Our 40th Anniversary Convention, CUPEs 21st Convention was held in beautiful Quebec City. We last held our National Convention in Quebecs Capital City in 1987.
It was a memorable week, with our 1,800 delegates and some 400 CUPE staff in attendance. Highlights of the week included:
- A record number of sectoral caucuses held on Sunday, October 26th, including our first-ever Pension Forum.
- Delegates overwhelmingly endorsed the extension of the Strike Funds Solidarity Levy for a further two-year period.
- Keynote speakers included Stephen Lewis (United Nations Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS) who gave a passionate speech on the HIV/AIDS pandemic in South Africa. Delegates also heard from CLC President Brother Ken Georgetti and Federal NDP Leader, Jack Layton.
- A sizeable amount of convention business was completed including 72 resolutions, 9 constitutional resolutions, and the Strategic Directions Policy Document which was debated four (4) different times over a 4-day period (more on this later in this report).
- A tribute to Sister Judy Darcy was held on the Thursday evening of convention. It was a very moving tribute to our longest serving president (12 years). Judy was a very active and passionate voice for the past 30 years.
A video commemorating Sister Judys career is available by contacting the Communications Branch at National Office.
- By all accounts, our recent National Convention was one of the most upbeat and productive conventions in our history. The key issues facing our union were debated and a lot of first-time speakers participated in these debates. This is a good sign for our union.
- One final and personal thought on our convention concerns what I view as a gender imbalance on our National Executive Board.
While our delegates elected a very talented group of dedicated CUPE activists to our 23 member Board, we have some challenges to face arising out of these elections.
These include the fact that in percentage terms, the overall number of women on the NEB has fallen from 35% in December 2001 to 26% this month.
I raise this matter not so much because I have answers, but because I believe our NEB ought to be more representative of our overall membership. In the weeks and months ahead I believe we need to talk about these issues and, more importantly, how we might positively address them today and in the future.