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CUPE members across Canada provide accessible, high-quality public services.

CUPE Celebrates is a forum for us to celebrate our work, our challenges and our victories. At CUPE we bargain, we campaign, we undertake political action in many forms and we learn from each other through a variety of union education strategies.

Over the past year, one struggle stands out among many: the lockout at the Journal de Québec. The fight for a just collective agreement is historic for many reasons: the harshness of the lockout, its length – 473 days, the extraordinary solidarity expressed by CUPE members from coast to coast, and the creative pressure tactics used.

CUPE is Canada’s leading union in strong bargaining and defending the right to quality and accessible public services. That is worth celebrating!

Bargaining leadership was demonstrated by CUPE school board workers in Ontario, who chose coordinated bargaining as a successful tactic to negotiate an excellent contract for school board workers throughout Ontario. That same leadership was demonstrated in hospitals and libraries that committed significant resources to achieving pay equity, and in Manitoba among hospital workers, and by CUPE members every day in many ways across the country.

CUPE celebrates our campaigns to expose the privatization of public services in Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Quebec. We celebrate when we contract back in a public service as we did in Port Moody, B.C. with garbage collection or when we organize the unorganized as we did in Newfoundland. We celebrate the political action victories in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, British Columbia and Quebec. The tremendous work of our members during the federal, provincial and municipal elections over the past year has provided us with some remarkable victories and a clear path for where change still needs to happen.

Member to member education is the foundation of CUPE’s education program. Our new weeklong schools include basic pensions, climate change and creating racial justice. We have introduced web-based learning and discussion sessions, including one on the current economic crisis. These sessions have enabled members and staff to discuss pressing issues together in real time. We have collective pride in the representative trainee program, in our political action programs, and in the courses developed to ensure that we serve all CUPE members in an equitable fashion.

Throughout CUPE Celebrates, you will see our comprehensive fight back campaign against privatization in all sectors and all regions of our union. Fighting privatization in all of its forms was the key strategic direction from our 2007 national convention. We salute our activists and staff who are keeping CUPE on the front lines defending public services.

We know you will appreciate the incredible impact CUPE members are having on communities across Canada as you read through the 2008 issue of CUPE Celebrates.