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It’s unprecedented in CUPE’s history. With more than 190 consultations and thousands of surveys, the work of the National Women’s Task Force has tapped an overwhelming response from CUPE members - women and men - who want better representation and to be involved in our union.

Across the country, Task Force groups have been listening to members talk about how our union can better respond to issues that matter to women and involve them at all levels of decision-making in CUPE.

“The majority of women we’ve heard from in communities across the regions have talked about their increasing workloads, job pressures in the workplace and the difficult balancing act between work and family,” said Task Force co-chair Barbara Moore. “What’s heartening is how enthusiastic these members are about CUPE reaching out to them and how many of them want to get involved in the union despite the barriers to their inclusion.”

The NWTF met in December to look at the initial feedback from its canvass of CUPE members. While comments from some areas and surveys are yet to be analyzed, the preliminary information is beginning to show some significant patterns across regions.

“It’s becoming clear that our union processes - from how and when local union meetings are held to education, collective bargaining and our difficult-to-understand CUPE structure - too often exclude women and marginalize issues important to them. Issues like pensions, full-time jobs and child care are critical to our gaining ground for all CUPE members,” said CUPE National President Paul Moist, co-chair of the NWTF. “By looking at solutions to better involve these women members in our union decision-making, we can only become a stronger, more effective union.”

The NWTF group will meet again at the end of January to look at the compiled information and discuss how best to report back to the regions on the challenges and changes members have identified as important.