Thursday, May 1, 2008

OPSEU Convention '08

Convention '08 (April 17 - 19) provided a great opportunity to bring OPSEU members up to date on the union's activities over the past year and to highlight priorities for 2008.

Green stewards meeting
A lunchtime meeting was held on April 18th for green stewards. To our delight, more than 40 people attended. Members heard from the Green Committee (Gino Franche, Sandra Snider and Jennifer Giroux) as well as from 1st Vice-President Patty Rout and myself, Gary Shaul. Highlights of the draft 2008-2010 green plan were presented. There was also an opportunity to get feedback on the plan and to hear about some local activities from members. Everyone attending the meeting received a copy of "Cool Comforts: Bargaining for our Survival", a booklet written by Peter Corbyn and produced by our sister union in New Brunswick.

Environmental displays table
OPSEU was joined by a number of organizations who set up displays at this year's convention. These included Friends of the Earth, Planet in Focus and the Native Plant Society as well as OPSEU's own display which included a symbolic clothesline with reused Barbie clothes*. Many members stopped by the displays to chat and pick up information and new ideas.

* During Convention, the McGuinty government got around to vetoing the ability of municipalities and housing associations to ban clotheslines.

Friendlier drinking cups
OPSEU negotiated with the Sheraton Centre to provide bio-degradable drinking cups made from corn plastic on the convention floor. It was noted that while this was a great step, that members should also re-use the cups and not take a fresh cup for every glass of water. As well, members are encouraged to bring their own drinking vessels to OPSEU events. While friendlier than regular plastic, corn plastic cups still need to be hauled off for composting and that there is still an energy footprint. (You're strongly encouraged to provide corn plastic cups and other products at your meetings but it's important that the waste end up in a composting program, not in the garbage - more on this in a future article.)

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