President’s Report – November 15, 2012

“… Unions have done more for humanity than any other organization that ever existed. They have done more for decency, for honesty, for education, for the betterment of the race, for the developing of character in man, than any other association of (wo) men.” Clarence Darrow

Dear Sisters and Brothers:

It has been a privilege to serve as your elected President for the past eight years. As my term ends, I remain dedicated to provide leadership and advocacy for you with the vision to protect and enrich the working lives of all members of our Union who work tirelessly to provide protective services to children and youth and support to families. Despite daily challenges, I am resolute in my responsibility to protect our collective agreement, represent you on committees, at conventions, at the bargaining table and in a range of processes including return to work, restructuring, redeployment, investigations, discipline meetings and grievances.

Many of the important benefits we gain from membership in our Union are priceless: representatives in the workplace, a safe and healthy work environment, a grievance process and a collective voice to bargain over working conditions. Even those who have never belonged to a Union have benefited from their existence all their lives.

Unions continue to be an essential force for democracy. Collective bargaining is the best way to promote basic, democratic principles of fairness and dignity at work. Last year after negotiating for 18 months, through our solidarity, we ratified our collective agreement in what we thought was one of the toughest political and economic climates and achieved remarkable improvements including job security provisions.

However, Unions and public services continue to be attacked at an unprecedented degree. Daily, we witness assaults of our fundamental rights as our government strips workers rights and obstruct the ability of Unions to protect the interests of their members. Our Federal and Provincial governments have restricted, suspended and denied collective bargaining rights for workers all across this country. This attack on labour rights has a broad impact in that it weakens democracy, destroys good jobs, produces greater income inequality and threatens the economic and social well-being of all citizens.

Rights, including labour rights are fundamental pillars to Civilized Society and Democracy. Those pillars came crashing down On September 11,2012 when I , as well as many other Union defenders sat in the public gallery at Queens Park and witnessed a shocking display of Fascism as every Liberal and Conservative MPP voted in favour of Bill 115: An Act to Implement Restraint Measures in the Education Sector . 82 “Ayes” and 15 “Nays”. The D in Democracy was transformed to a D for Dictatorship. Although Parliament is prorogued, the Liberal and Conservative government remains firm in their agenda to dismiss our right to collective bargaining and dictate our terms and conditions of work. Never take for granted what we and those before us have fought for. We have everything to lose. Right now, it is imperative that we all become actively involved in the labour movement’s vigorous and militant push back campaign.

Participation of our members secures our collective strength. I truly value the involvement, loyalty and commitment from those of you who attend meetings, training and Union events. I sincerely appreciate our dedicated members who serve on our executive board, as officers, delegates and committee members. I encourage and welcome member involvement. Thank You to our CUPE National Representative, Paul Edwards and Social Service Co-ordinator, Sarah Declerk. In working together and supporting each other, we are stronger.

In Solidarity, Nancy Simone, President CUPE Local 2190