantage of this opportunity to take additional leave either before or after the Convention. Such information would no doubt prove valuable to whoever was negotiating the travel packages. Would you likely be interested in extending your stay beyond the Convention weekend? Yes___, No___
6. What about bringing a spouse, partner or family? Again, this may very well be possible depending on where the Convention is held. Members would be expected to pick up the additional costs associated with this arrangement.
Would you likely be interested in this option? Yes__, No__. If so, how many people would you have accompanying you?
7. Of course, the Convention itself will present certain challenges and opportunities for CULE members. Would you be interested in sitting on a Convention Committee? Yes__, No__
8. Most Conventions have guest speakers. Do you have any suggestions on who we should invite to address us? If so, please advise us of their name and how to get in touch with them.
9. Do you have any further suggestions on how our Convention could be made more successful?
Ottawa Regional Office