Over two hundred union activists from across Manitoba gathered on October 20-22 in Winnipeg, Treaty 1 Territory, for the annual convention of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Manitoba.
“The energy this week has been nothing short of inspiring” said Gina McKay, President of CUPE Manitoba. “Our union has so much work to do, and I can proudly say it is getting done by this engaged, dedicated, and committed group of activists.”
Convention began with Elder Albert McLeod, a long-time human rights activist and Two-Spirit advocate, who helped open Convention and share teachings on courage to do the work in a good way. The first day featured CUPE National President Mark Hancock, CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer Candace Rennick, as well as Debra Merrier, CUPE Diversity Vice-President – Indigenous Workers and Judy Henley, National Executive Board General Vice-President–Prairies.
“All across Manitoba, CUPE members are fighting back against the Conservative government” said Mark Hancock, CUPE National President. “CUPE Manitoba is leading the way in breaking the Conservative government’s bargaining mandate, and their attempt to restrict our members’ wages even as the cost of living rises.”
“Whatever issues you take on, CUPE will be there with you,” Candace Rennick, CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer told delegates. “You can count on CUPE’s national strength and resources to fuel your union work—you can count on support for bargaining, representation of members, and for all your campaigns for justice.
Niall Harney, Errol Black Chair in Labour Issues with the Canadian Centre for policy Alternatives discussed research on a living wage for communities in Manitoba, and Shila LeBlanc, restorative approaches practitioner, gave delegates essential tools for restorative approaches to conflicts.
“This year’s convention centred the critical work of re-building our union and focusing on creating safer, more inclusive spaces for all workers,” said President Gina McKay.
“Our constitutional changes, the way we run meetings and decolonize our structures, and the resources we are building all make our union stronger, and delegates participated in a constructive and meaningful way”.
Members debated resolutions over the course of three days, including major constitutional amendments to advance CUPE’s work to make our union safer and more accessible to all workers. Resolutions also committed CUPE Manitoba to the fight against the Progressive Conservative attacks against public services and the workers who provide them, including new campaigns and lobbying efforts.
Wab Kinew, Leader of the Manitoba NDP addressed delegates following a standing ovation, noting CUPE members’ work on the front lines defending workers during the pandemic.
Kinew noted the relationship between the Manitoba NDP and labour is critical in pushing back against the government’s legislative agenda which sought to undermine public Hydro, the public school system, health care, and push wage freezes on front line workers.
Other guests included Laura Tyler from Communities Not Cuts, Diwa Marcelino from Access Without Fear & Migrante, Rebecca Benson, CUPE Senior Human Rights Officer – Indigenous Issues, and Debra Merrier, CUPE National Diversity Vice-President – Indigenous Workers discussed both building a stronger, more progressive movement for everyone, and CUPE’s upcoming work in Manitoba on the Water is Life campaign.
Convention also featured Kevin Rebeck, President of the Manitoba Federation of Labour, Melissa Dvorak, President of the Winnipeg Labour Council, and Bernie Wood from the Canadian Labour Congress.
Delegates heard from Angela McEwan, Senior Economist – CUPE National, and John Clarke, activist with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty on the impacts of inflation, and how workers can fight back to make society fair for everyone.
CUPE Manitoba was proud to honour Jamie Rose of Local 737 with the prestigious Jack Rodie award in recognition of his long-standing commitment to the labour movement.
Bernadette Smith (NDP MLA for Point Douglas), Uzoma Asagwara (MLA for Union Station), Mintu Sandhu (MLA for The Maples), Lisa Naylor, (NDP MLA for Wolseley) , and Jennifer Chen (WSD School Trustee and NDP Candidate for Fort Richmond) also stopped by the convention to meet with delegates.
“With the mandate from our CUPE Manitoba Convention, we have the power to make positive change in our union, and for our community,” concluded Gina McKay. “CUPE Manitoba is stronger and more united today than ever before, and we are committed to the work ahead of us”.
Elected members to the CUPE Manitoba executive during Convention include:
Vice-President – Debbie Boissonneault, CUPE 204 Recording Secretary – Steve Magian, CUPE 744 Trustee – 1 year term – Rick Moore, CUPE 731 Winnipeg Area 1 “A” – Vivienne Ho, CUPE 2348 Brandon Area – Brittany Aube, CUPE 3060 Northern Area – Clayton Paul, CUPE 745 North-Central – Nick Ogryzlo, CUPE 998 2SLGBTQI+ – Daniel Richards, CUPE 204 Indigenous Council – Brandon Murdoch, CUPE 2348 Person with a Disability – Robert (Bob) Guenther, CUPE 744 Young Member – Tom Moore, CUPE 744 Woman and Gender Rights – Michelle Bergen, CUPE 998
CUPE Manitoba is pleased to announce the election of Gina McKay (she/her) as the next President of Manitoba’s largest labour union.
Delegates at the CUPE Manitoba Convention held October 20th – 22nd elected Gina McKay to represent the union’s 37,000 members.
“I am honoured to receive the confidence of CUPE members from across Manitoba to lead our union,” said McKay. “We have a lot of work to do as activists, and we are committed to fighting for the rights of all workers in Manitoba.”
McKay currently works as the Labour Director, at the United Way Winnipeg, and is a member of CUPE Local 2348, serving as Recording-Secretary and previously served as the local’s President. McKay was recently elected as the Equity Vice-President for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Two-Spirit, Intersex Workers of the Canadian Labour Congress, and sits on CUPE’s National Pink Triangle Committee.
“I am committed to building unity in the labour movement and am dedicated to ensuring we work stronger together to fight back against governments who push austerity and regressive legislation and attacks on working people in Manitoba,” said McKay. “The provincial Conservatives have tried to divide workers in Manitoba and undermine public services, and I’m here to say we are more united than ever.”
McKay is a queer, Métis activist and has worked on LGBTQ2+ issues with CUPE at the local, provincial and national level, with the Manitoba Federation of Labour, the Winnipeg Labour Council, with the CLC and even internationally with Public Services International’s LGBTQ2+ contingent to the UN Commission on the Status of Women.
Woman/person who identifies as
woman Representative: Michelle Bergen, CUPE 998
CUPE is Manitoba’s largest union, represents approximately 37,000 members working in health care facilities, personal care homes, school divisions, municipal services, social services, child care centres, public utilities, libraries, and family emergency services.
The CUPE Manitoba Executive have unanimously voted to cancel our upcoming convention scheduled for Friday, November 20, 2020.
While we have important work that needs to get done as a union, we know that our members and activists are on the front-lines fighting against COVID-19, and right now that’s where they’re needed most.
Although our convention was to be held virtually, with all of Manitoba under an unprecedented Code Red, we felt it prudent to cancel this convention until a future date, when our members can fully participate in the work of our union.
We encourage all our members to continue contacting us and your workplace representatives throughout these challenging times. Your voices are critical in ensuring we can continue to hold government and employers accountable. And indeed, you are making a big difference in the lives of workers and families province-wide.
Thank you and feel free to reach out to me any time.
The CUPE Manitoba Annual Convention scheduled for April 15-17, 2020, will be postponed to a later date.
Out of an abundance of caution related to the COVID-19 pandemic, CUPE Manitoba will not be holding our annual convention until the pandemic has subsided, or until health authorities recommend such gatherings can take place without potentially putting participants at risk of contact with COVID-19.
CUPE Manitoba is the province’s largest public sector union, representing workers in health care, long-term care, K-12 education, post-secondary education, municipalities, crown services, child and social services, and more.
Our members care for vulnerable populations, and CUPE Manitoba takes COVID-19 very seriously.
Health authorities have suggested “social distancing measures”, which include the avoidance of large, prolonged group gatherings.
“Members should rest assured that the postponement of the CUPE Manitoba Convention does not mean that the work of the union has stopped,” says Abe Araya, President of CUPE Manitoba.
“CUPE Manitoba will continue to represent our members, hold government to account, and continue to advocate for strong protections for members who work in sectors with increased risk of contact with COVID-19.”
CUPE encourages all members to avoid misinformation, and read more about COVID-19 from official sources. CUPE Manitoba also encourages members to follow the recommended guidelines (with the links below) for disease prevention which includes washing your hands.
The power to defend out rights as workers, to protect the services we provide, and to build caring communities.
This year’s Spring/Summer Education Calendar covers a range of topics that will make our union stronger by equipping CUPE activists with new skills through course materials, and sharing with each other.
To attend any of these courses, contact your Local President to learn how.
2020 CUPE Winter School (see Winter School Brochure)
➢ Gimli | February 20 – 23, 2020 | Lakeview Gimli Resort & Conference, 10 Centre Street
Advanced Steward Learning Series
• Challenging Racism in the Workplace
• Challenging Sexism in the Workplace
• Disability and Ableism in the Workplace
➢ Winnipeg | March 26 & 27, 2020 | Union Centre, Room 103-275 Broadway
• Duty of Fair Representation
• Representing Members in Front of Management
• What Stewards Need to Know about Arbitration
➢ Dauphin | May 14 & 15, 2020 | CUPE Dauphin Area Office, 121 1st Street S.W.
➢ Winnipeg | June 11 & 12, 2020 | Union Centre, Room 103-275 Broadway
BARG – At the Bargaining Table
➢ Winnipeg | May 21 & 22, 2020 | Union Centre, Room 103-275 Broadway
Conflict Resolution ➢ Winnipeg | May 7 & 8, 2020 | Union Centre, Room 103-275 Broadway
Register online at www.cupe.ca
Duty to Accommodate
➢ Winnipeg | March 5 & 6, 2020 | Union Centre, Room 103-275 Broadway
➢ Brandon | April 30 & May 1, 2020 | CUPE Brandon Area Office, 1911 Park Avenue
Financial Essentials and Financial Officers
➢ Winnipeg | April 30 & May 1, 2020 | Union Centre, Room 103-275 Broadway
➢ Brandon | May 7 & 8, 2020 | CUPE Brandon Area Office, 1911 Park Avenue
Hot Topics: Attendance Management
➢ Winnipeg | March 12, 2020 | Union Centre, Room 103-275 Broadway
➢ Brandon | March 19, 2020 | CUPE Brandon Area Office, 1911 Park Avenue
➢ Dauphin | April 23, 2020 | CUPE Dauphin Area Office, 121 1st Street S.W.
Introduction to Health and Safety
➢ Winnipeg | February 27 & 28, 2020 | Union Centre, Room 103-275 Broadway
➢ Brandon | March 12 & 13, 2020 | CUPE Brandon Area Office, 1911 Park Avenue
Introduction to Stewarding
➢ Brandon | February 27 & 28, 2020 | CUPE Brandon Area Office, 1911 Park Avenue
➢ Winnipeg | April 8 & 9, 2020 | Union Centre, Room 107-275 Broadway
➢ Brandon | April 8 & 9, 2020 | CUPE Brandon Area Office, 1911 Park Avenue
➢ Winnipeg | June 4 & 5, 2020 | Union Centre, Room 103-275 Broadway
➢ Winnipeg | April 23 & 24, 2020 | Union Centre, Room 103-275 Broadway
➢ Brandon | June 4 & 5, 2020 | CUPE Brandon Area Office, 1911 Park Avenue
BRANDON – Delegates at the 2019 CUPE Manitoba Convention in Brandon elected Abe Araya as President of the province’s largest union. Abe Araya comes from CUPE Local 110, representing custodians, maintenance, and painters at the Winnipeg School Division.
“Our union is focused on fighting back against cuts to health care, education, social services, and privatization,” said Araya. “Despite Brian Pallister’s attempts to divide working people, we will be uniting workers from across Manitoba to put a stop to Pallister’s austerity agenda.”
Delegates at convention voted in support resolutions, ranging from health and safety in the workplace, anti-oppression training for activists, pushing back against privatization, fighting against health care and education cuts, and supporting the Green New Deal.
“CUPE is an incredibly diverse union,” said Araya. “With the strength of Manitoba’s largest union, we will be on the front line defending public health care and education, public Hydro, and fighting for properly funded childcare and social services for all Manitobans.”
CUPE’s annual convention featured guest speakers, including NDP leader Wab Kinew, NDP Critic for Infrastructure and Municipal Affairs Matt Wiebe, NDP Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre Leah Gazan, Winnipeg School Division Trustee Yijie Chen, and Manitoba Health Coalition Director Breanne Goertzen.
CUPE National President Mark Hancock and CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury spoke to delegates, committing the full strength of CUPE’s 700,000 members to fight against cuts and privatization.
Manitoba Federation of Labour President Kevin Rebeck provided updates on labour’s united front against Bill 28 (The Public Services Sustainability Act) and committed to fight against the Pallister government’s unconstitutional wage freeze.
Two hundred people rallied outside Brandon City Hall with CUPE Local 69 on Wednesday evening, voicing concern over the contracting out of work at the Wheat City Golf Course.
Gord Delbridge, President of CUPE Local 500 served as interim CUPE Manitoba President throughout 2019. Delbridge continues to serve as Vice-President of CUPE Manitoba. Barb Gribben of CUPE Local 737 was this year’s recipient of the prestigious Jack Rodie Award, recognizing dedication and activism in the union.
“Our union is stronger, and more united than ever,” said Araya. “Manitobans can count on CUPE to defend good jobs, and fight for our public services.”
The Canadian Union of Public Employees is Canada’s largest union representing more than 700,000 members. In Manitoba, CUPE represents over 36,000 members working in health care facilities, personal care homes, school divisions, municipal services, social services, childcare centres, public utilities, libraries and family emergency services.
Delegates at the 54th annual CUPE Manitoba Convention held in Portage la Prairie have elected Terry Egan as CUPE Manitoba President.
Terry Egan is a CUPE member from the Winnipeg School Division, and was President of CUPE Local 110 representing approximately 400 WSD custodians, painters, utility and mechanical workers.
Outgoing CUPE Manitoba President Kelly Moist, who did not run in the election, offered her congratulations on behalf of all CUPE members to Terry Egan as he takes on his new role.
“I am proud to represent CUPE members in Manitoba in these difficult times,” said Egan. “We are resolved to fight for all workers in Manitoba and continue to defend public services against privatization and cuts”.
The CUPE Manitoba convention convened in Portage la Prairie on Wednesday, May 3 and concludes on Friday, May 5.
CUPE Manitoba represents approximately 26,000 members working in health care facilities, personal care homes, school divisions, municipal services, social services, child care centres, public utilities, libraries and family emergency services