It is my pleasure to report on my activities for the past cycle. I have been very busy. The listed undertakings attached to this report also include the time I have spent listening to and advocating for members of the Union of Veterans Affairs Employees. I have been doing my best to keep the membership informed on the issues.
At the 2018 UVAE National Convention I was elected the Alternate EOC. I was called to the EOC position when Edwin MacDonald moved into the RVP Atlantic Position to which he was the alternate. The change occurred February 1, 2019.
I have to advise that I was called by the employer to work out of town on several occasions over the cycle. This made it impossible for me to carry out all of the duties I would have liked.
Despite my work related travel, I continue to work on are Duty to Accommodate issues including: Fitness to Work, Telework, Mental Health in the Workplace, leave with and without pay for disabilities, contract negotiations, and understanding and interpreting the collective agreement. As EOC I have supported all the equity groups in my work on NEEDAC and the National Human Rights Committee.
To ensure that no one is left behind, I have taken calls at home from members regarding issues that are important to them. I have done my utmost to build a relationship with the membership that is open and consultative. I aim to create an environment where members feel welcome to participate, to seek education and to be the leadership we need into the future.
To that end I have provided education and orientation to members. I do my best to mentor new activists. I also delegate responsibilities where appropriate.
I have made sure that as a united union we are well connected to the broader labour movement. I am a delegate to the Vancouver and District Labour Council and have been a delegate the BC Federation of Labour and the Canadian Labour Congress Conventions. I have attended many meetings and conventions as your representative and reported back my activities. I was elected to the executive board of the VDLC in the February 2019 meeting.
During my term as EOC I have lobbied for changes and inclusions in Federal and British Columbia Accessibility Acts. These changes are needed so that the Acts have enforcement mechanism and are not just paying lip service to the disability community. The slogan we use for change is “Nothing About Us Without Us”.
Even with so much accomplished, I feel my work is not yet done. I want to grow a new crop of local leaders. I need to mentor those who want to lead. I have so many inroads to many activities and actions. These paths must be filled and walked with new fresh activists who can lead into the long term. With our collective effort we can evolve. We can learn. We can take on new challenges. Our potential is in our youth. We must strive to pass on our knowledge to ensure that the labour movement remains a strong voice for change.
Thank you for allowing me to serve.
Michael Shane Polak,
Equal Opportunity Coordinator