Randy: We knew something big was coming on Wednesday. As early as Monday, after a sister from another local approached the mike asking where donations for striking locals could be directed, Brother Moist made some cryptic comments about holding all donations until 11:30 on Wednesday. So we knew something was coming, we just didn’t know how amazing it would be. Come Wednesday morning, convention was abuzz. Dan Gawthrop, from CUPE BC, approached us first thing to ask if we had a banner we could carry in with us. We didn’t, so we zipped up to the communications office to make something up quick. As 11:30 approached we were whisked to the back of the hall to make our grand entrance. At this year’s convention there are two locals on strike, us and the workers of Journal de Quebec, who have been locked out for 6 months. Another local, 410 – Victoria Public Library workers, are in strike position, but not yet on full strike. The fine folks of Journal de Quebec preceded us down the floor and then it was our turn. We made our entrance to therapturous applause of our sisters and brothers from across the country. It was truly something to behold and lifted our spirits immeasurably. Once on stage we were given the chance for some speechifying, and then the money began to flow. Local after local lined up at the mike to pledge funds to support us. From tiny locals, who were able to pledge 100 or 200 dollars to huge locals and divisions, some of whom pledged over 10,000 dollars. All of it matched by CUPE National. It was truly a humbling and awe-inspiring experience, and it made us realize just how strong our union is, how much support we have behind us, and how strong the values of generosity and collective good are within our movement. Truly we belong to the BEST DAMN UNION EVER!
A lot of other things happened this day. Paul Moist and Claude Genereux were re-elected to their positions as National President and National Secretary Treasurer respectively (by acclamation), Ken Georgetti spoke to us, the Grace Hartman award was given out, and resolutions were debated. To add an unfortunate note to the proceedings though, we lost quorum around 5 PM due to dinner hour attrition. Nonetheless, it all paled for us next to the amazing show of support we were given by our sisters and brothers from across Canada.
Wednesday evening we were further honoured by being invited to a reception for all the Vancouver locals involved in the strike in President Moist’s suite. Beer flowed, really good cheese was imbibed, and our president went out of his way to thank us all personally for staying so strong, and for all the personal sacrifices we’ve made in this struggle.
Then it was off to the Royal York hotel for a CUPE BC/HEU reception and more free booze. And finally back the hotel sleep me…. room spinning… where… how… curse CUPE free booze bad god help me… zzzzzzz…..