DAY 5 – Friday, October 6
Special Guest Speaker
It’s the fifth and final day of the convention and after a week of exhausting debate and emotional upheavals everyone was waiting for the special guest speaker Jagmeet Singh, the new leader of the NDP. I must say, he was well worth the wait and did not disappoint, speaking strongly against P3’s, precarious work (talking to his own experiences of precarity and being the sole income earner in his family) and how the NDP supports labour and the labour movement.
We were all very honoured to hear that we were his first speech to a convention since winning the leadership of the NDP.
From there we moved on to resolutions, but being the last day we quickly lost quorum . Before we lost quorum though, there were some heated conversations at the mic. The resolution conversation started with talks on governance, or a look at the makeup of the National Executive Board and while I am glad it passed, it was still disappointing that the diversity seats were not added.
That lead the resolutions committee back to the resolution on the trial process where it became quickly clear that there was nothing the resolutions committee could do. Debate on this went on, as the trial process seems to be quite a contentious part of the constitution and many locals and people have been hurt by it. Hopefully this can be fixed at the next national convention (although that is little consolation to those who have been so grievously hurt by it and are continuing to be hurt by it.
And with that debate quorum was lost and convention was over.
It was a pleasure, an honour and a privilege to be able to represent my local and my membership at convention.
DAY 4 – Thursday, October 5
Its Day 4 here at the 2017 CUPE National Convention and the morning didn’t disappoint. Resolution C8 hit the floor and it took the whole morning to hear debates and vote on C8.
This particular resolution brought a lot of passion out of the members both for and against, with emotions running high.
Included below is the amendment for those who wish to read through it:
After hearing all sides of the debate, and once the votes were counted, the resolution was defeated, only 50.6 voted in favour, and a majority vote of two thirds was required. The actual numbers were 953 delegates were for the resolution and 930 were against.
The afternoon brought forward more resolutions, and elections and Dalila Awada spoke this afternoon on issues related to Islamophobia. Besides being a lecturer and a blogger at Voir, a cultural magazine, she also co-founded the Fondation Paroles de femmes foundation in 2014. The organization’s mission is to make the voices of racialized women heard through various projects and events.
As the day winds down, I can’t say I am sorry as I am tired. What a week full of information, meeting new people and trying to get as much sight seeing in during breaks as I can, I am almost ready to go home. Thankfully it looks like it will be a quiet night, so I will get a good nights sleep to prepare for Fridays agenda.
Coming from Gibsons, a sub-local of CUPE 391, it isn’t always easy to connect with members and executive from from 391. However I had a chance to do just that this week with the four people from the VPL executive that were sent to CUPE National this year on yours and my behalf. I am even more proud after this week to be part of CUPE local 391.
Member at Large, Gibsons
Sub local of CUPE Local 391
DAY 3 – Wednesday, October 4
October 4th is a day of vigils honouring the lives of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls across Canada; as such, we started today’s convention proceedings with a multimedia performance by dancers Jade Brown and Amanda Gould and attended a moving vigil during the lunch break. Powerful and emotional reminders of the national human rights crisis we are experiencing.
Yes, it was election day here at Convention! We had nominations from the floor for a few positions, and the results are as follows:
President – Mark Hancock
National Secretary-Treasurer – Charles Fleury
The rest to follow – not all results were in by end of day…
Having passed a possible record-breaking number of resolutions yesterday, business continued throughout the day. A resolution asking National to review the trial process brought some passionate arguments out, and ultimately it was referred back to the committee for further consideration. We (your Local 391 delegates) spoke to our Resolution 217: promoting full service and fully staffed libraries – see statement here. Your president also spoke to Resolution 293: awareness and education around precarious work – in particular making room at the local level for precarious workers on bargaining committees.
Thank you all for your support in sending delegates to this important convention.
Your fellow member in solidarity,
DAY 2 – Tuesday, October 3
Wow! Big day!
The morning began for us at 7:45am with the Communications Breakfast, where Renee and Kari learned about the tools available to effectively communicate with our members. Aliza attended the Women’s caucus, hosted by the CUPE National Women’s Committee and Tanya attended the caucus for the Worker’s of Colour, hosted by the National Committee for Workers of Colour. In both these meetings, priority resolutions were discussed, including a controversial resolution for a change to the Constitution, which calls for the addition of 4 diversity seats on the National Executive Board. Tammie kindly held a spot at the mic for our brave speakers (a role colloquially known as a “mic muffin”).
The hall opened to the music of Me&Her, and the first order of business was the presentation of the Grace Hartman Award, which recognizes activists who break ground in the struggle for equity and social justice for women. This year, activist Joanne Foote was recognized. Congratulations!
The remainder of the morning was dedicated to discussion and voting on resolution and discussion on our Strategic Plan, the latter emphasizing our priorities for coming two years, including advocacy and action for workers seeking equity.
Silence Breeds Racism
After lunch, we were privileged to hear the key note speaker for the event, Nesrine Malik, journalist, writer and activist on issues of race, equity and justice. She spoke about the rise of the alt-right in the last few years in countries like Great Britain, France, Germany and the United Sates, and eloquently described how complacency has allowed a space for hate.
Nesrine was followed by the giving out of the Ed Blackburn award to long time activist and Diversity Vice-President on the National Executive Board Yolanda McClean. This is an award which recognizes a CUPE activist who has shown leadership in the pursuit of racial equality. Congratulations Yolanda!
Resolutions, resolutions, resolutions!
The rest of the afternoon was dedicated to discussion and voting on resolutions, which I’m happy to say went efficiently enough that we were able to get through the entire list for the day! Almost unheard of. Happy to report that two resolutions supporting literacy, presented by the CUPE National Literacy Working Group, were passed unanimously!
From the convention floor, your fellow member and representative, Aliza.
DAY ONE – Monday, October 2
CUPE Convention 2017 opened today; your Cupe391 delegation is very honoured to represent our 750+ members of Vancouver, Gibsons and Sechelt public library workers. Convention commenced with Elder Peter Schuler addressing the delegates: “We praise those who have lots. We shame those who have little. We have forgotten how to share” resonated with us and left us with plenty to contemplate. Amazing artists Janice Jo Lee and Piper Hayes lead the very best rendition of Solidarity Forever that I have ever heard, what an unexpected pleasure to see them perform together.
The first resolution to pass was No. 204, CUPE National will lobby the federal government to declare June 21, National Aboriginal Day, as a National holiday. Over 2300 delegates from all over Canada are here representing the 650,000 CUPE members, it is overwhelming how united one feels in a room full of one’s own.
Thank you Local 391 for allowing me to represent you in Toronto at #cupe2017.
Renee Milaney – CUPE 391 Recording Secretary