REGINA: Saskatchewan takes their solidarity seriously, as participants proved at this year’s Saskatchewan Solidarity Conference. The second-annual Canadian Union of Public Employees - Saskatchewan Solidarity Conference drew more than 180 participants and guests this past week in Regina. Working together over two days, members designed innovative and progressive ways to build province-wide solidarity, and make CUPE’s 26,000-member-strong voice even louder in Saskatchewan.
Welcoming new members and finding ways for Locals to connect with one another were common themes during the conference.
“I think we can go back to our Locals now and make a difference,” Mark Kincade, vice-president of Local 34, told a crowd near the end of the event. “I’ve heard so many great ideas, and I can’t wait to get to work on making those ideas work for all of us.”
From the popular Link-a-Local idea; to wearing CUPE gear on casual day; or coming up with an action plan to support any CUPE Saskatchewan Local on a picket line, great ideas quickly built momentum through the Friday and Saturday sessions.
“This is a really great start,” said CUPE Saskatchewan President Tom Graham. “Every member can work on implementing these ideas, and every year we’ll keep building. Every member has a support-system that’s 26,000 members strong, so it’s time we really put our collective strength to work.”
Other highlights from the conference included some solidarity-inspiring words from National President Paul Moist, who led the delegation in a march to Victoria Park on Friday. Celebrating 102 years since the birth of Tommy Douglas, the crowd cheered and chanted as Moist told the crowd “Tommy Douglas gave us the public sector; now it’s up to us to protect it.”
CUPE represents 26,000 public sector workers in Saskatchewan who work at health care facilities, municipalities, school boards, universities, libraries and community-based organizations.