Convention 2011 debated an emergency resolution responding to the Harper Government’s attack on working people. Since getting a majority government in May, the Conservatives have interfered with collective bargaining at Air Canada and Canada Post, in both cased trampling on the rights and benefits of working Canadians. Legislation restricting the ability of unions to engage in political activity has been introduced and the government has ignored a plebiscite by western farmers - plowing ahead with a plan to dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board.
The Emergency Resolution called upon CUPE to work with the CLC and other allies to oppose the Harper government and begin planning for the 2015 election of an NDP government.
Debate on the floor was spirited and supportive of the motion, with many delegates expressing frustration that working people have been losing rights over the last few years.
Local 116 delegate Colleen Garbe spoke in favour of the motion. “This resolution is long overdue. We are losing ground over and over again.”
Several Air Canada employees spoke in favour of the resolution. John Reis of Toronto Local 4092 said “Free collective bargaining is a right that has been stripped away by the Harper Regime.”
Vancouver delegate Ken Davidson called for a tougher approach, arguing that the Labour movement has no choice but to act or be destroyed.
“We can’t survive on the idea that a good argument is the solution, cause it ain’t working,” said Davidson. “I’d much sooner go out swinging then sit back and say I tried what I could and it didn’t work.”