The National Executive Board observed a minute of silence in memory of members of the CUPE family and friends who have passed away since we last met: Sister Nancy Riche, a former CLC officer and our National Convention elections officer for many years; Organizing and Regional Services, Assistant Director, Brother André Lamoureux who was killed in a tragic motor vehicle accident; Sister Arlene Litherland, retiree from the Ontario Regional office; and Sister Yolande Larose, retiree from National office.
The National Secretary-Treasurer, Charles Fleury, reported that the assets in the National Strike Fund were $53 million as of September 30, 2011. The NEB unanimously approved a 2012 operating budget of more than $169 million. The budget accounts for the increased costs of existing services and programs as well as special payments to address solvency issues in the CUPE Employees Pension Plan. Despite these additional pressures, the budget includes 9.5 new staff positions in 2012. Three are temporary, to meet some immediate, but not ongoing, needs. The National Defence Fund revenue for 2012 is projected to be about $8.1 million. The NEB approved an increase in the amount for cost-shared campaigns to $2.45 million. Another $2.2 million has been allocated for major organizing campaigns and $3.49 million for initiatives arising from the Strategic Directions policy adopted at our last National Convention.
Battle of the Wages
CUPE’S senior economist, Toby Sanger, presented the findings of his recent study comparing public sector and private sector wages. The study found that public sector wages are similar to private sector wages for comparable job classifications, although public sector wages tend to be more equitable when region, age and gender are taken into account. With public sector wages and benefits coming under increasing attack, this study is an important defence for public sector workers. The full analysis can be found at www.cupe.ca.
Standing up for Medicare
The NEB passed a resolution demanding that the federal government convene a meeting of First Ministers in 2012 to negotiate a pan-Canadian Health Accord and protect public Medicare. It is increasingly evident that the federal government is looking to limit its role in health care which would open a door to increasing privatization and inconsistent standards and access across the country. The NEB resolution also committed to mobilize members in 2012 and continue to lobby for a renewed Canadian Health Accord. CUPE members, in Ottawa for the National Health Care Issues Committee and the National Political Action Committee meetings in December, took part in a Canadian Health Care Coalition one-day lobby of MPs from all parties. Find out more at www.cupe.ca/cha.