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Day two of CUPE’s national convention started with debate on the CUPE National Strategic Directions document, “Securing the Future”.

From the Introduction:

The theme for this 2007 CUPE National Convention, “Our Solidarity, Our Strength, Our Future”, captures our successes over the last four years as well as our commitment to achieve significant and lasting gains over the next two years and beyond. CUPE members have strengthened our union by building solidarity within and between our locals, within the labour movement, and with our political and social allies in the community. We will continue this momentum by devoting the necessary resources to defend public services against privatization and to promote public services as the most effective and efficient way to make our communities better places within which to live and work.

The delegates discuss the document in an open mike session for part of each day. The document is changed according to feedback from delegates and voted on later in the convention.

Delegates from coast to coast offered advice and told stories of what privatization and trade deals have meant for their communities and their members.

Donisa Bernardo, Hospital Employees’ Union financial secretary, joined others who talked about the impact on women when services are privatized, resulting in stresses on families and communities. “In British Columbia, Bill 29 was devastating, paving the way for the largest mass firing of women in Canadian history.”

CUPE 4400 member Katie McGovern raised concerns about selling off schools and other assets. “We lose a part of being Canadian when we lose public services,” said McGovern. Michael Lanier, from CUPE 1936, said that privatization of social services, like child care and community living, makes our communities harder places for everyone.

Cidalia Ribeiro of CUPE 4092 talked about the impact of privatization for airline workers – and encouraged CUPE to include the Open Skies agreement in our fight for fair trade agreements.

Delegates will discuss two other aspects of Securing the Future – over the next two days: Strategic Direction 2 with a bargaining focus on Wednesday and Direction 3 will focus on the environment and global solidarity on Thursday. Delegates will have an opportunity to discuss a final revised plan on Friday.