Author Archive for Patricia

We have just received materials developed to mark the International Day against Homophobia on Monday, May 17th. Please contact either the Vancouver Regional Office (1-800-663-1655 or 604-430-5631) or Victoria Regional Office (1-866-953-1050 or 250-953-1050) if you’d like copies.

Public Speaking & Effective Lobbying
Wednesdays, April 21 to May 12, 7 to 9 pm
Maritime Labour Centre, 1880 Triumph Street, Vancouver

Registration – $50 for 4 sessions (no one will be turned away)

Contact Keziah at the VDLC office to register – 604-254-0703

Course Outline:
Week 1 (April 21)
Effective Speeches – How to determine key points, prepare your notes, and present your message
Week 2 (April 28)
Successful media work – From message boxes to camera comfort
Week 3 (May 5)
Theatre techniques to assist your presentation – breathing, projection, and other tips
Week 4 (May 12)
Lobbying skills – How to make the most of meetings with politicians of all stripes

Brothers and Sisters of PSAC, we want to thank all of the Public Servants for all you do.  Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) members are all part of a safety network for the Canadian people.  All of our jobs are connected in some way to the safety and security of the citizens of this country.  Lightkeepers are only one of the many faces of that service, but right now we are the one on the block.

On both coasts, and across Canada, the public is in an uproar over the potential loss of the services of lightkeepers.  They understand that this is the outpost, the beacon of the their society’s framework of social good.  They understand that the abilities of humans cannot be replaced by machines. They understand that investment in the safety of a society pays off.  They want to stop the dismantling.  We owe it to them, and each other, to help.  We cannot allow the government to pick apart public service bit by bit.  This is our line in the sand.  Let’s push back.

In solidarity, Lightkeepers of BC, Steve Bergh – President, Alice Woods – Vice President, BC Lightkeepers Local 20232 PSAC

Read letters and emails of support from …

Please ask you members to sign the attached Lightstation Petition in support of our cause and then to return the petition to the Victoria Regional Office at the following address: 210-1497 Admirals Rd Victoria, BC V9A 2P8.  Please return the signed Petitions by October 15, 2009.

One of the leaders of the KPD (Citizens for National Democracy) youth organization YND (youth for National Democracy) Archie Bathan has been arrested/abducted in the province of Bataan by a military unit.

This is a serous issue as many union and civil rights organizers are murdered or disappeared every year in the Philippines. The Philippines is the second most dangerous country in the world to be a union organizer after Colombia.

These people struggling for their human rights need your help!


Two Events in Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territory, June 7th and 8th.
Featuring: Mohammed Khatib of the Popular Committee Against the Wall, Bil’in, Occupied Palestine, Emily Schaeffer an Israeli lawyer representing the village of Bil’in and local speakers!

Sunday, June 7th – panel discussion with Carol Martin: Nisga, Gitnyow, Native 2010 Resistance. 6pm-8pm, Room 1700, SFU Harbour Centre, Simon Fraser University, 515 West Hastings Suggested donation $10-$25. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Monday, June 8th – lecture: 7pm 9pm, reception: 9pm 10pm with Carol Martin: Nisga, Gitnyow, Native 2010 Resistance. Vancouver Unitarian Church, 949 West 49th Avenue Suggested donation: $10-$25. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Childcare available on-site.

All monies fundraised will go directly towards covering tour costs and Bil’in’s legal fees.


VANCOUVER – On Friday, May 29 2009, Filipino-Canadian youth in Vancouver will once again speak out on issues that concern them in the 12th Annual Roots, Rhymes and Resistance (RRR), presented by the BC chapter of Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada/The Filipino-Canadian Youth Alliance (FCYA). Themed this year as Root down, Rise up! RRR addresses the need for settlement and integration of Filipinos in Canada, and calling for meaningful participation and genuine equality for the community, especially Filipino youth.

The group says that there is a need to publicly bring out the issues of racism, forced migration, family separation, barriers to education and employment, gender oppression and more as they are faced by Filipino youth in the schools, community, workplace and within their families.

This year, FCYA has been working hard to bring out the issues not only on the night of RRR. Throughout March, April and May, the group has been conducting a series of cultural arts and skills building workshops around the theme of Root Down Rise Up. Leading up to the cultural event on May 29, youth have been engaged in topics such as Tagalog lessons, hip hop writing, creative writing, theatre and performance, media writing, graphics design, Anti Racism Education, and Filipino migration.

We need to rise up and bring out our concerns as Filipino youth more and more says Eliezer Moreno, a member of FCYA. The workshops allow us to do that in a creative, engaging way.

The need to support Filipino youth and the community is crucial now that Filipinos are the 3rd largest visible minority group in Canada. The lack of settlement and integration programs in Canada forces Filipino youth to engage in anti-social activities. The group says that their workshops and ongoing program fill this gap.

The need to organize, mobilize and educate the community, and dig deep into the roots of forced migration is important in order to rise up and overcome challenges youth are facing. FCYA asserts that RRR is empowering not just the Filipino youth and their families, but is part of addressing Canadian issues and the needs of other marginalized communities.

Filipino youth have a high drop out rate in this city. Many of us are having to work to support our families, and are now becoming the next generation of Canada’s cheap labour. This is the reality! exclaims Moreno. He says that since 1999, RRR has been a venue for Filipino youth to express themselves, and is a positive force in getting Filipino youth to be engaged and active in their community.

Roots, Rhymes, and Resistance will take place this Friday, May 29, 2009
Venue: Sir Charles Tupper Secondary at 419 East 24th Avenue, Vancouver
Featuring performances by Toxic Slime Clique, Sinag Bayan Cultural Arts Collective, Kuyas United in Solidarity, Renovation Under, Fresh Groove and more!

For more Info call Carlo or Ayex: 604 215 1103 or email.
Door open 7:00 pm Please arrive early. Tickets are sliding scale $10-$20, $5 for low income and students with ID. you can find more information and a full list of performers here.

Filipino-Canadian Youth Alliance-Vancouver | Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada – British Columbia
c/o Kalayaan Centre, 451 Powell Street, Vancouver, BC, V6A 1G7
Phone: 604.215.1103 | Fax: 604.215.1905

Racism in Canada

“Darker the Skin, Less you Fit.” To see complete article, click here.

Wednesday, September 30th – Sunday, October 4th, 2009, Metrotown Hilton

Application Deadline: June 30th, 2009 (late applications will not be accepted).

Please note: The LOAT is open to Stewards and Local Officers.

Prerequisites: Talking Union Basics (TUB) or equivalent

“Strong and effective Locals are the building blocks of our Union. They are essential to having a mobilized membership. Education is critical to the development of strong and effective Locals.” National Board of Directors (NBoD)

Are you a Local Officer and/or Steward? Are you interested in finding new ways to make your local executive function more efficiently? Do you want to gain tools and knowledge that will help you develop leadership, problem-solving and mobilization skills? Do you want to meet and network with other members from across the region and share skills and experiences?

Then the Local Officers Advanced Training (LOAT) is the course for you! The LOAT is an Advanced, In-Residence course that is geared specifically towards Local Officers and Stewards. The LOAT will provide you with an in-depth understanding of the tools necessary to run effective locals and provide you with the skills needed to be a successful union activist.

Course content includes the role of the local executive, strategic planning, local activities, local committees and terms of reference, communicating and recruiting, building an inclusive union, representation issues, local meetings, improving the rights and protections of union representatives and many other topics. Participants will also learn about social activism and how to involve members in the broader labour movement!


Loss of Salary – Participants scheduled to work during the course will be reimbursed loss of salary.

In-Residence Courses – The LOAT is an Advanced, In-Residence Course and all participants for this course will be provided accommodation and considered in travel status.

Family Care – The PSAC covers family care expenses for PSAC courses, union schools and other education events.

For further details regarding expense entitlements, please click here.

Apply now.

On May 17, the Canadian Labour movement stands in solidarity with lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities and affirms our ongoing commitment to fight against homophobia and transphobia.

2009 marks the 40 anniversary of th the decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada. Until 1969, it was a crime to be gay or lesbian in this country.

Over the last forty years, we have seen significant progress in Canada. After decades of political and legal battles, gays and lesbians won important protection against discrimination in human rights law and legal recognition of same-sex couples and equal marriage. The Canadian trade union movement has been a strong and solid supporter of the lgbt communitys struggle for equality.

Despite these important victories, lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans members of our communities still face the reality of homophobia and transphobia in their daily lives. Gay and trans bashing is still a frequent occurrence. Trans people have yet to win clear protection in human rights law. They face overt discrimination in the workplace and society. Their right to access necessary medical procedures is precarious at best.

We recognize that legal rights do not ensure the full dignity and equality that Canadians in all our diversity deserve. We know that other communities have won legal rights over the years, yet continue to face discrimination. Women won the vote in 1918, but still face a .30 cents per dollar wage gap compared to men. Aboriginal peoples still struggle to enforce treaties and for housing, jobs, health care, and water. People of colour experience racism on the job and in our communities. Immigrants are relegated to the lowest paid, most precarious jobs regardless of work experience or education.

These are tough times. We need to ensure that human rights are not put on the back burner with the economy in crisis. The economic downturn has very real repercussions for marginalized groups. Women, Aboriginal people and people of colour are often the first to be laid off and cant find new jobs. People with disabilities find it even more difficult to find work and the struggle for workplace accommodation is harder. Lesbians, gays, bisexual and trans people face increased harassment at work. When tensions run high, we know who gets targeted.

On this May 17 as we fight against the devastation of the economic downturn, we also firmly challenge homophobia and transphobia. Now and throughout the year, we must work together in solidarity against all forms of discrimination because we truly understand that an injury to one is an injury to all.

Canadian Youth Delegation

We recommend applying for this if you are passionate about youth and environmental issues!!

Dear Friends,

This is your invitation to take part in the Canadian Youth Delegation (CYD) to the 15th annual Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP15) in Copenhagen, Denmark this December.

JOIN US! We are seeking a diverse team of thirty youth from coast to coast to coast to represent the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition at this crucial meeting. If you are passionate about the well being of your community, environment and the future of our planet, apply today as part of this important project and have a real impact on the future of international co-operation to tackle climate change.

A Canadian Youth Delegate is inspiring, active and passionate. They are leaders, learners and listeners. If you are committed to working tirelessly for youth living in Canada and having the impact of a lifetime, please apply to the CYD.

We do not expect everyone to be a policy expert and we highly encourage applicants who are brand-new to the process.

Deadline: May 25, 2009. See application. The application is also available online. Check outinfo on the last delegation to Poznan. For questions, please contact us.

Youth from Canada have long played a key role in the negotiations. The large youth presence at the Montreal Climate Change Conference in 2005 planted the seeds for both the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition and further successful Canadian Youth Delegations to Nairobi, Bali, and Poznan.

The CYD will be working with a team of passionate youth delegates from around the world to engage with the negotiations to achieve real progress on the road to Copenhagen. We will also be working hard back home to ensure that Canada plays its part and commits to doing its fair share in addressing this global challenge in a just and sustainable way. Everyone can play a role! If you are not interested in being a delegate, but passionate about being active here at home, please be in touch!

The Canadian Youth Climate Coalition

Please join Grassroots Women for our 6th annual Mothers’ Day march and rally! Sunday, May 10th, 2009. Everyone is welcome to show their support.

Rally @ McSpadden Park, 2:00 p.m. (5th Ave. and McSpadden Ave. one block east of Commercial Drive). March to Grandview Park (Commercial Drive and Charles St.)

Featuring speakers, cultural performances and free balloons and activities for the kids! This year, we are also sponsoring an art and writing contest. Cash and other prizes available for visual art, creative writing, songs, or multimedia submissions on the theme of “Mothers on the March: Understanding, Surviving and Resisting the Economic Crisis”.

Submit entries to Grassroots Women (address below) or by email.

To endorse this event or for further inquiries, please contact us at: 604-682-4451 or e-mail.

Grassroots Women, 1115B E. Hastings (entrance on Glen), Vancouver, BC V6A 1S3
Email, Phone: 604-682-4451 (fax same #, please call first)

Negotiations between Purolator Courier and the Public Service Alliance of Canada commenced April 21, 2009. During the three-day session, the parties exchanged bargaining proposals and information related to their respective proposals. Although the number of employer proposals is relatively small (11), several of them contain rollbacks. However, the Union team was clear from the beginning that they were not interested in negotiating rollbacks.

Progress was slow. The issues dealt with were generally non monetary in nature. At the end of the three-day session, agreement had been reached on five items dealing with:
Selection of arbitrators
Job sites re staffing of temporary vacancies
Job sites re lay-offs and recalls
Days of rest for part-time employees
Administrative changes to the vacation year

The next negotiation session is scheduled for May 13 to 15, 2009.

The bargaining unit has approximately 150 members in British Columbia performing duties in different functions of the Company including administration, retail, customer service and operations support.

The collective agreement expired on December 31, 2008.

Fellowship Opportunity

Last call – Reminder that Gordon Global Fellowships are due April 15, 2009. Please help us spread the word by circulating the 2009 call for applications via email (see below) or by joining our Facebook page.

2009 Call for Applications

The Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation is delighted to announce the 2009 call for applications for the Gordon Global Fellowship programme. The fellowships are targeted towards emerging Canadian leaders who demonstrate potential to enhance role on the world stage. The fellowships will provide successful candidates with a cash award of $20,000 as well as other forms of support.

To be eligible for consideration, applicants must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents between 24 – 35 years of age with previous international experience – paid or volunteer. They also need to demonstrate a sustained commitment to international issues through studies, career choices and volunteer activities.

Application Deadline: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 by 5:00 p.m. EST.

More information about the fellowship programme, including application forms, guidelines and information on current and past fellows, can be found on our website.

Originally broadcast on October 12, 2008 as part of Saltwater City Television on Shaw cable community channel 4 in Metro Vancouver.

Thirteen members of Chinese head tax families tell their story of why they continue to seek an inclusive just and honourable redress. Subtitled in English and Chinese where necessary.

Many thanks to the volunteers at Head Tax Families Society of Canada and particularly to Daniel/Cynthia Lee, Eric Chan, Foon Chang and Fanny Chan.

Also thanks to Saltwater City Television Collective, Nugget Peak Railway Collective, ACCESS Association of Chinese Canadians For Equality and Solidarity Society, Chinese Canadian National Council and especially the seniors for speaking out.

Income disparity suffered by Indians should trump concerns about other groups, an SFU economist involved in the research says.

By Shannon Proudfoot, Canwest News Service, March 31, 2009

The income gap between aboriginals and other Canadians is so wide it should trump concerns about other ethnic disparities in this country, a Canadian economist says.

“My way of thinking about it is once you start thinking about ethnic disparity in Canada, you should really only be paying attention to aboriginal people,” says Krishna Pendakur, an economics professor at Simon Fraser University. “They’re an order of magnitude worse off than all other ethnic minorities.”

He and his brother Ravi Pendakur, a sociologist at the University of Ottawa, recently completed the largest study of its kind quantifying the exact size of that gap, and the results are stark.

“Those of us who live in Canadian cities have an intuitive awareness that aboriginal people are on average kind of poor,” Pendakur says. “The thing is that if you then push yourself and ask how poor, you don’t really have any answers. We were lacking a quantitative assessment in this area.”

Using an extensive database from the 2001 census, which includes 20 per cent of all Canadian households and 100 per cent of those on aboriginal reserves, the researchers traced the earnings gap of several segments of the aboriginal population, both on reserves and in cities. (more…)

This Saturday, thousands of people from communities across BC will come together to demand immediate government action to end homelessness, build social housing, protect rental housing and raise welfare and minimum wage rates.

Please join us for a family friendly march at noon at the following locations:
-Main and Hastings
-Peace Flame Park (South End of Burrard Street Bridge)

Or join us for speakers and music at the Vancouver Art Gallery at 1:30 where thousands of people will come together and show their support to bring about positive change. Housing is everyone’s issue.

To help you can post a poster in a prominent place: staff room, lounge, common area. If you have any further questions or would like to volunteer for the march please do not hesitate to contact us or check out our website.

Please take a minute to send B.C.s Health Minister a message today.

Tell government to ensure that its private contractors provide living wages and safe working conditions to the housekeepers and food services workers responsible for keeping our hospitals clean and safe.

Why now? As you read this, hospital housekeepers and food services workers are in the process of taking this message to their MLAs and health authorities. They are also bargaining with their multinational employers – Sodexo, Aramark and Compass – for family supporting wages and safe working conditions. But workers can’t do it alone. Government needs to take steps to ensure their contractors create the wage and working conditions for clean and safe hospitals. And they need to hear from you.

Living wage successes in the UK, and in hundreds of U.S. cities were achieved because of people like you who took a few minutes to speak out for healthier communities, stronger local economies and quality services.

Send your message today. Thank you.

P.S. Be sure to check out the new TV ad. And take a minute to hear the stories of four workers who describe what a living wage would mean to them.

By Hetty Alcuitas

As March 8 quickly approaches, it is a good time for working women to take a moment to remember the historical roots of International Womens Day and take stock of our current conditions as working-class and other marginalized women under the current economic crisis.

While governments and mainstream-media reports feed us with myths about the reasons for the crisis and ways to deal with it, many working-class women around the province have already been dealing with their day-to-day struggle of putting food in their childrens mouths and the survival of their families.

The worsening crisis is creating more fear amongst working women because of the disappearing safety net and massive layoffs. In reality, many women in B.C. have long been feeling the impacts of the governments neo-liberal policies on their daily lives. An increase in the flexibilization of labour has pushed many women into casual or part-time jobs. The continued lack of a national child-care program directly impacts womens ability to enter or stay in the workforce. Immigrant and migrant women find themselves in the poorest of jobs, often filling Canadas cheap labour needs. And all along, continued government cuts to social spending, including housing, welfare, education, and health care, hit women and children the hardest. We expect the crisis to only worsen for working-class and marginalized women in B.C., across Canada, and throughout the world.

But we know that this crisis and womens resistance to it is not something new.

One hundred years ago, in 1908, in the midst of turbulent political and economic times prior to World War I, over 20,000 women garment workers staged a general strike for 13 cold, New York winter weeks. Their call was for better pay and working conditions. Inspired by these Italian and Jewish immigrant garment workers, socialist and feminist delegates to the 1910 International Conference of Socialist Women in Copenhagen called for an annual International Womens Day.

For the next 40 years, International Womens Day was a day of militant demands and actions. In 1911, 148 garment workers, mostly immigrants from Italy and Eastern Europe, died in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City. The women had led a massive strike by garment workers and were struggling to form a union to change their disastrous working conditions. These demands were carried in early International Womens Day marches.

On March 8, 1917, Russian women went on strike for Peace, Bread and Land. With two million Russian soldiers dead and dismal work and living conditions at home, Russian women kicked off a wave of food riots, political strikes, and demonstrations that would end in the Russian Revolution. During World War II, women took to the streets on March 8 to demonstrate against fascist forces that were on the rise throughout Europe.

But during the Cold War era, widespread International Womens Day street demos came to an end in North America and Europe. By the late 1950s, the day was celebrated among fewer women, often indoors in small meeting halls and homes.

Inspired by revolutionary struggle in the Third World, the antiwar movement, and organizing in North America against national oppression and systemic racism, the second wave womens movement emerged in the 1960s. In places like Vietnam, the Philippines, South Africa, Algeria, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Iran, Nicaragua, and Northern Ireland, women were armed and fighting for their own liberation in the context of national liberation struggles. After 20 years of quiet, in-door commemorations, International Womens Day was revived as a day of action, solidarity, and resistance as imperialism ravaged the lives of women the world over.

Today, for working-class women and children, the chaos and crisis caused by imperialism is a daily fact of life. At the same time, the organization and resistance of the people is growing-often with women in the lead as we stand up for ourselves and our sisters, our families, and our communities.

(Hetty Alcuitas is a member of Grassroots Women. Reprinted from the Georgia Straight.)

Grassroots Women will hold a forum and cultural cabaret, Hard Times Come Again No More: Working-class women understanding, surviving and resisting the economic crisis, on Sunday, March 8, in the Lore Krill Housing Co-op common room (65 West Cordova Street).

8,000 Sacred Drums Ceremony

March 21, 2009, 2:00-5:00 pm, Victory Square Park, Cambie and E. Hastings.

This is a worldwide call to Indigenous Peoples and humankind to join together.

According to a 500 year old Otomi (Mexico) Prophecy, the day when the sounds of eight thousand sacred drums join together, an intense healing of Mother Earth will commence.

The earth we share today is in total disequilibrium. Let’s work together so we can live together on the road to sacred peace, in harmony with the universe, Mother Nature, the community, the family and our own hearts.

– Gather at 2 pm
– Elders opening, followed by speakers
– 3 pm: Drumming circle (ALL NATIONS, PLEASE JOIN US!)
– 4 pm: Elders/youth storytelling and sharing circle hosted by Indigenous Action Movement and No Is Illegal.

Organized by the Indigenous Action Movement with the support of No One Is Illegal, Anti Poverty Committee, and BCGEU.

Hard times Come Again No More!
Working Class Women Understanding, Resisting, and Surviving the Economic Crisis

Please join Grassroots Women for a collaborative forum and cultural cabaret. Lore Krill Housing Co-op Common Room, 65 West Cordova (between Abbott and Carrall).

3:00 – 4:00: Meet and greet, view art and informational displays
4:00 – 6:00: Speakers and discussion on understanding, resisting, and surviving economic crises past and present
6:00 – 8:00: Light supper, cultural cabaret

To RSVP (to help us estimate how much food we need) or for more information, contact Grassroots Women at 604-682-4451.

Grassroots Women, 1115B E. Hastings (entrance on Glen), Vancouver, BC V6A 1S3
phone: 604-682-4451 (fax same #, please call first)

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