CAW's Payne Takes Over as Labour Federation President in Newfoundland/Labrador

November 10, 2008, 2:34 PM EST

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FFAW/CAW representative Lana Payne was acclaimed president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour at the Federation's 71st annual convention held in Gander, Newfoundland on November 3 to 5 after serving three years as the Federation's first vice-president. 

Payne, a former journalist, was hired as a communications and research representative by the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (CAW/FFAW) in 1991. As a labour activist for many years, she has worked on a variety of issues affecting working people in Newfoundland and Labrador, including unemployment insurance, poverty, child care and women's equality.

Payne played an instrumental role in coordinating the Newfoundland and Labrador Make Work Pay Coalition that successfully brought together labour unions, faith-based organizations, student groups and others, to encourage the provincial government to raise the minimum wage to $10 per hour. The increase is set to happen in 2010.

The success of the Make Work Pay Coalition is one example of what Payne refers to as political collective bargaining, and one of the main responsibilities of the Federation.

"Union's are able to improve the standard of living for members and their families by bargaining contracts with employers, but there is a lot of work that needs to be done away from the bargaining table, in the area of public policy," Payne said. "Workers need to be represented on both fronts in order to build a fairer and more equitable society for all."

Payne, the second ever woman president of the Federation, takes over from Reg Anstey, who announced his retirement after 38 years of work in the labour movement. Anstey held the President's position since August 2003.

Payne says that her focus will be on ensuring that workers in Newfoundland and Labrador share in the new found economic prosperity that the province is enjoying, especially those who live in rural areas.

Pushing for a universal public child care and early learning program, investing in a proper home care system for the province's elderly and protecting the rights for women workers are also top priorities for the Federation. 

Click here to visit the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour website.

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