Charles Fleury | National Secretary-Treasurer

Delegates at our last national convention gave CUPE the mandate to monitor new technologies and their impacts on public services and public sector jobs to defend our members and the services they provide. Too often employers use technologies and automation to cut jobs and increase surveillance. And it is not just happening in the private sector. Automation, advances in artificial intelligence, and the growing reach of digital networks threaten our members’ work and have the potential to harm people who depend on the services they offer. The nature of work is changing, and we have to be extremely vigilant.

CUPE will continue to fight for good jobs, ensuring that technology and automation are only used to do work that is dangerous for humans, and that no members lose their jobs as a direct result.

That being said, technology has the potential to improve our jobs and working conditions. This is the approach we took within CUPE. Over the past years, we made big investments in technology and worked together with our staff to implement them. These improvements helped us work better for the benefit of our members.

Technology also proved to be extremely useful for our union during the present pandemic. Early in the crisis, we focused on closing our offices and shifted to working remotely. Fortunately, our technology improvements were already in place when COVID-19 hit, and we pivoted very quickly. As a result, we were able to continue to provide quality services to members remotely or from our 68 offices throughout the past nine months.

I want to thank all our locals for their cooperation and commitment to working with the new processes and technology, in addition to all the significant work they do to support our members.