Beat the Heat with Union Activism!

In our summer episode, we are talking about beating the heat. We’ll discuss how parts of the labour movement are calling everybody out – the government, and the employer, to do better. We’ll be highlighting some current campaigns from the OFL and CUPE locals. Summer vacation may be out for students, but for the workers, the fight is always in session.

Grab a seat and get ready because we are coming in hot!

Episode 38 – Beat the Heat with Union Activism!


It’s convention season at CUPE Ontario, so let’s revisit a past episode, “Convention Baseball”, where we give a complete overview of all things convention so you will be refreshed and ready for this exciting week!

Episode 37 – Let’s Replay Convention Baseball!!


Mental Health is health. We can’t divorce our physical well-being from our mental well-being. In this episode, Brianna and Brittany discuss why mental health is a health and safety issue in the workplace. Looking at current events, pop culture, and workplace issues, it is evident that mental health affects us all—in different capacities. CUPE National Representative Andréane Chénier joins the CUPE cast to discuss how we can connect work and mental health.

If you or someone you know are battling with a mental illness, there are supports available to you. To find local mental health support in your community, call 2-1-1 or visit 211ontario.ca.

Episode 36 – Unmasking Mental Health


Airlines won’t fly without flight attendants, but did you know that they work 35 hours per month unpaid while they carry out their duties? In this episode of CUPE Cast, Brianna and Brittany discuss the airline sector campaign and the “Unpaid Work Won’t Fly” Campaign. CUPE Airline’s Division Wesley Lesosky sits down for an exciting interview to raise awareness of some of the issues flight attendants face.

Episode 35 – Pay the Workers, It’s Just Plane Smart

March 8th is an exciting day for women and folks who identify as women because it is International Women’s Day!!! A day to celebrate all that women have and continue to accomplish!

For this episode of the CUPE Cast, we are going to focus on the contributions certain women have made to the labour movement, events and how you can celebrate International Women’s Day as well as messages from CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer, Candace Rennick, and Marilena Fox, CUPE Ontario Women’s Committee Chair. So, get ready for another exciting episode!

Episode 34 – Inspire Inclusion, Inspire Change


With Black History Month right around the corner, we will be taking a deep dive in this episode and discussing why Black History Month is celebrated in February.  We will also be joined by the Coalition of Black Trade Unionist Ontario Chapter’s First Vice-President Christopher Wilson.

Episode 33 – Legacy and Future of Black History


What were your favourite moments of 2023? Because we know we have quite a few!

In this episode we will go over all the great times we had this year. However, we also will be saying goodbye to someone we all know and love. So, make sure to tune into CUPE Cast Episode 32: 2023, A Year in Review!

Episode 32 – A Year in Review!


The new CUPE Cast is here!

In this month’s episode, we explore the importance of accessibility in the workplace, focusing on the AODA Act and discussing disability rights, health and safety measures, creating an ability-smart workplace, and the Duty to Accommodate. The episode also highlights the political parties’ response to the AODA alliance’s questionnaire to addresses barriers, and an interview with Brenda Cervantes, a member of the Workers with Disabilities Committee and how CUPE Ontario, is committed to keep workers informed and empowered.

Episode 31 -Accessible for Who?

“No Tricks, Just Treats,” we’re diving headfirst into a special Halloween celebration, union style. Join us as we unravel the sweetest treats that are union-made for your trick-or-treat adventures, and get inspired with creative, union-themed Halloween costume ideas. And, brace yourself for some spine-tingling union stories that will add an extra layer of intrigue to your Halloween celebrations.

Don’t miss this festive, unionized Halloween episode! Tune in to CUPE Cast Episode 30: “No Tricks, Just Treats.”

Episode 30 – No Tricks, Just Treats

Climate Justice is Union Business

This podcast episode explores the critical intersection of climate justice and labour unions. The discussion highlights how the climate emergency is not just an environmental issue but a profound health and safety concern for everyone, impacting all of us, irrespective of our backgrounds or workplaces. The episode explores the role of labor unions in advocating for climate justice, emphasizing the importance of collective action. Furthermore, the podcast offers insights into practical steps that individuals, communities, and organizations can take to combat climate change while ensuring equitable outcomes for all. We hope to inspire listeners that it’s not too late to create a more sustainable and just future for all.
Content warning: there is mention of death, disaster, and sexual assault.
Episode 29 Climate Justice is Union Business

Strong Women Summer

It’s another hot union summer, summer of the strike, and so many of these movements are women led! And don’t forget the Orcas too!  Let’s explore what’s going down, because this Barbie is a Union Member.  Recorded in front of a live audience!

Episode 28 – Strong Women Summer

Jump Up! Emancipation and Carnival

August 1 marks Emancipation Day — a day signifying the enactment of the Slave Abolition Act of 1833 and the abolishment of slavery across the British Empire. But what does it mean to observe Emancipation Day? In this episode, the CUPE Cast hosts are joined by CUPE Ontario’s Racial Justice Chair, Valerie Joseph, to discuss the origins of Emancipation Day and why it matters to reflect on the enslavement of African people and its impacts on Canada’s past, present and future. From carnivals to underground train rides and everything in between, it’s time for us to jump up, wave and take action!

Episode 27 – Jump UP! Emancipation and Carnival

Drag Artists Under Attack! What Do We Do? Slay!

It’s Pride Month, and many CUPE members work in public services that host pride flag raisings, Drag Storytimes, 2SLGBTQIA+ school clubs, and more but these services are under attack. As the backlash and rhetoric against 2SLGBTQIA+ people has grown, so have the threats and bigotry around pride and drag. We will explore how we can ensure safer spaces and organize support on the ground. And you’ll hear first hand experience from a fabulous drag queen, Violet S. Parks, who has done many drag shows at libraries.
Listen to episode 26 here:

Convention Baseball

It’s Convention season at CUPE Ontario! Let’s talk “inside baseball” when it comes to all things CUPE Ontario Convention: a complete overview of all things convention. No strikes – only home runs! Listen in for everything you wanted to know about CUPE Ontario Convention – let’s play ball!

Listen to episode 25 here:

Episode 25 – Convention Baseball

Unions are Brining Sexy Back
Are unions bringing sexy back? What’s cooler than being cool?! Having a union card or working to organize a union in your workplace! This month we have an updated chat on all the reasons why it’s super sexy to be in a union and where to find some union love in pop culture and more.  Because when you’re in a union you can buy your own flowers!
Listen to episode 24 here:
Enough is Enough!
Are you fed up with the rich getting richer, while workers struggle to get by? This month the CUPE Cast is saying Enough is Enough! The rich are richer than ever. Workers are working harder than ever for low wages. The rich rule by dividing us. Together, we have power! Workers are saying ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! We will discuss just that – how to get involved in your own campaign, ongoing strikes and movements throughout the world, and sharing some real data with you about who is impacted the most while greedy corporations profit.
Listen to episode 23 here:
Black Workers Matter
In this episode we will be covering everything from the Black Class Action Lawsuit, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, the Black Sleeping Car Porters, and more. This is also an extra special episode where we are welcoming our brand new CUPE Cast co-host, Brianna Plummer and saying goodbye to CUPE Cast co-host Elise.
Listen to episode 22 here: Episode 22 CUPE Cast – CUPE Ontario
Why Human Rights are Union Rights

Often when people think of unions, they think of higher wages and safer working conditions – which are absolutely true. But unions also fight for equity, equality and for the human rights of all.

This month’s episode is a conversation with activist and CUPE National human rights representative, Kimalee Phillip on why human rights are union rights. Kimalee Phillip is an experienced social justice and organizational learning consultant, facilitator, writer, educator, and researcher. Her work is deeply grounded in, and informed by Black and Caribbean feminist thought and practice and this conversation reflects all of this and more.

Listen to episode 21 here Episode 21 CUPE Cast – CUPE Ontario
The Night Before
Cozy up with your favourite warm beverage, snuggle into your comfiest blanket, gather your loved ones near, and enjoy this month’s bonus CUPE Cast episode “The Night Before”, a retelling of Clement Clarke Moore’s, “T’was the Night Before Christmas”, with a fun union and labour twist!
Listen to episode 20  here: Episode 20 The Night Before

Everything you needed to know about Bill 28 in one spot! 

This fall has been a whirlwind with OSBCU CUPE Education Workers bargaining, the Conservative Government passing Bill 28, the possibility of a General Strike and the repeal of Bill 28 – leaving us all wondering what the heck is happening here in Ontario!

Hopefully this month’s episode will help clear things up. We will take you step by step through Bill 28 and events leading up to it as well as what is happening at the time of recording this episode in regards to OSBCU CUPE Education Workers bargaining.

Click here to listen to Episode 19 – Bill 28: WTF Just Happened? by The CUPE Cast

Show Notes:

Who killed Bill 28? Ontario workers and the threat of a general strike – Spring  CUPE Ontario press release: https://cupe.ca/cupe-says-bill-28-call-arms-workers-across-canada  Fundraiser for groceries education workers started by Ontario Education Workers United: https://www.gofundme.com/f/grocery-funds-for-cupe-osbcu-education-workers?fbclid=IwAR0-LuNMwGDXYS5Qy5TQAQVRHNo1j9V4sVr1lECFsLc1KKHFBCrOXjfm4Jc  Unifor donates $100,000 to support striking cupe education members: https://www.unifor.org/news/all-news/unifor-pledges-100000-donation-support-striking-cupe-education-workers  BC Teachers Federation donates $1 million: https://twitter.com/bctf/status/1588949283570868224/  David J. Doorey’s tweets at @TheLawofWork  Tik Tok, creators @FrankDomenic and @Steve_Boots  CUPE National Women’s Conference Save the date: https://cupe.ca/event/save-date-cupes-national-womens-conference  OSBCU-CSCSO social media and website: Instagram: @osbcucscsocupe Facebook: @osbcucscso Twitter: @osbcucscso Website: www.osbcu.ca • https://osbcu.ca/categories/bargaining-updates/


What’s your favourite picket line food?

In CUPE Cast Episode 18, Tiffany, Brittany, and Elise chat about picket lines, strikes, what to do when you see a picket line, how to support workers on strike, famous picket lines and more!

Click here to listen to Episode 18 – Timbits or Samosas: The Best Picket Line food and more! by The CUPE Cast

Show Notes:




https://www.latimes.com/entertainment/gossip/la-strikefoods-pg-photogallery.html (Nov 5, 2007-Feb 12, 2008)

Operation Christmas Cheer: https://www.operationcheer.com

Stripper Strike: https://www.instagram.com/stripperstrikenoho/?hl=en

The future of our labour movement… young workers! 

Young workers have taken union organizing by storm, everywhere from Sephora, to Starbucks, to Chipotle and beyond. The CUPE Cast also discusses who is considered a young worker, what are the key issues impacting Generation Z, how young workers leverage social media sites like TikTok, and the “new” Generation Z concept of quiet quitting.

Click here to listen to Episode 17 – Young Workers Rising! by The CUPE Cast

Show notes / links:

Toronto Labour Day parade highlights how Gen Z is revitalizing the workers’ movement.

Acute ageism problem hurting young workers

Laura Whaley on TikTok

Jack Corbitt, unionize in 4 easy steps

Labourettes on TikTok

Young TikTik creators organize campaign against Amazon to support workers union

Zaid Khan on TikTok

People Over Prime


The Gig is Up

Uber Eats, DoorDash, Skip the Dishes and Foodora. You probably have heard of all these online apps that can help you get food delivered straight to your door. You can shop from hundreds of restaurants and not even leave your couch. These apps are fast, easy and right at your fingertips. They were popular pre-pandemic, but then boomed even more during the pandemic. But what do we know about the workers? The people behind the apps. The people who pick up actually deliver your food to you? In this episode Elise, Tiffany and Brittany talk about who they are and what challenges they face on a day to day basis when just trying to make ends meet for their family plus have an interview with Jennifer Scott, President of Gig Workers United.

Click here to watch Episode 16 – The Gig Is Up by The CUPE Cast


Uber Game:  https://ig.ft.com/uber-game/

Hustled podcast: https://www.thestar.com/podcasts/hustled.html

Gig Workers United:  https://gigworkersunited.ca/

Support Gig Workers: https://gigworkersunited.ca/support.html#:~:text= Post%20a%20message%20of%20solidarity,and%20%40GigWorkersUnite%20(Twitter).

What it was like to be a gig worker during the pandemic: https://knowledge.insead.edu/economics-finance/what-its-like-to-be-a-gig-worker-during-a-pandemic-16161

Gig Workers Bill of Rights: https://gigworkersunited.ca/gig-economy.html#precarious

UFCW & Uber :  https://www.rankandfile.ca/ufcw-uber-deal/ ; https://jacobin.com/2022/02/ufcw-representation-collective-bargaining-independent-contractors-gig-drivers

Twitter: @GigWorkersUnite @palimpsestJenn



Hot Labour Summer

In this month’s episode, Tiffany, Brittany, and Elise chat about union revitalization, strikes across Europe known as the Summer of Our Discontent, organizing for possible strike or job action, and strike myths. They will also conduct an exciting interview with the Ontario School Board Council of Unions (OSBCU) President Laura Walton on the work they are doing organizing for power.

Click here to watch Episode 15 – Hot Labour Summer by The CUPE Cast

Show Notes:


Are young workers ready to save the US labour movement? | LSE Business Review

Efforts to unionize Amazon workers in Canada ramp up in Ontario as Teamsters target Hamilton | CBC News

Barista Uprising https://www.npr.org/2022/06/30/1106884406/coffee-shop-starbucks-baristas-union-election-cafe

French Rail Strike Adds to European Summer Travel Havoc: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-07-06/french-rail-strike-adds-to-european-summer-travel-havoc

Britain Gears up for a Summer of Labour Discontent: https://www.news-next.in/britain-gears-up-for-a-summer-of-labor-discontent/

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers response to Opinium poll: https://www.rmt.org.uk/news/rmt-on-opinium-poll/

Repeal Bill 124 petition: https://cupe.on.ca/repealbill124/

CUPE 998, Busting Myths about Unions

Summer of Labour Unrest expected as Inflation Soars and Contracts Run Out



In this CUPE Cast episode Elise, Tiffany and Brittany chat about June being Indigenous History month. They focus on Indigenous celebrations, events, meaningful land acknowledgments, and  they have an interview with Leila Paugh – the CUPE Ontario Indigenous Council Chair.

Content warning: They cover the Missing and murdered indigenous women, girls ad two spirit people as well as the residential school system.

Click here to watch Episode 14 – From Reconciliation to ReconciliACTION by The CUPE Cast


Experiences of First Nations, Métis and Inuit women in Canada: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/85-002-x/2022001/article/00004-eng.htm

Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Volumes 1a and 1b: https://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/final-report/

The REDress Project by Jaime Black: https://www.jaimeblackartist.com/exhibitions/

Association Proposals Would Advance Efforts to Indigenize and Decolonize Brock https://www.bufa.ca/bufa-bargaining-backgrounder-indigenization-and-decolonization/ 

https://academicmatters.ca/indigenization-through-collective-bargaining-lessons-and-ideas-for-academic-staff-associations/  Decolonizing Labour Law: A Conversation with Professor Adelle Blackett https://twailr.com/decolonizing-labour-law-a-conversation-with-professor-adelle-blackett/ 

Walking the Talk guide: https://cupe.ca/walking-talk-practical-guide-reconciliation-cupe-locals 

Video of qajaq program AIP laureate: https://vimeo.com/271695271

AIP: https://arcticinspirationprize.ca

CUPE Ontario Indigenous Council https://cupe.on.ca/committees/indigenous-council/

OFL Land Acknowledgements with Daniel Stevens https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ijd1NQt7WCc

Orange Shirt Day Story and Resources: https://www.orangeshirtday.org/orange-shirt-society-resources.html

Della’s Story, online escape room: https://usay.ca/dellas-story/

U of Alberta course Indigenous Canada: https://www.ualberta.ca/admissions-programs/online-courses/indigenous-canada/index.html

CUPE Cast LIVE: Women Have Got the Power!

In this episode, Tiffany, Brittany and Elise are joined by a LIVE audience for a special episode with the Niagara District CUPE Council’s Women In Solidarity committee. They discuss the importance of women committees, menstrual equity, the history of women’s contribution in the Labour Movement and have a live Q&A with the audience.

The CUPE Cast would like to give a huge shoutout and thank you to the Niagara District CUPE Council’s Women In Solidarity committee for all of their support and work in bringing this live episode to life.

Click here to watch Episode 13 -CUPE Cast LIVE: Women Have Got the Power!

How Doug Ford F*d Us Over

In this episode Tiffany, Elise and Brittany talk about how Doug Ford’s cuts have personally affected each of us and how it has impacted education workers, municipal workers, health care workers and workers in the university sector and social service sector. We’ll also talk about how we can take action to ensure Doug Ford and his government are a one-term premier.

It’s time to demand better! It’s time for the Ontario we deserve!

Click here to watch Episode 12 – How Doug Ford F&d Us Over

Stop, Collaborate, and Listen: Unions are Back with a Brand New Edition!

Unions are hotter now than ever before. Workers everywhere are wanting to organize their workplaces or get involved with their unions.The pandemic has shone a light on harshened inequities in our workplaces and unions are there to have your back. In this episode we will discuss how to form a union with an interview with CUPE National Union Organizers Daniela Scarpelli & Kristy Davidson, look at some ongoing union drives, and catch up on fun pop culture labour movement tidbits

Click here to stream Episode 11 – Stop, Collaborate and Listen Unions are Back with a Brand New Edition!

10 Reasons to Love the Labour Movement

Click here to stream Episode 10 – 10 Reasons to Love the Labour Movement

In this episode of the CUPE Cast, Tiffany, Brittany and Elise were inspired by Valentine’s Day and share their 10 reasons why they love the labour movement. Everything from fighting for child labour laws and fighting back against the bad bosses are discussed. Hopefully, at the end of this episode, you love the labour movement as much as they do.

Click here for Transciption


CUPE Ontario’s Anti-Racism Organizational Action Plan: https://cupe.on.ca/aroap/

Sign up for CUPE Educationals and Training here: https://cupe.ca/union-education

Watch CUPE Connects! Webinar, Fighting Against Anti-Black Racism in the Workplace here:

Article – Raising the floor: https://briarpatchmagazine.com/articles/view/raising-the-floor

Article – Sticking it to the smiling goat: beating a Bad Boss https://www.rankandfile.ca/sticking-it-to-the-smiling-goat-beating-a-bad-boss/

Study – Colour-Coded Retirement: an Intersectional Analysis of Retirement Income and Savings in Canada: https://www.policyalternatives.ca/ColourCodedRetirement

2022: The Dumpster is on fire, but so is the Planet

It’s 2022 and the dumpster is burning, but so is the planet. It’s a lot like the movie “Don’t Look Up!” We will be discussing all the things you may have wondered about climate justice but didn’t know where to look. We will be breaking down terms and climate justice framework: what is a just transition, who is impacted by environmental racism, how will this be a provincial election issue, and how does this tie into the movie “Don’t Look Up?” It can be so overwhelming, we will try our best to guide you through piece by piece.

Click here to stream Episode 9 – 2022 The Dumpster is on fire, but so is the Planet


Getting to Know the CUPE Cast Hosts – It’s the last podcast of the year, so let’s get to know your CUPE Cast hosts better! Listen in as the table turns and CUPE Ontario Young Worker Chair Moe Alqasem interviews Elise, Brittany, and Tiffany.

Click here to stream Episode 8 – Gettting to Know the CUPE Cast Hosts


In this month’s CUPE Cast episode, Brittany, Tiffany and Elise talk about victories of the Canadian Labour Movement!

They discuss wins ranging from Maggie’s Toronto Sex Workers Action Project unionizing with CUPE to General Motors producing PPE and the minimum wage.

Click here to stream Episode 7 – Canadian Labour Movement Wins


In this month’s CUPE Cast, Tiffany, Brittany, and Elise talk about what really happens after the rally, addressing issues such as activist burnout, wellness, depression, self care, community care, how to take care of yourself, and how to say no!

Click here to stream Episode 6 – Life After the Rally



In this month’s CUPE Cast, Tiffany, Brittany, and Elise explore the importance of women in the labour movement and how to combat sexism. They discuss the We Believe You initiative of the CUPE Ontario Women’s Committee, microaggressions, news coming out of Activision Blizzard and the 2020 Olympics, and more. With special guest Candace Rennick—CUPE Ontario Secretary-Treasurer and candidate for CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer.

Click here to stream Episode 5



In this month’s CUPE Cast —Simpsons Did It!—Elise, Brittany, and Tiffany explore how unions are portrayed in pop culture and the media. Listen in on how the media influences perceptions, including all aspects: from movies, to television, to video games, and even a curated labour-themed book list for all ages!

🚨 Spoiler alerts 🚨 galore but mostly for movies/series that have been out for quite some time. And before our listeners catch it, we will be the first to point out that we neglected to mention The Wire Season Two. Next time on this subject, we promise!

Click here to stream Episode 4


In the CUPE Cast’s third episode, Brittany, Elise, and Tiffany spill the tea on the 2021 Canadian Labour Congress Convention, the history of the CLC, and how the heck conventions even work—especially when they are virtual!

Whether you missed out on the CLC 2021 Convention or want to relive your favourite moments, the CUPE Cast recap is for you! We are also joined by a very special guest interview, Lily Chang, newly elected CLC Secretary Treasurer.

Click here to stream Episode 3


Led by leaders in our movement who should be familiar to all of you—Tiffany Balducci, Brittany Nisbett, and Elise Lee Lai—the podcast will explore labour issues through the lens of our wider popular culture.
In episode 2, Tiffany, Brittany and Elise discuss what Rainbow Capitalism and Pinkwashing are and how they are used to distract and prevent Queer Liberation. The CUPE Cast also hears about Tiffany’s personal experience as a Bi woman in union spaces and reviews the meaning of 2SLGBTQIA+. The CUPE Cast is also joined by special guest, CUPE Ontario Pink Triangle Chair, Susan Gapka.

Click here to stream episode two: “Queer Liberation, Not Rainbow Capitalism.”


Visit cupe.on.ca/cupecast and stream the first episode: “Cooler Than Side Parts and Skinny Jeans: Unions are ‘In’ Now.”