As Canada’s largest union, CUPE has a responsibility to fight to protect the public services that make life more affordable for all Canadians. That was the message CUPE National President Mark Hancock brought to the 2024 CUPE BC convention.

“Most people can’t remember a time when it was this difficult to put a roof over their head, put gas in their car, and put food on their table,” said Hancock in his report to over 500 convention delegates. “The right is hoping that we’ll lose sight of the real cause of all these problems: corporate greed, and the politicians who enable it… But it is precisely in moments like these that our solidarity is so important.”

Hancock told convention delegates that as union leaders and activists, the invaluable work they do to make their workplaces better can do the same for their communities, and country.

“We have to stand together and fight to protect our rights, and to win the kind of world we want. As CUPE members, we know a thing or two about what that means. We know how to educate, how to organize, and how to mobilize our members to win at the bargaining table,” said Hancock. “We do it every single day in the workplace. And now, more than ever, we need to do it at the ballot box, too.”

Hancock highlighted how expanded public services from the federal government have helped many Canadians with the high cost of living, but pointed out that the Trudeau Liberal minority didn’t lead the way on making them a reality.

“They didn’t bring in dental care, or pharmacare, when they had majority governments.  They didn’t bring in paid sick days, or anti-scab legislation of their own free will, they didn’t do it because it’s the right thing to do,” said Hancock. “They only did it when Jagmeet Singh and the NDP forced them to. Full stop!”

Hancock, who led CUPE BC before becoming National President in 2015, said the strengthening of public services in B.C. happening under Premier Eby and the NDP provincial government must also be defended at the ballot box in the upcoming election.

“I think we all remember how dark things were under the BC Liberals and, we need to remind ourselves never to take what we’ve got for granted,” said Hancock, recounting the 16 years of government by the party now known as BC United. “Folks, a government led by Kevin Falcon would be an all-out attack on working people. We have to do everything in our power this October to prevent that from happening.”