CUPE can be proud of the part we’ve played in helping to build a strong movement to challenge the power of the corporations:
- We mobilized more than 5,000 CUPE members to join the protest in Quebec City, the largest labour contingent in the march. And we supported the call for a public inquiry into the assault by police on our right to peaceful protest. We also mobilized hundreds of CUPE members to participate in the “March at the Arch” that took place on the border at Blaine, Washington – a B.C. action organized in solidarity with the FTAA protest in Quebec City.
- We supported the recent Common Front’s Quebec-to-Qatar caravan and teach-ins on the WTO, and reached out to municipal councils and other allies to voice their opposition.
- We sought standing in the appeal of the Metalclad case, supporting the Mexican town fined $17 million under NAFTA for trying to stop a US corporation from operating a toxic waste dump in the community.
- We launched a charter challenge on Chapter 11 of NAFTA, arguing against the secret NAFTA tribunals that violate our rights to freedom of expression and of the press.
- We released important legal opinions setting out the dangers of Alberta’s Bill 11 (allowing for the establishment of private hospital care) as a result of NAFTA and the WTO agreements. We released similar legal opinions warning municipalities of the trade implications for privatized water – opinions that played an instrumental role in reversing the privatization of the Seymour plant in BC, and that we are using again in our campaigns against water privatization in Moncton and Halifax.
- We funded research on the impact of trade deals on health care, education, water and municipal services, publishing the results in our Third Annual Report on Privatization.
- Produced educational material for our members showing the impact of trade deals on their jobs and the public services we provide.
- We participated in the campaign to challenge corporate control of HIV/AIDS drugs in South Africa.
- We communicate regularly with labour groups in other countries to exchange information and engage in joint actions to challenge globalization.
But we still need to do much, much more to beat back the forces of globalization and free trade, and take back democracy. The key is to reach out and involve our 500,000 members, bringing the struggle home to each and every one. We need to build a massive movement on the ground, in every community, every workplace and every CUPE local.
- Increase our efforts to raise awareness of all CUPE members about the impact of globalization on our day-to-day lives, on the environment, on the lives of workers in other countries and on the rights of workers of colour, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered workers, Aboriginal workers and women.
- Pay special attention to involving youth, who know their future and the environmental future of our planet is at stake, and who have shown incredible courage in taking on the right-wing agenda.
- Develop a clear strategy for fighting back – one that puts real meaning into the slogan, “Think globally. Act locally.” CUPE members must actively resist the global transformation of the world’s economy by actively resisting the erosion of the quality of life in our own communities and the attacks on us in our workplaces. We must be prepared to take direct action on trade agreements just as we do on collective agreements.