Day 3: Extreme Highs and Lows

We won!

After being delayed for a day, the communications awards were presented this afternoon. There’s us in the right of the photo. Standing at the extreme left is Paul Faoro, president of Local 15. They won best web site for a large local, we won for small (15 represents Vancouver inside workers—our union office is located in their building). Not bad out of 2,200 locals in the country! Congrats, Paul et al! And congrats to Chris Jang, Peggy Watkins, Peter DeGroot, and everyone who has contributed to our website!

So where’s Laura in the photo? Well, the thing about National conventions is that the exact order of business isn’t published. The presentation caught us by surprise, and Laura happened to be out of the hall (she’s been doing a lot of liaising with women activists here) when we were called to the front. She was included in the official awards photo after the presentation, though. Several members have asked from the floor that proper agendas be provided in future.

(By the way…Chris, I know you’re itching to see it…so here’s a photo of the award.)

October 5 – Believe it or not – World Teacher’s Day

A new low today as Bill 12 received royal assent and imposed a contract on BC Teachers. Reaction at CUPE National was swift. After an emergency caucus yesterday (that we attended), a resolution hit the floor this afternoon that was unanimously approved allocating full support for the BCTF up to and including a general strike in BC if necessary. Several presidents left convention to return home tonight to prepare their locals for possible job action as teachers decide their next step.

Why is this so important? Please see my posting from yesterday (below), and the e-mail I sent out to staff. Also, take a look at the BCTF web site: For specific information on the issues, have a look at:

There are vital issues at stake here as the government continues to dangerously tip the labour situation in BC out of balance. Like I say when I visit worksites—employers push to deliver services as efficiently and as cheaply as possible, and unions push back to protect the rights they’ve earned for their members and their members’ families. It’s about maintaining equilibrium—just as most people would not like to see unions dictating every aspect of management’s business, neither do they want to see employers dictating working conditions and wages without consultation with workers.

There are many mechanisms and tools in place (like arbitration) to deal with disputes. The BC Liberal government is short-circuiting them and setting troubling precedents in the process, which include the dismantling of contracts (Hospital Employees), the sale of public assets and the loss of any future income that can be derived from them (BC Rail and Terasen), and now—before any job action has taken place—pre-emptively legislating union members to work and forcing them to accept no improvements in wages or working conditions.

Stay tuned for more updates. The BCTF will be announcing in about an hour what action they will be taking.

A sad day for women in CUPE…

Constitutional resolution C-27, despite strong support from BC and the National Executive, failed to pass today. President Paul Moist declared that “…the situation [of declining female representation in CUPE is intolerable in Canada’s largest public service union. The being of CUPE requires our membership to be reflected in the National Executive.”

Former president Judy Darcy warned delegates that “there are still huge inequities in our union—we can’t be complacent.”

National Executive member from Ontario Sid Ryan said, “It’s not about competition for who sits on that board…it’s about proper representation.”

Several members, male and female, spoke against the resolution, saying that it was “tokenism” and that women should just work harder to get elected. Other members pointed out that we already have guaranteed spots for visible minorities and regions to ensure equity. Why not gender equity?

After the defeat, the referral was moved. This vote required a count, and barely passed, 780 to 754. The resolution will be sent back to committee, but I doubt it will reappear.

The BC caucus announced plans to work on a resolution that I would love to see make the floor, that would see a formula established for representation that would be a permanent “fix” to the gender equity issue. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.

I would like to commend Laura, Mark and Gerard for their work promoting this issue that is of vital interest to our members. We’ll continue to push vital women’s and equity issues.

Have a look at the CUPE National website for continuing updates on resolutions that were passed or defeated.

I’m really tired so I’m going to keep this brief. Check out this photo of the noon-hour rally we held today. Yep—it’s snow. BLECH! Serves me right for bragging about the 25 degree weather on Sunday.

In solidarity,