Its time to strike back.
The provincial government has cancelled its contract with democracy. Under the Liberals, community consultation has become a thing of the past.
We have rallied, marched, and lobbied but this government is not listening. Now is the time for us to take serious action. Its time to step up the fight.
This government is forcing a confrontation we do not want, but we owe it to our communities, our kids, and the next generation of workers to stand up to this unprecedented attack.
I am calling on all CUPE members to participate in a province-wide first day of action on a date to be announced soon. If we do not act now, we will be forced to sacrifice all of our gains in creating fair workplaces and strong communities.
Some have already lost their livelihoods. Health care is being privatized. Our social services are under attack. Our K-12 sector is about to be hammered by the new legislation. University, college, and library workers have all struggled under the Liberals death-by-a-thousand cuts. Pharmacare premiums have gone up. $6 an hour is the new minimum wage. Tuition fees have more than doubled. Our skilled trades are being disassembled and apprenticeship programs broken up. The list goes on.
Some of you may think you can escape unharmed. But many of our employers are planning to use anti-labour legislation to force concessions from you. Weakened Workers Compensation laws, a downgraded Employment Standards Act, a weaker Labour Code will make that possible. They will tell your bargaining committee that the law is on their side with Bill 29 and Bill 94. Some will say you should be happy to have a job.
In some cases local governments have lost their authority to treat employees with respect and dignity. This government has given itself the ultimate veto by law with Bill 75. If we do not stand up now, there will be nothing left to stand up for in the future.
Our communities made this province strong and it will be community action that will keep it strong. In the Okanagan, community action saved a highway. We need to do the same in the rest of the province. If our union needs to lead the way, we should step up to the challenge.
We must work harder than ever to ensure our kids get the same chances we had and that our parents live with dignity. Our task is not easy, however history shows nothing worth having ever comes easily.
It is time to use our collective strength as workers to make B.C. a place where no one is left behind. Its time to strike back. Its time to choose sides. It is time to take the side of our communities, our families, and our future.