With enthusiastic delegates from every corner of the province and attendance up from 2013, this year’s CUPE Ontario Trades Conference was a big success and clearly underscored the growing recognition of trades as a vital part of the big CUPE Ontario family.

More than 130 members assembled for this year’s Trades conference, held in Niagara Falls, November 11-14. Registration was up 30 percent from last year. The annual conference has proven to be one of the best ways to bring trades members together and discuss how they can build strength around their issues, face-to-face. The conference focused on concerns with the College of Trades, contracting out, apprentices and contract  language relating to trades.

Highlights included addresses by CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn and, by video, Secretary-Treasurer Candace Rennick, as well as guest speakers from the College of Trades, including former OFL Secretary-Treasurer Irene Harris,and Gord Falconer from the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM). Members also passed a strong action plan for the year ahead, and participated in workshops on women and trades, talking about trades, taking on privatization and the future of trades.

During the past year, the CUPE Ontario Trades Committee has been working on several exciting initiatives. A new survey was created to collect important information in an effort to better serve trades members. The Trades Committee also unveiled a new web page.