Oct 22, 2017
Conference Report – Lynda French
Toronto 2017 National Convention
Be Bold, Be Brave, Demand Better
October 1 to 6, 2017
First of all, I would like to take the opportunity to thank my Local 1334 Executive Board for giving me the opportunity of attending my very first National Convention! Especially after attending the CUPE Ontario Conference in June 2017. I was able to connect with most of the resolutions that CUPE Ontario put forward.
Sunday Oct 1, 17
We arrived in Toronto at the Fairmont Royal York hotel in time to drop off our suit cases and head over to the Toronto Convention Centre, South Buildings. We registered, received our bag full of delegate documents and Translator and off to our Sectorial Meeting.
- 1:30pm Post Secondary Education Panel: Strength in Solidarity
Speeches from the panel talked about precarious employment, privatization, contracting out, PSE (Post Secondary Education) funding and the impact on staff and students.
- Tracy Carmichael, Local 1870, University of Prince Edward Island
- Luc Brouillette, Local 2500, Universite Laval
- Janice Folk-Dawson, Local 1334, University of Guelph
- Craig Hannah, Local 1975, University of Saskatchewan
The next speaker was Abigail Perez Llanes, Secretary General SNTAP, Cuba. He spoke about raising the educational bar, so that all Cubans can receive a Grade 12 replacing the now acceptable Grade 9.
- 4:00pm Pension Forum
Kevin Skerritt had an excellent speech and power point discussing the how and then, why and now of the C.P.P. He also showed that the Public Pensions are growing, workplace plans remain under attack. There are a few financial companies who get involved in the operations of pensions and sometimes their involvement has not been to the workers favor.
- 6:00pm CUPE Ontario Caucus
After the Equality Statement was read, introductions of the Executive Board, Ontario Convention Committee Members were made. Discussion on Ontario Delegation floor seating, Diversity Vice President Caucus election, review of Convention agenda/events.
We headed back to the Fairmont Royal York. We collected our room keys, dropped off of our suit cases and headed down to the DELEGATES RECEPTION. The band they hired was a very entertaining band! They displayed a very high energy level and were very entertaining! Lemon Bucket Orchestra, a Toronto based group described as: Balkan-Klezmen-Gypsy-Party-Punk-Super-Band.
Monday Oct 2, 2017
- 9:30am Convention Opens
The morning started off with a wonderful greeting from Fred Hahn, President CUPE Ontario. Order of business was set into motion with financial reports, National Presidents report, then off to debate presentations
- 12:00pm CUPE Ontario Caucus
Lunch was provided. Discussion on the proposed Diversity seats on the National level. Review of Resolutions 24 and 318 campaigns.
- 2:00pm Convention Business Resumes
Presentation of the Health and Safety Award, National Secretary-Treasurer and National Trustees Reports. Election Forum – National Officers.
- 6:30pm Equality Forum
I really enjoyed this forum. There was so much to learn, to see and to hear. The theme of this forum was focused on the Resistance Against Precarity. All speakers are committed to the struggle of decent wages, job security, safe and healthy working conditions. The Panelists were: Syrus Marcus Ware, Black Live Matter, Toronto, Tzazna Miranda Leal, Justice for Immigrant Workers, Florence Berinstein, Labour Arts Activist. The forum then moved into audience participation leading with the most impressive group activity I have ever seen. Each person was paired up with someone they did not know. The one person asked the same question ten times “Who are you?” Each time the person gave a little more information about who they were. Then they asked “Why are you here?”, again ten times. Then the roles reversed. I was very impressed with this activity as you get to really understand: Who. You. Are!
Next we divided into two groups. The one group did an improve using a game style, then showed how certain things in life can hamper a person leading to a precarious work set. The other group made posters using the supplies on the table. It was very impressive to see the creativity behind so many people.
Tuesday Oct 3, 2017
- 8:00am Women’s Caucus
A lot of discussion was around the C8 to increase the number of Diversity seats at the National Level
- 9:00am to 6pm Convention Business Resumes
There were 2168 delegates at this day. Awards were presented to:
- Sister Janice Foote (HEU) Hospital Employees Union received the Grace Harman Award
- Sister Yolanda McLean of Local 4400 received the Ed Blackman Award
The keynote speaker for today was Nesrine Malik, columnist, The Guardian. She spoke about her personal feelings about how life was grand, then to wake up to the bombing in Britain. She spoke about the night before the American Election, thinking Hilary would win. Through her speech of world events and tragedies, she had a clear message – DON’T GIVE UP HOPE!
Constitutional Amendments and resolutions were debated, only one was referred back to the committee.
Videos and reports were received and carried. National Health Care Issues, National Women’s, National Contracting Out and Privatization, National Literacy, National Global Justice, National Post-Secondary, and National Pink Triangle.
- 12:00pm CUPE Ontario Elections
Fred Hahn, Candice Rennick and Michael Hurley all re-elected into their positions.
- 6:00pm Persons With Disabilities Caucus
Discussed the Diversity seats, talked about Accessible Issues at convention and solutions that have been made.
- 7:00pm Health and Safety Forum
Unfortunately there was no agenda for this forum so I do not know the names of the speakers. I can say that they were all very powerful speakers expressing true life accidents and how management places blame on the worker. We all received Health and Safety Tool Kits that had info. from bargaining language to investigating incidents.
Wednesday Oct 4, 2017
- Over 2000 delegates at Convention
- 9:00am to 6:00pm Convention Business Resumes
The Convention opened with a powerful Performance: Have You Seen Our Sisters? Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. A Rally was done and a lunch break with Red Dresses.
The Re-election of President Mark Hancock and Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury and election of General Vice Presidents. Disability Rights Activism Award. Key note speaker today was: Armine Yalnizyan, former senior economist and media commentator for Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives.
- 8:00pm Global Justice Forum
This forum featured emcee, poet, author and activist Mohammad Ali, who ups the bar in protest music. Unfortunately I did not get the names of the three ladies who spoke as well at this forum. All three spoke about precarious work and migrant workers in their respective countries: Indonesia, Britain and Korea. The pictures they shared were very powerful, especially the one showing the one million people taking their rally to the streets in Korea.
Thursday Oct 5, 2017
- 9:00am to 6:00pm Convention Business Resumes
Early morning entertainment by The Raging Asian Women.
It was a sad morning as C8, the extra diversity seats was defeated.
Videos and reports were received and carried. The results of the General Vice President elections were in: Judy Henly, Marle Roberts, Daniel Legeres, Denis Bolduc, Fred Hahn. Regional Vice Presidents Candice Rennick and Michael Hurley.
Yolanda McLean and Gloria Lepine two Diversity Vice Presidents.
Luc Cyr National Trustee.
Sister Maria Moriaty of Local 1582 received National Literacy Award.
Key Note Speaker was Dalia Awada anti-racism activist, co-founder of Parates de Femmes.
Many were sad from the morning’s debacle around the C8 vote. We noticed resolution 318 was at the bottom. No way would that reach the floor. Somebody called a recess from the one resolution to the one just before 318. In hindsight I wish I would have recorded Janice Folk-Dawson’s speech. Brilliant is all I can say. After a standing vote – We Won! First day Strike Pay from National. We were ready to Celebrate!
- 8:00pm to 10:00pm – Fairmont Hotel – Ontario Social
Live Band, food and free pop! We were all very, very happy.
Friday Oct 6, 2017
- 9:00am Convention Business Resumes
The main event was the Keynote Speaker, newly elected NDP Federal candidate Jagmeet Singh.
It was obvious by 12:00 noon, there was not enough for quorum, so finally the convention came to an end.
We had very mixed emotions. We were so happy to get First Day Strike Pay but sad on the loss of the Diversity Seats. But not all is lost, it just means folks have two years to plan a new strategy.
Aug 30, 2017
CUPE Ontario Conference 2017
Conference Report – Lynda French- July 18, 2017
It has been 10 years since I had the honour of attending a CUPE Ontario Convention
“Be Bold Be Brave” truly are the best words to describe the CUPE Ontario members who were honored at this convention.
The most noticeable change in CUPE was the amount of strikes CUPE members faced this past year. These brave folks stood their ground. It did not matter how cold it got or how wet they were, from a 2 hour strike to several months they stood firm.
During this convention Local 1600 (Toronto Zoo) were on strike, I was very impressed by the solidarity in this Union. To show support for Local 1600, these folks at convention raised $100,000 for their Strike Fund. Not only did they raise money, but many offered hours of support for their picket line.
We also participated in rallies, one at the Ministry of Labour for the injured workers, and the second at Toronto City Hall for Local 1600.
The sea of Pink CUPE Flags at both rallies … ASTOUNDING!
From this convention, I have never been more proud to be a member of CUPE as I am now, to see the support that has been given to others was overwhelming.
March 4, 2017