Things have really started to heat up at the bargaining table... we started Tuesday morning with the hotel fire alarms going off and evacuating the building until the Richmond fire department could give us the all clear. We retreated to a different hotel and while there Paul Moist CUPE national president and Charles Fleury, newly elected CUPE national secretary/treasurer came by and talked with us briefly.

They were in town for meetings but there was also a CUPE BC hosted bargaining convention that Don Currie and Harp Sandhu attended on our behalf. I joined them for the Tuesday night opening plenary after the day of bargaining. There are certainly a large number of members from a wide swath of sectors and unions that are either currently bargaining or coming up up bargaining soon.

One positive sign is closer relations and cooperation with BCGEU and David Vipond their president was one of the opening speakers at this conference. We'll wait to hear from Harp and Don with regards to strategies we can embrace with regards to the timing of bargaining but also more critically how to build better response times and communication within our work group.

As we head towards Spring one aspect involves a traveling road show of sorts to personally meet with as many members around the province as possible. At this point I am booked to attend the Prince George regional meeting at the end of March and the other regional directors will be looking at their calendars soon.

We will be meeting next week in Victoria but the employer had to cancel our planned negotiating week at the end of February citing a conflict with managers meetings. I'll use that opportunity to attend a conference of CUPE presidents in Victoria held to create stronger ties with the renewed NDP party under Adrian Dix. They will not be the answer to all of our labour dreams, no political party ever is, but they are certainly more labour-attuned than the other options.

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