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BC Federation of Retired Union

BC FORUM News - From The Advocate, Summer, 2022


A happy return to in-person conventions

By Gord Savard

First Vice President, & CUPE BC Director to BC FORUM


The 2022 Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) BC Convention was the first large BC union to have an “in person” convention since the COVID- 19 epidemic started. This convention practiced all COVID-19 precautions including a representative to deal with any outbreaks, of which, thankfully, there were none. It was good to hear and see in person the speakers that included Premier John Horgan, Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and president of the BC Federation of Labour, Laird Cronk, who is also the Chair of BC FORUM. Each speaker highlighted the positive actions under their direction and received standing ovations.


There were a few resolutions on senior benefits, healthcare and on the status of COVID-19. We could not participate in those resolutions but they all passed by acclamation. As with other labour unions, CUPE BC's progressive positions remain in play.


The BC FORUM booth at the convention was successful in that we were able to highlight our activities; like “Stay on the Road Guide For Seniors” through the Council of Senior Citizen’s Organizations of BC and ICBC, our continuing part in the battles for universal pharmacare and dentalcare, national standards for long term care, implementation of changes to the Patented Medicines Price Review Board Guidelines, and responding to the provincial government’s call for consultation on the 2022 Budget. Sadly, even though we have made several submissions to various bodies on different issues to build a more civil society, we still must continue in this crucial area of work. We explained our pre-retirement seminars are still on hold. Facilitators are extremely cautious in respect to COVID-19 expo-sure, especially given the high transmission rates of the latest Omicron variant. Our newly elected President, Sam Wiese, is working with the Congress of Union Retirees of Canada (CURC) for the delivery of a virtual course which they are currently delivering to Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) members. We are confident that these sessions, being delivered via Zoom, will result in our ability to once again offer sessions in the very near future.


The important part of the booth's work was to inform CUPE locals and their members who are over 50, working or about to retire, about the benefits they can get through membership in BC FORUM. In addition to the ability to remain engaged and participating in union and socially progressive activities, BC FORUM members are entitled to partake in extended health and dental coverage via WE Consulting Benefits Services. Many CUPE local collective agreements do not have adequate benefits for part time/auxiliary members while working or retired, as we discovered during our last educational session with members at UBC. Finally, we encouraged CUPE BC locals to consider purchasing an advertisement in future editions of The Advocate as the cost is reasonable. We had 20+ locals give us their e-mail so that we may send out particulars. Advertising in The Advocate brings attention to the very pertinent work done by unions as well as goes a long way to support the work done by BC FORUM.


All in all this was a productive convention for BC FORUM and a great reintroduction to in-person contact with our fellow activists.


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