Dear Sisters and Brothers:
This reporting period has been a very busy one, both for our union and on the Canadian political scene.
Nine CUPE provincial divisions met in convention, all contained important debates and key long term planning. In total over 3,000 delegates, staff and guests attended these important events, each of which are summarized in this report.
Citizens in our two largest provinces went to the polls this spring.
In Quebec, the PQ government was defeated by the Liberals. In Ontario the Liberal Party led by Kathleen Wynne won a majority victory in what had been viewed as a very tight race. The Ontario NDP increased their overall vote and added one seat, finishing in third place. Our Union was well represented in both of their elections, later in the report see details on eight CUPE members, staff and retirees who stood up for public services and ran for office.
Sticking with politics, I am proud to report that a young worker, Sister Kelli Saemann, a member of CUPE Local 5111 (Prairie North Regional Health Authority) won a by-election victory and is a now a councillor in North Battleford City Council (Saskatchewan).
Globally, April marked the one year anniversary of the Rana Plaza garmet factory tragedy in Bangladesh. In Soma, Turkey 300 miners died in a mine explosion, igniting mass protests throughout the country over lax health and safety laws in Turkey.
Bargaining remained both busy and challenging in the midst of a period of sluggish economic growth and various austerity agendas being imposed by public sector employers. Pensions continued to be a very busy file, especially in Alberta and Quebec, to name only two jurisdictions.
In British Columbia, as detailed in this report thousands of school board members have walked the picket lines in support of BC teachers and their series of one-day strikes held in May and June. As we go to print, our 27,000 K-12 members in BC have achieved a new five-year tentative agreement.
In early June our brave Local 4616 members in Bonfield, on strike since August 1, 2013, achieved a new three-year deal with wage hikes, the removal of a raft of concessions and the reinstatement of five dismissed members. My sincere thanks to the over 150 locals from all over Canada who sent donations to Local 4616.
My sincere thanks to all activists and staff for your efforts day in and day out defending public services and the interests of the 627,000 CUPE members we are privileged to represent.