I pledge to expand programs and resource measures so that together we can make real gains for members and other workers.
I will work in close collaboration with our National President and all CUPE’s leaders, and in consultation with our activists and staff, to decide the best ways to build our union’s capacity so that we can make significant and strategic advances.
Thanks to the excellent leadership of outgoing National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury, we are well positioned to push back against the attacks that will come when governments revert to austerity after the pandemic. I will keep CUPE’s finances strong as my first priority so that our union has the resources to meet our members’ needs and advance their interests.
In collaboration with others, I will work to strengthen programs and initiatives to raise the standard of living of our members and other workers, expand public services and social programs, pursue Truth and Reconciliation and justice for the Indigenous Peoples, organize for racial justice, and win economic, social and human rights for all workers and their communities.
Our union’s strength relies on the efforts of members, locals, divisions and councils but they need help. Programs that work well must be expanded and new initiatives must be resourced. I will:
- Consult local leaders and members and regularly assess our union’s progress in advancing our strategic direction.
- Increase funding and supports for divisions, especially for the divisions of smaller provinces.
- Put in place a program to help divisions, bargaining councils and locals put in place new tools and procedures to enhance their day-to-day operations, membership communications and membership engagement and education, drawing on lessons learned during the pandemic.
- Support programs and initiatives to challenge systemic racism in the workplace, the economy, community, and in our union.
- Support locals to engage in actions of Truth and Reconciliation.
- Provide resources for deep organizing Activist training to strengthen capacity of CUPE members to engage in political, legislative action and strike support.
- Ensure that every level of our union is equipped to advocate, defend and advance human rights, and to represent and engage members of marginalized groups including women, Indigenous Peoples, racialized people, people with disabilities, LGBTQ2+ communities, and young workers.
- Initiate a program to deepen the skills of local financial officers to help them with their obligations including financial reporting, bonding and governance.
Union Solidarity at Queen’s Park
Toronto Pride March
Protecting Public Healthcare Rally
Rally for Striking Local 1600 – Toronto Zoo Workers
Collective bargaining is the most effective way to defend members and raise living standards for ourselves and all workers but to make gains we need to consolidate our bargaining power. We must put resources to:
- Consolidating bargaining strength where it will increase our bargaining power.
- Implementing CUPE’s plan to resist contract concessions, two-tier wage and benefit schemes, and legislative attacks on free collective bargaining.
- Bolstering help to locals, bargaining councils and divisions to make gains, especially where such gains will lift the floor for others.
- Stepping up support and activity during strike aversion campaigns.
- Special initiatives to accelerate the conclusion of first collective agreements.
Organizing is key to fighting racism, and inequality and to achieving economic justice. We must expand our efforts to organize the unorganized and do it in ways that will make our entire union stronger. I support:
- Intensifying wall to wall organizing in our workplaces and sectors.
- Funding our national organizing department properly.
- Resourcing organizing in low-wage sectors—which are predominantly female and/or racialized—as a vital part of our plan to fight racism and gender discrimination and to eliminate wage, benefit and pension inequality.
- Accelerating organizing in the child care and long-term care sectors where we anticipate substantial growth in employment.
International Women’s Day March
December 6th Ending Violence Against Women Vigil
Protesting Doug Ford’s Policies
Creating safe union spaces
Sexual violence, harassment and bullying are pervasive and engrained in many institutions, including unions. CUPE has made progress but significant gaps in dealing with these issues persist. I support:
- CUPE National’s Safe Spaces working group made up of the women on the NEB with a mandate to examine our union’s practices and policies and recommend changes to make our union a safe space.
- Hearing directly from members, particularly those who are often marginalised, including women, Indigenous people, racialized people, people with disabilities, LGBTQ2+ people, and young workers. Their lived experiences must shape the transformation we must make.
- Providing spaces for women in the union to organize and collaborate.
- Taking action to ensure our union spaces are safe for all members.
© Copyright 2021 Candace Rennick for CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer. All Rights Reserved.