BURNABY— CUPE President Mark Hancock and Secretary-Treasurer Candace Rennick, joined by CUPE BC officers and general vice-presidents, today brought messages of solidarity to Fraser Valley transit workers from the union’s 715,000 workers across Canada as the strike by CUPE 561 First Transit workers reached Day 108.
A large group of supporters from the Hospital Employees’ Union was also on hand earlier today as Rennick, visiting the Lougheed Station picket line, pledged CUPE’s support for workers from CUPE 561’s First Transit unit.
“The fact you have all stayed strong for 108 days is inspiring to us all, and we are behind you every step of the way—no matter how long it takes to get a fair deal,” said Rennick, noting the strength of the National Strike Fund, which allows the union to assist locals through long disputes.
During a lunch-hour rally at the Abbotsford picket line, Rennick handed a cheque for $25,000 to CUPE 561 Treasurer Darin Nielsen, adding that CUPE Ontario has pledged an additional $5,000.
At the same rally, CUPE BC President Karen Ranalletta, joined by CUPE BC Secretary-Treasurer Trevor Davies and General Vice-Presidents Dal Benning, Sheryl Burns, Amber Leonard and Tony Rebelo, stood before the flags of CUPE Prince Edward Island, CUPE New Brunswick and SCFP Quebec, noting that they—along with every other CUPE division in Canada—has pledged their support to CUPE 561.
“I want the people at BC Transit to hear us clearly: Get your contractor under control. Come to the bargaining table to negotiate a deal that is fair, that is just, and that recognizes equal work for equal pay,” Ranalletta told the cheering crowd.
The day of action supporting CUPE 561 members was capped by a rousing speech from Hancock, affirming the support of members from coast to coast.
“This employer isn’t just taking on CUPE 561, or even the 104,000 CUPE members in BC. This fight is with all 715,000 CUPE members, and we will be there every step of the way until Fraser Valley transit workers get a fair deal.”