Confederation of Canadian Unions Affiliate Report – October 2022
AESES thanks the Confederation of Canadian Unions for inviting us to Vancouver, British Columbia, the unceded and ancestral territory of the Musqueam), Squamish), and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.
AESES members live and work on Treaty 1 Territory and Manitoba is located on the Treaty Territories and ancestral lands of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene Peoples, and on the National Homeland of the Red River Métis. We acknowledge northern Manitoba includes lands that were and are the ancestral lands of the Inuit.
We respect the spirit and intent of Treaties and Treaty Making and remain committed to working in partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Métis people in the spirit of truth, reconciliation and collaboration.
Acknowledging this truth is important, yet only a small part of cultivating strong relationships with Indigenous communities.
People in Manitoba recently were made very aware of the consequences of those harms and mistakes of the past as the tragic events at James Smith Cree Nation unfolded. Over the four days where the suspects remained at large, everyone in the prairies received multiple emergency alert messages per day in case the suspects had fled to the neighbouring provinces.
This tragic event that occurred last month is an example of the harms and mistakes of the past. The Chief of James Smith Cree Nation has called for funding for on reserve addictions treatment centres. If we want to remain true to the words of our Land Acknowledgement statements we need to ensure we hear community leaders when they say need help with the harms caused by drug and alcohol addiction. When they tell us of potential solutions we need to support and amplify their message. We need to make sure everyone sees the connections from the harms of the past and the tragedies of today.
At The University of Winnipeg AESES Members have ratified a new contract with 88% of members voting in favour of acceptance. This contract included important financial gains that attempt to recognize the impact of inflation has had and importantly is structured in ways that includes increases that are specifically precluded by the Conservative Governments Public Service Sustainability Act. This shows that laws forcing “austerity” can be overcome with continued pressure and persistence. Let us make sure the lesson learned here is not that governments can force austerity but that when we challenge it, we can win.
Both Universities, even with the return to full, in person classes, are going forward with Flexible Work and Remote Work programs. Our members value the expansion of this way of working and AESES continues to monitor and advocate for our members that these policies are available fairly to all members.
This past Labour Day AESES President Chris McCann and Vice President (University of Winnipeg) Meagan Michaluk represented both AESES and the CCU at the Labour Day Parade. Hundreds of people representing many unions marched from our Legislature through Winnipeg’s downtown streets to a family picnic held in Vimy Ridge Memorial Park.
On September 25th, AESES was able to host our Volunteer Appreciation Brunch after a 3 year delay. We recognized members for their dedicated service to our union and presented pins for 5, 10 and 15 years of union service. We had the sad duty of recognizing the passing of long time board and executive member Keith Travis earlier this year and in 2020 AESES lost Past-President Wayne Pucci. He became active within our union shortly after AESES only strike in 1975 and served as President for 20 years until 1999. Both Wayne and Keith will be missed.
AESES will be celebrating 2023 with the 50th Anniversary of our initial certification as a bargaining unit. We have started preparing activities to recognize this milestone. On December 9 we will kick off the celebrations with a Holiday Open House at the Union Office. This date marks exactly 50 years from when workers organized “study sessions” and talks began about forming our union. We have several activities planned including a famous “Manitoba Social” on Saturday June 10th, 2023. We hope to see you there.
AESES wishes all our sisters and brothers at CCU Affiliates a fantastic fall and reminds you to take time for yourself. This pandemic still has its challenges and is still very present in our lives. We all deserve a chance to disconnect from work and enjoy time with our families and friends.
Executive Vice-President, AESES