Journal de Québec workers launched their cross-country solidarity tour to standing ovations and open chequebooks at the Saskatchewan division convention.
Locked-out office worker Marie-France Loubier and journalist Marc Fortier told delegates that CUPE has been a lifeline for the 252 members during their 11-month struggle, lending much-needed emotional, financial and organizational support.
Convention delegates pledged their solidarity and their cash to the locked-out and striking workers. CUPE national and CUPE Saskatchewan matched the pledges on the floor, raising a total of $30,000.
“This is what the union movement is all about,” said Fortier, describing what it feels like to have the country’s largest union by his side.
Loubier and Fortier are on a cross-country tour of CUPE division conventions, drumming up support for what Loubier calls a “David and Goliath” battle with media giant Quebecor.
They unveiled a special English edition of MédiaMatinQuébec that chronicles the 11-month conflict. MédiaMatinQuébec is a free daily newspaper written, produced and distributed by the workers. The paper is extremely popular in the streets of Quebec City.
Delegates and staff were moved by Loubier and Fortier’s story, giving the first-time speakers several standing ovations.
Convention delegates also strategized about looming privatization hidden in the right-wing Saskatchewan Party’s “Enterprise Saskatchewan” plans. Combined with two pieces of anti-union legislation, the trio of bills spells trouble for public services and workers in the province.
National President Paul Moist, Division President Tom Graham and Saskatchewan Regional Vice-President Frank Mentes all highlighted CUPE’s commitment to expand the union’s anti-privatization work. “This is the fight of our lifetime,” said Moist.
Delegates responded unanimously to the call to step up their work defending quality public services and defeating all forms of privatization.