Just before Stephen Harper, George Bush and Felipe Calderón arrived in New Orleans for the Leader’s Summit of the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), energy workers from across North America gathered Apr. 20 to strengthen ties in the face of continental energy integration policies.
CUPE electricity workers and National Secretary-Treasurer Claude Généreux joined their counterparts from the US and Mexico at the Second North American meeting of energy sector organizations.
The CUPE delegates were Catherine Bert from SCFP 4250 (Hydro Québec), Pauline Niles from CUPE 1 (Toronto Hydro) and Brian Koski from CUPE 38 (City of Calgary/Enmax), along with Généreux and CUPE staffers Carol Proulx and Blair Redlin.
The New Orleans meeting followed a successful gathering of energy workers in Montreal, August 2007. At that gathering, energy workers agreed to work closely to establish environmentally sustainable energy as a human right and to resist privatization and continental integration being pushed through the SPP.
Participants in the energy meeting heard about a range of issues from electricity deregulation, to new pipelines to export tar sands bitumen to the U.S., to the battle in Mexico to prevent the privatization of public energy company Pemex.
- energy policy debates are at a decisive stage in all three countries;
- the SPP “working group” model is fundamentally undemocratic;
- deregulated energy markets have proven to be a failure;
- investment in energy infrastructure is seriously needed;
- high energy prices have caused significant manufacturing job losses;
- the megaproject approach is unsustainable; and
- energy workers’ rights are under attack.
Delegates concluded the day by setting up a structure for ongoing work together and planning ways to support the immediate struggle of Mexican workers to resist the privatization of Pemex.
The CUPE delegation will participate in the New Orleans People’s Summit Monday and Tuesday.