Email this articleE-mail this story  Discuss this articleWrite letter to editor  Discuss this articleOrder a classified ad
Leadership hopefuls line up for UNW

Rolt-Kaiser says she probably won't run again

Nathan VanderKlippe
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Aug 28/02) - The president of the Union of Northern Workers says she "probably will not" accept nomination for a second term as leader of the union, which represents 4,700 people in the North.

"I don't want to make that decision right now, and certainly not for the press to be out in public," said Georgina Rolt-Kaiser. "I'm a week from convention right now and I've got other plans and other issues. ... I don't want a lame duck convention. I want a good, productive convention."

The UNW convention, held every three years, is planned for this weekend at the Explorer Hotel. In attendance will be 38 delegates from across the North and eight members of the union's executive.

Delegates will vote on bylaws, regulations and resolutions that come from the various locals. Among the issues that will be raised are leadership accountability, delegation of power to create locals, a report card system for members of the executive and the role of regional vice-presidents.

But already, at least one member is expressing some concern Paul McAdams, a delegate from Fort Smith, said he is concerned that Rolt-Kaiser has been hired on as a service officer of the UNW, a position that opens up Sept. 3.

As president of the union, Rolt-Kaiser is the employer of some of the people who interviewed and hired her for the position, he said.

"A president applying for a job as employee of the union at the same time as she's sitting as president -- there's a problem there, I think," he said.

And McAdams is worried that resolutions passed by the membership aren't followed well enough. The last convention passed union dues at 1.45 per cent, he said. But within 18 months the executive had passed an increase to 1.817 per cent.

"The membership do not have control of the union," he said.

Beside votes on resolutions, the leadership vote will also be important this weekend. To be considered for leader of the union, a person must be nominated by other delegates. But two people have made it known that they are interested in the position. Both Sheila Laity and Todd Parsons said they would like to see the union cater better to the needs of its members.

"The convention is our supreme governing body, so it sets the direction for the union for the next three years," said Laity, who said unity is her biggest concern.

"That means people working for the same goals, which means member input so that people share their ideas and share their goals," she said. "So involvement would go with that. And union education, because it gives people the opportunity to become involved."

Parsons, who is currently a regional vice-president for the North Slave, said his focus is on improving the quality of membership service.

That means "increased training to improve local development, also to develop locals to be come more active and to aid every individual member to access services through the UNW headquarters," he said.

But a wish to increase member involvement is nothing new, said Laity.

"That has been the constant struggle of unions -- to make sure that membership is aware and concerned and involved. So I don't believe that it's a new concept."