The July 1993 UNDE National Convention was held in Edmonton with 203 registered delegates and near 50 observers. A lively debate occurred on a motion to make all National Executive Officers, Local Officers and UNDE Members who walked an UNDE Staff-Union picket line subject to disciplinary charges. It was soundly defeated because members objected to being told what picket lines they could not support.
The budget was set at almost 10 ˝ million dollars with nearly 1 ˝ million devoted to Training, Regional Conferences and Labour College Scholarships. A true affirmation of the high value UNDE placed on its membership. Other items of business included simultaneous translation for National Executive meetings and the selection of Bagotville for the 1996 Convention.
The highlight was the election for National President. Ten-year veteran Ken Hawley ran for another term. He was opposed, however, by a group that wanted “new blood” in Paul Millette. The Thursday Banquet found Ken holding onto a majority of the delegates. Suddenly, deals, promises, and old fashioned Union politicking erupted in the hallways. The day after the “Night of the Long Knives,” Paul squeaked out a narrow win over Ken.
In keeping with the socially progressive times, the Convention supported a new initiative to counter the growing threat of harassment. Each Local would be required to designate a resource person to be trained specifically in harassment. In a related move, the delegates supported the establishment of a portfolio to be delegated to a member of the National Executive, preferably on the management committee. The portfolio contained all issues pertaining to women’s concerns.
All in all, the convention laid a very positive foundation for the troubled times ahead.
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