Warning message

Please note that this page is from our archives. There may be more up-to-date content about this topic on our website. Use our search engine to find out.
Privateers take note. Youre going to face the full force of over a quarter of a million CUPE women. That was the clear outcome of CUPEs fifth national womens conference, held in November 1998 in Ottawa.

Over 300 delegates from across the country strengthened their commitment to defend good jobs and public services, with a focus on fighting privatization. Hands-on workshops drew directly from womens experiences, asking delegates how losing good jobs and services has affected them at home, in the community, in their workplace and in the union.

By the end of the workshops, delegates had created Walls giant poster-style displays jam-packed with insights showing the links between CUPE members everyday struggles and the causes of those struggles.

In and out of the workshops, women shared their stories and the lessons theyve learned fighting cutbacks, privatization, discrimination and violence. The result: a more united front to take on the key issues that affect women most.

From analysis to action

The four-day conference was a significant step in unleashing the power of 275,000 CUPE women and mobilizing CUPE men in solidarity. A first action: some hands-on organizing experience. Delegates organized a pay equity demonstration at Finance Minister Paul Martins downtown office on the final morning of the conference. Delivering a past due invoice on behalf of working women and staging an impromptu sit-in, it was a noisy reminder the Liberals ignore at their peril.

As well as developing strategies to fight privatization, delegates outlined concrete ways to count CUPE women in at the local, division and national levels, drawing up a wide-ranging list of recommendations for action.

Karin Jordan