(Quebec City - Convention) CUPE members have elected Paul Moist to succeed Judy Darcy as national president of Canadas largest union, at the Canadian Union of Public Employees bi-annual national convention in Quebec City.
Defending our members and the services they provide is my top priority, said Moist, the president of CUPE Manitoba and a general vice-president on CUPEs national executive board. I intend to build on our unions successes supporting members at the bargaining table, building strong local unions, stopping privatization in all its forms and pushing for increased funding of Medicare and other public services.
Moist became a CUPE member at age 19 in 1975, when he started working as a greenhouse gardener for Winnipegs Parks and Recreation Department. He got involved in his local executive, and from 1983 to 1993, worked as a CUPE staff representative, helping to craft and negotiate contracts for other union members. In 1993, Moist was elected president of his local, CUPE 500, representing 5,000 municipal workers in Winnipeg. He was elected president of CUPE Manitoba in 1997.
Moist has long been the most prominent union leader in Manitoba, a province with deep roots in the labour movement. He has enjoyed many victories, including a successful campaign to stop Winnipeg city council from rolling back workers wages. Just last year, he led negotiations on behalf of all civic employees to create a jointly-trusteed pension plan. More recently, he led the successful effort to ensure Winnipegs new water treatment system is publicly owned and operated.
Moist is also a leader in community organizations, serving as treasurer of the United Way and vice-chair of the Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Manitoba.
Moist is CUPEs fifth national president in its 40-year history, and the first national president from the West. He will immediately turn his attention to two key battlegrounds: British Columbia and Quebec, where premiers are putting vital public services in jeopardy by privatizing and contracting out services. But he will also focus his attention on small but equally important fights across the country, like the strike by womens shelter workers in Amherst, Nova Scotia and the strike by school support workers in Wadena, Saskatchewan.
CUPE’s bi-annual national convention is taking place until Friday at the Quebec City Convention Centre. On Thursday, federal NDP leader Jack Layton will address delegates at 2 p.m.
CUPE represents 535,000 public sector workers across Canada, including hospital workers, school workers, child care workers and municipal workers like Paul Moist.
For more information:
Kaj Hasselriis, CUPE Communications, 613-798-6925
Visit cupe.ca for information and full convention coverage