Two years ago today, we opened the 2019-2023 CUPW National Convention, and less than a week later, I was elected CUPW National President. It has been the most exciting and amazing time, but also stressful and sometimes scary. Every day, I am reminded what an honour and a privilege it is to lead this Union and to work with so many incredible and dedicated people.
Our work has been forever changed because of COVID-19, but this terrible virus has strengthened my commitment to achieving dignity and fairness for all CUPW members. This includes RSMCs, our private sector bargaining units, and the members of the Urban Operations bargaining unit. We cannot achieve real equality until we have justice for our Black and racialized members, for women, for Indigenous people, for LGBTQ members, and for members with different abilities.
The next CUPW Convention is in May 2023 and we have lots to do before we get there. This includes, but is not limited to:
- A Federal Election: There is a very high possibility that a Federal Election will be called within the next 12 months. We need to be prepared, and campaign to protect and expand postal services, to improve gig worker rights, to protect pensions, and to elect a pro worker government.
- A green and more sustainable post office: Poll after poll shows that people want our public services to be more sustainable and more environmentally friendly. CUPW has a plan for this – Delivering Community Power. We propose updating the Canada Post fleet to electric and less polluting vehicles, postal banking, and checking in on seniors.
- Bargaining: The RSMC collective agreement expires on December 31, 2021, and the Urban Operations collective agreement expires January 31, 2022. This means that CUPW will begin bargaining with Canada Post this fall. We need strong turnouts at the demands ratification meetings and we need to send a message to both Canada Post and the federal government that we want negotiated collective agreements that address the real issues faced by CUPW members. Many Private Sector Bargaining Units will also be negotiating with their employer over the next two years.
- Challenging racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism, transphobia, ableism, and the legacy of colonization: Recent statistics show that anti-Asian racist incidents have risen by over 700% in Vancouver. The legacy of George Floyd reminds us that anti-Black racism continues. CUPW has a diverse membership. Our members have faced racist slurs and attacks, sexism, transphobia etc. We must stand up for each and focus on the solidarity that unites us.
We have a difficult two years ahead of us, but we will get through it by standing together, staying strong and getting involved.
I am prepared, and I want you to accompany me on this journey of solidarity.