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VANCOUVER Rousing debates and standing ovations marked the final day of CUPE BCs annual convention, as 500 delegates discussed the unions action plan and solidarity vote to fight Liberal government cuts and attacks on workers.

Based on the results of our solidarity vote so far, more than 90 per cent of voting members have said yes to taking collective action, CUPE BC president Barry ONeill said. More than 100 of CUPEs 150 locals have held the vote to defend CUPE jobs, collective agreements and communities.

Our solidarity vote sends a clear message to the Campbell Liberals and any other employer who thinks they can use contract-breaking legislation to run roughshod over workers rights, ONeill said.

If you take on one CUPE member, you take on all 67,000 of us, he added to loud applause. Delegates echoed this sentiment in debating the resolution on CUPEs two-year action plan.

We have to look after each other and stand together, said Virginia Moore, a delegate from Hazelton. Although the mills are closing in our region and only one person is now working [in a family] instead of two, our members voted to support acting in solidarity.

The solidarity vote has given hope to our members and our communities, said Marlene Crozier, a CUPE school worker from Nanaimo. We need to build on that in the weeks and months ahead.

On the emergency resolution dealing with Labour Relations Code changes, CUPE delegates urged the Liberal government to consult labour and business under section 3 of the code, before making any legislative amendments.

In other business, delegates agreed to fight health care privatization, support a general strike, set up an aboriginal council, support labour-friendly candidates in the community elections this fall and protect public water systems.

We are in the fight of our lives, ONeill said at the close of convention. The fight continues today as we go back to our communities to organize our co-workers, our families and our neighbours. We deserve to win this fight. And we will win it.


Contact: CUPE Communications, (604) 291-1940