Social services - RESPECT! Aretha Franklin made it famous in song. Now CUPE social service workers will put the word to work with campaigns across Canada designed to improve funding, wages and working conditions in this vital sector. Delegates also heard about a new union-run pension plan that gives them a chance to bargain a real pension.
Municipalities - Delegates heard an independent researcher debunk the myths about international trade deals. It’s not about greater equality. It’s an absolute con game. Everything
is up for sale, from water to snow removal to waste management.
Health care - The fight for Canada’s health care system has never been more important. Delegates heard about a new national campaign not only to defend public health care but to improve it. As one delegate said, “it’s not just a fightback, it’s a fight forward”.
School boards - K-12 delegates will intensify the fight against government attacks on public education. Here in BC the neo-Liberals have made education an essential service. CUPE has joined with the teachers to fight this unfair law.
Post-secondary education - Delegates traded bargaining strategies and concerns about privatization, contracting out and rising tuition fees. They also heard a Canadian Federation of Students rep describe threats to academic freedom since Sept. 11.
Water and wastewater - CUPE is taking on the privateers and working to strengthen public water systems. Delegates shared experiences about Water Watch successes and told of new committees being formed. They renewed their commitment to keep our water public.
Libraries - Among the poorest paid municipal workers, library workers discussed the importance of continuing the battle for pay equity. Delegates shared provincial strategies to achieve pay equity in the absence of legislation, and to maintain gains.
Electrical utilities - Since Sept. 11 there are increased concerns about safety, especially at nuclear power plants. Delegates also were concerned about utilities being split into smaller companies, making privatization easier.