President David Black Outlines Vision for MoveUP
MoveUP’s third convention kicked off at the Hyatt in Vancouver on Thursday, November 15. After hearing greetings from a local First Nations elder and dealing with logistics, President David Black set the tone for the three-day convention with his opening address.
Black encouraged members to take advantage of convention to connect across sectors and worksites: “Please take the time this weekend to get to know each other – if you’re new to the union, reach out to someone who knows the ropes and start a conversation. Or find someone from a different worksite. If you’re a private sector worker, share your experiences dealing with your employer with one of our members from the public sector, and vice versa.”
“The theme of our convention is Engaging, Energizing, Growing. It’s a both direction for the union leadership and call to action aimed at our members,” said Black, “We are working on new ways of engaging our members, imparting you with the skills and energy you need to be effective advocates in the workplace, and growing our ranks: growing both the numbers of job stewards we have, and workplaces we represent. “
Citing current and ongoing challenges such as a hostile Labour Board, anti-union legislation like Bill C-377, and global financial issues, Black continued to speak on the importance of building an organizing culture within the union’s ranks:
“We need your help to grow – tell us if you know anyone if your life, your friends and your family, who might need union representation. Help us by talking to them about the benefits of belonging to MoveUP and what we can do to support them. We also need your help putting pressure on politicians to move away from legislation damaging to unions and their members. Some of our members have already met with Conservative MPs to tell them how detrimental bill C-377 will be – let’s keep up that good work and drive the message home.”
Black outlined his vision for the next steps in developing a new union culture in which members feel part of a larger entity that they have a stake in and control democratically: “We will start making this change in two steps: one, by raising the skills and profile of local job stewards – through training, mentoring and support, we will give our stewards the tools they need to act with authority to become the union in their worksites. And, two: to support this idea that the union is with you, at work, at your desk and a part of your working life, we will make sure that union reps and elected officials are more present in the workplace.”
Black concluded his speech with a tribute to long-time MoveUP staff member Dave McPherson, who is on Long Term Disability with cancer.