As 2004 comes to a close, let’s take a moment to imagine the better world we all fight for.
Let’s imagine a world where working people have the right to speak their minds and follow their consciences without fear of reprisal.
Let’s imagine a world where people, no matter their background, are welcomed and respected rather than feared and treated with suspicion.
Let’s imagine that all people live their lives full of joy, hope and security, in the global South as well as the North.
Let’s imagine that all people live free of domination and share in the beauty and bounty of our world and the wealth that working people create.
As we enter 2005, take courage that the half-million working women and men of the Canadian Union of Public Employees reach for those goals. They strive for a better world every day.
Take courage knowing that unions struggle for better working conditions and wages for their members as well as for broader social change. Be proud that CUPE is foremost among them.
As we look back on 2004, we are reminded of the many struggles of our members, the many issues we tackled together in health care, child care, municipalities and other areas of the public sector.
We remember the battles, both big and the small. The major provincial strikes at either end of the country showed how powerful working people can be when they practice solidarity as well as preach it.
But we are also reminded of the smaller struggles in communities across the country: Hydro workers in Sudbury, Ontario, social service workers in Ituna, Saskatchewan, municipal workers in St.-Beatrix, Quebec, and city workers in Nelson, BC.
It’s these small struggles that make us the amazing union that we are. They are proof that we are a vibrant people’s organization fighting for our communities, ensuring that they remain safe, healthy and improved by a constantly renewed commitment to public services.
Our fight against privatization, for example, is our commitment to the better world we all want. We will never give that up.
Be proud, CUPE members. You have stood our ground and advanced the line.
You have demonstrated time again that our union is Canada’s community union.
Let us celebrate the fact that we built this country and that we will rebuild it and keep it strong in 2005.
National President CLAUDE GNREUX