Report on the Online FPSE AGM & Convention, 18-19 June 2020

Report by Stephen Phillips

The 2020 Annual General Meeting of the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC (FPSE) was held online June 18-19. Attended by delegates from most of the Federation’s 20 member locals, including the Langara Faculty Association, this year’s AGM was an abbreviated affair and subject to all the constraints normally associated with online conferences via Zoom.  As originally planned prior to the onset of the pandemic, the AGM was to have been hosted by the LFA at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Vancouver.  Moreover, it was to have included a celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of FPSE and its predecessor federations.  In lieu of that, however, a retrospective on FPSE’s half-century of history, including a video and photo gallery, was posted online and can still be viewed.

Among the notable resolutions passed at the AGM, delegates approved an increase in the amount of strike pay from $100 a day to $150 a day.  Delegates also approved a proposal to review the Federation’s structure and operations, including a study of fiscal policies, key institutions (such as standing committees, the AGM, Presidents’ Council, and the Executive), advocacy work, supports for contract administration and bargaining, and staffing. Up to $10,000 was allocated to fund the study, which will solicit feedback from members serving on Presidents’ Council and standing committees, including those appointed since 2018; in addition, each local may name up to three members or former members who served on such bodies prior to 2018.

The most dramatic development of the AGM was the election of an almost entirely new slate of executive officers.  For the post of President, Brent Calvert (local 1) defeated incumbent Terri van Steinburg.  For the post of First Vice President, Christine Neigel (local 7) defeated incumbent Frank Cosco.  For Second Vice President, Chris Jaeger (local 8) defeated incumbent Leslie Molnar.  Meanwhile, Sean Parkinson (local 7), elected as Secretary-Treasurer at last year’s AGM, fended off a challenger and was easily re-elected this year. Without diminishing the valuable contributions made by members of last year’s executive, delegates seemed to be expressing a desire to begin the Federation’s 51st year under fresh leadership.  For more information on members of the new Executive Committee, click here.

Next year’s AGM will be hosted by the Faculty Association of the College of New Caledonia (local 3) in Prince George.

PS:  There was sad news in August of the death of Ed Lavalle, the veteran FPSE activist who served as President of its predecessor federation, the College Institute Educators’ Association (CIEA), in the 1990s.  Ed taught political science at Capilano University for more than 40 years and played a formative role in the 1970s in building the original BC federation of faculty associations.  A tribute to Ed is posted on the FPSE website.

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