Mark Hancock | National President

Time has flown by, and a lot has changed in our world since we gathered in Montreal for National Convention in October 2019. And our next National Convention is just around the corner, where we will look back on the challenges we have overcome and the road ahead for our union and our movement.

Convention is our parliament. It’s where we report on our union’s work since our last convention. It’s where we set our priorities for the two years ahead and beyond. It’s where we elect the members who will lead us through that work

This convention, our first to be held on a virtual platform, will look a little different, and there will be a great deal of important work to do. Many folks have already had the virtual convention experience, and we are taking lessons learned from virtual events over the past 18 months. We are working hard to make this a successful forum for serious debate and decision-making. 

In addition to debate on constitutional amendments and general resolutions, we will also debate and adopt a Strategic Directions paper, as we have done since 2003. The strategic directions document outlines our plans and priorities for our union for the two years ahead.

We’ll hear a report from the Safe Union Spaces Working Group, which was formed earlier this year to chart a roadmap for ending harassment and discrimination in our union. I want to extend my deepest gratitude to the women on the NEB who have taken on this important work. While they are leading the work, each of us has a role to play in ensuring our union is an open and comfortable environment for everyone. 

As National President, I am committed to doing more than just supporting the women in their work. I know I have a leadership role to play in directly challenging behaviour that makes anyone in our union feel unsafe, and I am working to change the culture to one that allows everyone to feel safe.

Delegates to convention will also be asked to adopt an Anti-Racism Strategy, which sets out ten goals for CUPE to strive towards over the next six years. The goals range from boosting education efforts, to bringing an anti-racist lens to the bargaining table, to increasing representation of racialized members in leadership positions, and more. It is critical for us to adopt this policy document and move forward with this important work. 

Even if we can’t be together in person, I am looking forward to welcoming all our delegates to convention the week of November 22.