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December 2009

Our National Executive Board met on December 16-17, 2009 in Ottawa. These are the highlights of their deliberations and decisions.


Our union sadly lost four brothers over the past few weeks, and the National Executive Board recognized each of them with a moment of silence Brother Gil Levine, long time CUPE leader and social activist; Brother Brian Cochrane, past president of Local 416 in Toronto; Brother Gerald Yetman, another long time CUPE active and staff retiree; and finally, in a tragic workplace accident in Medicine Hat, 29 year old Brother Sheldon Miller.


The Board had an opportunity to thank Brother Sid Ryan, who has been elected as President of the Ontario Federation of Labour and so is moving on from his positions at CUPE. Brother Sid spent 18 years as a General Vice-President. We wish him well in his new role.

Brother Fred Hahn was sworn in as the incoming General Vice-President. He brings experience from his position on the CUPE Ontario Executive Board. Welcome Brother Fred!


CUPE is participating in the CLC’s Commission on Structure Review which was mandated by the 2008 CLC Convention. The NEB discussed at length the relationships we have with federations of labour and labour councils. Suggestions for improving the structure and addressing issues will be brought to the commission for consideration.


The National Gun Registry requires gun owners to be licensed, to register their firearms and store them locked and unloaded. Now over 7 million such firearms are registered and lives are saved every day as a result. The Conservative government is supporting a private members’ bill which would see all these records destroyed and the requirement to register firearms eliminated. The National Executive Board adopted a resolution to re-affirm CUPE’s support of gun control and to oppose Bill C-391. We will raise awareness and ask CUPE activists to lobby their MP’s to help defeat this backward legislation. You can email your Member of Parliament from www.cupe.ca.


The primary financial issue dealt with at each December NEB meeting is CUPE’s annual budget. Following the recommendations and report of National Secretary-Treasurer Claude Généreux, the Board unanimously adopted both the General Fund and the National Defence Fund budgets – their leadership support, a strong indication of cohesion and alignment emerging from the 2009 National Convention.

The mandate given at convention provided the basis for new programming allocations, in addition to ensuring the ongoing operations across the country. Resources were allocated to provide 11.5 new staff positions, as well as the continuing anti-privatization work, our pension campaign and the year of the steward.

The National Defence Fund recommendations for 2010 include $2.3 million for provincial and local cost-shared campaigns, $2.2 for major organizing projects and $3.165 million for ongoing national and regional initiatives.

Board members also approved expenditures under the NDF for the last quarter of 2009. These included 23 cost-share applications totaling $697,706.09 from locals to defend our members and build strength in our locals. Legal and arbitration costs were also approved, with 19 applications approved, totaling $480,960.14.


Brother Toby Sanger, CUPE’s Senior Economist, met with the NEB to review the quarterly issue of what is proving to be an invaluable tool for staff and members – “Economic Climate for Bargaining”. For public sector workers, it is important that we prepare for the growing alarmism about government debt and deficits. They will be used as an excuse to cut public services and workers’ wages. You can read the entire report for more detail at www.cupe.ca. However, the bottom line is that Canada is in by far the best fiscal situation of all G7 countries and is not remotely close to facing any sort of deficit or debt crisis.


The entire National Executive Board extends to you, your families and friends our very best wishes for a healthy and prosperous 2010. We look forward to working with all of you in the coming year as we continue to stand up for CUPE members across our great country.