The Western Municipal and Skilled Trades conference was recently held in Victoria. Local #3799 sent Cathy Bowles and Dale Laluk attended as a member of the Skilled Trades Working Group. Dale’s time, travel and per diem were paid by CUPE BC.
The conference saw for the first time the Municipal sector combine with the Skilled Trades to put on a conference at the same time. Everyone attended a common opening ceremony and plenary and then over the next 2.5 days attended separate sessions more tailored to their groups. A common closing session was held.
The opening plenary saw greetings from the CUPE Presidents’ of Manitoba, Alberta and BC. Saskatchewan had to send regrets and well wishes. Gord Hume was the keynote speaker and he spoke of the trillion dollar deficit in municipal infrastructure and how CUPE members will be involved in the repairs and how we have to lobby for how they are done.
The various session would appeal to a cross section of Muni or Skilled Trades. There are many Skilled Trades workers in the Muni sector.
Some of the sessions held were
- Alphabet Soup – What the various trade deals to me to and you.
- Safety in Trades – One of the original reasons for unions, to improve safety.
- Contracting Out and Bring our Work Back Home
- Understanding Municipal Finances
- Fight back Core services review
- Growing CUPE, Organizing in the Municipal sector
It became apparent that only CUPE BC has a Skilled Trades Working Group. The other provinces attending are now looking to strike their own committees after seeing the benefit of having the mutual dialog. There is also discussion at the national level to have a Muni-Trades convention every two years.
A session of just local reports from BC to Manitoba allowed us to hear some of the issues, triumphs and good news stories from the locals.
The closing morning saw greetings from Paul Moist, CUPE National President encourage us, as members of CUPE to be involved in our local community.
Barry O’Neill ( You can retire from CUPE, but never are allowed to leave ) gave his best presentation so far of the 10% shift. If you don’t know about it please check out www.tenpercentshift.ca or talk with Dawn G. or Charity G.
Charles Fleury, CUPE National Secretary Treasurer gave us an update of the various cost shares throughout the country and how CUPE National is there to assist us.
Paul Faoro, CUPE BC Secretary Treasurer provided the closing speech and encouraged us to take our newly acquired knowledge and share it with our local.