To be updated daily during Convention 2018.
Day 1 - Thursday, October 18
Oct 18, 2018 - MGEU's 65th Convention Kicks Off with Presidential Address
MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky kicked off the union’s 65th Convention – Public Service Proud – this evening. “Over the last two years, everyone on our MGEU team has been working incredibly hard - responding to challenges and making sure the right people are in the right place, getting things done.”
Day 2 - Friday, October 19
Finance Committee Report
The Finance Committee presented the finance report to delegates along with the auditor's report. The union remains in a strong financial position with growth in membership, a healthy Defense Fund, a very competitive dues structure and an operating surplus for the 2017-18 fiscal year. The committee recommended transferring the operating surplus to the Defense Fund to increase the fund to over $32M.
Constitution, Bylaw and Structure Committee
Of the many Constitutional resolutions discussed today, several dealt with representation within the MGEU. One particular resolution that generated a fair bit of discussion dealt with the number of members-at-large allocated per Local. Another resolution discussed the difficulty of getting enough members elected to Local positions for a variety of reasons. These particular resolutions will be referred back to the MGEU Board of Directors to assess.
The resolution that generated the most discussion of the day dealt with moving the union from the current biennial Convention schedule to a triennial Convention. After much debate, delegates voted in favour of referring the issue back to the Board of Directors with the instruction to establish a committee (which is diverse and gender balanced) to research the implications (both pro and con) and provide a cost comparison between the two options. Delegates decided that this information will be provided to convention delegates in September 2020 and a half day be added to the 2020 MGEU Convention to review and discuss the outcomes.
Nominations for the positions of MGEU President, 1st Vice-President, 2nd Vice-President, 3rd Vice-President, and 4th Vice President were made in the afternoon. The following candidates put their names forward for election:
Candidates for President:
Candidates for 1st Vice-President:
Candidates for 2nd Vice-President:
Candidates for 3rd Vice-President:
Candidates for 4th Vice-President:
As the sole candidate for 2nd Vice-President, Douglas Troke takes the position by acclimation.
Alex Himelfarb –
Order of the Day
Since his time in government as the most senior civil servant in the Canadian Government, Alex Himelfarb has been an outspoken critic of neo-liberalism and an advocate of properly funding public services through taxation.
Himelfarb spoke to Convention delegates today about the erosion of democracy over the last 40 years, of neoliberalism as reflected in the weakening of public institutions and the public service.
“We are faced with collective action problems like climate change and income inequality that require broad and committed action, yet we ignore these existential threats and instead fall for the failed so-called solutions of old neoliberal ideas, like reducing the size of government and cutting taxes,” said Himelfarb.
Himelfarb pointed out that in times of change like these, many people fall into the comfortable embraces of tribalism and zenophobia.
“We look for simple solutions and in doing this, we are making life a zero-sum game. But these old ideas and assumptions die hard, and those in positions of power double down to keep things as they are.”
Himelfarb suggests that we can create a new narrative - one that says that progress is possible and that our collective political imagination can be expanded. That we need to commit to the importance of collective problem solving because the rules of globalization are human made, and we have the collective power to make the tough choices.”
“If we don’t share the wealth, we undermine any chance to build the society we want.”
Day 3 - Saturday, October 20
Elections were the order of the day for the final day of Convention 2018.
Congratulations to Michelle Gawronsky, who was re-elected as MGEU President for another term. Charlotte McWilliams was also elected to the position of 1st Vice President. Shelley Wiggins was re-elected as 3rd Vice-President, and Ed Miller was elected 4th Vice-President. Douglas Troke was re-elected as 2nd Vice-President by acclimation yesterday, Congratulations to Michelle, Charlotte, Douglas, Shelley, Ed, and a big "thank you" to everyone who let their name stand for election.
Larry Brown, NUPGE President - Order of the Day
NUPGE President, Larry Brown, spoke about the national union’s role of supporting the provincial unions with an eye to the big picture. How the big issues of the day like income inequality, climate change, and the wave of right-wing governments being elected in Canada and around the world are the focus, along with supporting and strategizing with provinces dealing with wage freezes and a new wave of attacks on the labour movement. Brown reminded delegates that we are the only group that can stop the 1% from continuing to take us down this perilous road. “They have the power of wealth, but we have the immense power of the people.”
Healthy debate and voting on resolutions happened throughout the third day of Convention. There was opportunity to address emergency resolutions dealing with lobbying the government on several issues that have emerged since the resolutions were submitted in July, as well as many of the general resolutions.
Order of the Day: Kevin Rebeck
After spending the day overseeing the balloting and elections for the MGEU executive, Kevin Rebeck, President of the Manitoba Federation of Labour (MFL), took to the stage to share how the MFL continues to work progressive change on behalf of the over 100,000 Manitoba workers it represents, as well as all Manitobans. He spoke passionately about Bill 28 (The Public Service Sustainability Act ) and how the MFL and the other unions that work together as the Partnership to Defend Public Services against the Pallister government’s wage freeze legislation. He spoke of the upcoming 100th anniversary of the General Strike of 1919 and the history of what happened during that time in history. He also shared some of the events that will be happening next year to recognize the anniversary, and encouraged everyone to take part.
Special thanks to Brother Rebeck for ensuring the elections ran so smoothly and professionally.