KELOWNA The tens of thousands of municipal workers who are members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) are working on the frontline to defend local public services from being privatized or dismantled under free trade. A major conference in Kelowna next week will address these urgent issues.
The number one concern of our members who deliver such important public services as water treatment is protecting the health and safety of their neighbours and families, says CUPE BC President Barry ONeill. When public services and jobs are cut back, the well-being of our communities is put at risk.
The terrible events of the last few days have driven home the values that CUPE has at its core the importance of community, explains National President Judy Darcy. Municipal workers work every day to make our communities safe and healthy. The importance of the role they play has never been more clear.
ONeill and Darcy will be opening speakers at the annual Western Municipal Workers Conference, Sunday, September 16, at 7 p.m., at the Coast Capri Hotel in Kelowna, BC. Discussions and workshops during the four-day convention will focus on the connection between free trade deals and the growing pressure on municipalities to turn public services over to private hands.
For the past several years, CUPE has conducted an intensive Water Watch campaign across Canada to safeguard public water services.
In recent months, CUPE has led the way in successfully opposing plans to privatize local water services in Oliver, Kamloops, Ladysmith, and the 18 Lower Mainland municipalities in the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD). Canadas largest union has been supported in these efforts by a strong coalition of concerned citizens, politicians, health and environmental groups.
On Monday, September 17, at 9 a.m., international free trade analyst Steven Shrybman will address conference delegates. Shrybman provided the legal opinions which are credited as finally convincing Kamloops city councillors and GVRD board members to reject privatization plans for water treatment in their municipalities.
Media, for more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Teresa Marshall, CUPE Communications representative
604-291-1940 ext. 223 or cellphone 604-313-6103.