Canadian Labour Congress

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1 WELCOME TO THE HOUSE OF LABOUR IT S A MOVEMENT! Canadian Labour Congress In 1956, two Canadian labour centrals, the Trades and Labour Congress (TLC) and the Canadian Congress of Labour (CCL), merged to form the Canadian Labour Congress. The PSAC affiliated with the Canadian Labour Congress in Today, the majority of national and international unions in Canada are affiliated with the Congress, and the CLC includes 12 provincial and territorial federations, and 137 district labour councils. It represents 2.5 million unionized workers. The CLC promotes decent wages and working conditions, and improved health and safety laws. They lobby for fair taxes and strong social programs, including childcare, Medicare and pensions. They lobby for and develop job training and job creation programs. They work for social equality, and to end racism and discrimination and they work to increase solidarity between workers in Canada and other countries. In most industrial centres across Canada, the CLC also has District Labour Councils through which Locals from affiliated unions cooperate to support such activities as organizing drives or tough strike situations. Through these Councils, labour can act in a united program on political action and community affairs. In Ottawa, the National Officers of the Canadian Labour Congress presses the Federal Government for legislation needed by working people. The Congress Education Department conducts dozens of union institutes, workshops and seminars across Canada each year. Departments covering organizing, research, publicity and the other union activities provide service in their respective fields. When unions in other countries appeal to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) for assistance, the Fall 2009 PSAC Education Program 1

2 Congress mobilizes the support of its affiliates, and it represents the Canadian workers at many international conferences and events. Locals are strongly encouraged to take an active part in the Canadian Labour Congress activities. The CLC holds a Biennial Convention every two years, and Locals can send delegates to participate in the decision-making process at the national level. For more information about the Canadian Labour Congress, visit Provincial and Territorial Federations of Labour At the provincial level, CLC unions act together through a federation, financed and run by representatives of Local unions within the province. These Federations press the provincial/territorial legislatures for better laws on labour relations, workers compensation and social services which are under the authority of the province. Political action, organizing drives and strike support are sometimes sponsored by federations. Some have full-time staff to assist in research, education and in processing workers' compensation and unemployment insurance claims. Some publish handbooks to assist union officers and stewards to advise their members how to obtain the various services available. These are invaluable resources to our smaller sister unions. Most constitutions of the Provincial and Territorial Federations of Labour have no provision for an "en bloc" affiliation of all of the members of a national or international union resident in a province or territory. Locals make an independent decision to affiliate. Such being the case, PSAC Locals are asked to place a resolution (regularly moved and seconded) before a general meeting of the Local. BE IT RESOLVED THAT Local [of Component] of the Public Service Alliance of Canada affiliate with the Federation of Labour effective 20. Fall 2009 PSAC Education Program 2

3 The effective date of such affiliation should be the beginning of the month following the month in which the resolution is approved. If the Local membership approves such affiliation, the Provincial Federation of Labour dues will be paid by the PSAC Centre. Please note that if the Local membership, for any reason, decides not to affiliate with the Federation of Labour the dues that would have been paid to the Federation will not be rebated to the Local. Some members may not see a need to affiliate with the Federation. The Local Executive should ensure that an opportunity for full consideration by the membership is provided. Many matters of concern to the PSAC membership are matters of provincial/territorial jurisdiction, for example, education, community services, welfare, medical and health programs and hospital service. Labour organizations should be involved in these areas, as they directly affect our membership (who are also citizens and members of a community!) and it is the Provincial/Territorial Federations of Labour that take the lead in responding to these issues When an affiliation resolution has been dealt with at a Local General Meeting, please advise the Executive Office of the PSAC of the outcome. If the decision is to affiliate with the Federation of Labour, the Executive Office will need to have the names and addresses of the Local Officers and the total number of members of the Local, in order to assess the appropriate dues payment. The contact information will be forwarded to the Federation of Labour. Once affiliated, the Locals are entitled to participate in the decision making process of the Federations by electing representatives on the executive and on committees and by sending delegates to the conventions. Locals are also entitled to take advantage of all the services provided by the Federations. District Labour Councils District Labour Councils, which are also part of the CLC structure, are the voice of labour in the community. District Labour Councils operate at the municipal and/or district level. They help to bring PSAC Locals, other union Locals and community allies together to for the good of all workers and their families. They promote and Fall 2009 PSAC Education Program 3

4 advance the economic and social welfare of workers and secure legislation that benefits all workers, at the community level. The procedure to affiliate with the District Labour Council is similar to the one for affiliation to Federations, but there is one important difference. Locals have to pay affiliation dues out of their own funds. Each District Labour Council has its own constitution and sets out its own dues. Once affiliated, Locals are entitled to send representatives with full rights to participate in the District Labour Council's affairs. Public Services International (PSI) PSI is the global union federation for public sector trade unions, representing some 650 unions in 150 countries. Together, these unions organize some 20 million public sector workers. PSI campaigns for the interests of public sector workers. Since 1907 when it was founded, PSI struggles for workers rights, economic and social justice and efficient and effective accessible public services. PSI presents the public sector case at The International Labour Organization and other United Nations bodies, the World Bank (WB) and the regional development banks, the World Trade Organization (WTO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and many others. PSI works closely with affiliated unions to protect and defend workers rights, including the freedom to join a union, to bargain collectively, and other rights including gender equality, equity and diversity. PSI campaigns to improve the quality of public services. This involves working closely with international organizations, governments, consumer lobbies, community organizations and NGO s. PSI solidarity and union development projects help affiliated unions by providing training and capacity-building support on the ground, epecially in countries where trade unions are fightinig for recognition. Fall 2009 PSAC Education Program 4

5 PSI wants: quality public services for all union rights for all public service workers gender equality and employment equity for all public alternatives to privatization of services a strong and united trade union movement social justice in the workplace poverty reduction and debt relief PSI s International office is next to Geneva on the French-Swiss border. It also 19 regional bases around the world. PSI affiliates meet at congress every 5 years, where they develop a program of action and elect their executive board. PSI works closely together with ICFTU (International Confederation of Free Trade Unions), and other union federations, particularly the EI (Education International), and the European Federation of Public Service Unions. For more information on PSI see The International Labour Organization (ILO) The ILO is devoted to advancing opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity. Its main aims are to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue in handling work-related issues. In promoting social justice and internationally recognized human and labour rights, the organization continues to pursue its founding mission that labour peace is essential to prosperity. Today, the ILO helps advance the creation of decent jobs and the kinds of economic and working conditions that give working people and business people a stake in lasting peace, prosperity and progress. Origins and history Fall 2009 PSAC Education Program 5

6 The ILO was founded in 1919, in the wake of a destructive war, to pursue a vision based on the premise that universal, lasting peace can be established only if it is based upon decent treatment of working people. The ILO became the first specialized agency of the UN in ILO's vision of decent work Work is central to people's well-being. In addition to providing income, work can pave the way for broader social and economic advancement, strengthening individuals, their families and communities. Such progress, however, hinges on work that is decent. Decent work sums up the aspirations of people in their working lives. Tripartism and social dialogue The ILO is the only 'tripartite' United Nations agency in that it brings together representatives of governments, employers and workers to jointly shape policies and programmes. This unique arrangement gives the ILO an edge in incorporating 'real world' knowledge about employment and work. International labour standards The ILO is the global body responsible for drawing up and overseeing international labour standards. Working with its Member States, the ILO seeks to ensure that labour standards are respected in practice as well as principle. Working out of Poverty Poverty remains deep and widespread across the developing world and some transition countries, with an estimated 2 billion people in the world today live on the equivalent of less than USD 2 per day. In the view of the ILO, the main route out of poverty is work. For more information on the ILO see en/index.htm Fall 2009 PSAC Education Program 6

7 The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) The ICFTU was set up in 1949 and has 241 affiliated organizations in 156 countries and territories on all five continents, with a membership of 155 million, 40% of who are women. It has three major regional organizations, APRO for Asia and the Pacific, AFRO for Africa, and ORIT for the Americas. It also maintains close links with the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) (which includes all ICFTU European affiliates) and Global Union Federations, which link Fall 2009 PSAC Education Program 7

8 together national unions from a particular trade or industry at international level. MEMBERSHIP It is a Confederation of national trade union centres, each of which links together the trade unions of that particular country. Membership is open to bona fide trade union organizations that are independent of outside influence, and have a democratic structure. FINANCES Its activities are financed by the fees paid by member organizations. INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS The ICFTU cooperates closely with the International Labour Organization and has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council and with specialized agencies such as UNESCO, FAO, etc. It maintains contacts with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization and has offices in Geneva, New York and Washington. ACTIVITIES The ICFTU organizes and directs campaigns on issues such as: the respect and defence of trade union and workers' rights, the eradication of forced and child labour, the promotion of equal rights for working women, the environment, education programmes for trade unionists all over the world, encouraging the organization of young workers, sends missions to investigate the trade union situation in many countries. PRIORITIES FOR ACTION The five main ICFTU priorities are: employment and international labour standards, tackling the multinationals, Fall 2009 PSAC Education Program 8

9 trade union rights, equality, women, race and migrants, trade union organization and recruitment. PUBLICATIONS The ICFTU produces a number of publications each year on particular themes. Each June it publishes a Survey of Trade Union Rights, which gives details of more than 115 countries which violate basic trade union rights norms. For more information on the ICFTU see Fall 2009 PSAC Education Program 9

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