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Dear Sisters and Brothers:

This reporting period has again been a very busy one for our union on both the bargaining and the legislative front.

British Columbia and Ontario have been front and center with rotating strikes in British Columbia’s community social services sector, and 55,000 Ontario school board workers feeling the full impact of Bill 115, which impacted on their free collective bargaining rights.

In early February, over 1,000 delegates and staff gathered for our first National Bargaining Conference, the largest national union conference in CUPE’s 50-year history.

In mid-December, Parliament adopted Bill C-377, which places significant costs on all unions in terms of financial reporting requirements.  C-377 is not law until it is passed by the Senate, where we are currently lobbying.  CLC affiliates have also agreed to pool our resources and file a single legal challenge on a number of grounds including our belief that the bill violates federal privacy legislation.

There is widespread speculation on Parliament Hill that the Prime Minister is selecting the next MP to front a Canadian version of “Right-to-Work” legislation at the federal sector.  The law will apparently offer federal employees the option of a rebate on the portion of their dues used for “political action”.  This is, in my view, a “line in the sand” issue for our movement, something we have to stand up to and defeat.

Lastly, 2013 is the 50th anniversary of our great union.  From just under 60,000 members in September 1963 to over 627,000 today, we have much to be proud of.  We truly do stand on the shoulders of the sisters and brothers who struggled and built our union.  We will remember these sisters and brothers throughout the year, and pledge to do our part to meet the challenges we face today on behalf of each and every CUPE member we are privileged to represent.