CUPE NB made history on Thursday, June 25, 2020, being the first CUPE provincial division to ever hold a virtual annual convention.

As public gatherings are not possible in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, CUPE NB took on the challenge of organizing its 57th Division Convention through the online conferencing platform Zoom.

Close to 250 members participated throughout the 9 hour-long conference.

“The convention went very well. We had good technical support working in the background to ensure every delegate had the proper credentials to cast their votes and participate fully,” said Brien Watson, president of CUPE NB.

“Our executive board was nervous on how it would all turn out, but we had confidence our members would be up to the challenge, and they were,” said Watson.

Over 14 resolutions were debated, in addition to four constitutional bylaw changes. All executive reports were presented. National President Mark Hancock and National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury both delivered their speeches and witnessed firsthand the operation of the virtual meeting.

This Saturday, June 27, 2020, CUPE PEI will be the second CUPE Division to hold its first virtual division convention.

“Holding online meetings in these trying times demonstrates CUPE’s commitment to internal democracy. Too often, crises are used to justify bypassing democracy. In our union, we made it clear that members’ decision-making instances are sacred. Holding a virtual convention only reasserts their importance,” said Sandy Harding, CUPE Maritimes regional director.