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BURNABY-CUPE’s 24th national convention concluded in Montreal on October 9. About 2,500 delegates and staff worked hard, debated with passion – passing close to 100 resolutions, and set a course for the next two years.


CUPE members approved a new strategic plan for the 2009-11 period, focused on improving pensions, strengthening bargaining capacity and fighting concessions, supporting shop stewards, and continuing to support local economic development and fight privatization.


Delegates elected a new National Executive Board (NEB). Paul Moist was re-elected president and Claude Genereux was re-elected secretary-treasurer. CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill was re-elected as a general vice-president. CUPE BC secretary treasurer Mark Hancock and HEU president Ken Robinson were re-elected as regional vice-presidents on the NEB. Colin Pawson from CUPE 1091 in Delta was elected as a first term national trustee for a six-year term.


Delegates from BC and across the country gave a strong show of solidarity for CUPE members facing strikes and lockouts. At the microphones delegates pledged continued support for CUPE 873, Ambulance Paramedics of BC, who had been on strike for 120 days and for others including CUPE 1000 members with Erie-Thames Power who had on strike for 16 weeks.


On October 7 hundreds of delegates, many sporting BC paramedics “On Strike to Save Lives” T-Shirts, marched to Montreal City Hall in support of Local 301, Blue Collar workers, who are staging one-day, rotating strikes to protest two years without a contract.


And delegates packed in for a good time at the joint BC/Alberta/HEU social evening held at Pub St. Paul in Montreal’s old town on October 8.


Barry O’Neill noted that close to 40 per cent of the 2000 delegates were attending a CUPE national convention for the first time. O’Neill said that it was inspiring to hear from so many first-time delegates. “These young workers are our future and it is important that they be involved in their union at this important time.”


Mark Hancock accepted the national communications award for CUPE BC’s Public Employee, which won in the category of English language newsletters for organizations with more than 3,000 members.


Check out www.cupe.ca/convention-2009 for news stories, podcasts, videos and other materials from the CUPE National Convention.