“I take a great deal of pride in our record of the past year. This annual report is just a snapshot of what we worked on and accomplished in 2019. I think, and hope you agree, it is an impressive record of the work of a relatively small group of skilled and dedicated staff.” ― Larry Brown, NUPGE President
Ottawa (20 Dec. 2019) ― The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) has released its annual report entitled 2019 in Review.
The following is an excerpt from the report. You can read the full report on nupge.ca.
It’s been another active year for the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE)!
It’s difficult to start anywhere else than with our successful Convention in June. Over 350 members of the National Union met in the historic city of Winnipeg, which was in full swing marking the 100-year anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike. Surrounded by the echoes of that important fight for workers’ rights and social justice, NUPGE members took part in our democratic process that lays out the vision for the union for the next 3 years. The decision-making that takes place at our conventions helps build our capacity on the ground across the country and our presence at the national level.
The Convention also saw the acclamation of Bert Blundon, long-time activist from the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE) as the National Union’s new Secretary-Treasurer. It was also at this time that we said goodbye to 2 important people in the union: Elisabeth Ballermann, Secretary-Treasurer and long-time activist from the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA), and Carol Meyer, the Managing Director, who had served on staff in a variety of roles over the years. Both were thanked for their years of leadership and contributions to the union and to working people.
While Convention is a massive undertaking, the National Union was occupied with many more issues throughout the year.
The National Union is particularly proud of the work we have been doing to examine how we as a union bridge the generational divide in our union. We are one of the only national unions examining this aspect of our membership. Stemming from our previous research on communicating with young members, the National Union carried out a survey examining generational cohesion in the union. This research became the cornerstone of the national women’s conference that NUPGE hosted in February.
This year, the National Union continued its long-standing practice of producing research and analysis that benefits our members and the public. We are very proud of a number of important research documents that were produced addressing the concerns of justice workers, and in particular, those who work in the correctional sector. The publications focused on segregation, overcrowding, and mental injury, bringing to light the issues our members in the sector have been raising for decades.
We also championed a number of causes this year, such as pressuring provincial governments to adopt presumptive legislation for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and occupational stress, as well as laws that outline an employer’s responsibility in developing an approach to preventing these types of injuries. Presumptive coverage means that if a worker is diagnosed with PTSD and/or other mental injuries, the injuries are assumed to be the result of workplace trauma. This removes the onus on workers to prove that mental injury was the result of some specific work-related events. These changes will make a world of difference for those who face trauma day in and day out.
Of course, the anti-union attacks keep coming on several fronts —– in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and most recently in Alberta. Whether it is cutting jobs in the education sector, downsizing health care, or going after public pensions, we continue to see the lengths governments will go to in order to strip away the rights of working people and unions. But, true to our values, the Components of the National Union are defending members and their families while making our communities better places to live for everyone.
And, in October, voters went to the polls to elect a new government. To help inform members and the public on their choices, the National Union developed an extensive 2019 Federal Election Voter’s Guide to highlight the party platforms and track records of the Conservative, Liberal, NDP, and Green parties. With a new minority Liberal government in Ottawa, the National Union will continue to pursue the goals of truly universal health care that includes home care, action on climate change with a just transition, and of protecting workers’ rights all across the country.
This report provides the opportunity to reflect on and present some of the excellent work on which the National Union has been concentrating.
Read the full report on nupge.ca.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE