A message from CUPE PEI President, Ashley Clark



It’s been busy on our Island! Since being elected your Division President in May, I have been connecting with individuals and organizations, learning the (many) ropes, and working hard to represent Island worker interests with government, in the media, and at the CUPE National Executive Board. I want to say a HUGE thank you to all the CUPE locals, councils, and the CUPE PEI Board – as well as the CUPE Regional Director and entire Maritime Region Staff team – all of whom bring their knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm to every issue we work on together!

One thing that has become crystal clear is that we are facing a dearth of leadership inthis province. From a municipal councilor denying the realities of residential schools and a provincial MLA making sexist comments about women paramedics to the toxic administration and culture at UPEI and the Premier’s divisive recruitment and retention strategy, we have seen people in positions of power directly harm and disrespect the people living and working in this province. Add to this reality the fact that inflation on PEI has skyrocketed; the cost of food, rent, and other essentials is out-of-control; and wages aren’t keeping up with inflation, the struggles and anxiety many people are facing today just to get by are real and understandable. In facing these difficulties, what inspires and motivates me is the incredible bravery and
solidarity I have seen from workers here on PEI and across the country. People are getting fed up with the status quo that advantages corporations over communities, and they are turning those frustrations into action. At our 60 th anniversary CUPE National Convention, we heard about strikes and job action across the country, where workers are standing up to their employers and they are winning – achieving better for their bargaining units, which means better for everyone! There are structural challenges that we have to face in our fight for fairness — indifferent, incompetent, or uncaring governments at every level; legislation that restricts our chartered rights and freedoms (or laws that don’t protect us from being exploited and unfairly treated); not to mention chronic underfunding of important social services.

Over the last few months, I have been meeting with Local Presidents, attending Local meetings and AGMs, and working with Regional and National staff to map out our plans to address those challenges head-on. I am so excited by the passion I am hearing from members across the province and the determination from Local leadership to fight for better for everyone. Island workers are tired of begging for scraps and are done waiting nicely for the government and employers to dictate when and how they want to deal with the Union. I am very proud to
represent CUPE workers on PEI and am excited to tackle the year ahead together!