WINNIPEG – Delegates at the 11th Annual Western Canadian Municipal Workers’ Conference ended on a high note Saturday, as they considered different ways CUPE members could stop privatization and contracting out of municipal services.
The Conference dealt with a number of issues, but particularly how contracting-out and privatization was affecting their work and their communities. Speakers from CUPE National Office, representatives from Locals across the prairie provinces shared their experiences and strategies on how to defend public services.
“We had excellent speeches and discussions on issues that affect our members in every municipal local,” said Eric David, Chair of the CUPE Manitoba Municipal Committee. “Even though the issues we are dealing with are serious and have a huge effect on our members, we felt good about what we were doing and optimistic about what we can do.”
One of the major issues the delegates heard about was the impact the Trade Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) will have on municipal services. TILMA is being promoted by pro-business governments in British Columbia and Alberta, but Manitoba and Saskatchewan have raised doubts and concerns about the trade agreement, where it undermines the delivery of municipal services.
“The delegates also discussed the erosion of funding for municipalities and the barriers (such as requirements to consider or use public-private partnership options) placed on municipal leaders by senior levels of government,” Said David
Over 130 delegates from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba were at the Conference. They represent workers in public utilities, libraries, police services and many other municipal services provided across western Canada.