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CUPE delegates stood up and spoke out against poverty yesterday at the 100th anniversary world congress of Public Services International in Vienna, Austria.
About 1,000 delegates and observers joined in the trial run for the “Stand Up and Speak Out Against Poverty” campaign to break a Guinness world record on Oct. 16-17.
CUPE will participate in the campaign action at its national convention in mid-October, as will millions of other trade unionists around the world. The campaign is described on its web site as a “growing movement of people no longer prepared to stay seated or silent in the face of poverty and inequality.”
The campaign is asking people all over the world to stand up and speak out for the Millennium Development Goals that were established at the turn of this century.
“Help us break the world record,” the web site urges. “So we can break the record of broken promises.” For more information, visit www.standagainstpoverty.org.
The welcome stretch, and the waving of red campaign cards, followed a day of ceremonial greetings and speeches about the need for PSI and the struggles that lie ahead for the global union federation. Delegates also adopted several constitutional changes.
Speakers also saluted outgoing PSI general secretary Hans Engelberts, who is retiring after 26 years of dedicated service. Delegates gave him a standing ovation.
CUPE is one of seven Canadian PSI union affiliates attending the 28th world congress this week. The global meetings are held every five years.

CUPE delegates also attended an evening workshop on private equity corporate buy-outs and the role of union pension funds in mass-profit investments that bring layoffs, wage cuts and do economic harm to communities.