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Darcy: Proud of CUPEs achievements

Bursting with pride at CUPEs achievements over the last 12 years, National President Judy Darcy urged the more than 2,000 convention delegates to continue to fight privatization and protect public services.

Canada would be a very different place today if CUPE had not fought back against privatization, contracting out and deregulation, Darcy told delegates in her report to convention yesterday.

Water services would have been privatized in Montreal, public power would have passed into private hands in Ontario and Calgary, and we would have hundreds of P3 schools in towns and cities across the country, if CUPE had not fought back.

Darcy also highlighted the unions important gains on the equality front, including better wages for women, the signing of Aboriginal partnership agreements to create representative workforces, the achievement of same sex pension benefits, and its anti-racism work.

It wasnt easy winning these fights for equality and against privatization. Darcy said success was achieved through day-to-day activism, mobilizing and working with community coalitions. We chose the path of resistance, not accommodation, she said.

The outgoing National President told delegates that she has been inspired every hour of every day by the courage and activism of CUPE members across the country.

Although stepping-down as national president, Darcy said she would continue to work against injustice in Canada and around the world. Ill never be far from that action, she said. And that means Ill be with CUPE the union that is always on the front line.

Building a solid foundation

Strikes, said National Secretary-Treasurer Claude Généreux in his address to delegates, are about holding out for as long as you can until you win. But winning has come at a hefty price, costing almost all of the $35 million collected in the strike fund.

CUPE members have been facing longer, bigger and costlier strikes and fightback campaigns against privatization and contracting-out. Généreux highlighted the strike by 20,000 Toronto municipal workers the biggest in CUPEs history and the year-long strike by 2,200 Vidéotron workers the costliest in CUPEs history.

Our members must be sure they can receive strike pay when they take a stand against their employer, said Généreux, as he asked delegates to support a resolution extending the solidarity levy.

Généreux assured members the union is looking in all of the drawers for spare change and has initiated reforms on many levels … to ensure funds are spent where they will do the most good. More

Quebec municipal workers get standing ovation

The convention applauded striking municipal workers at Sainte Béatrix (CUPE 4290) and Saint-Jean-de-Matha, QC (CUPE 4255), who won delegates hearts when they marched to a floor mike, banners and placards held high. The municipal workers told the story of their ongoing 230-day strike to win job security and fight privatization.

Delegates will collect money on the convention floor later this week to support the Quebec municipal workers and five other striking CUPE locals across the country. CUPE National will match the convention donation.

Three run for national president

Three candidates are vying to replace Judy Darcy as National President John Weatherup, president of CUPE 4400; Henry Bosch, past president of CUPE 1097; and Paul Moist, president of CUPE Manitoba and a general vice-president. National Secretary-Treasurer Claude Généreux is running unopposed. Elections for national officers will take place Wednesday morning. More

Singing strong

After the noon hour demo in front of the National Assembly, dont forget to come out to the CUPE convention choir rehearsal at 12:30 in the Beauport Room at the Hilton.

Dont forget the Health and Safety Forum at 7 pm, featuring a conversation with Saskatchewans Bob Sass on the vital role of health and safety committees in protecting workers rights. Room 2000 C