The National Executive Board observed a minute of silence to reflect upon the loss of members of our CUPE family since the Board last met. Brother Gareth Drinnan, former president of CUPE Local 1867, passed away on December 29; former president of CUPE Local 407, Brother Lyle Homey passed away on February 4. Long-time activists Sister Leslie Stewart of CUPE Local 29 passed away on December 31; Brother Rick Bryson of CUPE Local 5167 passed away on January 13; Brother Tim Jones of CUPE Local 873 passed away on January 19; Sister Gail Prieur of CUPE Local 5678 passed away on February 2. HEU member Alex Krnasty, a young worker who participated in CUPE’s National Young Workers gathering in August 2013, passed away suddenly in February.
Guest Speakers – Current Issues Discussion
The National Executive Board entertained two guest speakers on March 11. Council of Canadians Chair, Maude Barlow, spoke to the NEB about the importance of CUPE and the Council working together to advocate for public health care and opposing the Conservative government electoral reform legislation, Bill C-23. Among the many changes to election legislation, Bill C-23 limits the powers of the Chief Electoral Officer to report on voter complaints and will require all voters to have photo identification in order to exercise their right to vote. The Bill also adds new limitations to third party electoral activity. The Board also heard from Susan Delacourt, author of “Shopping for Votes”. Delacourt spoke about the change in voting behavior and party platform, with a change from citizenry to consumer. Both presentations were followed by lively discussion on CUPE activism to defeat the federal Conservative government in 2015.
NEB Resolution – Building Canada Fund
The Board unanimously passed a motion to mobilize in opposition to the new federal requirement of a P3 screen for all municipal infrastructure projects over $100 million. The Conservative government introduced this mandatory screen in the 2014 budget. CUPE will send information to all municipal locals and to all CUPE municipal contacts urging municipal councils to adopt a motion in opposition to the new federal government requirements. This issue will be highlighted by CUPE at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ convention in June in Niagara Falls.
Support for Public Sector Unions in Ukraine
The Board approved a motion to aid in the re-building of the offices of our sisters and brothers in the European Federation of Public Service Unions, EPSU, whose offices were destroyed during the civil unrest in Kiev. CUPE will send $5,000 in support of the re-building project.
The National Executive Board approved 16 cost-share campaign requests, totaling $1,093,191.82. Requests for legal and arbitration support totaled $677,493.00 representing 10 separate requests.
The National Executive Board ratified the appointment of Brother Bill Robb, Managing Director of Union Development. Brother Robb will take the helm at Union Development upon the retirement of Sister Susan Ruffo, March 31, 2014.