Recently the CUPE 3903 Executive Committee found out that CUPE National would be holding the 2019 Convention (scheduled Oct. 7th – 11th) over Yom Kippur, denying Jewish members celebrating the holiday an opportunity to participate in this important decision making event. The Executive wrote to CUPE National demanding that the dates of Convention be changed. A demand they have denied.
CUPE National refused to reschedule Convention and admitted that they had been aware of the issue for over five years. While National proposed some changes that could prevent this type of exclusionary scheduling in the future they obviously felt no need in the last five plus years to implement these changes. The CUPE 3903 Executive was assured that the decision to exclude members celebrating Yom Kippur from Convention “was not taken lightly and was not intended to be disrespectful to our Jewish members.”
The CUPE 3903 Executive Committee was disappointed in this response. Amongst other things, policies should have already been in place to prevent scheduling Convention over major religious holidays. It seemed clear that once a complaint was received CUPE National could theorize solutions but for over five years had done nothing. While CUPE National may now be making some positive steps forward it does not erase the harm done to our Jewish members who will not be able to participate in the business of their union.
The Executive remains unsatisfied with the response from CUPE National on this issue.
The full record of communication between the Executive Committee and National is below.
- Letter from CUPE 3903 Executive Committee to CUPE National demanding that the dates of Convention be changed (dated April 24, 2019).
- Letter from CUPE National in response to the demand to move Convention dates (May 3, 2019).
- Letter from the CUPE 3903 Executive Committee to CUPE National in reply to their response (dated May 24, 2019).
- Letter from CUPE National agreeing to issue an apology (dated June 5, 2019).
- CUPE National Yom Kippur and Convention official statement