CUPE members wins at the bargaining table, defence of public services and advocacy for social justice were praised by National Secretary Treasurer Candace Rennick in her report to the 2024 CUPE BC convention.

“With the NDP in power in B.C., your province is a bright spot on the mostly bleak political landscape across the country. But you’ve also had some difficult fights this past year and must prepare for more ahead,” said Rennick in her address to over 500 convention delegates Thursday morning. “The overall shift to the Right in the last municipal elections has made all dealings with local governments challenging—especially at the bargaining table.”

Rennick said the gains made by B.C. locals in the past year show CUPE members are taking on challenging bargaining and winning. “The wage settlements you’ve reached, especially in the municipal sector, have been outstanding,” said Rennick “time and time again, you lead the way.”

Reporting on a “bold and brave and forward thinking” 2024 national budget, Rennick highlighted new resources and staff to assist locals brought in for 2024, and increased spending from the National Defense Fund to assist with building on advances made in the past few years.

“You are taking huge strides forward in BC, as we are across the country, despite the obstacles. And we must not lose the momentum,” said Rennick.

With a federal election on the horizon, Rennick stressed the need to build that momentum to take on the anti-union right wing currently leading polls.

“Let’s make no mistake – Pierre Poilievre is not our friend. He is not on the side of the working class,” warned Rennick. “It will be our challenge, our responsibility, to make sure that he does not get elected.”

Rennick called for locals to mobilize for the federal election by making sure CUPE members know about more positive alternatives to Poilievre.

“Demonizing him won’t work to convince members what is at stake. Instead, we must expose his reckless policies and explain where they will lead. We too must keep it simple and clear.  And we must start now,” said Rennick.  “We must point to much better solutions than the ones he is offering.  Solutions like higher wages, affordable housing, investments in public services.”