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January 30, 2012

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Provincial bargaining strategies conference to bridge CUPE sectors

RICHMOND—CUPE Regional’s first provincial bargaining strategies conference in three years kicks off this week (January 31-February 3), with about 260 delegates prepared to tackle the key issues facing all sectors at the bargaining table in 2012.

The conference, themed “Bridging our Sectors to Strengthen Free Collective Bargaining in B.C.,” takes place at the Vancouver Airport Sheraton Hotel in Richmond beginning on Tuesday night with an opening plenary.

Following opening remarks by CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill and a keynote address by CUPE National president Paul Moist, the plenary will feature a panel discussion on approaches to public sector bargaining, chaired by CUPE Research representative Blair Redlin. B.C. regional director Robin Jones and National health representative Ronald Boisrond will represent CUPE on the panel, which will also include HEU secretary-business manager Bonnie Pearson and BCGEU director of negotiations and human resources David Vipond. Following questions and discussion, CUPE BC will host a reception.    

Wednesday’s agenda features presentations and workshops on nine key issues: understanding demographics, dealing with local issues, strike or strike aversion planning, communications and social networking, motivating members, labour history, the legislative framework for bargaining, the economic climate, and building solidarity with other trade unions.

On Thursday morning, delegates will be divided into two sessions—one for provincial sectors and the other for locally-funded sectors. In the afternoon, delegates will move into their individual sector groups—municipal, library and transportation for local, and K-12, universities, colleges, health, and community social services for provincial—to develop recommendations and strategies.

At Friday’s closing plenary, the groups will report out on the results of these discussions. The conference wraps up with a closing address by CUPE BC secretary-treasurer Mark Hancock.

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