Update for CUPE members

Dear CUPE members in Manitoba,

CUPE is aware that a charge of sexual assault has been laid against Abe Araya.

This charge has not yet been addressed in court. While this matter is before the courts, we will not provide further comments related to the charge, and will do what we can to ensure the privacy of those involved.

Out of respect for all those involved, we urge all members and locals not to speculate or spread rumours about the charge.

CUPE is taking this seriously. As per Article 7.8 of our National Constitution, the National President placed the CUPE Manitoba division board under “administration” on February 2.

You can read the National President’s February 2 letter to locals here.

Only the provincial division, CUPE Manitoba, is under administration. None of our CUPE locals in Manitoba are under administration.

This means the Executive Board of CUPE Manitoba has been dissolved and Board members removed from their positions at the Division. They are not removed from any elected position they may hold in their local union.

The administrator for CUPE Manitoba is Lee McLeod, CUPE Regional Director. He will be reaching out to local unions across Manitoba in coming days.

All locals continue to receive support from their CUPE servicing representatives, and your local workplace CUPE executive and stewards.

This does not impact grievances, arbitrations, bargaining, or our advocacy in the workplace or community.

The administration will give CUPE an opportunity to review the governance, policies, procedures, and bylaws of CUPE Manitoba, and bring changes to the next CUPE Manitoba convention.

We know CUPE has work to do on a number of fronts, including human rights and equality issues.

A number of resolutions were adopted at the last CUPE MB convention, and work to fulfill these decisions will be a priority in the coming weeks. They include:

  • Finalizing a “Safer Spaces” anti-oppression policy for all CUPE Manitoba-organized events.
  • In addition to the CUPE ombudsperson, ensure external expertise is available on-site to provide support for members at CUPE Manitoba-organized conventions and schools.
  • Establishing, offering, and holding culturally-sensitive peer-to-peer healing circles or circles of action to support members.
  • Once a new Executive Board is elected, provide them with anti-oppression training, including strong content on harassment, and ensure this is provided to elected leaders on an ongoing basis.
  • In addition to ensuring training is available to the CUPE Manitoba Executive Board, we will be making sure that training on anti-oppression, harassment, and workplace violence is available to our local leaders and activists.

Administration will also provide CUPE the opportunity to conduct a review of our internal ombudsperson program and processes to ensure victims feel safe to report incidents, no matter how difficult or serious.

With these challenges we are committed to building a stronger union for everyone.

Please reach out to Lee McLeod, CUPE Regional Director, your CUPE Local Executive, or your CUPE National Servicing Representative if you have any questions. We value all members’ feedback, especially on important issues facing our union such as this.