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Individual British Columbians working together can help build vibrant and sustainable local economies and move past the traditional boom and bust cycle, CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill said today as he kicked off the official launch of the union’s Ten Percent Shift campaign.

Speaking to a capacity crowd of 400, O’Neill said the Ten Percent Shift is intended to show people that they can create sustainable economic growth in their communities simply by shifting ten percent of their existing household spending to local goods and services and locally owned businesses.

The Shift concept has been successful where it’s been tried in other jurisdictions like New England, Denver and Bellingham to name a few,” said O’Neill. “CUPE BC is initiating this campaign here because all 85,000 CUPE members in B.C. are members of their community first.”

Over the past two years, O’Neill has held public meetings in more than 30 B.C. communities to talk about new solutions to the economic challenges facing the province. In each community he met with a wide range of individuals, groups and associations, including chambers of commerce, boards of trade, members of CUPE and other unions, local elected officials and community activists.

We’re a community union, and to us this campaign is the logical next step. It’s no secret that people in every part of B.C. are struggling to make ends meet during tough economic times. Revitalizing community economies by investing in local products and businesses is the first step towards British Columbians taking more control of their own future.

I really hope people will go to our website to learn more and that they’ll take the Ten Percent Shift Pledge,” said O’Neill. “This isn’t about politics, this is a simple, doable action that has the potential to kickstart a new generation of entrepreneurs and bring about a more sustainable local economy. Communities will depend less on commodity prices and other external economic forces beyond their control, and more on local ingenuity and creativity.”

Interested in learning more? Go to tenpercentshift.ca and take the Ten Percent Shift Pledge. And check out our Facebook page, where you can tell other Shifters how you’re doing; success stories, challenges, we want to hear it all.