76th PRC - Winnipeg and Southern Manitoba Branch

Good morning Sisters and Brothers. My name is Linda Howes and I’m the President of the Winnipeg and Southern Manitoba Branch.

Our branch would like to welcome delegates of the Prairie/NWT Regional Council to Winnipeg on this auspicious occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike, one of the most famous and influential strikes in the Canadian history.  At 11 am on Thursday May 15, 1919 almost the entire working population of Winnipeg went on strike.  Over 30,000 workers walked off the job.  The strike continued for more than 5 weeks and spread to other Canadian cities. On Bloody Saturday, June 21 two strikers died and 45 others were injured and numerous others were arrested.  The strike ended June 25.  It is seen as a pivotal moment in the history of the Canadian labour movement.

We should never forget what brings us here and who and what we fight for.  Our members are counting on us to advance their rights and the rights of all workers.

I would like to thank all the dedicated volunteers in our Branch as well as the Branch Executive. Christine Freeman, past interim President and current member at large; Jay Krishnan, Vice President and organizer of many member events; Cory Graham, Secretary; Jason Caners, treasurer; Pramesh Selliah, hard working member at large; Mohammed Khakbazan, the organizing force in Brandon; Bryan Van Wilgenburg, who stepped down this year due to a change in work locations; Donna Johnston and Terri Gobeil, who did a wonderful job organizing the Winnipeg Open House; Herbert Herrera, who stepped down this year to go to private industry and was the organizer of our Labour Day participation; and Blair English, one of our motivated volunteers in Brandon.  I would like to welcome our two new Branch Executives that joined us in 2019, David Hakes and Kevin Jacobs, who have already organized member events in their workplaces.

WASM, as we are affectionately known – held, or was a part of the following activities this past year:

Our Branch AGM was held January 24, 2019 and included Nancy McCune as our key note speaker.

The Branch executive met multiple times this year to organize and strategize union events.

We participated in our first Labour Day Event in 2018 on September 3. Through the generosity of the Region, we were able to purchase a canopy and banners, plus pay for the Old Dutch snacks purchased for the event.

We sponsored a Bomber game on October 13 which was well-attended by members. The Winnipeg annual open house was held at the King’s Head pub on December 6. The Brandon Open House was held the same night and was also well-attended.

We also supported a children’s Christmas party in Brandon, and a GWCC event in Winnipeg.

Our past President, Christine Freeman attended the AV subgroup AGM in May 2018 and acted as their Parliamentarian and Elections Chair. There will be several WASM executives attending the MAGE AGM as well as the AV AGM.

I would like to recognize our Stewards.  Thank you for your hard work and dedication to our members.

For 2019, we have many local member and steward events planned including actively participating in local union activities such as the 100 year anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike, a fall family picnic, a steward appreciation event, continuing participation in the Labour Day parade, a Blue Bomber member event, as well as lunch and learns in a variety of workplaces.