CUPE’s commitment and support for international solidarity was evident at the 2015 CUPE National Convention in Vancouver. We hosted labour and social movement leaders from six countries and incorporated international solidarity and common struggles into all aspects of the convention program. 

Global Justice Committee members were present on convention floor when important resolutions were presented for debate. They were pleased that Convention passed Resolution 202, which mandates CUPE National to “present a financial plan by the end of 2015 that ensures, at a minimum, that our ability to fund project work is financially protected on an ongoing basis. 

Committee members were also pleased to see National convention adopt resolutions calling for action in opposition to a new wave of international trade agreements that threaten public services and for us to work in solidarity with migrant workers.

  1. Labour repression in South Korea - Trade unions in South Korea are experiencing a crackdown on basic trade union rights as the South Korean government is violating rights such as freedom of assembly and association. The severity of union repression is shocking with multiple raids on union offices and investigation, arrest and imprisonment of several union officers and members.

    Labour reforms presented by government will result in cuts to overtime pay and salaries for senior workers, make it easier for employers to fire workers, expand temporary agency work and weaken protections for subcontracted workers. The reforms will restrict the ability of a trade union to intervene when employers implement changes to workplace rules that are detrimental to workers. 
  2. Migrant workers are organizing - The Coalition for Migrant Worker Rights Canada officially launched a new campaign in October called MoVE (Mobility, Voice and Equality). They are calling for regulatory changes to make it easier for workers to move from one job to another and for permanent residence immigration status for all workers upon arrival. 
  3. Global collaboration in the fight against privatization  - Public Services International (PSI), the global union federation CUPE is affiliated with, is building a global network of labour unions to fight privatization in the new year. CUPE National President Mark Hancock and economist Toby Sanger met with leaders of PSI’s major affiliates from around the world in Washington, D.C. last December to discuss how privatization is undermining decent employment and quality public services, to share successes in our fights against privatization and to plan how we can work better together.
  4. Trade and investment  - Hundreds of thousands of people marched in Berlin, Germany in October to oppose a planned free trade deal between the European Union and the United States that is anti-democratic and will threaten food safety and environmental standards. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would create the world’s largest free-trade zone, encompassing some 800 million people.

    More recently, as world leaders gathered in Paris for the COP21 climate talks, 23 government negotiators including Canada were in Geneva negotiating another secretive trade deal that will give oil and gas companies new powers. Wikileaks has released a section of draft text from the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) draft text that, if adopted, would prevent governments from favouring clean energy - such as solar - over more polluting sources - like the tar sands.

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