Magazine article Canadian Dimension

Labour Report

Magazine article Canadian Dimension

Labour Report

Article excerpt

CUPW Convention

(Usually I would find it difficult to write about the union for which I have worked for over 22 years. The staff in CUPW does not play a role in political contests within the union and any description of the Convention is bound to be interpreted as displaying some bias. But the 1999 CUPW convention was such a remarkable event that it deserves attention in these pages. So with a bit of trepidation.... here goes.)

For the first time in 25 years, a CUPW convention witnessed several significant election contests. CUPW President Darryl Tingley was challenged by 1st national vice-president Dale Clark, and most of the other top officers faced serious challenges. Yet despite difficult election campaigns being waged in caucus rooms during the meal breaks, the union had one of the most productive conventions in its history. While tough on the leadership, the convention was a breath of fresh air for the delegates. Gone was the practice of repeated and endless procedural delays. Not once did hundreds of delegates line up at microphones to record their dissident votes. Miraculously there was not a single challenge to the chair, no roll-call votes occupying hours of time, no spectacles of multiple points of order being simultaneously fired off at the chair as the convention teetered on chaos. Instead there was debate. Real debate and respectful discussion on the central issues facing post-office workers and the working class in general. .At the end of a long week the union had made several constitutional changes, refined its policies and elected a new leadership team.

Half a million for organizing

External organizing was one of the major issues before the delegates. While the issue of whether to organize was not in dispute, the issues of resources and priorities occupied much of the attention of the delegates. At the end of the day the convention created a new full-time position located at the Ottawa headquarters to co-ordinate the union's organizing drives. …

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