The Confederation of Canadian Unions held its biennial convention on September 29th and 30th in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Convention kicked off with a labour school presented by Joanie Cameron Pritchett on the Together Fairness Works campaign, which highlights communication strategies with union and non-union workers, and the general public about the gains the labour movement has achieved and continues to strive for to the benefit of all Canadians.
Also on the agenda was Max Haiven, a professor of social sciences at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax. Haiven enlightened delegates about the recent struggles of educational and public sector workers in Canada, and the fight back campaign against the corporatization of colleges and universities throughout North America. Haiven’s enthusiasm energized the delegates, many of whom work in the education sector.
Another keynote speaker was NDP Member of Parliament for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, Robert Chisholm, who discussed the issue of growing inequality, and what unions, workers and progressive Canadians can do to work together to fight the pro-corporate agenda of Stephen Harper and right-wing governments throughout the country.
A new executive was also elected to lead the CCU. Delegates chose John Hanrahan as the new President, and Frank Robertson as the new Vice President.
Both have years of leadership experience in the labour movement in Canada. John Hanrahan is President of the Nova Scotia Union of Public and Private Employees (NSUPE), while Frank Robertson is Vice President of the Pulp, Paper, and Woodworkers of Canada (PPWC).
Michael Belanger was re-elected as Secretary and Janet Brewer was re-elected as Treasurer. Both are from the York University Staff Association (YUSA).
The Confederation was also proud to welcome the Construction Maintenance and Allied Workers (CMAW) as its newest affiliate. President Hanrahan and outgoing President Joanie Cameron Pritchett were joined by all delegates in expressing the CCU’s pride in being affiliated with CMAW. The union is a prime example of an independent and democratic Canadian union, and will feel very much at home inside the CCU. CMAW will also add strongly to the fabric of the CCU.
In the spirit of international solidarity, and in order to stand with workers worldwide to defend and improve workers’ rights on a global level, delegates at convention voted to seek affiliation with the International Trade Union Confederation, the world’s largest trade union federation which represents over 175 million workers from 311 affiliated organizations within 155 countries.
The ITUC traces its origins back to the First International and in 2014 will commemorate its 150th Anniversary at its world congress in Berlin. The CCU is proud to join three other Canadian union confederations, including the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), Le Centrale des Syndicats Democratiques (CSD), and Le Confederation des Syndicats Nationaux (CSN) in becoming a full member of the ITUC.
“I look forward to working with all affiliates of the CCU to continue the organization’s fine tradition of defending workers’ rights, democracy and social justice in Canada,” said President John Hanrahan.
“In this time of growth for the CCU, we look not only to expand throughout Canada, but to help fight for the rights of working people around the world.”