Our National Executive Board met September 20-22, 2022 in Ottawa, with some members joining virtually. 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 of our CUPE family. Remembered were: Annie McPhee, Local 3324; Wilmer Gonzalez, Local 2740; Linda Rose, Local 79; Randy St. Denis, Local 59 (retired); Kevin Rochon, staff; Clifford Letendre, retired staff; Beryl Zackon, retired staff.
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
To begin their meeting on September 20, in recognition of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the Board participated in a ceremonial smudge lead by Elder Thomas Louttit. The Board also received an update of the work of our union to advance Reconciliation following the Calls to Action contained in the 2015 Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh
The NEB welcomed Jagmeet Singh, leader of Canada’s NDP, on September 20 for a discussion about the federal political landscape and the work being done in Parliament by the NDP caucus. Among the topics discussed: the “supply and confidence” agreement that will ensure that this minority parliament will not fall so long as the government delivers on key NDP priorities, including progress towards pharmacare and a new dental care program, new child care legislation, investments in housing, and federal anti-scab legislation.
Ontario Council of School Board Unions Bargaining
The Board heard an update on the difficult bargaining CUPE’s Ontario Council of School Board Unions (OSBCU) is engaged in with the newly elected Conservative provincial government. Fifty-five thousand (55,000) members working in school boards across the province are facing the threat of legislation that will interfere with collective bargaining and the right to strike, and the NEB pledged the full support of the union to these members and their bargaining team.
In consideration of the scale and severity of flooding in Pakistan, where more than 33 million people were impacted, the NEB made a special contribution of $50,000 to the Pakistan Red Crescent to support their frontline response including evacuations, emergency healthcare, and humanitarian assistance.
Safe Union Spaces Working Group
The working group presented a progress report to the Board. The report acknowledged that many of the issues related to violence, harassment, and discrimination within CUPE are structural, and require meaningful, concrete solutions.
Work continues towards the development of policies, processes, and tools to transform our culture and to respond to these situations with clarity, swiftness, and in a supportive way. This includes exploring the creation of an independent Ombudsperson Office – something that was also recommended in the final report of the National Women’s Task Force in 2007 and again in the working group’s Report to the National Convention in November 2021.
The National Executive Board approved 29 cost-share campaign requests totaling $1,493,862.81, eight requests for legal and arbitration support totaling $251,500, and two requests for legal support through the strike fund to preserve collective bargaining rights in the amount of $275,000.