Mark Hancock at CUPE National Convention 2023CUPE has always been a pioneer in the fight for progress, rights and justice throughout its 60-year history – a history we continue to write, National President Mark Hancock said in his opening remarks to Convention.

“If our history has taught us anything, it’s the power that every single one of us has as a worker, when we stand side by side,” said Hancock. “The long road to progress, to justice, and to equality is union-made.”

The labour movement is enjoying a renaissance in Canada, said Hancock, and CUPE members have shown over the past two years that they are not afraid to stand up for their rights. “When you come for one of us, you come for all of us. We shut down a province in 2021. We almost shut down the country in 2022. And Mr. Legault, if you can hear us from across the street at the Quebec Legislature, CUPE is ready to shut down your province too.”

Hancock also took aim at right-wing leaders, central bankers, and the profiteers who have failed working people since the pandemic, but said workers across Canada are organizing and fighting back in a way we haven’t seen in generations. “Workers held up their end of the bargain during the pandemic, and now it’s time for the ultra-rich and the most powerful to hold up theirs - and they’re going to, whether they want to or not.”

Despite the challenges ahead, Hancock says he’s hopeful for the future. “We’re here to celebrate our history this week but to me we’re just beginning to write this story - and I believe there is a hell of a lot more to write.”