Celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day

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National Indigenous Peoples Day is an occasion to celebrate Indigenous history, culture, diversity and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples.

June 21st is the longest day of the year, also called, the summer solstice, which holds a deep cultural, historical, and spiritual significance for many Indigenous peoples and communities.

In addition to celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day, this day serves to address the challenges and issues Indigenous Peoples face on Turtle Island. It is a platform to raise awareness about the importance of reconciliation, promoting understanding, and working towards a more equitable and inclusive society.

In the spirit of learning and moving toward reconciliation, we welcome you to make employment equity a priority and to read or order copies of the CUPE National Truth and Reconciliation Bargaining Guide, and to consider how to incorporate this into your next round of bargaining.

The CUPE Atlantic Maritime Indigenous Council (CAMIC) encourages all locals to take the time to attend Indigenous cultural celebrations and events, support an Indigenous-owned business, participate in a Pride event in your region and take part in any other activities that celebrates Indigenous culture in your community.

If you have any questions on how we can work with you, your local or your leaders, please send us an email at: cupe.atl.mar.indigenous.council@gmail.com.

In Solidarity,
CAMIC members,
Brandice Blanchard, Vice-Chair for the CUPE Atlantic Maritime Indigenous Council

Download a copy of this letter: ENGLISH or FRANÇAIS

Check out some of the new Union Education classes running this Fall!

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This fall, CUPE will be running tons of education classes for CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador members. They’re free and a great chance to get involved!

More to come soon!

CUPE St. John’s Area Office:

September 14 (9:00 AM – 5:00 PM)

Financial Essentials

https://cupe.ca/mrm-union-education/event/7798

 

September 15  (9:00 AM – 12:00 PM)

Bylaw Essentials:

https://cupe.ca/mrm-union-education/event/7799

 

October 5 – 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Introduction to Stewarding

https://cupe.ca/mrm-union-education/event/7822

October 6 – 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Duty of Fair Representation

https://cupe.ca/mrm-union-education/event/7823

Sherry and Mark speak on our 50th Convention

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We recieved some lovely coverage of our 50th convention by VOCM and the Tim Powers Show. If you missed it, take a listen below!

VOCM Interview with Mark Hancock:

There’s a lot of different challenges that our members face: affordability is one. We’ve seen cost of living the last few years just skyrocketing; wages have not kept up during that time. Folks are really feeling it. They’re feeling the crux when it comes to putting food on their table, putting gas in their car. I see gas is about $1.91 here. It’s just about 2 dollars back home, but in a lot of other places, it’s not that high. But being able to put gas in your car to get to work, to get to hockey games, to those types of things, is super important. So, the affordability crisis is definitely top, front and centre for a lot of folks here.

How do things that are happening here compare to what you’re seeing in other jurisdictions across the country?

Well, there’s two provinces where things are going much better. That’s my home province of British Columbia and then also Manitoba. Those are the two provinces where we have NDP governments that really care about workers. They care about the citizens. They’re dealing with issues like the affordability crisis. They’re dealing with a lot of those other types of issues that are important to our members and Canadians generally. But across the rest of the country, whether its Saskatchewan, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, pretty much everywhere else where there’s a non-New Democratic Party in power, workers are def struggling.

Aside from simply being of a different political affiliation, what those governments doing that maybe you’d like to see implemented in this province?

Sure, well, they’re actually consulting and listening to leaders, not just of CUPE but of other unions. Here, and I’ve heard this a few times, when they’re talking of consultation, it’s giving our provincial president a call 15 minutes before they make the announcement. That’s not consultation. That’s telling us what’s happening.

But in those other provinces like British Columbia and Manitoba, there is real consultation. They bring union leaders in. They bring front line workers into meetings. They talk whether it’s health care, whether its social services, and they have real meaningful discussions, and those discussions make up the policies and laws as we move forward. That’s a big difference.

What else is coming down the pipe now? What else is on the agenda?

Of course, there’s the usual resolutions and some constitutional amendments, but what we’ve been talking about for the last day and a half and what we’ll be talking about for the next day is that politics matter.

Because we talk about a lot of different things that impact people’s life whether it’s the economy, whether it’s the environment, whether it’s health care, and all those things at their fundamental core really are about politics and those are decisions that are being made in parliaments, whether its here in Newfoundland and Labrador or in Ottawa, and those are decisions that are being made and are impacting people’s lives.

So, our message to our delegates and our messages to CUPE members and really Canadians across the country is that politics matter. You might not like talking politics, it may be uncomfortable, but they really matter and they [the people] need to get involved. They need to pay attention to what people like Pierre Poilievre are saying but more so what he’s done in the past. What his record’s ben when it comes to dealing with unions like ours or dealing with childcare where he’s voted against it.  So really, it’s an issue about politics and we want people to really start paying attention.

A lot of [news] has been made about the use of the P3 model for various projects, what are your thoughts on that?

P3s are a joke. I mean, they’re good for corporations, usually multinationals. I’ve been National President for a little over 8 years and Newfoundland and Labrador was the last place to actually see public private partnerships. Sure, there was some privatization, some contracting out going on, but this whole scale move to P3s is bad from everybody. It’s bad for average citizens. It’s bad for small business. It’s bad for workers generally. It’s bad for everybody. There’s lots of studies out there.

When they brought them to British Columbia, when they brought them to Alberta and other provinces, we looked at what had happed in the U.K. where they brought them in a couple decades ago and we knew they were bad news from what happened there. Now you just need to look at those provinces that have P3s and the costs associated. It’s up to 50% more to deliver services through P3s. So, I don’t know why they brought them in here when everyone else was starting to get out of them.

The Tim Powers Show with Sherry Hillier:

Flying along this afternoon and now going to land on CUPE and hear about their 50th convention meeting that was held in St. John’s this weekend—it’s not even the weekend, it’s Wednesday. This week. Oh, Sherry Hillier, I’m all confused and you can help guide me. How was your event and what were some of the key things you discussed?

Hi Tim, thank you for having me on the show and yes, it’s been a long week. I almost forgot to come on your show!

Don’t worry about it.

We’re celebrating 50 years and 50 years of solidarity. It’s been a lot of reminiscing about CUPE for the past 50 years and how far we’ve come in achieving diversity within our union. But there are some things that haven’t changed in 50 years. The struggles of privatization. You know, the theme of our convention was why politics matter and members really took to the theme of our convention.

It was interesting. I saw the comments of Mark Hancock, the national president, talking about it being part and parcel of being considered and consultation and those things being legitimate and arguing that you’re seeing some of that that in British Columbia and Manitoba, but Newfoundland and Labrador and other jurisdictions need to do better. Is that still a challenge Sherry in Newfoundland and Labrador? To get at the right tables to be properly consulted?

Absolutely, Tim, because unions, I know for CUPE and I only speak for CUPE, we’re not being consulted at all. When things happen within government, we usually get 15 minutes, and I’m tired of saying 15 minutes, but that is the consultation we get. [They say] Hey, Sherry, this is what’s going to happen at 2 o’clock. Governments going to release this press release on what’s happening either within health care, education, and right down now to Newfoundland and Labrador Housing.

Every Newfoundlander and Labradorian that wanted to watched the budget [at 2 p.m. on March 21st] and I got a phone call at 1:45 that Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation was going back under core government services because I do believe that many, many years ago, that they took Newfoundland and Labrador Housing and made it a corporation to make it more feasible for public housing but now government has taken it back and we didn’t get the chance to ask that question of why they wanted to take it back.

It is interesting to me because you will know one of the, I don’t know if it’s a myth, one of things that I always here around St. John’s. maybe it’s a townie thing, is that the unions have too much influence with the government. The government is afraid to do things because they’ll get push back from the unions be it you, or Jerry [NAPE], or Trent [NTLA], or one of the big union leaders are going to push back on something. But I’m guess that you don’t have that view that you have this influence that government is prepared to do some of the things you say to the degree you would like?

Absolutely, and I don’t think that hardly any of us are getting any big consultation because government has a focus, they have a plan, and they’re plan is already written so it’s just a matter of how they want to roll out their plan. Like, a P3 highway, Tim, that was announced out of nowhere. Really, did Newfoundlanders and Labradorians need a P3 highway? I’ve been in the union world for a long time and back in 2000, we had a contracting out and privatization conference and it was all the lies of P3 and that was the whole conference. We went around and educated the residents of Newfoundland and Labrador about the slippery slope and P3s. Back in the 2000s, we fought back, and government stopped the P3s. But in the last 5 years everything this liberal government is planning to do is P3s. CUPE is a national union with three quarters of a million members from coast to coast to coast. I sit at the board of directors with 35 other people, and we know the dangerous things that happen with P3s. From BC to the province you’re in right now, to Ontario. What has happened when government had built P3s and then had to buy them back. It’s our tax dollars that government’s using. Would you go out and buy a car on your credit card?

I don’t have that much limit, but I would just say one thing. I think it is also how you define it. Because you’re talking to the son of a contractor who built roads all over NLs, private contractor, but I know the point you’re making is that private contractors can build roads and should be maintained in these cases but still owned by the province. Is that fair? Am I interpreting that the right way?

Yes, that’s fair. Very fair.

Last question I have for you. It’s one you flagged at the beginning and one that’s popping up in different places and the theme of your conference. The political dimension of it. How do you do that in this day and age? I mean, it’s fascinating at the national level, and it has to be fascinating for you, to watch conservatives that haven’t always been in the same spot as labour, trying to attract labour votes. You see the NDP not having the same appeal to your members to your members both provincial and nationally and the liberals who have had good report they’ve had bad report that’s often been one of convenience so when you talk at this convention about politics how do you try to line in with political parties or are you less inclined to do that and more focused on issues and massing support for those issues?

Well, it’s no secret that CUPE is partisan with the NDP, and we always have been since the days of Tommy Douglas, but the theme of the convention is to our members and the things that are going to be happening that we’ll be rolling our in the next three to four months. It’s why you should get involved and why politics are very important. We get to choose who the next premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, that’s within our voting rights. Municipally and federally, we’re electing our next employer, that’s who we are bargaining with at the bargaining table. We’re seeing crappy 2%, 8% over 4 years, not even enough to cover inflation, but if we were to elect a more union friendly government that respects the workers and gives them fair increases. Government has no problem spending money on contracting our or bringing agency nurses is. I know that it’s a hot topic, that 36 million dollars, but that’s contracting out the work. Why not take that money and bring it back in? If you were the employer, which Premier Furey is the provincial government’s employee’s employer, why not give more wages to this staff, these employees, that are already employed here in Newfoundland and Labrador? Keep the money here, increase the wages, not send it out to agency nurse who bring it back to Ontario to spend. Keep the money, keep the workers. There’s no shortage of workers. There’s just a shortage of wages. We’re never going to keep workers in jobs if we do not start increase the wages.

And that is certainly a point being made all across the country and the myth in Newfoundland and Labrador, I think, is getting cracked that people just come home because they love living at home. Well, they also like to be paid. We’ll leave it there, Sherry. I appreciate the time, thank you for making it on. I’m glad you guys had a good convention. Thank you.

Thank you. I’d like to say one more thing. Happy Nursing Week to all the registered nurses, nurse practitioners, licensed practical nurses, and personal care attendants. Have a happy Nursing Week and thank you for everything that you do!

Convention Bulletin – Final day and elections

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Today was the last day of the 50th annual CUPE Newfoundland & Labrador convention! After a wonderful banquet dinner marking the 50th anniversary of CUPE NL delegates gathered for an election forum and heard from delegates coming forward for executive positions.

     
Delegates also heard from the Resolutions Committee and Constitution Committee, and our Canadian Labour Congress Representative for Newfoundland & Labrador, Kelly Codner.  Speaking to Why Politics Matter, the convention theme, Sister Codner talked about the work the CLC has done in holding all parties accountable to workers in our province—and across Canada—and the plans to fight for working people in the political sphere.


Finally, three executive positions were up for election, and the following delegates were acclaimed:

  • Natalie Webber, Executive Officer
  • Erin Woodfine, Executive Officer
  • Stacey Lucas, Secretary-Treasurer
  • Mike Tobin, Vice-President

Danielle Payne (below, right) and Crystal Kierney (below, left) and were nominated for the position of Three-Year Trustee, and while ballots were collected, CUPE PEI President Ashley Clark led the room in a jovial round of Solidarity Forever.

   
Your CUPE NL Executive are:

  • Sherry Hillier (Local 879), President
  • Mike Tobin (Local 879), Vice-President
  • Theresa Gillam (Local 4935), Recording Secretary
  • Eileen Morgan (Local 488), Trustee
  • Suzanne Hiron (Local 3148), Trustee
  • Stacey Lucas (Local 2329), Secretary Treasurer
  • Natalie Webber (Local 1615), Executive Officer
  • Erin Woodfine (Local 1289), Executive Officer
  • Brandice Blanchard (Local 4935), Diversity Vice-President
  • Stephanie LeGrow (Local 3762), Diversity Vice-President
  • Trevor Carson (Local 4935), Young Worker
  • Danielle Payne (Local 879), Three-Year Trustee

Our thanks to delegates for a wonderful 2024 convention. We are so proud to be celebrating 50 years of fighting for working people in Newfoundland & Labrador.


(Back row, left to right: Name, Trevor Carson, Eileen Morgan, Brandice Blanchard, Stephanie LeGrow, Danielle Payne. Front row, left to right: Natalie Webber, Mike Tobin, Sherry Hillier, Stacey Lucas, Theresa Morgan.)

Convention Bulletin – A packed Day 2 for CUPE NL

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The second day of our 50th annual convention started bright and early with a breakfast meeting sponsored by National President Mark Hancock and National Secretary-Treasurer Candace Rennick who also participated in a Q&A with delegates.

   
Today’s full agenda continued with rousing presentations by guest speakers including provincial NDP leader Jim Dinn, President of the federal NDP Mary Shortall, and Yolanda McClean, the Secretary-Treasurer of CUPE Ontario, who spoke about the Women in Leadership Development (WILD) program.

       
Brandice Blanchard, member of the CUPE Atlantic Maritimes Indigenous Council (CAMIC), addressed the plenary speaking to the work vital CAMIC does to support our Indigenous – First Nations, Métis, and Inuit members.

   
Delegates also enjoyed a screening of Bargaining Forward, the newly released documentary exploring the strategic mobilization and organizing work which culminated in a powerful province-wide strike involving 22,000 public sector workers in New Brunswick in 2021, followed by comments from CUPE New Brunswick President Stephen Drost.

      National International Solidarity Representative Kelti Cameron presented the newly launched Temporary foreign workers in our union: A solidarity and action guide to the plenary. The guide includes eight specific actions that members, locals, and divisions can implement to support fellow workers and members with precarious immigration status and spoke to the absolutely critical nature of this work in strengthening the labour movement.

Three resolutions and eight constitutional amendments were debated on the convention floor, with the following results:

  • Resolution #5: On cost-of-living adjustments – PASSED
  • Resolution #16: Safe Drinking Water – PASSED
  • Constitutional Amendment #1: On the Equality Statement – PASSED
  • Constitutional Amendment #3: To Article 7 – Duties of Officers and Trustees – PASSED
  • Constitutional Amendment #4: To Article 7 – Duties of Officers and Trustees – PASSED
  • Constitutional Amendment #5: To Article 7 – Duties of Officers and Trustees – PASSED
  • Constitutional Amendment #6: To Article 9 – Finance – PASSED
  • Constitutional Amendment #7: To Article 9 – Finance – PASSED
  • Constitutional Amendment #8: Adding the Code of Conduct – PASSED

Resolution #1: Hybrid was withdrawn, and Constitutional Amendment #2: To Article 4 – Conventions was defeated.

The day’s agenda wrapped with a report from Atlantic Regional Director Tracey Pinder, who spoke to the theme of this year’s convention: Why Politics Matter, reminding delegates about the importance of being politically engaged, and how that connects to our union activism. She also introduced Resource Staff and Servicing Representatives from the Atlantic Regional Office.

   
Several delegates were also presented prizes won at the breakfast meeting and through a raffle sponsored by Higgins Insurance. The generously donated prizes included an $800 travel voucher, laptop, and cafe gift cards.

Also today, elections were held for three new positions on the CUPE NL executive, as decided by members at last year’s convention.

The Black, Racialized and Indigenous Workers Caucus elected Brandice Blanchard (furthest left) of Local 4935 as Diversity Vice-President.

The People with Disabilities, 2SLGBTQIA+ and Women Workers Caucus elected Stephanie LeGrow (immediate left) as a second Diversity Vice-President.

Trevor Carson of Local 4935 was elected as Young Worker by the Young Workers Caucus (third from right, below).

Convention Bulletin – Day 1 in sunny St. John’s!

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The 50th annual CUPE Newfoundland & Labrador convention kicked off today with much fanfare; delegates enjoyed music from the St. John’s Mi’kmaq Women’s Circle, sang Happy Birthday to National President Mark Hancock, and got the first glimpse of our brand new CUPE NL trailer which will be touring the province this summer.

    Along with first-day fun, there were also several engaging discussions as delegates took to the convention floor to discuss the following resolutions:

  • Resolution #2: Truth and Reconciliation Day – PASSED
  • Resolution #3: On educating members on the dangers of privatization – PASSED
  • Resolution #4: On funding public for public libraries – PASSED

       

  • Resolution #6: On contracting out of public services – PASSED
  • Resolution #7: On public housing – PASSED
  • Resolution #8: On by-stander training for members – PASSED
  • Resolution #9: On CUPE NL services for persons with disabilities – PASSED

  • Resolution #10: On CUPE NL’s participation in a Just Transition – PASSED
  • Resolution #11: On climate literacy – PASSED
  • Resolution #12: CUPE Truth and Reconciliation Strategy – PASSED
  • Resolution #13: Drag Story Time – PASSED

  • Resolution #14: Free Menstrual Hygiene Products – PASSED
  • Resolution #15: Health Care Privatization – PASSED
  • Resolution #17: On recruitment in acute care and long-term care facilities – PASSED

National President Mark Hancock and National Secretary-Treasurer Candace Rennick also addressed the convention today, speaking to hard-won victories in labour in the face of austerity, privatization, and the growing influence of the far-right.

   
Delegates also heard reports from division President Sherry Hillier, the Credentials Committees, Treasurer and Trustee. Guest speakers included CLC Secretary-Treasurer Lily Chang, Federation of Labour President Jessica McCormick.

       
Finally, all present took time today to acknowledge those whom we have lost in the last year. Delegates were invited to name members in their locals who have passed on, and a moment of silence was observed.

Happy Nursing Week to our Health Care Team!

tjohnston Health Care

CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador would like to take a moment to salute our Licensed Practical Nurses and Personal Care Attendants who work tirelessly to keep our province running.

Say thank you to your Licensed Practical Nurse or Personal Care Attendant this week and know that CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador will continue to fight for you to improve working conditions and a better work-life balance.

Happy Nursing Week to all the LPNs and PCAs.


National Nursing Week is from May 6th to 12th this year. The celebrations take place during the same week as Florence Nightingale’s birthday, on May 12th, each year.

A radio ad will run on stations province-wide all week. Listen to the radio ad below.

CAMIC encourages all CUPE members to mark Red Dress Day

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May 5th is Red Dress Day also known as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit People. The day serves to raise awareness and honour the memory of Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people who have gone missing or have been murdered in Canada. The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit People crisis in Canada refers to the disproportionately high rates of violence, disappearance, and murder among Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit people. The crisis has been ongoing for decades and is a direct result of systemic racism, colonialism, and gender-based violence.

The CUPE Atlantic Maritime Indigenous Council (CAMIC) encourages all CUPE members to use this day as an opportunity to either attend an awareness community event or to read the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls: Home Page  Final Report | MMIWG (mmiwgffada.ca). Taking time to educate ourselves can lead to a better understanding of the challenges faced by Indigenous people in Canada and across the globe, and help non-Indigenous individuals become more effective allies.   

People are also encouraged to wear a red dress, display red dresses in public spaces and workplaces, support local Indigenous artists that make Red Dress items such as earrings and pins, or simply wearing any red item that can bring awareness to the issue.

Join us in remembering and supporting Indigenous communities today and everyday.

For inquiries or questions, please email: cupe.atl.mar.indigenous.council@gmail.com.

In Solidarity,
CAMIC members,
Brandice Blanchard, Vice-Chair for the CUPE Atlantic Maritime Indigenous Council

Download a copy of this letter: ENGLISH or FRANÇAIS

Ashley Clark, CUPE Prince Edward Island President
Stephen Drost, CUPE New Brunswick President
Nan McFadgen, CUPE Nova Scotia President
Sherry Hillier, CUPE Newfoundland Labrador President
Marc Surette, Local 1078
Jody MacDonald, Local 1122 Sonia Gibbs, Local 2745
Janice Melanson, Local 2079
Jason St-Onge, NBCNHUJill Greene, Local 2162
Tammy Devault, Local 1303
Cindy Lavoie, Local 889
Nicole LeBlanc, Local 833
Lorn Martin, Local 4882
Vicky Nadeau, Local 2872
Jinny Boulet, Local 2872
Sylvie Godbout, Local 3013
Sylvie Levesque, Local 3013
Annick LeBel, Local 889
Stéphane LeBlanc, Local 1159
Jennifer Barton, Local 3013
Mélanie M. Albert, Local 2872
Carole Martin, Local 2872
Chantal Lavoie, Local 4630
France Ruest, Local 4630
Natalie Poirier, Local 1159
Shirley Basque, Local 1078
Noreen Allain, Local 1078
Cassandra Ackerson, Local 1418
Jenny G. Thériault, Local 1418
Jackie Parish, Local 908.1
Tanya Murray, Local 908.1
Nicole Chiasson, Local 908.1
Réal Allain, Local 1078
Nicole Allain, Local 1078
Barbara MacNaughton, Local 1418
Guylaine Caron, Local 2745
Lisa Bell, Local 908.6
Sonny Levasseur, Local 2745
Terry Rodger, Local 1062
Manon Francoeur, Local 5108
Yvonne Morneault, Local 5108
Jacqueline Nieuwets-Lagendijk, Local 2745
Ginette Gauvin, Local 2745
Lisa Cameron, Local 2745
Hope Cyr, Local 5446
Marie-Line Côté Duguay, Local 2745
Christianne Robichaud, Local 2745
Shelley Veysey, Local 2745
Marilyn MacCormack, Local 2745
Jan Underhill, Local 2745
Rachel Chiasson, Local 833
Mélissa G. Drapeau, Local 2745
Sharon Teare, Local 2116
Tiffany Doucet, Local 506
Jamie Agnew, Local 963
Lisa Vincent, Local 963
Joanne Desrosiers, Local 1418
Annie Mallet, Local 1418
Jannick Laforest, Local 1418
Tasha Palmer, Local 1506
Stephen Boyd, Local 550
Andrew Mercuri, Local 1418
Laura Stewart, Local 4919
Tammy Gorton, Local 4940
Eileen Shea, Local 2094
Jess Haley, Local 1431
Janet MacDonald, Local 1082
Dawn Vardy, Local 1259
Tammy Jakeman, Local 5047
Edwina Donovan, Local 1082
Cecia Huang, Local 1870
Kathy Johnson, Local 5446
Crystal Pascon, Local 2464
Shawna Morton, Local 1418
Kim Davidson, Local 861

Mark your calendars for the CUPE Atlantic Weeklong School

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The CUPE Atlantic Weeklong School will be taking place at the start of November this year at Whitepoint Beach Resort in Hunt’s Point, Nova Scotia. Additional details to follow, please save the date and stay tuned for more information!

Learn more about union education with CUPE at: cupe.ca/union-education