Premier John Horgan took the stage at the 2022 CUPE British Columbia convention with a message of thanks to the union for its members’ tireless delivery of public services throughout the pandemic and beyond.
“We have had to deal with crises and catastrophes over the past two years,” said Horgan. “We have come through it all because of the hard work of first responders and other public servants. Because of your members. We are all so grateful. The lesson for us all is of the importance of a strong, resilient public service.”
Warmly received by delegates, the Premier reflected on his own history as the son of a CUPE member, and the life-changing impact of fair wages, benefits and other workplace rights on workers and their families. “Belonging to a union is a step forward for workers seeking a fair wage and building a more just society,” said Horgan, who went on to chronicle recent initiatives by the BC NDP government designed to make life better for workers.
The Premier also directly addressed delegates about the ongoing public sector bargaining. “Our goal is to arrive at fair agreements for public-sector workers, while ensuring the government has the resources to continue to invest in building a stronger B.C. for everyone,” he said.
After reflecting on the challenges of recent years, Horgan turned to the important work for his government in the coming months.
“We’re moving forward on many issues at the same time, and they are all related: the economy, the environment, education, health care. It’s a lesson we can all take from the trade union movement, which teaches that we each benefit when everyone benefits,” he said.
“No one said building a better world would be easy, but we are doing it. With your support, we are creating a world we once only imagined: A fairer, better world where we take care of one another, and no one is left behind.”
The Premier closed by thanking CUPE members for their activism on behalf of working people across the province, and for CUPE BC’s continued advocacy for a better B.C. for everyone.