Emotions were running high at the CUPE Québec State of the union summit, which was finally held at the Palais des congrès de Québec from April 11 to 14, 2022. This major meeting was two years late in coming and was compliant with health measures. More than 400 delegates got together and examined issues of what it means to be a union member in 2022 and how the union must adjust to an ever-changing world.
“We’ve finally made it! The State of the union summit will provide us with a forum where we can have frank, spontaneous and open discussions on specific subjects affecting unionism in general and CUPE in particular. Don’t shy away from expressing your opinion, even if it runs counter to what the other participants are saying. I know we’re able to discuss matters respectfully, and we’re anxious to hear your views,” said Patrick Gloutney, president of CUPE Québec, at the opening of the event.
On day one of the plenary session, Mélanie Laroche, a professor at the Université de Montréal School of industrial relations, kicked off proceedings by describing the current situation and the challenges confronting the union movement. Over the next two days, participants assembled in workshops and reviewed four major themes – structures and governance, affiliations and union life, communications and the future of unionism.
“This can be a trying exercise, but it’ll be beneficial to this great organization. Any self-respecting organization must question how it does things to remain relevant,” added Frédéric Brisson, the general secretary of CUPE Québec.
Observations and various solutions were presented in the plenary session to wrap up the event. In the coming months, CUPE Québec will be writing a green paper based on these discussions.