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A record number of delegates have registered to attend what will be the biggest convention ever of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario in Niagara Falls from May 21-24, 2008. Over 1,000 delegates, buoyed by 26 new locals and 4,400 members who have affiliated to CUPE Ontario over the last two years, will meet at the Sheraton on the Falls Hotel to determine the union’s plan of action for the coming year.

As the provincial political wing of Canada’s largest union, CUPE Ontario directs much of its energy into campaigns for legislative and policy change. Along with discussing a coordinated bargaining strategy for CUPE, members will focus on strategies for raising people out of poverty and ensuring good jobs in a province that has faced massive job losses over the past few years. Union members will also vote on a wide-ranging action plan that involves key issues in the health care, municipal, school board, social services and post-secondary education sectors.

The union comes into its 45th annual convention having waged a number of recent campaigns including: calling for a moratorium on competitive bidding in home care, advocating for a 3.5 hour average standard of care in long-term care homes, campaigning to fix the faulty school funding formula,  working with student groups to reduce university tuition fees, and making city councils and residents in Welland and other cities aware of the pitfalls of public-private partnerships for building public facilities like sports complexes and water treatment plants.

On Thursday, May 23 at noon hour, the union will hold a rally to highlight the fact that the Ontario government is failing at-risk children and youth due to the underfunding of child welfare services. The rally and media conference will be held in the Oakes Garden Theatre across from the Sheraton on the Falls hotel. Here are highlights of the convention this week:

Location: Sheraton on the Falls Hotel, 5875 Falls Avenue

Wednesday, May 21 
6:00 p.m. Convention opening – speakers from Niagara Labour Council,
6:00 p.m. Ontario Federation of Labour, Canadian Labour Congress, Ontario Health Coalition

Thursday, May 22 
9:00 a.m. CUPE Ontario President’s Report – Sid Ryan
12:00 noon Media conference and rally on child protection services – Oakes Garden Theatre
2:30 p.m. CUPE National President’s Address – Paul Moist

For more information, contact:

Valerie Dugale      CUPE Communications         647-225-3685