The Society held its annual Delegates Council in Scarborough on November 15 and 16. The Council adopted its international union’s Every Member Is A Leader theme to focus its work throughout the meeting.
More than 85 delegates attended Council to debate and adopt new policies, receive inspirational and instructive keynote addresses from a diverse group of speakers, and acknowledge the service of a departing local leader.
The Council adopted six new and amended policies. The policies included one on hardship to support members facing financial difficulty due to strike/lockout, grievance or family circumstances; a diversity policy to foster a safe, inclusive union; and a political action policy that emphasizes issue-based campaigning.
Five keynote speakers addressed issues Society members face locally, nationally and internationally. International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers President Paul Junemann and Secretary-Treasurer Paul Shearon helped situate the local’s work in an international context and spoke to what it means for every member to be a leader. For a national perspective the Council heard from Mariam Abou-Dib, executive assistant to the president of the Canadian Labour Congress. Jennifer French, an Ontario New Democratic Party lawmaker who serves as her party’s critic on pensions and is formerly a teachers’ union leader, spoke about pension and labour issues. For the meeting’s final keynote delegates received a presentation from Electricity Human Resources Canada CEO Michelle Branigan, who spoke about the challenge the electricity sector faces replacing retiring baby boomers with the skilled and experienced workers the industry requires.
The Delegates Council also said goodbye to one of its longest serving leaders. Following more than 30 years of service to the union, Executive Vice President Member Services Dennis Minello announced he would not run for re-election this fall. Minello’s sisters and brothers spoke fondly of him – the recurring theme through all of it was his commitment to fighting for the local’s most vulnerable members.