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RICHMOND-Several hundred CUPE members began day two of the 2009 B.C. bargaining conference with a series of presentations that offered an energizing mix of information and inspiration.

The morning included a report on the very successful Setting the Table: Bargaining Women’s Equality Conference (February 10 – 13). CUPE National representative Heather Inglis recounted powerful messages and strategies from conference presenters including: Gloria Mills, the former head of Britain’s Trades Union Congress; economist Armine Yalnizya; Darline Raymond, coordinator of Action travail des femmes in Montreal; and Judy Darcy, past president of CUPE and current Secretary-Business Manager for the Hospital Employees’ Union. More information, including podcasts, can be found at cupe.ca/bargaining.

CUPE National economist Toby Sanger gave participants a progressive take on the current economic crisis. He also offered some ‘hot off the press’ commentary on the B.C. government’s February 17 budget. Sanger talked about growing support for “trickle up” economics. Quoting sources from the International Monetary Fund to the World Bank to major Canadian banks, Sanger says the case for ‘more of the same’, including wage and job cuts in tough times, is simply not there.

CUPE Research representatives Keith Reynolds and Ruth Scher presented findings from bargaining surveys and CUPE BC’s most recent membership poll. Both presentations offered valuable insights into issues and strategies for the upcoming round of bargaining.

Conference participants then spent much of the day in sectoral sessions – discussing and strategizing around issues for workers in their sectors. Members from many areas including libraries, community social services, municipalities, transportation, health care, K to 12 education, post-secondary education, and colleges worked through key issues facing their members and strategies for moving forward.

The day ended with a moving show of support for the five CUPE 2254 members who have been locked out by the Grand Forks Library. Conference participants gave a standing ovation to Leanne Strang, a 2254 member who shared stories from the more than month-long picket line, including the very successful locked out book club. She thanked CUPE members for their incredible support and invited them to visit the book club blog, http://lockedoutbookclub.blogspot.com/.

Contact: Roseanne Moran,