2021 CUPE Ontario Convention: Highlights & Lowlights

Written by: Alissa Cherry (President, CUPE 3907) & Justin Holloway (Vice-President, CUPE 3907)

Your CUPE Local 3907 delegates were very active and present during this year’s provincial convention. With representation at the Racialized Caucus, Women’s Caucus, and the Disabilities Caucus, and throughout the conference generally, the issues you face as a Graduate Assistant at OISE were always part of the conversation and in our minds when voting. While we support our siblings at other CUPE locals, it was also a convention that tackled serious issues of racial justice and policing, which unfortunately led to disappointment. With racial slurs being tolerated, support for violent policing, and a heated discussion on the definition of antisemitism, it became only more evident that we have work to do to support each other and our community. Unions are inherently progressive and democratic, that being said a member’s voice will always be heard whether we agree or disagree, sometimes resulting in disappointments like we witnessed at convention. We can only look forward now, and take this summer to listen to each other and stand arm in arm (at 6ft distance) with one another when they file a grievance, discuss moments of uncomfortability in the workplace, and fight for a stronger and more comprehensive collective agreement.

Solidarity with students, faculty, and staff at Laurentian University

The second day of the 2021 CUPE Ontario Convention saw discussion and voting on resolutions dealing with the university sector. CUPE represents most students and teachers working in the university sector in Ontario, so these resolutions were given their own block of time to be thoroughly considered. The very first of these was resolution #64 which called on CUPE Ontario to develop a campaign for fighting the Ford government’s failure to protect public higher education by allowing the senior administration at Laurentian University to use an inappropriate bankruptcy provision for businesses (Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act) to impose mass layoffs and austerity measures on workers at Laurentian U. There was a spirited discussion by several CUPE Ontario members who all lamented the fact that Premier Ford along with Ross Romano (the Minister for Colleges and Universities) allowed a public university in Ontario to be so financially mismanaged in the first place, and furthermore, that they also allowed this same university to financially implode without taking any real measures to intervene to alleviate the pain and suffering felt by students, faculty, and staff who weren’t at all responsible for the impropriety. To this point David Simao from CUPE Local 1281 said that “if the government isn’t insolvent then a public university shouldn’t be” and Robert Walker from CUPE Local 4207 echoed this by stating “if Laurentian is bankrupt, then Ontario is bankrupt”. Needless to say–resolution #64 passed overwhelmingly with 97% of members voting yes.

For more information on this year’s convention:

Final CUPE ON Action Plan 2021

CUPE ON Pre-Convention Newsletter

CUPE ON Day 2 Newsletter

CUPE ON Day 3 Newsletter