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Link The Watershed Transit Initiative – Update & Petition

To all Local 4304 members,

For those members who were in attendance back at the August General Membership Meeting, you will recall that the membership voted at that time to endorse a transit initiative that was presented at the meeting called ‘Link The Watershed.’  I would like to give the membership an update on the work on that initiative so far and where the initiative is still heading.

For the members who do not know, the Link The Watershed Transit Initiative started as a project of our Union in Politics Committee and has grown into a collaboration between our union, Unifor Local 4304; ATU Local 1189, which represents the workers at Guelph Transit; and the Transit Action Alliance of Guelph (TAAG), an active public transit advocacy group based in Guelph.  In a nutshell, the initiative is proposing that the 8 public transit systems that currently service the municipalities of the Grand River Watershed (Grand River Transit, Guelph Transit, Brantford Transit, Wellington Ride Well, Guelph Owen Sound Transportation (GOST), PC Connect, Brant Transit, and Ride Norfolk) co-operate to form new cross-border transit connections, and close the gaps in the local transit network.

The core of the proposal is to establish a network of 4 new transit routes between the urban areas of Waterloo-Kitchener-Cambridge, Guelph, and Brantford with other minor service changes to the rural transit services.  Those proposed routes are as follows:

  1. A Brantford Transit route from the Downtown Brantford Bus Terminal, past the Brantford Train Station, through the Brantford Commons shopping centre (a Brantford Transit transfer point) and via Highway 24 to the Ainslie Terminal in Downtown Cambridge;
  2. A Grand River Transit route from Fairway Station via Fairway Road to the Region of Waterloo International Airport, then via Kossuth Road, Highway 124 and the Hanlon Parkway to Stone Road Mall, then on to the University of Guelph via Stone Road;
  3. A Grand River Transit route from Cambridge Centre Station via Hespeler Road, Pinebush Road, and Franklin Boulevard to the Hespeler Village, then via Guelph Avenue, Highway 124 and Wellington Street to the Guelph Central Station in Downtown Guelph; and,
  4. A Guelph Transit route from the Woodlawn SmartCentres at Highway 6 and Woodlawn Road via Woodlawn/Highway 7/Victoria Street to Central Station in Downtown Kitchener, then looping through Downtown Kitchener past Frederick Station before returning to Guelph.

The funding for the initiative would be provided initially from the Provincial/Federal governments using money that has been earmarked for projects just like this; the province announced on March 1st that there is a pool of $650M for municipalities to use to establish new transit connections and make travel between different transit systems easier.

On Thursday, September 30th our President, Brendan Burke, and I presented the proposal to GRT planning staff and received some very positive feedback about the proposal; our planners have taken the proposal back for further study and consideration.

In addition, an online public presentation of the initiative was hosted by TAAG on Tuesday, October 19th and transit/municipal officials, MP’s, MPP’s, Chambers of Commerce, and local media were invited.  This presentation has led to several new media articles already, including a 570 News interview on the Mike Farwell show and an interview on the Guelph Politicast Podcast.  The responses received so far from the public has been overwhelmingly positive.

Also, the members of TAAG have been doing more outreach to the local Chambers of Commerce and had a fruitful discussion with the CEO of the Brantford/Brant Chamber of Commerce; the Board of Directors of the Brantford/Brant Chamber of Commerce has now endorsed the initiative and are working to bring the other Chambers of Commerce in Grand River Watershed on board as well.

However, it is ultimately the elected leaders of our various municipalities that we still need to get on board to move the initiative towards implementation since only the municipal councils may approve that our transit officials can apply for the funding from the Provincial and Federal governments.  To that end, TAAG has set up a website to promote the Link The Watershed Transit Initiative and have just launched a petition with the goal of showing our elected officials the amount of public support there is for establishing these new transit connections.  We can all help get the petition going right now by signing it and sharing it with our friends, family, neighbours and social media groups!

You can learn more about the initiative, watch a video of the October 19th public presentation, download information materials, and sign the new petition by visiting https://linkthewatershedtransit.wordpress.com/

Without the vote of support from our membership at the August General Membership Meeting, we would not have gotten this far, and for that I thank you!

Yours in solidarity,

Warren Schnurr
Chair, Union in Politics Committee
Unifor Local 4304

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It’s Election Day! Have you voted?

To all Local 4304 members,

It is Monday, September 20, 2021, and that means it’s Election Day for the 2021 Federal Election!  If you haven’t already done so in advance, please make every effort to get out and cast your vote today.  Every vote from every Canadian citizen counts!

A reminder to all members that you can look up your voting location and check what personal identification is valid at the polls by visiting the Elections Canada website.

Yours in solidarity,

Warren Schnurr
Chair, Union in Politics Committee

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Federal election advanced polls are now OPEN!

To all Local 4304 members,

Advanced polls for the 2021 Federal Election are now open!  Advanced polls are open each day from Friday, September 10th to Monday, September 13th between the hours of 9 AM to 9 PM at the many advance polling locations across the country.  Not sure where you can vote? Check your personal voter information card that you should have received in the mail OR visit the Elections Canada website and input your postal code to look up your assigned voting locations.

If you’re not going to be available to vote on Election Day, Monday, September 20th, do your best to get out and vote at an advanced poll.  Every vote from every citizen counts!

When you go to the polls don’t forget to bring your ID!  A list of acceptable identification has been provided by Elections Canada here.

In addition, due to COVID-19, voters will be required to wear a mask while at the polling stations (if you do not bring a mask, Elections Canada will provide one).   Also, voters are asked to bring their own pen or pencil to mark their ballot, although single-use pencils will also be available.

Yours in solidarity,

Warren Schnurr
Chair, Union in Politics Committee

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Are you prepared to vote in the federal election?

All Local 4304 members,

The federal election campaign clock has begun ticking away!  Are you sure you’re prepared to vote?

Canadians have several options available to them to vote in the federal election; Canadians can vote in person but can also vote by mail!  Now is the time to make sure you’re registered to vote to ensure you receive your voter information card from Elections Canada and to ensure your voter registration information is correct, most Canadians opt to have the voter information sent to Elections Canada as an option when they file their income taxes, but many do not.  If you’re not registered to vote you can register at the polling station but you can save yourself a lot of time and hassle by registering ahead of time.

Use the Elections Canada Voter Registration Service to check if you’re registered to vote, to update the address on your voter registration, to register to vote, and to apply to vote by mail (you will be required to upload proof of identity and address).  If you plan to cast your vote by mail you should apply for your special mail-in ballot as soon as possible using the Elections Canada Voter Registration Service.

Below are some handy infographics provided by Elections Canada to help you with preparing to vote in the federal election.

Yours in solidarity,

Warren Schnurr
Chair, Union in Politics Committee
Unifor Local 4304


Election Day is Monday, September 20, 2021
Advanced Polls are open each day from Friday, September 10, 2021 to Monday, September 13, 2021


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Federal Election Called

To all Local 4304 members,

As you may have already heard in the news the Prime Minister has called a snap federal election.  As Canadians we have the right, and responsibility, to use our vote to choose our nation’s leaders.

This is a particularly short election period; election day is Monday, September 20, 2021 and advance polls will be held at some point prior to that.

Our committee is not going to tell you who to vote for but as the election campaign progresses we will do our best to provide information about all the options available as well as information on how you can exercise you vote with information about advanced polls, etc.

We would ask that when making you choice to also consider how our new federal government can have an impact on our workplace.  While we are not a federally regulated workplace, the federal government can and does provide investments in public transportation that can lead to more employment opportunities for our members and our brothers an sisters in transit across the country.

Yours in solidarity,

Warren Schnurr
Chair, Union in Politics Committee
Unifor Local 4304

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GRT Collision Appeals Committee Election Results – Correction

Please take note of the following correction in the election results for the GRT Collision Appeals Committee:

 

GRT COLLISION APPEALS COMMITTEE

Donna Keeping – offline 37, online 90  22%

Mike Capa – offline 55, online 154  36%

Irene Bradshaw – offline 24, online 77  18%

Dwayne Hyde – offline 38, online 97  24%

Spoiled – 4

Mike Capa and Dwayne Hyde are elected to the Collision Appeals Committee

Posted in: Elections

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Online Voting NOW OPEN!

To all Local 4304 members,

Online voting for the 2021 Steward, Committee, and Delegate Election is now open!  Don’t forget to vote, either online or in person, today!

Not seeing all the possible union committees or candidates on your ballot?  Remember that you will only see and vote on the positions that are applicable to your bargaining unit, position, and designated work location.  Also, many candidates were acclaimed when nominations closed since there was an equal or fewer number of candidates than the number of positions available; elections are not required for any of those positions.  In addition, since the nominations closed at the May General Membership Meeting some candidates have also withdrawn from the election which resulted in a few more acclaimed candidates.

Candidates who have already been elected or acclaimed to various positions are highlighted in green on the nominations tracker at: https://tiny.cc/2021Local4304Nominations

Yours in solidarity,

Warren Schnurr
Recording Secretary
Unifor Local 4304

Posted in: Elections

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June General Membership Meeting – Wednesday, June 16, 2021

All Local 4304 members,

The June General Membership Meeting is scheduled for this coming Wednesday, June 16, 2021, at 11:00 AM and 7:30 PM to be held online via Zoom.  A reminder that all members wishing to attend should RSVP to recordingsecretary@unifor4304.org prior to the meeting.  Even if you’re not 100% certain you will be able to attend but may be able to, you should still consider RSVPing to ensure access to the meeting is provided if you can participate.  This will be the final General Membership Meeting for the 2018-2021 term of office!

The Zoom link to join the meeting is https://zoom.us/j/5680262113.  This link does not change from month to month so save it for future reference and feel free to share it with other Local 4304 members.  All members attending the meeting should join with their first and last names to ensure the Sergeant-At-Arms knows who is being properly admitted.

In addition, Wednesday (June 16th) is also ELECTION DAY for Steward, Committee, and Delegate positions.  Don’t forget to vote either online or in-person!  To vote online simply login to the Unifor Local 4304 website on election day and select ‘VOTE’ from the main menu to get the link to your ballot.  Please make sure your access to the members-only section of the website is working before election day and contact webmaster@unifor4304.org if you need any assistance.

Yours in solidarity,

Warren Schnurr
Recording Secretary
Unifor Local 4304

Posted in: Meeting Agenda/Notice, Meeting Notices

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Online Voting NOW OPEN!

To all Local 4304 members,

Online voting for the 2021 Executive Board Run-Off Election is now open!  Don’t forget to vote, either online or in person, today!

Yours in solidarity,

Warren Schnurr
Recording Secretary
Unifor Local 4304

Posted in: Elections

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No Trustee Run-Off

To all local 4304 members,

During the previous general election in 2018, run-off elections were required to elect three trustees with a majority vote per the December 2013 ‘Unifor Policy Regarding Local Union Elections.’  This policy from the National Union forms part of our Local’s constitutional requirements and governs how elections are run for any Unifor Local’s that don’t have their own separate set of National-approved election rules in their by-laws.

However, In February this year, the National Executive Board amended the ‘Unifor Policy Regarding Local Union Elections’ such that we no longer require a run-off for the Trustee positions in THIS general election; a copy of the new policy was just provided to our Local.  The new policy regarding Trustee run-offs reads as follows:

33. The three Local Union Trustees will be elected at the same time and there is no distinction between the three offices. The membership is instructed to vote for no more than three candidates. In the election of the three Trustees, the majority is determined in the following manner:

(a) Where there are less than seven candidates, the three candidates receiving the highest number of votes shall be declared elected.

(b) Where there are seven or more candidates, the majority point is determined by adding the total votes cast for the office of Trustee and dividing by 3 (which is the number of positions to be filled). This number is divided by 2 to determine the 50% mark. The next highest number above the 50% mark is the majority point.  Example – 480 votes cast for Trustees, divided by 3 = 160. Further divided by 2 to get the 50% mark = 80. The next highest number above 80 is 81. Trustee requires at least 81 votes to receive a majority.

(c) If more than three candidates receive a majority vote, the three candidates with the highest majority shall be declared elected.

(d) Where there are seven or more candidates and no candidate receives a majority, the run-off is confined to the six candidates receiving the highest number of votes. The three candidates receiving the highest number of votes shall be declared elected.

(e) Where there are seven or more candidates and only one candidate receives a majority, the run-off is confined to the candidates receiving the second, third, fourth and fifth highest number of votes. The two candidates receiving the highest number of votes shall be declared elected.

(f) Where there are seven or more candidates and only two candidates receive a majority, the run-off is confined to the candidates receiving the third and fourth highest number of votes. The candidate receiving the highest number of votes shall be declared elected.

You can download your own copy of the new February 2021 policy HERE if you wish.

Per the new policy, since there were only five trustee candidates in the current general election the top three are declared the winning candidates.  Therefore the new Trustees will be Mark Cosgrove, Tyler Kress, and Lesley Clark and no run-off for the trustees will be on the ballot on Thursday, June 3rd.

Yours in solidarity,

Warren Schnurr
Recording Secretary
Unifor Local 4304

Posted in: Elections

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