CUPE BC delegates gave B.C.’s 37th Premier a warm and loud welcome to their 2024 convention Friday morning in Vancouver. Premier David Eby opened his address by thanking CUPE for its ongoing support for the BC NDP.

“Our partnership and our relationship with CUPE is as critically important to me as Premier as it is to every member of our caucus and Cabinet,” said Eby, who was joined by several Cabinet ministers and NDP MLAs. “We rely on you every day to deliver the services for British Columbians we count on to make life better for British Columbians. We are stronger together.”

Eby took the opportunity to also thank CUPE members for their support in the early days of the BC NDP’s tenure in government. He credited that support in helping secure a NDP majority.

“Once we had a chance to show British Columbians the difference between the cruelest, most austerity minded government that went after families and working people every day – almost like they enjoyed it – when we were able to show them the difference, we were returned with a historic NDP majority,” said Eby.

The Premier highlighted a few of the progressive policies his government has been able to usher in over the BC NDP’s time in government – all thanks to the support of the B.C. labour movement. They include - bringing the province’s minimum wage from the lowest in Canada to the highest; being the first province to mandate paid sick leave for all workers; making it easier for workers to get a union with single-step certification; fixing ICBC and lowering auto insurance rates by 20 percent; bringing thousands of healthcare workers back into the public sector.

“That’s what good governance looks like, that is what strong public services look like,” said Eby.

While economic indicators show the B.C. economy is strong, the Premier acknowledged the numbers don’t mean much to workers struggling with inflation, unaffordable housing and rising costs for life essentials.

“There is a choice to be made in economic times like these. One of those choices we hear regularly in the Legislature is, now the time to cut. Now is the time to pull back. Now is the time to not build the schools, to not build the hospitals,” Eby told convention delegates. “There is another way. There is a government that believes that when people are struggling, that is when they need the support more than ever. That is when they need strong public services.”

The Premier once again thanked CUPE members for their work and support and called on locals to help keep that work going by preparing members for the upcoming provincial election.

“The only way we can provide these services, the only way we can provide that support, is with hard-working public sector employees like your members. I am here to say thank you. Thank you for the work we are doing together. Thank you for the work we have to do… our work has only begun,” said Eby.