June 15 2022
“We need to make sure that we don’t return to the ways things were. We need a plan for a recovery where we put people ahead of profit. Where workers are considered heroes, not a line item in a budget. We’re here in Newfoundland to set our path forward and to ensure everyone in Canada has more opportunities to succeed.” — Larry Brown, President
Ottawa (15 June 2022) — The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is holding its Triennial Convention from June 17 to 19 in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Delegates at NUPGE convention to chart the course for next 3 years
“We haven’t had a convention in Newfoundland in over 32 years,” said Larry Brown, NUPGE President. “And we are thrilled to be back.”
Over 500 delegates, observers, and guests from across the country will be arriving to take part in the highest governing body of NUPGE. Delegates will have the opportunity to discuss policy, hold elections, and lay out a strategic plan for the next 3 years.
“This is a critical time for the labour movement,” said Brown. “We are coming out of the worst health care crisis in decades. Families are hurting, small and medium-sized businesses are hurting. If it hadn’t been for the pressure of union members urging governments to provide more assistance, the situation could have been much worse. We were successful in helping people get some relief and support, but we’re not done.”
“We need to make sure that we don’t return to the ways things were. We need a plan for a recovery where we put people ahead of profit. Where workers are considered heroes, not a line item in a budget. We’re here in Newfoundland to set our path forward and to ensure everyone in Canada has more opportunities to succeed.”
Conventions are also a time to introduce union members to big thinkers, engaging speakers, and policy experts. This year, NUPGE welcomes 2 prominent speakers from the Canadian labour movement:
- Mary Shortall, President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour (NLFL)
- Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC)
Each will talk about the recovery of our domestic economy, the challenges we are facing, and how workers need to be on the frontline of mapping out our country’s future.
As part of the global labour movement, delegates will hear from Pauline Rourke, President of the Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC), in the Building Back Better session of the agenda. Rourke will provide a perspective on how Scotland is rebuilding in the wake of COVID, how they are facing the challenges in the health care sector, and how the rising cost of living is affecting communities across the country. Her address will provide an international perspective to the fight for economic and social justice.
A major topic during Convention 2022 is the fight against climate change. To speak to this issue, NUPGE has invited Anjali Appadurai, the Campaigns Director at the Climate Emergency Unit and Founder of the Padma Centre for Climate Justice. She will address the connections between climate change and globalization, colonization, and economic inequality.
Passing the torch
After 3 decades as an officer of NUPGE, first as Secretary-Treasurer and then as President, Larry Brown is retiring. Brown announced in 2022 that he would not seek another term. In his statement, Brown said:
the challenges we face today are serious, and dangerous. A part of me would love to don once more my dented and rusted armour, mount my tired but trusty steed, and charge off one more time to fight the good and noble fight. But another part of me, the more sensible part, knows that it is time to leave the field of battle, knowing that the labour movement is not, and never has been, reliant on a small number of individuals. It is instead what the name suggests, a movement, where leaders rise and then step aside so that others can step into the breach.
Elections will be held for the positions of President and Secretary-Treasurer. 2 candidates have announced their decision to run for the top posts. Bert Blundon, currently the Secretary-Treasurer for NUPGE, will run for President Jason MacLean, formerly the President of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU), is running for the Secretary-Treasurer position.
“Convention is our highest decision-making body, and democracy in action,” said Brown. “Delegates will choose their new leaders, and we trust our members to make the best choice for the future of NUPGE.”