As the cold weather turns our thoughts to year’s end and plans for the New Year, I am proud to report to you the financial and operational results for the first nine months of 2008. It is also that time of year when we in the National Secretary-Treasurer’s Office and the staff in Finance and Administration, are busily preparing for the 2009 budget year. Our budget process involved consultation and input from each region and department at National Office. As our union continues to grow, responding to the changing needs of our complex organization is at the forefront of our budget discussions for our operating fund, the General Fund. We also continue to be focused on the priorities set at our 2007 National Convention and our Strategic Directions, including our new $5 million anti-privatization initiative, spread over two years. This, together with our $2 million cost-share envelope in the National Defense Fund for 2008, means we have been. campaigning on behalf of our members like never before, defending good collective agreements, fighting against privatization and contracting-out, and protecting jobs. And the outlook for 2009 is promising.
As was the case during our budget discussions last year, CUPE’s finances remain strong. While our investment balance in the General Fund is virtually unchanged from December 31, 2007, sitting at $20.8 million, the economic crisis gripping much of the world means we have experienced approximately a $1 million decline in the market value of our investments. With total assets in the General Fund at September 30, 2008 totaling $97.9 million, we are in a good position to ride out this storm. And while the crisis will eventually have an impact on our revenue andmembership, the projections for 2009 position us well for meeting our operational and campaign requirements next year. This includes meeting our staffing needs across regions and at CUPE National; as we act on a long standing goal of creating a more robust human resources capacity for CUPE that will assist our staff across all regions. The growth we have experienced over the past decade in particular, has made this investment all the more necessary.