Delegates at the CUPE NB’s 54th Annual Convention, which concluded this weekend after four days of speeches and debate, reelected Daniel Légère by acclamation to the position of president and Brien Watson to the position of first vice-president.
“I’m honoured to receive the confidence of the members again this year. It is a privilege to serve and fulfill our work of advocacy and representation on behalf of our 27,000 members across N.B.,” said Légère.
The convention was held under the theme of “Celebrating CUPE NB’s History”, highlighting the 25th anniversary of the 1992 general strike in New Brunswick. In 1992, the Frank McKenna government had tried to break signed contracts with major CUPE locals. An eight-day province-wide illegal strike by CUPE members forced them to back down and honour signed collective agreements. Delegates were delighted to hear from a panel of union leaders sharing their personal experience in the front lines of that hard-earned victory.
Mark Hancock, CUPE’s national president and Charles Fleury, CUPE’s national secretary-treasurer, were present throughout the whole convention. They did not miss the CUPE NB-led anti-privatization demonstration at the legislative assembly in Fredericton.
Keynote speeches were delivered by many, such as CLC President Hassan Yussuf, CUPE’s pension expert Mark Janson, UFCW’s Atlantic Director Mark Dobson, and many more. Resolutions and priorities for the coming year were set: fighting workplace violence, enhancing workers’ compensation legislation and pushing back two-tier contracts were among the most discussed items. After a presentation from NDP interim leader Rosaire L’Italien, delegates passed a resolution formally endorsing the NB NDP and encouraging member engagement in local associations.
Convention delegates also voted to top up monetary donations made to the victims of the recent ice storm, along with many donations for the Néguac food bank.
“Members left convention reenergized, with a renewed sense of solidarity and determination to tackle the upcoming privatization fight, ” concluded Légère. Over 300 delegates attended this year’s convention.