This Labour Day, let’s pause to reflect and recharge, then continue our fight for stronger communities

Happy Labour Day to all the more than 100,000 CUPE members in B.C.! I hope this important day gives you the opportunity to spend some time with your families and friends—subject to pandemic restrictions, of course—and to reflect on the contributions working people have made by forming unions and fighting for a better world for all.

This is the second Labour Day during this pandemic. We won’t be able to come together at big picnics or barbeques. For me, part of what has always made Labour Day celebrations so special has been to see the coming together of workers from so many different backgrounds. And while I’ll miss that terribly this Labour Day, I have hope that by next year COVID-19 will be mostly in the rearview mirror. As we work together to end the pandemic, we also need to work together to ensure that we build back in ways that make our communities stronger and more sustainable.

Of course, the current federal election gives us an important opportunity to have our say about what kind of leadership we want for our country. While I don’t want to make this column about partisan politics, readers likely know which leader and party I support. I hope you will join me in supporting progressive candidates who support strengthening—not weakening—the public services that ensure our communities are for everyone, not just the wealthiest.

We had much work to do before this pandemic to make our communities, our province, and our country fair and just for everyone. It’s unconscionable, for example, that there are communities in this country without access to drinking water. Income inequality continues to grow, as the 1 percent amasses more wealth at the expense of the rest of us. There is much more work to be done to eradicate racism in our social and political systems and structures. And, we are facing a climate crisis that demands action and resolve from leaders and citizens alike.

These are no small challenges, and there are no quick fixes, but our society will not thrive if any of them are left unaddressed.

One way to build greater equity in our economy is to increase the availability of quality affordable child care.  That’s why one of our top priorities for the fall and beyond is building support for the mass expansion of $10 a Day child care in communities across the province. The pandemic has really exposed the inequities in access to quality, affordable child care, and also demonstrated that our public schools can provide the child care B.C. needs. The new seamless day pilot projects in more than 20 school districts across B.C., which bring before and after-school child care into public schools, shows us a great, cost-effective way to make child care spaces more accessible with enhanced learning for kids. The facilities are already built, the programs can integrate with daytime learning, and we already have many of the trained people ready to get to work.

So as we work together over the coming months and years, let’s try to remember the spirit we all felt a year ago, when we made a point of thanking the frontline workers who have gotten us through the pandemic. Let’s remember the spirit and solidarity of the workers and union members who made so many sacrifices to make things better not just for themselves but for everyone.

Happy Labour Day.


Karen Ranalletta is President of CUPE BC, elected in 2021. CUPE BC is the largest union in British Columbia, representing more than 100,000 workers delivering important public services in nearly every community in the province.

Ratification Vote Reminder

Voting is now open for ratifying the Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) for our new Collective Agreement. Voting closes at 11:59 pm on Wednesday July 21st.

The details on how to access the voting platform will be sent to your CUPE 391 email address. If you are having trouble accessing your CUPE email then either email from any other email, or call (604) 879-3034.

Take a Minute to Save the PNE

The COVID-19 Pandemic has touched every workplace in British Columbia and had a huge impact on the community services and venues that shape our lives. One of these services is the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE), which has effectively been shut down for the past 16 months.

The PNE means so much to the region and the province, and needs our help now.

Not only has this century-old tradition brought countless memories and enjoyment for generations, the PNE pumps $200 million into B.C.’s economy, supports countless local businesses, and creates thousands of jobs and youth employment.

The PNE is also a major local employer, and is B.C.’s largest employer of young workers. However, with more than 95% of the PNE’s events and services cancelled and no revenue coming in, the over 4,000 CUPE 1004 PNE workers have been out of work since March 2020.

Even though some limited events are beginning to return, a year and half of lost revenues has left the PNE close to financial ruin. Without immediate, short-term assistance of $8 million, it may not recover.

We need action now – or we will lose the PNE we all know and love. 

Please take a minute to save this beloved B.C. tradition. Your message will help ensure that the PNE receives the financial assistance it needs to retain staff; maintain facilities and equipment; and upkeep basic operations until public health measures allow a full reopening.

Your support will ensure the PNE is there for us and future generations, to enjoy and experience the diversity of B.C. and all that the PNE has to offer. Your voice will also help ensure that fellow CUPE members at the PNE have a job to go back to when full operations can again return.

Thank you for your support on this important campaign.

In solidarity,

Karen Ranalletta

PS: If you have already taken this action, thanks you! Please consider sharing this email with your contacts to help build support for this vital cultural institution.

Click here to share your support with decision-makers.