Our National Executive Board met March 20 – 22, 2018 in Ottawa. These are the highlights of their deliberations and decisions.
The National Executive Board (NEB) observed a minute of silence to reflect upon the loss of members in our CUPE family. The following individuals were remembered: Myra Ross, Local 1505; Kim Watson, Local 2073; Janelle MacPherson, Local 4422; Dan Donelle, Local 2544; Mark Raney, Local 2544; Larry Payne, Local 2544; Rob Gelinas, Local 122; David Stott, Local 1022; Cathy MacDougall, Local 5050; Elizabeth Wroblewski, Local 6364; Brenda Wilson, Local 6364; Jena Buma, Local 6364; Gayle Morazuk, Local 6364; Ron Ramnauth, Local 6364; James Baragar, Local 1000; Rob Blyskosz, Local 4400; Debra Ann Gogan, Local 963; George Williams, retired staff; Marilyn Griffith, retired staff; Joe Denofreo, retired staff
Task Force on Governance
Acting on Resolution 36 from our 2017 National Convention, the NEB approved membership of the Task Force on Governance and a general scope of review. The task force will be conducting consultations with CUPE locals, councils and divisions in order to review and make recommendations on the governance and structure of our union.
CUPE economist Toby Sanger joined the NEB to provide an overview of the 2018 federal budget.
After two years of inaction, there is a significant commitment ($5 billion over five years) to programs aimed at improving the lives of Indigenous peoples, including $1.4 billion over five years for First Nations child and family services to comply with the Canada Human Rights Tribunal decision.
After 14 years of inaction – a Pay Equity Task Force recommended proactive legislation in 2004 – it was good to finally see a commitment on pay equity legislation contained in the budget. Unfortunately, the budget contained no funding to implement pay equity.
Other measures aimed at gender equality include second parent leave and measures to address violence against women – including an amendment to the Canada Labour Code to provide five days of paid leave for survivors of domestic violence.
For a so-called gender equality budget, it was disappointing to see virtually no new supports for child care – especially because there is clear evidence that access to safe and affordable child care is key to improving women’s economic equality.
For years, CUPE has been calling on the government to establish a universal pharmacare program. And the Liberal government had signaled that they were going to move in that direction. Unfortunately, the commitment was far less than we had hoped – an advisory council to consult and “begin a national dialogue”, but there’s no timeline and no funding set aside for this work.
Members of the National Executive Board joined members of CUPE 2424 on their picket line at Carleton University on March 21. More than 850 administrative, technical and library workers at the university have been on strike to protect their pension plan since March 6.
The Board reviewed the annual report on CUPE’s Information Technology. Significant improvements in modernizing our technology include consolidation of electronic files and an increased use of cloud storage, the addition of new modules for our member relationship system that will better support our staff in the field, and training to ensure our staff are able to get the most of these new tools.
CUPE Real Estate Report
The NEB received the annual report on CUPE’s real estate encompassing our 67 offices throughout Canada, 17 of which are owned facilities, 9 are leased-to-own, 40 are leased. The report highlighted initiatives including the use of specialized legal counsel when signing leases, a new national design plan and standards, and work with a national contractor to ensure consistent standards on living wages and working conditions as well as on preventative maintenance for our properties.
During 2017, we undertook significant construction activities, including the new BC regional office. We also started several projects for new leasehold initiatives for our offices in Abbotsford, Kenora, Winnipeg, Bathurst and Barrie.
The National Executive Board approved 20 cost-shared campaign requests totaling $1,494,681.88, and 8 requests for legal support totaling $233,000.