Ever year, two audits must be conducted on the Component’s financial books. One audit is done by professional auditors, who ensure accounting procedures are properly followed. For this period, chartered accountants Resnick & Company were the auditors.
The other audit is done by Component Trustees. The role of Component Trustees is to make sure the Component Secretary-Treasurer is complying with the rules and responsibilities set out by the CUPE Constitution, the Airline Division by-laws and the Component by-laws. To be more specific, the most important duty of any Secretary-Treasurer is to ensure all income owed to the local or component is collected and that the local or component’s funds are properly spent.
This means ensuring that:
∙ No one steals any of the local or component’s money.
∙ Funds are spent the way the members intended.
Everyone who is an Air Canada CUPE member pays union dues. There are no exceptions.
Air Canada deducts our union dues (1.5% of gross income) every month from our pay, and hands over the funds to the component. In the year we are auditing, $4.1 million was collected in union dues. The component accountant divides these funds into three parts. Each local with more than 2,000 members receives $6 from every member plus $600 every month. For the smaller locals (Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver) the monthly lump sum is $3,250. CUPE National receives $18.09 from every member and the remainder stays at the Component. To illustrate this: if $60 is deducted in union dues from a member, $6 would go to their local, $18,09 would go to CUPE National, and the remainder, approximately $35, would remain at the Component.
Our role as Trustees is to make sure that each local and CUPE National gets their portion of funds, and the dues used by the Component, are spent by the guiding rules of the CUPE Constitution, the by-laws and by the will of the membership.
This report is made so all members can know and understand if their dues are properly spent and if any improvements are needed.
We met from October 15th-18th and on the 25th in 2012 and from January 14th to the 16th, 2013. We noticed some committees were over budget and we investigated on the reasons why. Some committees went over due to unforeseen circumstances, such as Health and Safety. It is difficult to predict how many injuries would occur in any given year. In this audit year, we also had component and local elections as well as negotiations.
We believe our union dues have been spent in compliance to constitutional and bylaw rules.
We have made some recommendations which we hope the component officers and the local presidents will consider and adopt. We hope all Air Canada CUPE members will receive this report and take some time to read it. Even though this is our last report for our term, we remain available to answer any questions regarding this report at any local meeting. Thank you.
Dated: January 16th, 2013
Report & Recommendations
In our introduction we stated that some committees went over budget. Here is a brief explanation as to which committees went over budget.
Campaign – over budget by approximately $49,000, this was due to printing and administering the bargaining survey.
Pension – over budget by approximately $114,000. This was due to costs related to bargaining, such as lawyers and actuaries.
Health and Safety – over budget by approx. $ 94,000. It is hard to predict how many injuries and claims Health and Safety must deal with.
The trustees investigated and are satisfied with the reasons given by the secretary-treasurer and our accountant as clarification for the extra costs for these committees.
On the other hand some committees came in under budget.
1) SIGNING AUTHORITY
Currently there are only two official signing officers, the president and secretary-treasurer. Each issued cheque requires two signatures. Therefore, either the component president or the secretary-treasurer has their signature on cheques paid to them.
The trustees recommend that there should be three officers with signing authority, but only two signatures would be required on a cheque. This would eliminate the need for an officer to sign their own expense cheque, and it will also provide a sober second look at all expenditures.
2) COMPONENT BUDGET
For greater transparency and accountability, the trustees recommend that once the component budget has been approved by ACCEX, it should be posted on the component website and a bulletin issued to advise the membership that it is available online.
Furthermore, a copy of the component budget should be available for discussion at the next scheduled local meetings.
3) COMMITTEE BUDGETS
As reported above, at times committees go over budget.
The trustees recommend that when a committee approaches the amount budgeted, the secretary-treasurer should review that committee’s expenditures with the committee members. Additionally, a note should be put in the committee’s file to explain why that committee went over budget. This would be beneficial when formulating a budget for the following year and for the trustees when they are conducting their audit and comparing the budget lines with the actual expenditures for that period.
4) QUARTERLY SECRETARY-TREASURER REPORTS
The secretary-treasurer provides quarterly financial reports to ACCEX.
The trustees recommend that this report be available on the component website and printed copies made available at local meetings.
5) FINANCIAL STATEMENTS/ ACCEX MEETINGS
At this point we would like to thank and commend the component for posting on the component website the professionally audited financial statements. This is a positive step towards achieving greater financial transparency for the membership.
Another positive step for greater transparency and more accountability would be to have the component post all ACCEX meeting minutes on the component website. We had consulted with a CUPE National representative and were advised that this would be a benefit for our membership.
We recommend that ACCEX meeting minutes be easily made available to the membership and be posted on the component website.
6) ACCEX MEETINGS
ACCEX meetings are scheduled quarterly and the location rotates amongst the four bases.
The trustees recommend that quarterly ACCEX meetings as well as any other ACCEX meetings be held at the Toronto Belfield office. Using the boardroom would eliminate the costs for renting a hotel meeting room. Also, committee members, such as Grievance or Health and Safety, would be on-site to answer questions or present reports, thus reducing travel costs and expenses. Administrative and support staff as well as any supplies needed are also there, should they be required. We urge ACCEX to consider this as a cost saving measure.
An auto-dialer system was purchased by the component during the term of this audit.
This should eliminate the need for a costly third party to conduct a call-out to the membership; it could now be done in-house. This will be another valuable tool available to our union for communicating to the membership.
8) RESOURCES FOR YUL AND YYC LOCALS
In the 2009/2010 audit we reported that ACCEX voted to “augment” the funding paid to the YUL and YYC locals by $42,000 and $32,000 respectively. It was unclear if this was to be a one-time expenditure or a yearly payment.
For this audit period, we can report it has been included in the budget but there is no bylaw amendment or a motion adopted by ACCEX confirming that this is to be a permanent yearly payment. Also, the trustees would like to point out that the ACCEX meeting minutes of September 2009, addressing this local augmentation reflect the sum of $32,000 for YYC local, but the budget line in this audit period states an amount of $30,000.
The trustees would recommend that at the next ACCEX meeting this be discussed and an appropriate motion introduced to clarify if this local augmentation is to be made on a yearly basis, and to confirm the accurate amount for the YYC local.
9) COMPANY PAID FLIGHT RELEASE FOR SECRETARY-TREASURER
During this audit period, the trustees discovered accidentally an email regarding an
agreement between the secretary-treasurer and the company. They had agreed to a company paid 40 hrs releases for the secretary-treasurer position for the duration of the collective agreement, expiring March 2011.
The trustees recognize that it is a good thing anytime the union can get the company to pay for any union release. It would be our recommendation that any such agreement should be documented in a more formal fashion rather than by email, such as, in a memorandum of agreement.
The secretary-treasurer’s duties are defined in the bylaws. The duties additional to that entitling the secretary-treasurer to full top-up pay are not. Prior to CUPE National President Paul Moist’s interpretation of a bylaw in April 2009, the additional duties included a company paid committee release resulting in a full release.
The trustees recommend that ACCEX explore how to more clearly define the role of the secretary-treasurer in the bylaws to warrant full pay plus top-up pay. We would also recommend that past practice prior to 2009 be considered in doing this.
11) TRUSTEES TERM IN OFFICE
The trustees would like to once again recommend that the trustee term in office be staggered in such a way so that at least one of the trustees has some experience, and thus assist the others during the audits. We recommend for the first election, the trustee term in office to be set in the following manner: 1 position a 4 year term, 1 position a 3 year term and 1 position a one year term. Then, for all subsequent elections, the term will be set for 4 years.
12) FLIGHT RELEASES FOR COMPONENT TRUSTEES
When we prepare for an audit, we plan our schedules ahead of time, so all three trustees can receive a flight release in order to be paid for our work. At times, when we need to meet again within the same month or in the following month to do more work on an audit, we run into complications if our schedules are already set and we are not able to all be flight released. We feel all three component trustees should be treated equally and be able to receive a flight release when working on an audit. We are union officers, not committee members; we believe all three trustees should be present when conducting an audit.
We recommend that the component president be more flexible and understanding to grant flight releases for all component trustees, even though a pairing does not fall on the same day the trustees are in the office working on an audit.
In concluding this report, we would like to thank ACCEX, CUPE National representatives and all of the staff at Belfield in assisting us with this audit.
We hope every member will take the time to read this report. We are all available to answer any of your questions or concerns.
We can be contacted by email at email@example.com.
As this is our final report for our term, we feel a special mention should be made for Evelyn Bell-Bedard. We want to thank her for her effort and dedication as trustee for the last 6 years. As she has decided not to run again as trustee, we are appreciative of all of her knowledge and experience, and wish her all the best in her future endeavors.
Dated: January 16th, 2013