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CUPE leaders joined workers from throughout the Americas this week in challenging the official line that the Free Trade Area of the Americas is a good deal for the people of this hemisphere. They also witnessed first-hand the repression and over-the-top military response of US security forces who attacked protesters in Miami.

As part of a week of protests, teach-ins and other activities, CUPE PEI president Donalda MacDonald spoke to a forum on the impact of free trade on public services. Her call for resistance and solidarity was enthusiastically received by representatives of unions and social allies from throughout the hemisphere.

I think it is important that we continue to build opposition to the free trade agreements- working with other labour and social groups, building alliances in the community, in our provinces, across Canada and across borders. We have a lot of work ahead of us before next September, but we have great members and a great union. We have a lot to offer and a lot to learn from our sisters and brothers across the Americas, she said.

CUPEs contingent, which included GVP Rick MacMillan and researcher Teresa Healy, formed part of a larger delegation from the CLC and Public Services International in Miami to oppose trade deals that override national interests in favour of multinationals.

The Canadian government has played an active role pushing the FTAA in talks among the 34 trade ministers from the Americas, calling for a broad deal that would include all services that arent specifically excluded. That would greatly increase the pressure to privatize public services and limit governments ability to make decisions in the public interest.