Sisters and Brothers:
It is with great pleasure that I offer my first National Secretary-Treasurer’s Report to the CUPE National Executive Board for adoption.
I would like to thank Brother Claude for leaving CUPE’s finances in such good shape with no surprises. This report on revenue and expenses in our third quarter reflects his steady hand on the tiller. It is my intention to continue on the course that Brother Claude has charted - with your support - over the last decade. That means continuing a prudent approach to managing our union’s finances so that we are able to maintain and build our national programs while providing the assistance our locals need in the face of a growing attack.
Our members have faced significant challenges to their working conditions and rights in 2011. We know that these attacks will continue in 2012. The important thing is that we are fighting back with all the resources on hand.
While the Anti-Privatization budget is underspent so far this year, this has more to do with the time lag in receiving and processing invoices than anything else. We expect the budget to be fully spent by the end of the year.
Another important indication of our locals’ fightback campaigns is the use of the costshares budget in the National Defence Fund. We are over budget in that area and will add to the overspending with the cost-share requests we are asking you to approve at this meeting. Our locals are undertaking significant campaigns. Some of the most significant campaigns - because of their impact on tens of thousands of members and the patterns that could be set - are in Toronto. The reality of campaigning to win the hearts and minds of residents in Canada’s largest city is that the costs are huge.
We have to do whatever we can to limit the assault on our members by the antiworker forces of the world. In this report, you will see that there are some areas of our budget where we can look to reduce our spending based on our own history, so that we can redirect some of those funds into other areas mandated by our National Convention and the strategic priorities set by delegates.
We have underspent again this year on Fixed Travel and also, right across the country, on Office Expenses.
With a Stephen Harper majority and an NDP official opposition, we must maintain our level of political activity. Nevertheless, we will not have the same number of federal and provincial elections in 2012 as we participated in during 2011. That budget will also be reviewed.
In the area of labour relations, I am happy to report that we have completed bargaining with our staff unions and are beginning again with COPE, whose collective agreement expires on December 31, 2011. At the time of writing, we had a meeting with COPE in late November where we hoped to begin discussions on the solvency issue facing our CUPE Employees’ Pension Plan. However, COPE executive elections take place in mid-December. Once elections are completed, COPE will quickly send us their bargaining proposals so that we can begin negotiations in the new year.
Of course, the big event this year was our National Convention in Vancouver. It was an occasion full of “firsts” - the first time we had a total of 2,302 registered delegates and alternate delegates; the first time we held a Youth Council, and the first time our convention was carbon neutral. I would like to thank everyone who helped to make this convention a success and also say “thank you” to our hosts, CUPE BC. In particular, I want to thank all the delegates, whose respectful debate allowed us to adopt a record number of resolutions.
At this meeting, I will also present a proposed 2012 budget for your approval. This was the first task in learning my new role as National Secretary-Treasurer. In addition, I was able to attend the National Energy Sector Conference in Winnipeg in November.
The locals in that sector have several tasks to take on after two busy and productive days, including participating in the development of a national environment policy following the adoption of Resolution 94 at convention; mapping provincial energy policies and possible privatization attempts with an eye to developing a national campaign, and encouraging locals in the sector to participate in the National Bargaining Conference in 2013.
Congratulations to Local 998 for mobilizing with CUPE Manitoba and other allies to push back against the Conservative plan to privatize Manitoba Hydro and for helping to re-elect the NDP government.