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April 9, 2014

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Convention to set stage for political action heading into local elections

Welcome to the Convention 2014 edition of the Public Employee. You’ll notice a new look and a new logo for our union as we close the book on our 50th anniversary and begin the second half of CUPE BC’s first century.

As a union we've experienced tremendous growth over our first 50 years. While that dramatic rate of growth is unlikely to reoccur, we continue to grow, despite serious challenges. We have right wing governments in B.C. and Ottawa that are bent on silencing our political voice and making it harder for us to organize and represent our members. As you know, we’re taking those governments on directly, and CUPE National has launched the Unite for Fairness program designed to re-strengthen our union’s relationship with our members.

We’re also doing more to take on right wing special interest groups that attack the rights of working people. Groups like the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses, who have zero accountability to anyone but their funders, aren’t going to continue getting a free ride in the media. We’re working with other affiliates of the BC Federation of Labour to develop a coordinated campaign to aggressively fight back against the anti-worker agenda of these groups. You’ll hear much more about this in the coming months.

As we move forward into our 51st year, we also look forward to the BC NDP Leadership campaign in September. After the disastrous results of last May’s election, CUPE BC has worked hard to make sure we learn the lessons from the loss so that in 2017 we can return progressive government to British Columbia. To that end, CUPE BC has endorsed John Horgan for Leader of the BC NDP, and I strongly encourage CUPE members all across the province to get involved in the campaign. It’s only by joining the party and getting involved NOW that we can help make the necessary changes to make victory in 2017 possible. I’ve known John Horgan for many years and I truly believe he’s the best choice for leader. He shares our values and is committed to building the party and growing our movement. And I am very confident that he will aggressively hold the BC Liberal government to account, both in the years leading up to the next election, and during the actual campaign.

I also want to encourage members interested in political action generally—and in the upcoming local elections in November in particular—to consider attending our Political Action Conference in May. For more information, see the back page of this edition.

For those of you attending Convention, welcome, and thanks for the work you’ll do this week on behalf of all our members. For everyone else, thanks for everything you do every day to make our communities better for everyone.

Mark Hancock is President of CUPE BC