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Which welfare model should we trial or adopt in BC? How are other countries addressing the welfare needs of their citizens? Here are a few recent announcements:   

  • Finland announced that it is stopping their trial of the Universal Basic Income (UBI) program at the end of 2018.  They are looking into alternative welfare schemes including the Universal Credit model.  
  • Read how the current Universal Basic Income trials are falling short of holding society-changing potential. Is Basic Income being setup to fail? 
  • The United Kingdom introduced a Universal Credit program in 2013,  However, a recent article in the Economist suggests that the roll-out is not going well.  

  What do you think we should be doing in BC?  Add Your Comments...

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Helesia Luke, CCEC Board Member says, "A month ago I started a new job and with it embarked on a learning curve that has been a real eye opener. "  As the new Green Jobs BC Co-ordinator, my first observation is that there is no lack of global leadership on the topic. Labour, environmental and financial leaders are rallying for change and scalable solutions that provide good jobs and reduce carbon emissions. As recently as last week, former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney noted the transition to a green economy is a trillion dollar opportunity for businesses and national economies

In the absence of policy however, citizens in Canada are taking matters into their own hands with grassroots initiatives like Iron and Earth. [ttp://www.ironandearth.org/] I&E is a worker-led group formed by unemployed oil sands workers who recently signed an MOU to build six offshore wind farms in Atlantic Canada.

A new study from Berkeley  is reporting that 500,000 people are now employed in California’s renewable energy sector. The study credits state policy for the remarkable growth in good jobs that lower carbon emissions.  

Imagine what could be accomplished in Canada with effective policies and investment in a green economy. The Green Jobs BC Conference is November 24th and 25th. Come and join the discussion about how BC can transition to green and just economy.

Green Jobs BC is an alliance of labour and environmental groups with a shared vision of an inclusive, sustainable economy that provides good jobs, are socially just, protects the environment and reduces carbon emissions. 

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Meet Andrea and Jeremy, long time members of CCEC who have opened a new business, The Village Dispensary, serving artisan coffee and teas* (not infused with cannabis) and a dispensary.  Vancouver has had operational dispensaries for almost 20 years with the support of the municipal government and local police force.  The City is a leader in this marketplace providing a framework for the rest of Canada to look to as the Federal Government has indicated its’ intent to move forward with legalization and regulation.  Andrea and Jeremy call themselves cannabis consultants.  Their dispensary promotes the value of the plant with products scientifically tested to deal effectively with chronic ailments such as cancer, MS and Parkinson’s Disease plus; plus a therapeutic stream to address sleep disorders, PMS, menopause, anxiety and other issues.

The Village Dispensary is a local business that sells products from ‘mom and pop shops’ including Apothecary Labs and Canna Life Botanicals.  Andrea asserts that this is about a plant that has been used medicinally for over 9000 years and has been studied clinically by Dr. Raphael Mechuolam starting in 1964 and he was the first scientist to isolate THC from the plant in 1965, then discovered the endocannabinoid system in the early 80's.  This is creating green jobs, growing our local economy, and feeding the local market.  Both Andrea and Jeremy are very entrepreneurial.  Andrea has owned Café du Soleil, Ragz n Rerunzz, earthbabies and was a partner in the baby carrier product, The Happy Sac; while Jeremy, a mechanical engineer, founded and operated a renewable energy contracting business called, exchangenergy inc.   Andrea says, “As peri-menopause began to show its face, I was able to address some of the symptoms with cannabis.”  She adds, “It is important that I am able to share that experience with other women and their partners.  That is one of the reasons The Village was conceived."  With this in mind, she also is involved with the local chapter of Women Grow Vancouver.  Her partner, Jeremy, a chronic sufferer of back pain that is relieved with cannabis products says, “I'm excited to bring top shelf medical cannabis that both connoisseurs and the canna-curious can experience.  BC hosts some of the most celebrated artisan growers and makers in the world and we want to see those growers thrive and grow.”  

It is hard to pick up the paper or watch the news without seeing an article about medical cannabis. There are an estimated 300 dispensaries in Canada – Vancouver has the most with 100 which is double the number of Starbucks locations – and there are 26 licensed producers sanctioned by the government to grow and supply marijuana only by mail to people with medical prescriptions.  In a recent Globe and Mail Article it is noted that provincial governments, health authorities and even the Supreme Court of Canada have affirmed that access is essentially a health issue.  CCEC has agreed and provides banking services to some of these businesses. 

The potential benefits are changing people’s views. They reference an article by the US National Cancer Institute stating that Cannabis kills cancer.   Both Andrea and Jeremy say, “The medical profession should embrace cannabis as an institutionalized treatment in hospitals.”  With all the research, the medical profession needs education on cannabis as a treatment regime.  At this time, owners of cannabis dispensaries, like Andrea and Jeremy, are self-taught attending many expert lectures, reading, joining professional support groups, watching many documentaries and, knowing their growers.  It is time we legitimized their business, formalized the training and education to de-stigmatize the weed, break down the barriers, myths and stereotypes.

* They sell CCEC member,  Cease Wyss's products Raven and Hummmingbird teas, salves and tinctures

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Medical cannabis dispensaries in Canada face a substantial hurdle doing business because the big banks have declined to provide services.  An excellent article in the Globe and Mail surveys the challenges, especially in light of the pending major changes to our federal laws.  

CCEC is highlighted in the article as an agent of change, because it has agreed to provide banking services. As noted in the Globe article, provincial governments, health authorities and even the Supreme Court of Canada have affirmed that access is essentially a health issue. CCEC has agreed.   

CCEC wants to build healthy and just communities, by empowering ordinary people. Political and social change is underway and there are roles for community groups and community-based financial institutions to play.  CCEC may be small, but we can have impact. 

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What better way to connect with neighbourhours than supporting start-up enterprises?  Vancouver SOUP differs from online crowdfunding in that it is in person.  People come together, share an evening of food and fun, while supporting projects happening in their community.  The audience, who are the ‘investors’, hear four project pitches and the ‘winner’ leaves with the door proceeds.  This is building community and CCEC is proud to partner with Groundswell as a sponsor on their new project.

To volunteer, make SOUP, donate bread email vancouversoup@gmail.com

Vancouver SOUP is based on the successful Detroit SOUP.   The organizers see this project as a unique opportunity for Vancouverites to connect with each other in an easy, fun, delicious way.  Vancouver is known as an unfriendly city where people feel disconnected from their neighbours and their community.  The Vancouver SOUP Team feel that the problem that part of the problem can be solved by getting together with people over meaningful conversation or projects like weeding a shared garden, serving on a committee, or even deciding which community-building project to support.  Vancouver SOUP can be that project.  Kerrie says, “I have lived in many apartment buildings where people barely make eye contact crossing paths in the hallway.  Conversations are mere pleasantries.”  By attending a Vancouver SOUP event, people are launched into meaningful conversation about projects that could affect their lives.  They are all in it together .

The first Vancouver SOUP held in September was sold out with over 70 people who donated almost $800.00.  Kerrie O’Donnell, Project Di

rector says, “While online crowdfunding might raise more money, it doesn’t bring the community and investors together.  We, you and I, are the investors.”

The winner at the first event was Magpie’s Nest Community Art Space with their Community Art Nights where they offer free space and materials for the public to come together over art.  The audience of ‘investors’ also heard pitches about launching a Zero Waste Club, starting community dialog events centered around the ‘Talking Chairs’, and harm reduction for nightlife and music festival communities

At the second Vancouver SOUP, held on November 19th, 55 people donated $550 and voted The Binners’ Project the winner.  The Binners’ Project creates jobs for people collecting redeemable containers and reduces waste being sent to landfills.  At the event, Director Anna Godefroy explained that the money will go toward a new initiative called the Binners’ Box - where a dedicated box will be set up in laneways of buildings and housing complexes, allowing residents or businesses to place recyclable products with a deposit in the Binner Box, for a local binner to pick up.  Keep an eye out for the testing phase of this project in the Downtown East Side soon!

Vancouver SOUP is a crowdfunding event, where the ‘crowd’ is the audience who contribute at the door.  Vancouver SOUP is different from online crowdfunding is that it is in person.  Kerries says, “We envision Vancouver as a friendly city where people feel connected to their neighbours. We see a community where people support each other in finding solutions and neighbours help each other and participate in projects that better their community.  Vancouver SOUP is a place where Vancouverites can come together and leave feeling more connected to their community and perhaps they even leave with new friends.” 

Vancouver SOUP is currently held in the Downtown East Side at Groundswell Café as a ‘city-wide SOUP’.  The organizers see the SOUP appeal growing and aim to draw projects and ‘investors’ from all over the city as a larger crowd will raise more money for the winning project.  At the same time, they recognize that each neighbourhood has its own character, and they are open to helping other neighbourhoods setup their own SOUP events.

Kerries says, “Each Vancouver SOUP event is a little different, mostly because the people pitching their ideas aiming to win the crowd’s money are different.  There are new ideas to make our fine city a better place each at each event.”

Thank you Vancouver, for showing us SOUP love!

For more information, to get involved or to host a Vancouver SOUP event contact:

Kerrie O'Donnell, Project Director, Vancouver SOUP

 

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The New Economy – still mostly a concept, lots of people have a different vision for the kind of economic environment we are all moving into.  What was the vision for the Impact Economy Whistler, event held in October attended by CCEC Board Members, Tammy Lee Meyer and Marty Frost?  If there was a common word that could be applied to all the visions that were present, it would be “open” as in “open-source” technology - hardware and software; and “open value networks” as a way of organizing groups of people who choose to work together. 

The people who showed up all saw themselves of members of an emerging economy.  They were computer software and hardware engineers, community developers, co-op advocates.  And if there was a common word that could be applied to all the vision that was present, it would be “open”.  The computer people were all working on developing new generations of computer operating systems, applications, communication protocols and hardware, all open source.  Open Source is a concept applied to developments (computer hardware and software primarily at this point) that have no ownership applied to them.  A piece of open source software, for example, carries no license, no proprietary rights attached to it.  Anyone has a right to download a piece of open source software, modify it and put it back up on line for open sharing.  The same principles are being applied to hardware as well. 

Some of those present were also employing “open value networks” as their form of organization.  No incorporation, no legal “rights of a natural person” applied.  Simply a group of people who choose to work together, share projects, share any resulting revenue that may be produced, well, openly.  A couple of examples that people may wish to check out on line would be Sensorica, in Montreal (www.sensorica.co), or 99% Media, also in Montreal ( www.99media.org). Neither has a legal structure, they are networks of workers who get together on a project-by-project basis, and share facilities, tools and revenue. 

The other significant “group” of people were the community development folks, most of whom are involved with local, non-State currencies.  Among these was BC’s own Michael Linton, founder of the LETS system that some of us will remember from its 40 year or so history in and around the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island.  The Mutual Aid Network was represented as well, and profiled for us their highly successful time-banking system they have developed under a co-op umbrella in Madison Wisconsin.  Time-banking is in some ways another form of local currency, certainly a local trading system. (www.mutualaidnetwork.org)

In this video podcast, Michel Bauwens chats with Art Brock, Michael Linton, and Matthew Slater about money and new currencies: accounting systems, "open money", current-sees, exchange in the post-monetary economy, trust, and value exchanges.

Is this to be an aspect of the “New Economy”?  An escape from individual ownership – or any form of ownership at all – into an economic paradigm based on sharing?  If you have a need it will be there for you, if you have something to offer you have ways to offer it, and all free of state-based currency transactions?  To people like me, who has spent most of my life assisting people to work in more sharing – but certainly “legally” structured – forms of economic relationships, it raises all sorts of questions:  how scalable can these organizations be?  How are disputes – those that are now “settled” through the market – be settled?  how would “value” of goods and services be determined?  These are questions that need to be answered as we move forward.  For my part I am thankful that there are people out there who have the passion and nerve to just get out there and do it.  Test these models in the crucible of the capitalist economy in which we live, find the challenges and develop solutions. 

Marty Frost

For more information: 

http://www.impacteconomy.io  and other podcasts  https://soundcloud.com/impact-economy

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A CCEC member goes beyond the Forbes top 15 Fintech startups to watch for this year.  CrowdGIFT is a values based crowdfunding platform with a philosophy of unconditional generosity.  Their clients tend to be groups with a mandate for social responsibility or political justice.    So, who uses CrowdGIFT?  Turns out our CCEC members do! 

Ben West (TankerFreeBC, the Great Climate Race) worked with CrowdGIFT to sell his book on Fossil Fuel and more recently to fundraise for the Great Climate Race .  Last month we featured The Decentralized Dance Party ,  who also uses this platform.  Why this platform and not the others?  And why enter a market that seeds to be crowded?

Scott Nelson, a Director for CrowdGIFT says, “We are living in interesting times as we are in a world where there is dissatisfaction with the current crowdfunding platforms and a general dissatisfaction with our mainstream banks.”  The better known crowdfunding models are exclusive, use Paypal or other ‘invasion oriented’ payment methods, and the campaigner is penalized with higher service fees or non-payment if you don’t reach your target.

A key differentiator with CrowdGIFT is their use of digital currencies.  Scott says, “People have the right to economic privacy.”  As our foundation is unconditional generosity this includes anonymity and privacy for the gifter.  He believes in digital currencies for two main reasons:  they operate on the principles of decentralization, where no one is a controlling agency as is the case with our current paper money; and privacy.  Read more about digital currencies in the blog (insert link).  Scott has been a strong advocate for digital currencies since 2010 which is aligned in his following of Austrian Economics.  The quote from Julian Assange (Wikileaks) rings true for him,

 “Transparency for the powerful, privacy for the weak.”

Scott sees crowdfunding as an expanding market as more fundraising will go this way.  CrowdGIFT is about showcasing generosity. 

There are five key reasons to choose CrowdGIFT:

1.       We never hold your funds. All contributions flow straight through to you, almost instantly.

2.       You keep all funds you receive, whether you meet your funding goal or not.

3.       Our "offline direct payment" option allows your supporters to give via cash, wire transfer, money order or any other method you can figure out. This offers greater privacy and eliminates PayPal and credit card processing fees.

4.       You can easily accept modern digital currencies including Bitcoin, Dash, Litecoin, as well as Dogecoin.

5.       With crowdgift.ca, you choose how much to gift back for our service: anywhere from 0% to 20%.

So, what’s next for Scott?  While currently he is playing in the field of converging technologies:  web, mobile and alternate currencies, he sees the next wave as machine learning and its’ application to personal growth and development. 

For more information visit https://crowdgift.ca/
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The Decentralized Dance Party (DDP) was founded on the belief that partying has the power to save the world because it is inclusive, and that anyone can dance or carry a boombox.  They feel they will win a Nobel Prize for Partying twice in a row and that the Occupy Movement didn’t achieve its mission because it really didn’t have one.  And, yes, these are CCEC members.  

The decentralized community is a revolutionary initiative that applies the principles of open-source software to longstanding social issues.  The intention is to unite those who are suffering with those who can help, enabling individuals who were previously isolated to devise creative, long-term solutions to their problems.
 
The Decentralized Community was first conceived by Gary Lachance in November 2008.  Then he started the  Decentralized Dance Party and The #BYPASS Movement.  The Open-Source/Decentralization revolution has given rise to technologies like Crowdfunding, P2P Lending, and 3D Printing.
 
But, will these tools create decentralized communities and autonomous societies?  To learn more, read Grand Decentralization Theory or Privacy Is The Enemy, a Grand Decentralization Theory that examine the fundamental nature of the decentralization revolution and propose how these movements can potentially give rise to a completely free and open society.
 
Not withstanding the naysayers, and with irreverence and technology, the AKA team of Tom  and Gary have financed  The Global Party Pandemic, using Crowdfunding and Bitcoins.  Just now, they raised EURO 10,000 in less than one month and a private donor paid their airfare to bring 6+ Parties to Europe!  They started the movement because they believe, “Partying is the most misunderestimated artistic medium in existence.”
 
They’ve thrown 60 insane Parties across North America and the participants with up to 20,000 people at each party.  Their objective is 
celebrating  life, enjoying music, and connecting with complete strangers on a deep and fundamental level- not getting drunk and being idiots.  They are partying by elevating consciousness, not destroying it.  More than a Party, the DDP is an interesting social experiment; showing that you can unite thousands of people of all ages, cultures and social groups to peacefully celebrate our common humanity.

 
That is why the DDP is also known as “The Party Revolution”. It is a unique force that has the power to overcome negative conditioning and unify and inspire the people of the world in ways never before imagined.

  
Follow the DPP in Europe!  https://www.facebook.com/theddp They come back to Vancouver in October.

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Is it time to create a co-operative biochar and fuel model that could serve across sectors in East Vancouver?  With the Level 4 drought, water-wise gardening ideas sprouting and more lawns growing food, let’s meet CCEC member, Randi-Lee Taylor, owner of Simply Barefoot Garden Service, the old school hand-tooled cargo trike riding gardening artisan.  See blog for more information on biochar.

Randi-Lee doesn’t call herself a landscaper, even though she does that, and says, “My heart and practice is akin to community gardeners, xeriscaping (landscaping and gardening that reduces or eliminates the need for supplemental water from irrigation). and permaculture with an emphasis on esthetics.”  Riding ‘the Big Luna’, her affectionately named cargo trike, and using old-school hand tools, she brings these practices into her clients’ gardens.  As an artisan, she converts passive lawn space into active gardens – imagine a potager garden with lovely pathways, accents of roses, lavender, topiary and a perhaps an espalier.  Last year, one of her gardens, The Mirror Garden, was chosen for the East Van Garden Tour


Why I’m a member of CCEC:

“CCEC does what it does because that is just who they are.  And maybe therein lies the difference.  CCEC is a “who” and ‘how” kind of place, the others focus on the “what, when and how much.  It just makes sense to have the biggest portion (of money) in the hands of folks who share the same values.  When I decided to start my own business it helped that I already had CCEC.”


The name, Simply Barefoot comes from paintings by Sarkis Katchadourian illustrating the Rubiyat of Omar Khannam with women walking barefoot through lovely gardens sharing food and wine in Paradise.  She says,”At the end the day, a garden is worth a stroll and best had barefoot.  Those are the kinds of gardens I want to create and maintain.”

So, what is biochar and why does it make sense?  With the Stage 4 drought and the impact on her business, Randi-Lee has been researching the biochar industry and the feasibility of a local installation.   She says that when she creates her gardens, for the most part, it includes removing huge sections of lawn.  The City doesn’t allow sod in the green waste so the disposal goes into the landfill or to private sites,  with the potential to transfer invasive species like chafer beetle and fire ants.  She has taken sod and, over time, worked it into a growing patches in back yards.  However, this doesn’t work for a front yard.  It can be as expensive to dispose of sod properly as it is to install the garden – fees anywhere from $300 to $800.  She says, “When the goal of gardening is sustainability, it is a hard pitch to argue that a $1500 dollar veggie garden is a money saver – that’s a lot of lettuce for some folks.”   And, when you consider the City is encouraging, through its’ Greenest City Action Plan for our community to be growing more food and turning lawns into food, we need to come up with a cost-effective options and ways to make this easy for our neighbouhoods.

In her research on how garden businesses in the Northwest are altering their services due to the heat, she has found that some States offer lawn removal rebates (up to $ 5000) to homeowners. She feels that while this is great for garden services, local businesses and for water retention, she finds it to be hit and miss on the esthetics.  She says, “Water-wise gardening should never be understood as anything less than beautiful.  Plants and materials that work with the climate are low maintenance and gorgeous. “

Now that half the city is brown straw, she says that we all need to consider how much we invest in lawns and we need a plan for removing and replacing lawns.  This does not mean no green as clover is a wonderful drought resistant alternative and bees love it.  A closer look at what the Americans are doing gives a glimpse in to some truly innovative practices, including biochar.  Biochar is a super heated, water removed soil enhancer that locks and returns carbon back to earth-reversing carbon emissions using grass and other fiber waste.  It also has the added benefit of enhancing water retention by over 40% and increasing crop yields.  Randi-Lee’s dream is to secure support to create a cooperative biochar and fuel model that could serve across sectors in East Van.  She says that, “Done right a working business model could demonstrate that an innovative twist to old school tried and true works.  There is plenty enough wrong in the world not to take a chance to make a small piece of it right.”

So, how did Randi-Lee become an advocate for biochar? 

After working for over 20 years contract to contract in the community development field facing what she felt were fewer opportunities, she returned to her family gardening roots.   She says, “I grew up in a gardening family-both food and ornamental.  Summer was about growing your own-apples, cherries, a veggie patch, berry picking.  I worked with senior master gardeners who taught me the key to successful gardening is found in the basic tools that have existed for millennia.”  She learned how to use the three essential pruning tools: snips, clips and a back saw.  But with all good gardens, it begins with the soil.

She then completed the 4 month intensive Self Employment Program at Douglas College.   Randi-Lee says that at the placement interview, the counselor reviewed her idea – an old school hand tooled cargo trike ridden gardening service– looked at Randi-Lee’s calloused hands and having seen photos of the gardens, the counselor saw in the photos the work of her own father, himself a master gardener.  So Randi-Lee was admitted to the program.  With the help of Embers Ventures downtown, Tegan Verheul to help on her website and social media, and CCEC’s Business Loans Officer, Simply Barefoot Gardening Services is now in its’ fourth year of operation.  

Randi-Lee Taylor, Simply Barefoot Garden Services,www.simplybarefoot.ca, simplybarefootgs@gmail.com  or visit at www.facebook.com/SimplyBarefootGardenServices

Why I’m a member of CCEC:

My mother was a life long banker,the first woman bank manager in western Canada. Up until the last few years she was proud of her service, helping first time homeowners. She couldn’t agree with many of the changes taking place with the big banks so she left.  It wasn’t longer after that she died and I was left without a mom, bank or banker.  In stepped a friend who is a member of CCEC, showing up one day with the declaration that enough was enough, if I wasn’t going to a bank, I best go with her to meet the folks at CCEC “Trust me Randi, it’s not a bank. These folks aren’t just like us, they ARE us.” So, a CCEC Member Service Rep. signed me up.  My friend was right.

Being a member of CCEC is akin to joining the cast of a Norman Lear show from 70s; regular decent folks trying to get by in an increasingly changing world. If you ever have to stand in line (a rarity in my experience), you will be standing with poets, playwrights, filmmakers, roofers, temporary workers, gardeners, artists and a collection of folks who go about being decent human beings and trying to be decent to others.  I’d say that’s a membership privilege.  Plus when you walk in the staff know you by name and if they don’t yet, they soon will.  How cool is that?

For me personally and professionally, I would have given up on my dreams a long time ago if my money was in the hands of another institution.  There’s always been someone at CCEC to give advice, support and encouragement, if not a loan or two.  None of this is because they have to, it is because that is just who they are.  And maybe therein lies the difference.  CCEC is a “who” and ‘how” kind of place, the others focus on the “what, when and how much”.

It just makes sense to have the biggest portion (of money) in the hands of folks who share the same values. When I decided to start my own business it helped that I already had CCEC. 

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The prevalent economic development practice is ineffective, unaffordable and in need of a makeover.  In his book, The Local Economy Solution, Michael Shuman suggests an alternative where cities nurture a new generation of enterprises that help local businesses launch and grow.  These “pollinator businesses,” create jobs and the conditions for economic growth, and are doing so in self-financing ways.

Two years ago, CCEC partnered with like-minded organizations to present a conversation with Michael Shuman speaking to his book, “Local Dollars, Local Sense – How to Shift Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street”See the blog   So, what's new? 

In his new book, he says, “A growing number of small, private businesses are facilitating local planning and placemaking, nurturing local entrepreneurs, helping local consumers buy local and local investors finance local business."  These functions are performed by “pollinators”.  They are locally-grounded, and succeed by building local support in pursuit of the shared goal of revitalizing the local economy.

Shuman feels that the traditional “economic development” model of chasing after large companies with huge taxpayer subsidy deals is the wrong way to revitalize a crippled or stagnant local economy.  He says, “economic development today is creating almost no new jobs.” 

There is another far more promising path.


At CCEC, your investments and funds give us the capacity to provide business loans to your neighbours who are creating “pollinator businesses”.  Refer friends and co-workers to CCEC.  Think of us when you are buying a home, renovating, going back to school or (fill in the blanks)!


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