Over 2,200 delegates attended the convention of Canada’s largest labour union in Toronto last week, and came out with a plan to strengthen workers’ rights and the labour movement across Canada.

Delegates approved a resolution to begin pay for members of striking locals on the first day of a strike, instead of the fifth, as is currently the case. This move will strengthen the position of locals who encounter obstinate and unreasonable demands from employers at the bargaining table.

Coupled with the union’s renewed bargaining policy, which rejects all attempts by employers to force concessions and two-tier proposals on workers, CUPE members now have a full set of tools to take on bargaining in a climate of aggressive austerity.

National President Mark Hancock and National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury were both re-elected with a strong mandate to continue their work to strengthen and grow CUPE.

“We’ve made major strides in the past two years to advance the way our union bargains and organizes,” said Hancock. “We’ve never been better equipped than we are now to go out and create a better life for our 650,000 members and for all workers.”

“By agreeing to issue strike pay from day one, we’ve emboldened our members, and sent a strong message to employers around the country,” said Fleury. “We will continue to stand together united at the bargaining table.”

Delegates also adopted CUPE’s Strategic Directions, which establishes the union’s priorities for the next two years. The plan sets out how we will make gains in our workplaces and communities, fight racism and discrimination in all its forms, defend public services, and advocate for a better country and world.