October 2018 General Meeting

Here's what happened at our General Meeting on October 3rd, 2018...

Item 1: Territorial Acknowledgement & Community Agreements

The meeting started with introducing our Community Agreements, (which will be re-iterated at all our meetings). They are:

1. One-mic - means to respect each other’s speaking time.
2. Speak Up/Listen Up - means that people who are comfortable should step up on their listening skills and people who tend not to speak should step up speaking more.
3. Break It Down - explaining words or phrases that are unclear/ inaccessible.
4. Respect Each Other - oppressive behaviour will not be tolerated.
5. Challenge Ideas, Not People - disagreements should be expressed with what people have said and not the people themselves.
6. Be Present
7. Take Care Of Yourself - do what is best for your physical and emotional well being

Item 2: Breakout Groups - Review/thoughts about recent VTU actions (breakout groups)    

Comments from members about recent rallies:

  • Community mobilization around the proposed 4.5% increase pushed government to lower allowable rent increase before 2019.
  • Rallies exposed powers that tenants are up against (Rent increase rally showed Landlord lobby, Berkeley Tower exposed big developer like Reliance)
  • Berkeley Tower rally brought renter community in West End together
  • Both rallies got good media exposure
  • Good varied speakers at rallies

What we would do differently:

  • Short notice limited turnout - esp. for 4.5% rent hike rally.=
  • VTU didn't have enough people coordinated to speak with media - need to have more members ready to talk about how policies impact them as tenants
  • Lack of coordination amongst groups opposed to rent raise, then lack of solidarity as various groups tried to claim credit for the victory
  • VTU didn’t do our own media at the Berkeley rally

Next Steps/Ideas for new Direct Actions Working Group [coming together soon]

  • Rally outside RTB offices around inconsistencies and lack of transparency of rulings
  • VTU should stay connected with Berkeley tenants – invite them to next VTU meeting
  • Pop-up rallying and occupying MLA offices until rents are frozen
  • Reach out to other groups who advocated for cancelling the 4.5% increase
  • Organize tenants
  • Creative ways to change hearts and minds around issues of tenants vs. landlords
  • Rally around construction of luxury condos – build alliances with construction workers

Item 3: Real Rent Control Campaign Update

New website finally launched with e-petition. Read FAQs on the website and get educated!

Item 4: Update on Rent Control Hackathon

Hackathon was successful – More than dozen people were amalgamating data and building tools that tenants can use as resources. Starting a working group to continue that work going forward.

See working group's microsite: vtu-datatools.github.io

Get in touch with vtu.datatools@gmail.com to get involved

Item 5: Steering Committee (SC) vacancies/by-elections

There are currently 4 vacancies on the SC. Current SC introduced itself and outlined how the SC works and what their role is.

Nominees: David Hendry, Joey Doyle, Sue Robinet & Vince Tao

Nominees read statements of intention.

Note: Since there are only four members stepping forward to fill four vacancies, the election of the new SC members en masse was taken as a motion. This method of election/acclamation was first put to a motion and passed unanimously. 

MOTION: To acclaim the four nominees David Hendry, Joey Doyle, Sue Robinet & Vince Tao to the Steering Committee

MOTION CARRIED UNANAMOUSLY

Item 6: Renter Report Card

David introduces the origins of the report card and methodology of how the report card was made.

Discussion:
Member (1): Because the VTU is investing money in the election, the organization could get painted as biased like the ‘dark money’ around Hector Bremner’s campaign

Member (2): This report card isn’t a formal endorsement of a candidate or party.

Member (3): Labour unions organize around elections, and it’s our duty as the VTU to get involved in elections so that tenants voices are represented in politics.

The working group has already spent some VTU funds on the report card, and wants to spend more money to print versions in Mandarin and Persian.

MOTION: For VTU membership to endorse the Renters Report Card

MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY 

Note: Membership also carried a motion to approve a budget for printing the report cards.

Item 7: Community Updates:

  • Iranian Working Group formed to mobilize tenants in the Iranian community to organize and educate each other about tenants rights. First meeting happened last Sunday. To get involved, contact: tenantsunion.yvr@gmail.com 
  • Kolumbia Gardens members (25 tenants) in Cloverdale facing renovictions from Top Down Investments won their case at the RTB.
  • Vivian Baumann's Supreme Court renoviction victory, is currently being appealed. Landlord BC attempted to intervene in the case, however the Appeal Court rejected Landlord BC, which bodes well for Vivian’s case ruling being upheld.

Item 8: Next GM Meeting Date (Final one of 2018):

TBD (Weekday in mid-to-late November). Members will be emailed 2 weeks ahead of time.