|Early Convention Planning
The year was 1954. The fledgling National Defence Employees Association (NDEA) was all of one year old. That October the National Executive met to plan a National Convention for the following year.
Saskatoon was chosen as the host site, in particular because it was a stronghold for the rival Amalgamated Civil Service Association. Jim Wyllie and Ken Fraser, who would soon occupy the positions of National President and Saskatchewan Provincial President, knew all too well the importance of signing up a majority of the potential members at National Defence.
According to Fraser, the selling point for NDEA at Saskatoon was the fact that Jim Baird (who later became a PSAC Field Representative – but was then the Western Amalgamated Representative) stated that he was from Winnipeg. That was the clincher; apparently people from Saskatoon disliked “Winnipeg.” They joined NDEA en masse.
The official minutes leave no doubt that the western location for the 1955 Convention was made with a purposeful eye to the publicity that it would generate in the middle of Amalgamated territory. NDEA was on a roll, and nothing was going to get in its way!
Additionally, the National Secretary-Treasurer, Ken Green, was authorized to get a loan from the bank to actually pay for the convention. It was also decided that delegate selection would be based on the draft Constitution: one delegate for the first 250 paid-up members, two for 251 to 500, three for 501 to 1000 and four for over 1001. A firm foundation was laid by the young union, but there was much work still to be done.
|The History of the Union of National Defence Employees|
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