The BC Federation of Labour holds a convention every other year. BCFED conventions are an important opportunity for members to shape and inform the direction of the organization, pass resolutions, set policy, and build campaigns for the coming years. This year, the STA sent an elected delegation of nine people to the 60th Convention of the BC Federation of Labour including: Jatinder Bir, Amrit Sanghe, Angela Marcakis, Kevin Amboe, Hallan Mtatiro, Katrina Wisniewski, Andrea Leeks, Brett Salary, and Christy Van Ieperen
Here are some highlights of the convention:
- We acclaimed new President – Sussanne Skidmore, and Secretary Treasurer Harminder Singh Kailey. (We thank their spouse, STA member Samantha Kailley, for sharing them in this important leadership role)
- Rick Kumar, co-chair of the BCFed Young Workers caucus, presented a report. He brought forward a motion to have the BCFed advocate for lowering the voting age in BC to 16. Both Rick and Angela Marcakis spoke persuasively in support of the work teachers do that makes voting for 16-year-olds the right decision. The motion passed!
- Kevin Amboe spoke on resolution 2232A in support of public schools, systemic failure to fill, systemic pulling of non-enrolling for failure to fill, and unsatisfactory Remedy provisions.
- Our STA President, Jatinder Bir, referenced snippets of the article Asterisk Educators to highlight the lack of supports for Adult Education and the plight of Adult Education teachers.
- A series of inspiring speakers including Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, former Premiere John Horgan, Indigenous author and speaker Elaine Alec, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, and April Sims the President-Elect of the Washington State Labor Council to name a few.
- STA Member Brett Salary spoke in favour of the Federation making efforts to provide online / hybrid options for all in-person meetings, trainings, events and encourage affiliates to do the same.
Other motions highlighted that will help as we move forward as a Federation:
- The Federation will work with the affiliated unions to encourage the provincial government to legislate an annual cost-of-living allowance as a minimum employment standard for all workers.
- Improvements for safe drug supply and mental health supports
- Lobby the province to legislate September 30 as a paid statutory holiday for all workers (not just a day we don’t work, and make up the minutes on other days)
- Supporting Indigenous people, required learning, and holding police to higher standards.
- Committing to implementing TRC calls to action within 3 years
- Updating language for racialized workers and 2SLGBTQIA+, gender neutral language for union colleagues from brothers and sisters to folks, friends, siblings, kin etc.
- Examine and address systems of discrimination, oppression, and racism