Bulletin to Local 387 Members

The importance of political action and awareness

Your lives are directly impacted by the decisions of municipal councillors. Electing decision makers who stand up for workers and prioritize treating their employees fairly makes a difference for us at work and improves services for residents, businesses, and visitors. Attempts to limit the ability of unions and our members to meet and speak with elected municipal representatives is unfair, undemocratic and potentially leads to an unrepresentative and divided community.

This is why CUPE 387 is pleased to see Community First council members standing up for working people in real and tangible ways. Their recent successful defeat of a motion to restrict unions’ ability to rally support with their own members for municipal candidates or elector organizations demonstrates their commitment to our shared values.

What happened?

In March, Councillors Fontaine and Minhas put forward a motion seeking support to campaign the provincial government to make changes to rules for municipal elections in the BC Elections Act. Their goal was to restrict how union, not-for-profits and corporations use their internal resources during local elections.

There are already restrictions that ban direct financial donations from unions, non-for-profit entities, and corporations. Fontaine and Minhas think that the government should also be able to monitor and restrict how we communicate, organize, and allocate resources within our own union. Considering how many labour-endorsed candidates were successful in the last municipal election, this attempt at curtailing our activities can be viewed as a direct response to the power of collective action.

Who spoke against the motion?

The strongest opposition to the motion came from Councillors Henderson, Campbell, and Mayor Johnstone. They spoke of Charter issues, concerns on restricting the rights of groups to promote candidates whose concerns align with theirs, and low rates of engagement in municipal politics.

What next?

We will continue to endorse and work with council members who are as committed to the community as we are. We’ll continue to have discussions with Community First about finding ways to uphold the shared values we hold for workers and the communities within New Westminster. This will include publicly endorsing councillors and asking our members to volunteer and vote for them.

Moving forward we’ll be sharing how you can get involved and help support endorsed councillors.  While we recognize that it is more difficult than ever to find time for politics – and we will be conscious of this in the requests we make of you – your support can help make sure New West has progressive leadership and a vibrant future.