Since erasing its debt last year, CUPE BC has continued to enjoy sound financial health and now has a greater capacity for growth that will allow the union to support locals and expand its campaign work, Secretary-Treasurer Trevor Davies told delegates in his annual report to Convention.
CUPE BC ended 2021 with a surplus of $476,000 in the General Fund, which improved the union’s asset position in the fund from $1.7 million to $2.2 million. This was due mostly to lower spending on virtual events such as Convention and executive board meetings, along with a higher than expected income.
“The size of the surpluses over the last two years is dramatic, but these surpluses should not be expected going forward,” said Davies, noting from his slide presentation graphic that typical year-on-year surpluses are much smaller outside the pandemic.
“Putting our savings to use is important. CUPE BC is a lot like many locals: budget poor, but cash rich. We struggle to do everything we want within our budget limitations and look at our savings sitting in term deposits doing nothing. I want to put those savings to work and have another source of income to support our operational needs.”
In the Defence Fund, total revenue was $2.8 million, including $196,000 from the Colleen Jordan Humanity Fund (CJ Fund), plus an investment gain of $511,000. With $323,000 in total spending, the year-end surplus was $2.5 million.
“This surplus shows the dramatic pause of in-person activities in the province,” said Davies. “What we were able to support and participate in, we did. But even many of those events were held virtually and at a reduced cost. The positive side of this is we are making significant progress towards our target of $12 million available for strike pay.”
In the CJ Fund, total per capita revenue was $392,000. An unrealized investment gain of $174,000 added to the year-end surplus, which amounted to $245,000. That surplus improved CUPE BC’s asset position in the CJ Fund from $1.5 million to $1.8 million.
“A major activity in this fund was the hardship payments to members suffering from the devastating wildfires and floods,” said Davies, noting that the Disaster Fund established by CUPE BC, initially known as the Wildfire Fund, is a line under the CJ Fund that provides for member support during disasters.
The size of the fires and floods were far beyond what CUPE BC could support, so the Division started it with $20,000 and drew $158,000 in donations by CUPE locals in B.C. and across the country. In the end, $116,500 was distributed to 231 members.
The overall health of the union—the consolidated financials show an increase from $9.8 million to $13.1 million—represents a major improvement.
“My goal is to reach the level of 18 to 20 million, where I believe CUPE BC would be well resourced to take on any fight,” said Davies.