7 CUPE 3338 delegates attended theCUPE BC 51st Annual Convention held in Vancouver on April 9-12 2014. Below are some of the highlight and things they took away from this convention.
Fiona Brady Lenfesty
“This convention was held in Vancouver, and as a result we were able to send a total of seven delegates to convention this year: CUPE 3338 President Lynn Fowler, myself, Communications Chair Sheilagh MacDonald, Sylvia Richardson, Raj Pabla, Tom Peacock and Douglas Corkery. The theme of the 51st annual convention was “moving forward together”. Some of the highlights included reports by CUPE B.C. President Mark Hancock and CUPE B.C. Secretary-Treasurer Paul Faoro. Other key note speakers included: CUPE National President Paul Moist (“our ultimate power is in our solidarity”), and National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury, who came to talk about finances. In addition, International Solidarity speaker Napoleon Gomez (Mexican Mine, Steel & Allied Workers Union) gave an inspiring speech, and federal NDP finance critic Nathan Cullen earned a 3- minute standing ovation from delegates. An emergency resolution in support of CUPE local 1004, which represents workers from the Portland Hotel Society, hit the convention floor on Friday. “The resolution calls on the B.C. Government to ensure that no services are cut and that the PHS continues as an independent non-profit society, delivering innovative services in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside”.”
“Attending this conference proved to be a great learning experience for myself. I became aware of the greater CUPE community, and its vast membership extent throughout the Province, and indeed Canada. I had no idea almost 900,000 Public Service sector employees are members of CUPE Canada wide, and almost 90,000 in the province of BC spread out through almost every public sector organisation – from every Municipality, City, Universities, Colleges, k-12, Provincial agencies, and Crown Corporations. I was impressed by the vast social issues that are of concern to the CUPE membership, and how these social issues that delegates to the convention vote on, are not only representative of unions, but are top of mind for our society as a whole. My attendance to this convention (my 1st) was a truly enlightening experience, and has led to an increased awareness and respect for our common interests as union members.
A major learning take away for myself was that the CUPE convention was an exemplary example of true Democracy in action. The convention was structured in a simlar democratic concept to that of our parliamentarian political conventions, in that resolutions are tabled, opportunities are given for debate, and voted upon by attendees. I was impressed upon the fact that there are many committees that focus on a breadth of social issues, made up of Union members from all walks of life, who have worked hard through volunteering, motivated by their own passions on a subject, to propose governance strategies on moving CUPE concerns forward. My advice is if you want to make change, and work towards improving your own working conditions, and be active in influencing greater social policies, than become more active in the avenues available through CUPE. If your like me – I was surprised at the breadth of activism and collaboration happening in the CUPE BC membership. So get involved!”
“Being this year’s CUPE BC Convention was the very first union event that I have attended, I was pleasantly overwhelmed by the whole thing. I found the entire convention to be very informative. What did I benefit? A few points come to mind. The ease of networking with not only members of the CUPE BC executive, but also members of the different committees; not to mention other locals. The level of solidarity among all levels of members. To know that we as a local are not alone in the struggle. That both provincial and national levels of CUPE are there to back us up. To learn what works and what doesn’t in regards to establishing clear communications with your (local) members. How to address concerns of your members properly. Being informed of upcoming events, such as Conferences and further Conventions (both local and national).”
For full convention details & photographs, check out: cupebc2014.ca.