Charles Fleury | CUPE national secretary-treasurer

“To meet the immediate challenge presented by the attack on working people, the loss in real wages, the lack of good jobs, and a stagnant economy, CUPE needs to continue to build a movement of resistance.”

Those words are taken from Strategic Directions, adopted at CUPE’s national convention last October and they are at the center of our union’s mandate for the next two years.

CUPE will help strengthen that movement of resistance. Our objective is to create a Canadian economy where everyone has a chance to have a secure job and make a decent living. Workers deserve good benefits including a good pension, and to count on a healthy environment with strong public services.

Our 2014 budget is geared toward this goal. We need our members to be resistance fighters. A lot of groundwork has been laid. We must continue to foster renewed volunteer activism and increasing awareness about our union in every workplace.

It’s time for action and it’s why, while managing our union’s finances responsibly, we added a new line in the budget for the Fairness Project. Part of this is our contribution to the Canadian Labour Congress Together Fairness Works project. By pooling our resources, we can more effectively counter the negative image of labour through efforts like a national advertising campaign.

Inside CUPE, re-connecting with our members through one-on-one workplace conversations is the way we fight back. It’s the way that we elect governments that respect workers and public services. It’s how we build strong locals.

We need to focus on member involvement and mobilization. In less than two years, there will be a federal election. Two years is the time it took the Quebec students to build up to their general strike in 2012. If we’re going to give Stephen Harper the boot, we need to talk to our members about how the Conservative government we have connects to the kind of working life they have. We need to motivate members to carry the conversation home, to their clubs and meeting places.

We must get them to vote for a pro-worker, pro-public service government. And, we need to do it now.

Charles Fleury