Report of the Regional Vice-President, Atlantic Region – May 2019

It is my extreme honour to submit my first report as RVP, Atlantic. I would like to begin by expressing my thanks to my predecessor, Michelle Bradley, for her dedication and many years of service to the UVAE members in Atlantic Canada. Michelle kept the flag flying through some very difficult times that would have shattered a lesser person.

My tenure as RVP commenced on February 1, 2019, and I have not had a moment’s rest since. At the present time, Atlantic Region has nine active grievance files, including two complaints under Regulation XX of the Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Regulations. Three locals have held elections since February as well, giving Atlantic both fresh ideas and training challenges. As a result of this high turnover and the challenges of bringing new executive members up to speed, with the permission of the National President I have started working on an “Elected Officer Process Manual”. This manual will be a business process manual using a workflow format (example: the old FHCPS Manual) that covers every duty of every elected position from the local up to National President.

One lesson I have learned very quickly since taking this position is that the most significant issue facing my Region is the excessive workload of every employee, and the Employer’s manipulation of their statistics to hide the truth. One of my Case Managers spent several weeks with nearly80 active cases, a far cry from the Department’s 25 case target. This prolonged excessive workload is creating a psychologically dangerous environment that will lead to rapid increase in workplace mental health injuries.

Upon taking over as RVP, I sent a memo to all of my Local President’s clearly outlining my expectations for the Region and reminding them of our shared responsibilities set forth in the by-laws. It will take time to bring every local into compliance – some are used to doing their own thing – but I am confident that we can overcome the resistance of years of inertia and begin to move forward. This has already happened during myvisit to the Sydney Area Office, an office still feeling the effects of having been closed a few years back. This office once had their own UVAE Charter but are now a remote location of the Halifax Local 80004. I amproud to say that upon my visit to the Sydney Office to oversee elections for Local 80004 I was able to inspire a member to accept the nomination for the VP-Sydney position on the Local Executive. For the firsttime Local 80004 has the involvement of their Sydney location.

It is this kind of forward momentum that will serve our Region very well as we navigate the tide of change flowing through UVAE.

In Solidarity

Edwin MacDonald
Regional Vice-President, Atlantic Region