Day 6 – Friday October 11, 2019
Thanks to the 391 delegates for a fantastic week of union business and networking! We truly appreciate the local’s support in sending a full delegation to National, allowing us to have a voice and say on your behalf in the vision and policy of CUPE National. We have benefited from immersing ourselves in the experience with fellow activists and all look forward to bringing our renewed energy back to our work with the local.
I am very proud to represent you the members, and to have been joined by the delegates who stepped forward to participate in this experience.
President, CUPE Local 391
Day 5 – Thursday October 10, 2019
This week has flown right by and it has been a thoroughly inspiring and exciting one that I have had the opportunity to experience.
The day started off with the recognition of the recipient for the Disability Rights Activism award followed by the elections for Regional & Diversity Vice Presidents and Trustees. This was a particularly great moment as we had the opportunity to witness our very own CUPE 391 member and colleague, Johnathan Dyer, elected as alternate Diversity Vice President from the Indigenous Workers Committee caucus. Way to go Johnathan!
There were important constitution amendments such as clear language and additions to the trial process. This was followed by important resolutions that were brought forth such as resolutions on supporting the Child Care Now Campaign and policies & processes to address complaints and incidents of sexual harassment and violence within the union.
CUPE 391 President, Kari, spoke on behalf of our membership to the proposal on developing a national campaign to bring awareness for libraries. She did an excellent job of bringing forward many issues our library workers face such as the increasing risks of workplace violence and harassment, depleting staffing levels, the increased pressure members face from the public and the need to provide equitable service for our communities. This was a very timely proposal to bring forth during the Canadian Library Awareness month.
There was a special guest speaker, Geici Maiara Brig, Education Director, Blumenau Public Service Workers’ Union, who gave an eye opening speech on the aggressive state attack funding on unions and public services in Brazil. She spoke to precarious work for young workers who currently have no workplace protections and the challenges they continue to face day after day under a very dangerous regime.
One more day to go at CUPE National Convention!
Bargaining Committee member
Day 4 – Wednesday October 9, 2019
It was another packed day of business here at Convention 2019. Starting with the Communicators’ breakfast attended by Kari and the Racialized Workers caucus attended by Tanya and Shenuri. I was able to catch the morning musical entertainment provided by Aleksi Campagne in the convention hall before the business of the day started.
Convention was called to order promptly at 9:00 am and we started with our work of the day with anticipation that we would be fortunate to have a visit from the NDP leader Jagmeet Singh. Mr. Singh came in with lots of energy and excitement. His speech highlighted his election platform with emphasis on improving Pharmacare to include proper dental care and better coverage of prescription medications. He also emphasized the party commitment on supporting clean energy and jobs in this sector. To learn more about the NDP platform I encourage you to take the time to checkout the NDP website.
After the excitement of Mr Singh’s visit we had to settle in and focus on the day. It continued with more debate on important resolutions, constitutional amendments and the Strategic Directions. We also had the, always interesting, task of elections of our chief executive officers. Mark Hancock is once again President, Charles Fleury remains as Secretary-Treasurer by acclamation. The General Vice-Presidents also remain by acclamation.
Unfortunately the day of business was adjourned early due to technical problems with the translation devices.
At 7:00 pm, Kari and I attended the Global Justice forum where we heard from leaders in labour movements from Haiti, Philippines, and Columbia. The common thread was the continued abuse, death threats and appalling wages and working conditions that still happen and exist in this day and age. Even through all of these hardships that these people experience they continue to work for the rights of workers in their countries. They all spoke about how valuable the continued support of CUPE is to their respective Human Rights movements. It was a very moving and inspiring event. To learn more about what CUPE does for International Solidarity have a look at the website.
Even though it was a full day, we gathered ourselves to join CUPE BC, Alberta and HEU to complete our day at a local club to relieve some stress and get our bodies moving after sitting all day taking care of business.
Representative from The Gibsons and District Public Library
Day 3 – Tuesday, October 8
Today started bright and early for the convention delegates. By 8 in the morning we had people in their caucuses planning, strategizing and getting ready for the work on the convention floor. Our delegates attended the Women’s Caucus, Indigenous Workers’ Caucus, and the Racialized Workers’ Caucus, adding a library voice to the rest of CUPE.
The morning went smoothly. Resolutions were addressed and the constitution was amended, but everyone was waiting for the constitutional resolution that would address adding 3 new Diversity Vice Presidents to the National Executive Board. We all knew it would be contentious and highly debated, but as the morning went on it became apparent that the debate would have to wait until after lunch.
During the lunch break the very hard-working Kari went to an information session about some very specific changes to the Constitution regarding the Trial Procedure. Those changes will be significant if passed, but they are changes that most would agree are needed. A task force had been struck at the previous national convention to study the trial procedure and make recommendations. During the lunch break changes were explained and questions were asked of the task force.
All too soon lunch was over and the debate for the new diversity seats began.
People were passionate on both sides, some seeing the need for additional seats, others not…but in the end the amendment was defeated and a lot of heart break could be felt in the room. Convention work went on and your delegates worked hard representing library workers on the convention floor. It was great to see Kari sharing the struggles of racialized library workers as she spoke to a resolution asking CUPE to create and implement an anti-racism strategy.
2nd Vice President
But convention isn’t all work and no fun ….
…when you leave the hotel all ready to go…
…but are too exhausted to move
once you get there…
…when you need to exercise to charge your phone…
…but would rather play on the swings…
Day 2 – Monday, October 7
First Day of convention is over and today has been a whirlwind of numbers, human rights and powerful speakers. Starting at 7:30am Montreal time I was at the convention center working on strategies for trying to get resolution C15 passed. Doors opened at 9am with speeches from the National President, National Secretary-Treasurer and other great speakers. We learned CUPE is over 700,000 members strong! We learned our National strike fund is over $100 Million and available from day one of job action!