In his Monday address to convention, National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury made it clear: the strength of our national union does not come from our national office in Ottawa but from every member doing their part through per capita payments made by their locals to National.

“CUPE is a powerful union because we share our resources. This solidarity pact allows us to give better support to our members wherever they are in Canada,” said Fleury. “This is the purpose of our national union. When we work together, and support each other, we have the people and the resources to win many fights.”

But the financial power we have as a national union must be protected, he added: “If we want to continue to increase our members’ power and move forward together, we must manage our financial resources carefully. And we do.”

CUPE faces many financial challenges as an organization, noted Fleury—and staffing, where the majority of the union’s resources are invested, is a big one.

In September, the National Executive Board made 11 temporary staff positions permanent and decided to post all vacant positions. The NEB also passed a motion to set up a task force to review CUPE’s staffing needs. The task force recommendations will be submitted to the NEB in June.

Since creating the National Strike Fund Task Force at the 2015 convention, Fleury informed delegates, CUPE now has a stronger and better Strike Fund with a reduced waiting period and easier access to strike averting campaigns funds—100 per cent paid by CUPE National—among other changes. Further improvements to strike support will be reviewed when the impact of the new division of payments between the National Strike Fund and the National Defense Fund can be measured.