Our National Executive Board met December 9-11, 2014 in Ottawa.
These are the highlights of their deliberations and decisions.
The National Executive Board observed a minute of silence to reflect upon the loss of members of our CUPE family. Remembered were: Brother Mike Coleman, Local 382 (School District 61, British Columbia); Sister Joan Rowlands, Local 2033 (Roman District School Board, Newfoundland and Labrador); Sister Helen Coemtzis, member of Local 3744 (Unionville Home Society, Ontario); Sister Julie Davis, retiree and former Managing Director of Organizing and Regional Services, National Office; Sister Dea Pasini, Temporary National Representative (Ontario Regional Office) and a former President of Local 4092 (Air Canada Flight Attendants, Toronto base); Brother Kevin MacNeil, retired National Representative (Sydney Area Office); Brother Chris Sax, Servicing Representative, Barrie Area Office, who passed away suddenly on Tuesday, December 2, 2014; and Sister Zahra Mohamoud Abdille, member of Local 79, City of Toronto Public Health Nurse and her two sons Faris aged 13 and Zain aged eight were murdered.
CUPE’s 2015 Budget
National Secretary-Treasurer, Charles Fleury, presented the 2015 budget which was passed unanimously by the Board. While CUPE will experience some revenue growth in 2015, the budget is prudent taking into account the current political and economic climate which sees us fighting back against austerity and attacks on our collective bargaining rights. The budget also ensures we have the resources needed to continue to fight to protect our collective agreements and public services and maintains the fightback fund and fairness project budget allocations. In addition, allocation for election spending is aimed at a level to ensure sufficient resources for our work to defeat the Harper government and elect the first-ever NDP government in the fall of 2015. Other budget items include four 12-month temporary staff resources which are allocated to Ontario (two), Québec (one) and British Columbia (one) to meet the most urgent priorities. In addition to these temporary positions in regions, a 12-month temporary research representative has been approved to work out of National Office in assisting regions with pension and anti-privatization files. The National Defence Fund cost-share campaign and organizing budgets have been increased to respond to the needs in regions and in locals.
In honour of the 56th anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Universal Declaration for Human Rights on December 10, the National Executive Board passed a resolution opposing the recent changes made by the Conservative government to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program and the Live-in Caregiver Program. These changes create vulnerable and precarious working conditions for migrant workers. CUPE will write to the government to demand that the human and labour rights of migrant workers in Canada are recognized and work with migrant led campaigns that are challenging these laws. Read the full resolution.
Stephen Lewis – Aids Free World
The Board welcomed Stephen Lewis to its meeting who provided an update of the important work being undertaken by Aids Free World around the world in fighting for gender equality, human rights, and an end to the systemic causes of the HIV-Aids pandemic. Stephen thanked CUPE for its financial support for Aids Free World which allows for this work to take place.
Canadian Labour Congress
The Board received an update on the third phase of the CLC advertising campaign promoting the work of the labour movement in Canada. The fall campaign runs from November 24 to December 22 and features a 30-second television ad, transit advertising in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver as well as an extensive digital media campaign. All advertising in this phase of the campaign is aimed at driving people to the Fairness Works website - fairnessworks.ca – to give detail on the work of unions on important issues such as health care, child care, retirement security, human rights, and jobs and the economy.
Domestic Violence and the Workplace
The Board received a presentation on the Domestic Violence and the Workplace survey undertaken with the support of Congress affiliates and in concert with the University
of Western Ontario. This survey had over 8,000 union members participate making it one of the largest and most significant surveys on the subject internationally and to date. This research has identified the scope and impact of domestic violence on workers and workplaces, but is only a first step. Immediate next steps include encouraging use of these results by governments, unions, and employers to establish proactive practices to address the impact of domestic violence at work.
The National Executive Board approved six cost-share campaign requests, totaling $44,311.67 and seven requests for legal and arbitration support were approved, totaling $292,400.00.
Council of Canadians
The Council of Canadians awarded CUPE its 2014 Activist of the Year award for CUPE’s commitment to social justice, fighting privatization of Canada’s public services, and supporting public sector workers. Council Chairperson Maude Barlow presented the award to the Board members along with many national staff who work on the various campaigns with the Council of Canadians.