CUPE is helping bring workers’ voices and solutions to the 19th annual international AIDS conference taking place in Washington, D.C.
More than 20,000 delegates from 195 countries are expected at AIDS 2012. The conference brings together people living with HIV/AIDs, policy-makers and others working to end the pandemic under the theme “Turning the Tide Together”.
The Canadian delegation joined union representatives from Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, South Africa, Australia, Sweden, Brazil, the United Kingdom and the United States to share regional issues and worker-driven responses to HIV/AIDS.
The caucus made the links between HIV/AIDS issues and other workers’ issues including:
- income security and access to public services as the key to poverty reduction and human rights;
- workplace responses to the AIDS crisis, building on the International Labour Organization’s Resolution 200;
- access to work without discrimination;
- the role of the World Bank and the dangers of relying on P3s to build and sustain unfunded or underfunded programs; and
- engaging young people.
Over the next week, CUPE will participate in sessions on economic justice and human rights protection; access to treatment’ fighting stigma and discrimination; and the impact of the HIV/AIDS on women, LGBTTI people, aboriginal peoples, workers in the global south, and precarious workers such as migrants, sex workers and workers in the informal sector.
CUPE is also keeping a close eye on P3s being presented as “funding solutions” by the corporate sector and large international institutions. As one of the few public sector unions at the conference, CUPE will be promoting strengthening the public sector through increased corporate taxation and financial transaction taxes – planks of the Public Services International’s Quality Public Services- Action Now! Campaign.
The Canadian delegation at AIDS 2012 is: Sheryl Burns (CUPE National Women‘s Committee), Zully F. Trujillo (CUPE National Rainbow Committee), Roger Procyk (CUPE National Aboriginal Council), Gerry Lavallée (CUPE National Pink Triangle Committee) Kelti Cameron (CUPE International Solidarity officer), Victor Elkins (Hospital Employees’ Union) and David Onyalo (Canadian Labour Congress).
For Twitter updates, follow Kelti Cameron (@kelti) and Victor Elkins (@velkins), and search the hash tags #AIDS2012, #TurningtheTideTogether, #DCdeclaration and #GlobalVillage.
A few facts:
- Nine out of 10 people living with HIV/AIDs are workers.
- 63 per cent of people in need do not have access to HIV/AIDS treatment.
- Every 12 seconds someone gets infected with HIV.
- Globally, young people constitute about 40 per cent of the unemployed, and around 40 per cent of new HIV infections.
- More than one third of people living with HIV/AIDS report losing their job, being denied health care, being socially isolated and/or being forced to disclose their status.