CUPE Ontario wrapped up their 52nd Convention yesterday, and we had two delegates in attendance: Tiffany Balducci and Teresa Gawman. 3 delegates if you count Baby Maddix, who attended the CUPE Daycare, which is truly amazing.
Our President, Tiffany Balducci, is on the CUPE Ontario Executive Board and served as a liaison to the Resolutions Committee as well as helping organize the Young Worker's Caucus. This convention was historic for many reasons, one of which being a constitutional amendment that passed which will restructure the CUPE Ontario executive board. Baby Maddix was recognized on the Saturday of Convention with the other CUPE Babies, his first time on a CUPE stage but most definitely not the last.
Following a year-long formal review, a large majority of delegates voted in favour of “historic change,” as CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn put it, by changing the CUPE Ontario Executive Board to meet the needs of our diverse membership.
The new structure moves from three diversity vice-presidents to six equality representatives and a representative from the Northern Ontario caucus. The equality representatives will be elected in their respective caucuses and will serve as chairs of the equality committees.
The new structure maintains the positions of president, secretary-treasurer, four vice-presidents, six members at large and sector chairs. The majority of positions remain elected by Convention as a whole.
This year’s Sisters in Solidarity Award was presented to Pam Parks of CUPE Local 1999 in Oshawa. Sister Pam, who works at Lakeridge Health, was nominated for her support of social justice, union solidarity and fairness. Her nominees cited her encouragement of new and young workers, which led one of them to join the CUPE Ontario Health & Safety Committee.
Politically active, Sister Pam worked hard on campaigns for NDP candidates Jennifer French and Trish McAuliffe and is very active with the Durham Health Coalition and the Health Accord Campaign. In 1999, she was elected President of Local 1999.
CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn kicked off Convention on Wednesday morning with an electrifying speech that pledged to defend public services and public employees from the austerity agenda, and protect Ontario’s public power from privatization.
“The hydro grid is there because our parents and grandparents bought and paid for it with their taxes. It belongs to all of us,” Hahn told the thousand delegates who packed the Sheraton Centre to hear his speech.
In just a few short weeks, we’ve brought together the Keep Hydro Public Coalition, and are working closely with Andrea Horwath and the NDP to hold Premier Kathleen Wynne and Liberal government to account, he added.
A huge and growing majority of Ontarians oppose the sale, which will end public ownership, oversight and accountability. It will also cost us hundreds of millions in lost revenues and drive up hydro rates. Higher rates will be a direct hit on operating budgets for the services we provide, meaning more layoffs and service cuts in every sector.
We must mobilize across Ontario to fight this sale, as we mobilized in record numbers during the provincial and municipal elections. The strength of our movement was proven in Alberta, where labour helped elect an NDP government.
“If the NDP can be elected to a majority after forty years of Conservatives, running on a progressive platform of raising corporate taxes and rolling back cuts in education, anything is possible,” he said, adding, “We are one election away from an enhanced Canada Pension Plan, from corporations paying their fair share in taxes, from a national child care system, the list goes on and on.”
Brother Hahn also paid tribute to municipal workers and university workers were on picket lines in the past year and striking City of London employees who began a strike last week to defend their collective agreements.
CUPE Ontario Secretary-Treasurer Candace Rennick greeted delegates in dramatic fashion Thursday morning. Holding a copy of our loan agreement, Sister Candace informed delegates that every penny of CUPE Ontario’s debt has been paid off. Then, with a flourish, she tore up the agreement.
“The good news I bring to you is that we did it … together. CUPE Ontario is now debt free,” Sister Candace said to loud applause from the convention floor.
She added that with the debt fully paid off, CUPE Ontario will be able to devote more resources to fighting the austerity agenda.
“For the first time in a while, we have real resources to fight back…we can focus our resources on resisting the Austerity Agenda, to stop the sale of Hydro One and other public assets. We can put boots on the ground where they are needed,” she said.
Continuing the good news, she noted in the past year CUPE Ontario has grown by 2600 members as more locals chose to affiliate.
Reflecting on a year which saw the birth of her son Jackson, Sister Candace closed by telling delegates she looked forward to even more dramatic changes in the coming year.
“I want my child and your children to grow up in a province where all the wealth that we and other workers generate through our labour is put to the common good, not into the hands of profiteers,” she said.
Tom Mulcair, NDP Leader and soon to be Canada’s first New democratic Prime Minister, electrified the CUPE Ontario convention with a rousing address on his NDP team’s plan, with the help of CUPE members, to build a better Canada.
“When I hear CUPE say it’s partners with the NDP, nothing makes me prouder,” said Mulcair, who went on to highlight some of the party’s pledges, such as helping parents with affordable child care.
“For decades we have had promises from Liberal and Conservative governments on childcare, and they have both created the same number of childcare spaces — zero,” said Mulcair. “We are going to create 1 million new child care spaces, at a maximum cost of $15 per day for parents.”
Mulcair made the case that the NDP is the only party that shares CUPE’s values, like the importance of protecting public services and assets. With CUPE’s help, the NDP can defeat the Harper conservatives, he said.
“Let’s make October 19th the day we set this country on the right path,” said Mulcair. “Our team is ready. Let’s get this done, together.”
Where: 117 Lakeview Park Avenue, Oshawa
When: Tuesday 19 May 2015, 6:30 PM
This is a Town Hall meeting to discuss the importance of keeping Hydro public
Take action now to stop the privatization of Hydro One! Sign up for a public hearing and encourage your co-workers, friends and family to as well! Details here: http://us7.campaign-archive1.com/…
URGENT: Your help is needed today to stop the privatization of Hydro One. The Liberals want to push it through with only minimal public hearings by the Finance Committee on Bill 91, the new budget legislation that includes the plan to sell Hydro One.
We’re asking you, right now, to take a few minutes to email the Clerk of the Finance Committee to say you want to be heard by making a presentation.
IF you get to present at a hearing, CUPE Ontario will support you 100% to get ready – and it’s honestly not that hard – Fred does it all the time!
The more requests the government gets, the harder it will be to refuse to hold province-wide hearings. And, if province wide hearings happen, we know there will be hundreds, even thousands showing up to say “DON’T PRIVATIZE HYDRO ONE.”
Here’s what you need to do:
Send an email from your personal email account to Mr. Katch Koch, Clerk of the Standing Committee on Finance. His email is email@example.com.
Say you want to make an in-person presentation about Bill 91 to the Finance Committee at a public hearing in your community.
You must include your full name, home mailing address, and home or cell telephone number. If you’d like to also make this request by phone, the number is 416-325-3526.
It’s important the Liberal government hears from Ontario citizens like you before they sell off Ontario Hydro.
Please take a minute to do this right now. The Government will probably be making decisions this week about public hearings and we need to generate pressure to make sure they do not restrict hearings to a couple days at Queen’s Park in Toronto.
Remember, your effort WILL make a difference.
On Saturday, CUPE 960 celebrated fifty years of service, solidarity, and activism with special guests, current, and former members. This memorable night included remarks from President Tiffany Balducci, CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn, and a plaque presentation from CUPE Ontario Secretary Treasurer Candace Rennick. Our party planning committee created a great atmosphere with amazing decor and a musical performance from jazz band, Bruce Gorrie Trio. Feedback from the night was fantastic, as members and guests returned home with a renewed sense of the importance of public service and libraries! Thank you so much to all the guests who came out and to the party planning committee Andrea, Diana, Candace, and Kristin.
We have 50th anniversary commemorative pins, please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like one.
Weren't invited to the party but wish you were there? Are you a CUPE 960 retiree that still wants to be kept in the loop? We are working on a retiree email list, please email email@example.com with the subject heading: 'Retiree' if you'd like to be added!
Updates from your executive and more!