Report to ACCEX for March, 2011
Pink Triangle Committee
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our new Component President, Vice-President and Secretary Treasurer on winning the latest Component elections and to welcome them to the Air Canada Component Executive. I’m confident that they will be able to guide us through what will undoubtedly prove to be some challenging times ahead as we strive for a fair and equitable collective agreement.
I’d like to open my Pink Triangle report with some good news:
Transgender and Transexual Rights
In recent weeks, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community won a resounding victory for transgender and transsexual rights after a historic vote in the House of Commons ensured the passage of Bill C-389.
The bill amends the Canadian Human Rights Act by adding gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination and amends the hate crimes and sentencing provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada.
The private member’s bill, introduced by NDP MP Bill Siksay, passed by a 143 to 135 margin. It’s the third time that Siksay has attempted to ensure proper recognition of transgender and transsexual rights by amending the law. The bill now moves on to the Senate.
Support for Canadian Labour of Congress Convention Resolutions
I’ve attached the CLC Resolutions on LGBT issues that have been submitted to the CLC for the upcoming Convention in May, 2011. If any members of the ACCEX or your respective locals’ members are attending the CLC conference, please support these very important resolutions. They will also be sent to our locals in time for submission to CUPE’s National Convention which will be taking place in October 2011.
North American Human Rights Conference on LGBT Issues
The Vancouver 2011 Conference will cross generational barriers and move LGBT human rights forward in North America. In doing so, the conference will reflect various LGBT communities including youth, seniors, educators, workers, unions, those in the legal and health care communities, and others. Conference sessions will include concurrent, plenary, panel, and interactive activities. Concurrent sessions, panels, and discussion groups in particular will rely on open dialogue, community-building, and skill-enhancement.
In the last few months I have been working with CUPE National on a proposal for attendance at the North American Human Rights Conference being held in Vancouver from July 26 to July 28, 2011. I’ve attached the cost shared proposal that was approved by CUPE National and will need to be approved by the Secretary Treasure and the President so that I can attend.
At the Conference, I will be facilitating a few of the exercises we use in our “Pride in CUPE” workshop which explores our attitudes and beliefs about LGBT people. The workshop identifies our biases and privileges and the negative impacts of heterosexism, genderism, homophobia and transphobia in our workplaces, our Unions and our communities. We will go also explore types of strategies and actions that can be used to overcome these barriers, particularly as it relates to strengthening our labour movement.
This workshop has been successfully presented to CUPE members across the country for over ten years. One of the exercises involves a visualization that “turns the tables” in describing a “gay world” in which heterosexuals are the minority. Another has participants discuss why this is a Union issue, including a discussion of collective agreement provisions, workplace culture, representation in elected positions, challenges faced by LGBT members within their workplace, their Union and their communities – including the coming out process. Finally, there is an exercise entitled “Garden of Action” during which participants post petals onto a large flower that represent strategies to break down the barriers/challenges described in a previous exercise.
In the past, the Pink Triangle Committee’s budget was approximately $6000/year and afforded the committee the ability to participate in various activities. Unfortunately in the last few years the budget was reduced to $2500/year which hampered the ability of the committee to participate fully in effecting change for the good of our LGBT members.
In the fall of 2009, the previous ACCEX managed to convince our former President and Secretary Treasurer to increase the budget to $4500. Unfortunately, it was a little late in the game and we missed a crucial opportunity to attend a conference that would have allowed us to forge important LGBT partnerships in just about every city and country our LGBT members fly to and/or in which they find themselves on layover. In the fall of 2010 (less than a year after it was raised to $4500), the budget was again reduced.
I would ask the ACCEX to please consider reinstating a much more feasible amount that would allow the Component to once again fully participate in and become engaged in some of the LGBT work that still needs to be done here in Canada and abroad – something that we haven’t been able to do since approximately 2007.
This concludes my report. As always, should you have any questions in regard to the report or the work of the committee, please feel free to contact me at your convenience.
Air Canada Component Pink Triangle Committee