In his address to convention delegates this week, CUPE Saskatchewan President Tom Graham commended CUPE health care workers for their solidarity and strength during the most recent round of contract negotiations. “Our members stood their ground and defeated the employer’s demands for concessions,” he said, despite the government’s essential services legislation, which prevented more than 80 per cent of health workers from taking job action.
Graham also spoke of the positive steps the union was taking to build bridges with the Aboriginal community. Last July, CUPE Saskatchewan signed a historic partnership agreement with the Métis Nation of Saskatchewan at Batoche, the site of the Métis Uprising of 1885. The agreement commits CUPE and the Métis Nation to work together to increase Métis involvement in the workplace and the union.
“Our partnership is a step forward,” Graham said, but noted the agreement remains “nothing but words on paper until we take action.”
Leaders of the Métis Nation and CUPE Saskatchewan are holding a summit next month to develop that action plan.
“Our issues are your issues”
Robert Doucette, the President the Métis Council of Saskatchewan, also praised the partnership agreement in his address to delegates.
The Métis in Saskatchewan is the fastest growing Aboriginal group in Canada, he stated. “We are a “nation resurging” with more than 100,000 Métis living in the province.
Doucette said the Métis people shared the union’s concerns about the power of multinational corporations, stating Aboriginal people worked for the first multinational corporation in the country – the Hudson’s Bay Company.
“Our issues are your issues,” Doucette said, adding he’s proud of the partnership agreement.
Andrea Menard kicked off convention
Singer-songwriter and actress Andrea Menard opened CUPE Saskatchewan’s 46th annual convention by leading the nearly 200 delegates in singing Solidarity Forever.
Menard thanked CUPE delegates for supporting her recent Sparkle Concert Tour, stating she’s proud of her association with CUPE Saskatchewan.
The convention concluded today in Regina.