Charles Fleury | National Secretary-Treasurer
Organizing goes to the very heart and purpose of our union. At CUPE, it is our responsibility and our obligation to leverage the strength of unions to benefit and protect unorganized workers and their families. Since its founding in 1963, CUPE has organized more members than any other union in Canada. We are now over 665,000 members strong.
In recent years, our membership growth had slowed. This should come as no surprise, given the storms we’ve weathered: an alarming increase in precarious work, restructuring and privatization in workplaces across the country, anti-labour legislation, and imposed representation votes that pit unions against one another.
It was important to redouble our organizing efforts.
That’s why in January 2018, the National Executive Board (NEB) adopted an organizing plan titled Growing Stronger, to ensure more workers have the protection of our union, and the collective power that goes with it. Together with our organizing department and our locals, we are putting this plan into action. CUPE National is dedicating significant financial resources and staff to support organizing campaigns and restructuring representation votes across the country. In fact, over the past five years, the NEB has more than doubled the union’s organizing budget. CUPE locals have also stepped up to the plate in a big way, often matching the organizing funds provided by CUPE National in restructuring votes.
Our collective efforts are already paying off. This year alone, we won important representation votes in the health care sector, and we’ve seen a rise in non-union workers turning to CUPE to represent them—workers like the WestJet flight attendants and RCMP telecom operators and intercept monitors who have recently joined our ranks. But an investment in organizing isn’t just for the benefit of new members; growing our union is key to improving the resources and programs that support all of our members. So, let’s get organized, and grow stronger together.