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The sixth issue of CUPE Celebrates reports on the efforts of CUPE and its members in 2009. In 2009, CUPE’s membership continued to grow, passing the 600,000 mark - underlining the importance of public services and the significant role our members play in delivering services and influencing our country’s economic stability.

The 2009 issue of CUPE Celebrates brings many stories from the communities that CUPE members serve and provides some of the significant statistics that reflect key victories.

From one end of Canada to the other, CUPE members worked side by side with staff to address pay equity and other equality issues, while defending their contracts against concessions. Hard-won gains are not always easy to protect. However, thousands of members successfully defended previously negotiated improvements to their collective agreements at bargaining tables and, when necessary, on picket lines or through extraordinary job actions. For CUPE, 2009 was also a year of very important wins at the bargaining table. In Quebec, medical emergency responders achieved significant corrective wage increases and long-sought recognition for their difficult working conditions. Toronto Public Library workers won historic gains in pregnancy and parental leave and more equitable benefits for part-time workers. And, after a 25-year effort, the exclusion of “casual” government workers from union protection in New Brunswick has ended.

Securing CUPE’s financial future continued to be a theme this year, with investment in land and buildings right across Canada to house staff and CUPE activities. A virtual tour of CUPE’s national headquarters in Ottawa was launched on CUPE.ca in February 2010. The gold LEED building is just one example of CUPE’s continued commitment to both membership investment and a greener future.

CUPE’s green buildings, like CUPE members, represent the union’s continued commitment to Canada’s communities. Delivering needed public services to Canadians in all major sectors – municipal, health care, education, transportation, energy and social services, to name only a few large sectors – is what the hundreds of thousands of CUPE members do every day. Keeping services and their delivery public is what the union will continue to strive for in the coming year.