Mar 31, 2011

A warm Okanagan welcome to CUPE

KELOWNA—Almost one-third of CUPE’s newest members were on hand Monday to attend their first Local 338 meeting.

After the roll call of officers and the reading of the equality statement, CUPE 338 president Brent Soroka introduced the Local’s executive board, CUPE BC secretary-treasurer Mark Hancock and staff.

Soroka noted that the members from the Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) are a great fit with Local 338. “We look forward to working together,” said Soroka.

Attendees elected Michal (Micha) Pesta to represent the RDCO workers.

“We’re really excited to be a part of CUPE 338,” said Pesta. “We already have a lot more people involved now that we’re part of CUPE.”

Pesta, who works as a bylaws officer, notes that members decided to become part of CUPE because of difficult labour relations and a general breakdown in communications between the Association of Local Government Employees (ALGEU) and RDCO.

ALGEU members voted to join CUPE in January. Wendy Brown was president of the local when they were part of the ALGEU. She thanked members and the executive for their support and dedication. “Membership has really been supportive,” said Brown. “It’s great to be a part of CUPE.”

Stewards for the new unit are Scott Bruce, Wendy Brown, Judy Burns, Krissy Demers, Brenda Dobberthien, Holly Knipstrom and Sherry Sweet.

Mark Hancock brought greetings from CUPE’s B.C. Division executive. He spoke about CUPE’s structure, committees, campaigns, education opportunities, political action, conferences and the upcoming Division convention, as well as the recently-launched Ten Percent Shift campaign. Hancock noted that unions and communities are facing difficult situations that aren’t about money, but about union busting. He talked about Wisconsin and noted that it has led to a “real revitalization of the labour movement.”

“CUPE is really about our communities, our kids, and about our jobs,” said Hancock. “We don’t make any excuses for receiving a good pay cheque and good benefits, having good and safe working conditions, pensions where we can. We’re much more than that. We work in communities and we work with the elected officials where we can. We really are part of our communities. We live in our communities, we volunteer, we participate. ”

“It’s great to have you folks as part of CUPE,” Hancock told the crowd.

View photos.

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