The National Executive Board observed a minute of silence to reflect upon the loss of members of our CUPE family including Sister Angela Bromley, retiree from National Office, Brother Christopher Shield, retiree from Kingston Area Office, and Sister Carolin Beszterczey a member of CUPE Local 799.
National Secretary-Treasurer, Charles Fleury, presented the 2013 budget which was passed unanimously by the National Executive Board. While CUPE will experience some revenue growth in 2013, the budget is prudent taking into account the current political and economic climate which sees us fighting back against austerity and attacks on our collective bargaining rights. CUPE needs to ensure we have the resources in order to continue to fight to protect our collective agreements and public services. The 2013 budget increases the amount allocated to election spending and creates a permanent fight back-fund to be accessed when CUPE members’ collective bargaining rights are denied through legislation. In a related motion, the NEB approved $1.7M to support Ontario education workers who have been denied their bargaining through Bill 115 and other proposed legislative attacks on collective bargaining rights. Other budget moves include the addition of a staff member at national office to oversee our property management with 17 buildings now in the CUPE portfolio, a payroll bookkeeper and a six-month temporary bilingual web editor to assist in getting the website re-design completed. As well, the budget adds janitorial staff at national office bringing the contract staff in house as per a previous Board decision.
The National Executive Board approved ten cost-share campaign requests, totaling $421,947.25. Six requests for legaland arbitration support were approved, totaling $193,000.
Economy at Work
CUPE’s economist, Brother Toby Sanger, joined the NEB to present the latest in his reports, “Economy at Work”. Brother Sanger outlined the slow economic growth prospects as a result of austerity measures and pointed out that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as well as the federal government’s own parliamentary budget officer have warned about the negative economic impact of public spending cuts. Brother Sanger also discussed wage growth prospects and the increasing phenomena of precarious work. To see the full report and subscribe to “Economy at Work”, go to http://cupe.ca/economyatwork/economy-winter-2012
The Board reviewed the political work done by CUPE and many CUPE members and indeed all Canadian Labour Congress affiliates in fighting to stop Bill C-377. Bill C-377 is a private member’s Bill forcing unions to disclose publicly all financial transactions over $5,000 as well as the salaries of officers and staff over $100,000. CUPE does share all of this information with its members as a matter of internal transparency a crucial principle of our internal democracy. However, this Bill requires all of our internal financial matters be made public. While this was a private member’s Bill, this legislation was clearly a priority for the Prime Minister’s office. Given the Conservative government majority, the Bill was passed on December 14th, although with only a slight majority. This is a testament to two things, the political work of the labour movement on this issue and the severe flaws within the legislation itself. The Bill unfairly targets unions; it will cost the government upwards of $20 million to implement and conflicts with the Charter of Rights, the constitutional division of powers and commercial and individual privacy legislation. The Board agreed to continue to fight this as it makes its way through the Senate as well as support the various legal challenges to be mounted if it does receive Royal Assent. At the same time, we must prepare all chartered organizations for these new reporting requirements expected which may be in place in 2014. For more information, go to http://cupe.ca/political-action/C-377-conservative-mps-anti-union-bias.
The National Executive Board ratified the appointment of Ontario Regional Director, Linda Thurston-Neeley, Quebec Regional Director, Denis Plante and National Research, Job Evaluation and Health and Safety Director, Shelly Gordon.
The National Executive Board extends best wishes to all CUPE members and staff for a safe and happy holiday season.