At the close of the Education Sector Conference, delegates reconvened for a final plenary session. CUPE BC Secretary Treasurer Trevor Davies said that the goal of the conference was to provide tools for members to use in their locals and in their communities, and to develop the next wave of activists. “I think we’ve accomplished that with this conference,” said Davies.

He thanked committee chairs Cindy McQueen (CUPE 389), Karen Wong (CUPE 3742) and Michelle Waite (CUPE 3479); the amazing Sharon Prescott who worked for months to organize the conference; facilitators including staff and guests; hotel staff at the Bayshore – members of Unite Here Local 40; and especially CUPE locals and members who attended.

Davies wrapped up by commenting on the election of Donald Trump in the United States.

“In the US, there is a tremendous amount of fear that the Republican-dominated government will reduce or eliminate the rights of workers, of women, of the LGBTQ community and of different religious faiths. With so much uncertainty before them, these groups are worried what the future holds.”

Davies said that Canadian unions and those with a passion for social justice won’t stand idly by. We have recent experience with a Federal Government dominated by Conservatives. In B.C., we’ve fought a provincial government that has slashed public services. “We know how to fight,” said Davies, asking delegates to focus on what we know we can do.

“I hope everyone can be empowered by knowing that we have the ability to bring a positive change in our province and our homes. We can end the reign of this regressive BC Liberal government and replace it with a social democratic government that cares about people.” Davies adjourned the session and wished everyone a safe trip home.

During the conference “A Better Future for All – Investing in Public Education” delegates attended workshops, choosing three workshops from the following options:

  • Workload and Unpaid Work / Creating a Crisis (K-12): Facilitators Greg Burkitt & June Kaiser
  • Violence in the Workplace (K-12): Facilitators Cindy McQueen & Tina Meadows
  • Violence in Post-Secondary: Facilitators Barry Jones & Vanessa Wolff
  • College Board of Governor’s Training: Facilitators Martina Boyd & Keith Todd
  • Accommodation and Attendance Management: Facilitators Natasha Morley & Kevin Rose
  • Effective Communications / Presenting to Boards: Facilitators Lisa Beare & Justin Schmid
  • Creating a Regional Education Forum: Facilitators Janet Szliske & Karen Wong
  • Building Relations with First Nations: Facilitators Cheryl Colborne & Victor Jim
  • What you need to know about The School Act: Facilitators Carmela Allevato & Rachel Roy