Convention Daily Recap – July 18, 2023

The USJE National Triennial Convention officially began earlier this morning. 173 delegates from coast to coast to coast have arrived in Whistler, British Columbia, on the ancestral land of the Squamish and Lil’wat nations.  

To begin the Convention, mock debates (skits) were organized as part of rules of order training so that delegates are familiar with the process. The National Convention then invited a formal welcome from two members of the Lil’wat and Squamish Nations who work with the Squamish Lil’Wat Culture Centre. They offered a warm welcome to these lands, and concluded with two traditional songs. 

Chris Aylward, National President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada offered introductory remarks and thanked USJE’s National Executive and delegates for their leadership during the recent National Strike. He noted that USJE played a particularly crucial role in holding the line in so many strike locations across the country, and that he was very pleased to join USJE for the week. 

National President David Neufeld then provided his opening address, reflecting on the last 20 months of both challenges and accomplishments for USJE. He highlighted the significant progress made on multiple priorities including forging the New Normal, developing the National Presumptive Injury campaign, improving union communications, reviewing and implementing changes to internal grievances, as well as increasing our political action. 

After President Neufeld’s address, Members of the National Executive were formally introduced, and welcomed to the front of the stage. Mr. Neufeld noted that, “Members of the National Executive have served USJE’s members for 20 months, often at the detriment of their own personal and family life.” He thanked each one of them for their dedication, commitment and teamwork. 

Prior to the formal adoption of National President David Neufeld’s report, USJE played its dynamic video featuring highlights from the last 20 months, including strike actions, rallies, footage from Parliament Hill and many local meetings.  This was followed by the adoption of the reports from each of the 17 Regional Vice Presidents. Several RVPs took the opportunity to thank outgoing members of their locals, and long time Regional Vice President Frank Janz (Manitoba, CSC) formally announced that he will be retiring. He received a standing ovation.    

After a short break, the Director of Labour Relations, and the Directors of Policy and Media Relations presented their reports.  Many questions and comments followed and it is clear that members value the many efforts on their behalf and look forward to further progress in the future.