CUPE BC Convention 2016, notes from Adrienne Else

CUPE BC – 53rd Annual Convention, April 27-30, 2016

Adrienne`s Notes:

Thank you CUPE 410 for the opportunity to attend this convention with Matthew and Fatima! It was an intense and rather overwhelming few days. There was so much information to take in and I was moved by many of the stories and issues that the other delegates shared. I felt empowered and energized by all of the important work and advocacy our CUPE brothers and sisters are doing in this province to support each other and our communities!

Wednesday, April 27

New Delegates Seminar, 5:00-6:00 pm (I found out about how a convention works – resolutions etc.)

Highlights:

CUPE BC President, Paul Faoro’s opening address emphasized the need for CUPE members to get involved (with the BC NDP’s) and to work together in the year leading up to the next provincial election to defeat the BC Liberal government.

Thursday, April 28

Highlights:

Executive Report

Library Sector – Library sector experiencing challenging bargaining conditions across BC. Libraries – high levels of precarious work (shift work, understaffing, elimination of full-time positions.) Despite these challenges there have been some successes – CUPE Local 401, VIRL, ratified their collective agreement  and managed to make improvements to language and benefits. Successful “Love Our Library” campaign highlighted the important work CUPE members do in their libraries and communities!

“Keep it Public” campaign, CUPE Local 1978 CRD employees working to ensure that sewage treatment options in the CRD are kept public – No P3s!

Emergency Resolution #1:

CUPE BC WILL: Support CUPE Local 1978 in its campaign to ensure new wastewater treatment in the Capital Regional District is publicly owned and operate.

Encourage all CUPE members who live in the CRD to get in touch with their mayor and councils ad provincial and federal decision makers before May 31, 2016 to say that they support publicly owned and operated wastewater treatment facilities…

CUPE members working with and supporting various organizations who share concerns around fair and safe work, protection of the environment and the realities of climate change, the erosion of health care, education, etc. issues of poverty, homelessness, inequality for migrants, indigenous and racialized people.

CUPE members actively working to improve working conditions for all workers and the communities we live in!

Mark Hancock – CUPE National President

Mark Hancock spoke about the importance of unions speaking up about OH&S issues and violence in the workplace – improving workplace health and safety for public and private sectors (Bill C45 –employer’s responsibility to ensure workers’ safety.) CUPE’s important work to fight against precarious work, and for fair wages, benefits, and public services for all!

Day of Mourning Ceremony

Convention delegates participated in the National Day of Mourning ceremony on the steps of the legislature, to remember and honour workers killed or injured on the job.

Keynote Speaker: Mohamed Fahmy

Mohamed Fahmy spent 438 days in prison in Egypt after being arrested in 2013 under false terrorism charges. He values the fundamental work unions are doing to protect democracy! He is concerned about vague laws such as Bill C51. Fahmy has written a Protection Charter with Amnesty International (which he presented to Trudeau and Dion, and invited CUPE BC to endorse), to help journalists/photographers/and prisoners of conscience, unjustly imprisoned around the world.

CUPE BC Action Plan

Paul Faoro spoke about CUPE BC’s Action Plan (a two year plan which is in its second year.) CUPE BC, its affiliated locals, and committees remain committed to the fight for real gains in social and economic justice for our members, all working people, their families and communities. This action plan along with resolutions adopted by convention, outlines our priorities for the coming year.

**CUPE BC’s Forward Conference in Kamloops (send a CUPE 410 delegate?)

Library Committee Report

Library resolutions passed (78, 117, and 62)

Resolution 117: CUPE BC WILL: Support the efforts of CUPE locals in BC to inform and educate members about the nature and impact of precarious work in our Union and how to fight it, through tools such as pamphlets, fact sheets, and social media content including videos and infographics.

Council Watch

Paul Faoro stressed the importance for Union members to watch municipal and provincial candidates after their election, to make sure they are actually supporting the public services workers/areas they promised to support in their election campaigns.

Friday, April 29

Charles Fleury, CUPE National Secretary Treasurer’s Report

**Note: CUPE 410 needs to be more diligent with submitting our Trustees Reports to CUPE National!

Resolution #124

CUPE BC Will: Call on the Christy Clark Liberal government to address inequality in British Columbia by:
Eliminating new $52 per month bus pass fee for people with disabilities
Reinstating the $45 per year bus pass fee for people with disabilities
Retaining the $77 per month increase in disability benefits provided for in the budget

Speaker: Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond

BC is the only province without a child poverty plan. A child poverty plan includes investing money into the frontline service providers such as education assistants, health care workers, and community social services, dedicated to supporting children in need.

Saturday, April 30

Speaker: Irene Lanzinger, President of BC Federation of Labour

CUPE workers are what holds our province together! Unions’ fundamental job is to change the world!  She advocates for a Poverty Reduction strategy to address poverty inequality, and climate change. We can have good jobs and a clean environment! As of April 1st. BC has the lowest minimum wage in the country!

Environment Committee

Resolution #23

CUPE BC WILL: Demand the BC Liberal government revoke the permit given to South Island Aggregates (SIA) which allow them to deposit contaminated soils and other toxic substances in the sensitive Shawnigan watershed…

Call upon the BC Ministries of Environment and Energy and Mines to act in the public interest by supporting their regulations and protecting Shawnigan residents from unimaginable threat…

No life without water!!!

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