On day one of CUPE Nova Scotia’s annual convention, voices from all over the province could be heard echoing the sentiments of members across Canada. This year’s gathering is in Yarmouth on Nova Scotia’s southern shore.
Resolutions and committee reports calling on members to organize more campaigns found their way to the floor. Members are gearing up to continue their resistance to privatization and inter-provincial trade deals, to demand universal childcare and clean, publicly delivered and maintained water.
In his address to delegates, National President Paul Moist praised delegates for a year of incredible work in bargaining, highlighting the intense and victorious health care bargaining that resulted in a major pension win for the sector. Nova Scotia school workers were congratulated on their move toward province-wide bargaining.
Moist went on to heap criticism on Nova Scotia’s government for its most recent regressive budget. “Nothing in the recent provincial budget for child care or post- secondary education,” said Moist. “What a shame. CUPE is going to keep child care on the front burner as long as we can. National, universal childcare is a priority for our union,” said Moist.
CUPE women were also heard loud and clear today during debate on childcare resolutions. In addition, the annual women’s luncheon featured Beth Diamond, child care worker, single mother, on her local executive and leader of a recent mass rally to the legislature to protest the government’s lack of attention to the issue of child care in Nova Scotia. She said, “For these child care workers - who are not making a lot of money to begin with - to give up a day’s pay to march on the provincial legislature sends a very powerful message to the MacDonald government.”
“We are tired of being ignored and will no longer accept being paid poverty level wages. We deserve to earn a living wage, have decent benefits and a pension,” said Diamond.
An additional highlight of the lunch was a presentation by Oxfam staffer and CUPE member Brian O’Neil, who talked about the joint campaign between the two organizations to fight global poverty.
CUPE’s National Women’s Task Force made a strong presentation to the delegates and were rewarded with unanimous support for the 44 resolutions for change, which the taskforce proposes to bring to national convention.
The convention continues through Wednesday. Upcoming division conventions include Newfoundland, PEI, Quebec, British Columbia and Ontario.