CUPE Saskatchewan welcomed over 200 delegates to its 49th Annual Convention held from March 5 – 7, 2014 in Saskatoon.
Convention delegates debated and passed 54 resolutions setting the priorities for the year ahead, received reports on the vital work being done by our union, and engaged in important policy discussions on the issues facing CUPE members in Saskatchewan and the public services we provide to communities across the province. Among the resolutions discussed, delegates embraced the critical task of talking to each and every CUPE member about the value of union membership through the Connecting CUPE initiative offered by CUPE Saskatchewan Division and the Unite for Fairness project launched by CUPE National.
An exciting line-up of speakers shared their visions of how our union can continue to be a strong voice for a better way in the face of mounting challenges to workplace rights, living standards and public services. Some of the many topics covered by speakers and their presentations included: the growing threat of infrastructure privatization through public-private partnership (P3) schemes, the need for a renewed health accord, the legal and political push to undermine and privatize Medicare, Federal Government imposed restrictions on Employment Insurance which have reduced eligibility for benefits to its lowest rate in 70 years, the importance of advocating for a living wage, ongoing challenges to defend and improve pensions, and legislative attacks on workers’ rights both at the Provincial and Federal level.
Sister Anita Labossiere, President of Local 3736 (North Sask Laundry Facility in Prince Albert), and Brother Matthew (Matt) Baranieki, member of CUPE Local 59 (City of Saskatoon), were presented with the Saskatchewan Activist Award at the banquet held on March 6, 2014. The annual award recognizes CUPE members who display outstanding dedication in representing their fellow members and advancing greater economic fairness and social justice. Brother Bill Robb, National Education Representative, received recognition for his contributions to CUPE’s education programming in Saskatchewan and was offered congratulations on his recent promotion to Managing Director of CUPE National’s Union Development Department.
During elections held at convention, Tom Graham was re-elected to serve as President and Judy Henley was re-elected to serve as Secretary-Treasurer. Bob Kardal was elected to serve as one of three Trustees. Members were elected to CUPE Saskatchewan’s 16-member Executive Board, and members were also elected to each of CUPE Saskatchewan’s Standing Committees.
The Annual Convention is the key decision making body for the Saskatchewan Division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) – Saskatchewan’s largest union with over 29,000 members.