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It’s time for action to save public health care and CUPE members are key to the fight. Members from all sectors are joining health care workers in the battle to defend our public health care system.

To help plan next steps and add a needed push to our efforts, all CUPE locals are encouraged to send as many delegates as possible to an important weekend gathering in Ottawa in early February.

On February 6 and 7, CUPE health care locals are invited to a special two-day meeting to share victories and strategies, strengthen our action plan against for-profit health care and bolster our defence of public delivery of support services. Then they’re encouraged to stay on and join in the People’s Summit on Health.

On February 7, the weekend kicks off with Prescription for Change, a forum on defending and renewing public health care, organized by the Council of Canadians and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

All CUPE locals are encouraged to participate in this forum, followed that evening by Stand up for health care: A citizens’ celebration. Rousing speakers and fine music will celebrate 40 years of Medicare, paying tribute to our health care system and the people who work in it.

Saturday and Sunday is the People’s Summit, organized by CUPE, the CLC, the Canadian Health Coalition and the Council of Canadians. The Summit will help move forward our plan of action, reaching out to other unions and allies, and building skills for the struggle ahead.

Then on Monday, there will be a lobby blitz of MPs with CUPE activists making their voices heard and putting the pressure on the politicians to strengthen public health care.

Information with registration forms is being sent to all CUPE locals this week and you can find out more at cupe.ca. Ottawa’s Winterlude festival means hotel space is very limited so accommodation should be booked by January 15.

With the federal government and many of the provinces already trying to distance themselves from a firm commitment to public delivery of health care, it’s time to move our campaign into high gear. On the front lines and behind the scenes, we are the heart of health care.