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May 2, 2015

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Meet some new delegates

Laura Bulk
CUPE 2278
Teaching Assistant

“When I became a TA I had no idea that I was joining a union.  The union sent out a recruitment notice because we wanted to have representatives from each department and I realized – I’m part of a union! I decided to volunteer and started getting involved this past fall. I learned about the union and if anyone in my department had an issue they could come to me and I would liaise with them and our union. Then our union was looking for a chief shop steward and I talked to our president.  She said if I could give a couple of hours a week or whatever I could do, that would be great.

I didn’t really know anything about being in a union so this is a good opportunity to learn and I’m glad to learn. It seems like everyone at Convention is really enthusiastic.  I appreciate that the mics are open and that everyone can speak.”

Chris Gee
CUPE 2409
Northwest Community College instructor

“I saw the value of solidarity in my early working life.  I recognized that without workers coming together, the power of management was uncontrolled.  For many of the positions that I’ve had it’s only thanks to the union that I’ve had a decent wage or thought that I might have a pension, or a future in a position where I can disagree with management and feel safe – knowing I can raise an issue about worker safety and not worry about losing my job. Recognizing these things has made me want to be involved in the union and be a part of keeping unions strong in Canada.

I’m looking forward to hearing smart people speak.  To meet brothers and sisters who are like-minded talk about important issues.”

Mike Irwin
CUPE 2167 President
Municipal worker, Fort Nelson 

“I became active in my local to help other members.  I was a Vice President a few years ago and I had to resign due to illness. I stepped back into our local because no one else showed interest, as Vice President First.  When our president moved to the fire department I became president.

I have no expectations at Convention.  I’m just hoping CUPE members get to know who we are as a union because we are the furthest away from the Lower Mainland.  How many people even know where Fort Nelson is on the map?”

Alistair Maduray
City of Burnaby outside worker

“I got involved because I was disappointed in what was happening with our collective agreement.  Through the mentorship and guidance of my local president I became a shop steward and am now serving on a committee.  Through that I’ve been helping out and volunteering and finding I’m learning about our union. I’ve always been an activist and by getting involved it showed me how many more other people that are passionate activists are out there.

I’m really amazed at what Convention is.  It’s my first experience dealing with something like this on a grand scale. I’m amazed at the number of passionate, dedicated and committed people.  And it makes me happy to know that I can aspire and achieve things once I learn more about how our union works. I can see myself on that stage one day, sitting on the Executive.”

Ross Martin
CUPE Local 439
SD #71

“I got involved in my local because I had gotten to a point in my life where I wanted to do something that was meaningful in a positive way, and my kids had all got to the age where I had some time and some freedom to do so.  Being my first time here, I’m here to learn as much as I can about the process and take part in the vote – to be a part of the democratic process. Most definitely I’ll let people know about everything that happened.”

Aaron Schielke
CUPE 523 
K-12 Custodian

“During my practicum the custodian that I was shadowing said, ‘Hey, you should show up to a meeting.’  And I did. It was my first general meeting ever and it just so happened to be unit election date.  They asked if anyone wanted to run for shop steward.  The custodian was sitting beside me and said, ‘He’ll do it!  I said, ‘Sure, I’d love to.’  That was about four years ago.  The courses started right away. Any question was answered. I totally enjoy being a shop steward.  It gets me out and I’m learning lots.

Convention is a lot to take in.  I wouldn’t have thought it would be so all encompassing, so involving.  The energy last night was just great. Incredible.”

Cory Thomas
CUPE 523
Aboriginal Education Worker

“In my school district my aboriginal education department was quite small.  At that time there was only 18 of us.  Our shop steward was stepping down and they were looking for somebody and I thought it would be a good thing to do.  To make sure that aboriginal workers in School District 83 were represented fairly.

This is my first convention.  I’m just excited to learn and soak it all up.  I’m hoping to get more involved and I’m just excited about all of it.”

May 2 Meet some new delegates.pdf148.54 KB

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