Nan McFadgen re-elected president of CUPE Nova Scotia

Nan McFadgen, president of CUPE Nova Scotia, was re-elected at the union’s 54th annual convention on May 31, 2017. More than 200 voting delegates from locals across the province attended the convention held May 28 to 31, at the Best Western Glengarry Hotel in Truro.

Other election results are as follows:

  • Dave Dort, recording secretary
  • Donna Vankroonenburg, three-year trustee
  • Chris Melanson, vice-president, Halifax
  • Marcy Vacon, vice-president, Yarmouth
  • Liz Paris, equity vice-president

The convention addressed several issues of concern to CUPE members, their families and communities in the province, including the provincial election, privatization threats, Bill 148 and other regressive pieces of legislation from the McNeil government.

CUPE Nova Scotia represents more than 19,000 working women and men employed throughout the public sector. We are proud to be part of Canada’s largest and fastest- growing union. CUPE represents workers in health care, education, municipalities, libraries, child care, universities, social services, public utilities, transportation, emergency services, and airlines.

CUPE members are service-providers, white-collar workers, technicians, labourers, skilled tradespeople, and professionals. More than two-thirds of CUPE members are women. About one-third of our members work part-time.

Convention Bulletin – Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Breakfast with the national officers

CUPE’s national leaders treated delegates to a hot buffet breakfast on Tuesday morning and provided some good speeches for dessert.

While delegates tucked into their eggs and such, National President Mark Hancock and National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury spoke about crucial issues facing workers – and the support that CUPE offers to help them rise to the challenge.

Hancock encouraged them to resist the pernicious trend of two-tier contracts. To fight this false division of contracts, Hancock said that member engagement was key.

“We don’t want our members getting information from the bosses – it’s way better if they hear it from us,” Hancock said.

Hancock underlined the importance of two key issues for CUPE – stopping precarious work and stopping violence in the workplace. Bargaining improvements – around working conditions, scheduling, wages, benefits and pensions – don’t have to be huge to make a real difference in peoples’ lives, Hancock said.

Hancock describe a recent Ontario conference he had attended where member after member described the kind of injuries they had suffered during their work as health care workers.

“Let’s get one thing clear: violence is not part of the job – any job,” Hancock said. He described the efforts also of education sector workers, who had document their own injuries they had suffered on the job. Employers continue to expect workers to just accept it, but they won’t.

“It’s time to turn the tide,” Hancock said. “If not CUPE then who will? I say we can take it on and improve the lives of our members.”

“Under the National Defence Fund, every local can apply for ‘cost shared’ campaigns that are split 50-50 with the national office,” Fleury explained.

“Locals running these kinds of campaigns must mobilize their members and work closely with their staff and communications representatives.”

If a strike is on the horizon, the national office will cover 100 percent of expenses to help prevent a work stoppage under the National Strike Fund,” Fleury said.

“If bargaining breaks down, or a strike or lock-out happens, the National Strike Fund is there to help you,” Fleury said.

Support includes strike pay, benefit contributions if the employer stops paying them, legal costs and more.

Fleury described recent changes to the National Strike Fund including shorter waiting periods for members to receive strike pay, better coverage for illness and improved accommodations for picket duty or other strike related activities.

Performance for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

In October 2016, Canada’s unions staged a unique and powerful performance with music by A Tribe Called Red, video, holograms and dance to honour Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women.

CUPE delegates watched the CLC video today, presented by Gloria Lepine, CUPE national diversity vice-president.

“That video really affects me. I have a daughter. It’s time for justice. It’s time for justice,” said Nan McFadgen, CUPE Nova Scotia president.

Watch the video

Committee election results

Human Rights Committee

Dwayne Tattrie
Donna McCarthy
Anthony Riley
Steve Stewart

Political Action Committee

Russell Ganaway
Mark Cunningham
Jacqui Giffen
Carmie Erickson

Women’s Committee

Michelle Banfield
Kelsie Croft
Nicole Barkhouse
KC MacPherson
Sharon Hubley


Power in a Union
Billy Bragg

Union Song
Tom Morello

What’s Up
4 Non Blondes

Stand by Me

Redemption Song
Bob Marley

Have You Been to Jail for Justice
Anne Feeney

Jully Black

Credentials Report

8 – CUPE NS Executive Board members
2 – CUPE National officers and staff
3 – CUPE National Executive Board members
3 – CUPE National staff
14 – CUPE staff
9 – Guest
0 – Observers
8 -Exhibitors
223 – Voting delegates
3 – Alternate delegates

Convention Bulletin – Monday, May 29, 2017

Fighting back against precarious work

CUPE National President Mark Hancock gave his opening remarks today. He focused on the need to oppose austerity, two-tier contracts and the growing concern of precarious work – work that is temporary, short term, part-time, casual and contract.

“We hear a lot about precarious work these days,” Hancock said. “It’s more than a buzz word. Everywhere I go I hear about the spread of precarious work and its impact on workers. It’s becoming the norm.”

“Across the country, governments have misplaced priorities. At the ground level, you know what that looks like – attacks on wages, benefits, pensions. Making full-time jobs into part time, short term, precarious.”

Hancock warned that the McNeil government’s privatization rampant agenda would only create more precarious work.

“The McNeil government is just not listening anymore,” Hancock said. “They are out of step with the needs of Nova Scotia families. We can do so much better than Stephen McNeil and the Liberals.”

He urged CUPE members to take action – at the bargaining table and at the polls. “Let’s organize better. Let’s get smarter and tougher at the bargaining tables. No matter what happens, it’s up to us to keep working.”

“Will you stand with me to fight against hate, division and austerity? Will you stand with me to build a better future for our members and for all Canadians?” Hancock asked. The 280 people in the room stood and cheered their agreement.

Credentials Report

8 – CUPE NS Executive Board members

2 – CUPE National officers and staff

3 – CUPE National Executive Board members

3 – CUPE National staff

14 – CUPE staff representatives

7 – Guest

0 – Observers

8 – Exhibitors

222 – Voting delegates

3 – Alternate delegates

Delegates debate resolutions

Delegated debated a range of issues and passed many resolutions on Monday, including support for public water, support for a higher provincial minimum wage and increased public awareness against domestic violence and intimate partner abuse, among other issues.

CUPE Nova Scotia’s Women’s Committee submitted the resolution on violence. Delegates told stories that underscored the urgency – and life or death nature – of the issue, and the need for our union to keep working to prevent violence and support its victims.

Delegates engaged in many thorough discussions today, including the need to increase the province’s minimum wage to $15/hour, a resolution submitted by CUPE Local 108. Delegates supported the call for the union to continue to participate in the Nova Scotia Needs a Raise Coalition.

Delegates supported resolutions on the merits of public water and water justice. CUPE Nova Scotia Global Justice Committee sponsored a resolution encouraging locals to organize to declare their municipalities “Blue Communities” and to fight the bottled water industry.

CUPE 227, meanwhile, brought forward the call to continue to campaign for water justice for indigenous communities, noting that 73 percent of Indigenous communities are at high or medium risk of waterborne contamination. Both resolutions passed.

Delegates also passed several constitutional amendments. They included a new requirement that Division budget updates take place at all table officer meetings; an expanded role for the VP Equity to support equity- seeking efforts beyond Anti-Racism; and a commitment to provide communications updates electronically.

Not one step back

Charles Fleury, CUPE National Secretary- Treasurer, encouraged members to fight back against the failed policy of using public-private partnerships (P3s) to build much-needed new infrastructure, schools and hospitals.

“That is not what our members and Nova Scotians deserve. Wherever things like these happen in Canada, we have to fight back,” Fleury said.

Fleury thanked the convention delegates for standing up for each other, for public services and for our communities. “When our members stand up in their workplaces and in their communities, nothing can stop them,” Fleury said.

“When CUPE members are fully engaged, when locals are fully prepared, we can fight back at the bargaining table. Because in CUPE, we bargain forward, not backward.”

“Our National Strike Fund is very healthy, with over ninety-five million dollars in the bank,” Fleury said. “This is dedicated money that can only be used for strike- related issues. We also made improvements to our Strike Fund regulations to help our members when they need us.”

In closing, Fleury encouraged locals to submit their Trustees’ Reports and he reminded delegates of the educational and training opportunities available to help union financial officers grow in their roles.

Health and Safety Award

Congratulations to Tracey Sullivan, member of CUPE Local 5047 – this year’s recipient of the CUPE Nova Scotia Occupational Health and Safety Award!

Check out all of the photos on Flickr.

Download a printable copy of the Monday bulletin.

Convention Bulletin – Sunday, May 28, 2017

Opening of the 54th Division Convention

The 54th annual convention of the Nova Scotia Division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees opened tonight, Sunday, May 28, 2017.

There were 205 people attending, including 174 voting delegates and three alternates, according to the Credentials Committee.

Mi’kmaq singer and drummer Jared Gloade opened the evening with the Mi’kmaq Honour Song (see call-out below for the translated words) and welcomed CUPE members to unceded Mi’kmaq territory.

No matter who we are, we are always respect each other as human beings. Always respect Mother Earth for what she provides. Always respect why Creator has put us here on earth.––Mi'kmaq honour song

Technical difficulties with the sound system gave delegates the opportunity to sing the national anthem in an impromptu choir; delegates sang it loud and proud.

Once seated, members shared the Equality Statement, Code of Conduct and were introduced to the CUPE Nova Scotia Executive Board, National Officers and members of CUPE’s National Executive Board. The Convention was officially called to order and members of committees gave their reports; all were adopted and official business ended. Members of equity-seeking groups held a caucus upon adjournment.

Credentials Report

8 – CUPE NS Executive Board members

3 – CUPE National officers and staff

3 – CUPE National Executive Board members

10 – CUPE staff

1 – Guest

0 – Observers

3 – Exhibitors

174 – Voting delegates

3 – Alternate delegates

New Delegates Orientation

A lively introduction to the purpose of convention, its procedures, traditions and possibilities.

Specific aspects of parliamentary procedure were explained, including the voting process, tiling the doors, pro and con mics and the act of “calling the question.”

Points of privilege, points of order and other ways to manage the conversation in the room were also discussed. Interpretive dances were mentioned frequently.

Don’t be frightened of the procedure – it’s to keep the conversation moving efficiently and respectfully. Get up and say your piece at the mic. First timers’ mic get a prize – and a round of applause. Be brave – this is all about solidarity and having a voice.

Ombudspersons are on hand to hear from you in case you experience any incident or behaviour that runs contrary to CUPE’s Equality Statement and Code of Conduct. The phone number is on the back of your badges.

Check out the tables set up in the hallway – you’ll find information about health and safety, education, as well as various committees including pensions, women’s and social justice. Find out what else CUPE is about!

Quote of the night

“We still have to keep the torch burning folks, so we can light the way for the youth of today. So, within CUPE I say, united we stand, divided we fall. So, let’s unite!” Liz Paris, VP Equity

Check out all of the photos on Flickr.

Download a printable copy of the Sunday bulletin.

54th Annual Convention Call – 2017

Please see the attached documents relating to the 54th Annual CUPE Nova Scotia Convention.  Convention runs from Sunday, May 28th and ends on close of business on Wednesday, May 31.  All delegates are encouraged to make arrangements to stay until the end of business.

Document 1 – 2017 Convention Call Documents

Document _2 – CUPE NS Education Committee Letter November 7, 2015

Document _3 – 2017 Blank Resolution Form

Document _4 – Sample Resolution

Document _5 – 2017 Blank Constitutional Amendment Form

Document _6 – 2017 Resolutions and Constitutional Amendments – Important Info

Document _7 – 2017 Convention Solidarity Assistance Fund – Did You Know

Document _8 – 2017 Guidelines CUPE NS Convention Solidarity Assistance Fund

Document _9 – 2017 Form CUPE NS Convention Solidarity Assistance Fund

Document _10 – 2017 Child Care Request

Document _11 – 2017 CUPE NS Special Meal Request

Document _12 – Per Capita Increase Letter February 1, 2017

Document _13 – 2017 Barb Kowlaski Literacy Award

Document _14 – 2017 CUPE NS OH&S Award

Document _15 – 2017 Steward Of The Year Nomination Form

Document _16 – 2017 CUPE NS Rocky Jones Bursary

Document _17 – 2017 Higgins Insurance Scholarship