First and foremost, I must thank you for your overwhelming messages of congratulations and support. Your excitement for our future is inspirational!
Our recent Component elections brought a marked increase in voter turnout. You voted for hope and you voted for change. Throughout the campaign your message to Lillian, Susan and myself was loud and clear: you are tired of being unappreciated and you are tired of being undervalued, you’re looking for respect, you’re looking for unity and most of all, you’re looking for leadership!
You have spoken and we have listened. We are closing one door and opening another. This newly opened door has unlocked a spirit of positivity and has set us on a new and inclusive path. Thanks to your having elected us as a team, we have been able to immediately begin working as a cohesive unit and the implementation of our election commitments has already begun!
The upcoming round of negotiations was another frequent topic of discussion during the election campaign. Not only will this round of negotiations offer an opportunity to improve our wages and working conditions, it will also present us with an opportunity to revisit our past and to use the vision of hindsight, to guide us on the path to our future.
We will be bringing the best and brightest resources to the negotiation table. Among these resources will be the voices that negotiated both the CAIL and Air Canada Collective Agreements. Now is the time to bring together the past and the present, to defend ourselves against an employer who has become unrecognizable to many of us.
We will each have an active role to play in the upcoming negotiations. My responsibility will be to ensure that you are informed and engaged throughout the bargaining process. Your responsibility will be to stay connected and to support your co-workers in upcoming labour initiatives. You can expect calls for solidarity and you can expect an amplified version of the energy and enthusiasm that was exhibited during the election campaign. Throughout this process your feedback will be essential!
While today’s financial climate dictates that negotiations will be driven by economic realities, we will not be driven by fear. I have absolute faith in our strength as a Membership and as a Union. We can and will stand united against those who are preparing to divide us.
I would like to thank both Lillian and Susan for being a constant source of support and inspiration throughout the campaign. I would also like to congratulate all of my fellow candidates for both their participation and their devotion to the Membership.
The best is yet to come!
President, Air Canada Component of CUPE