This International Women’s Day, CUPE is celebrating women’s union activism.

CUPE women have always been at the forefront of the fight for gender justice, and the past year was no exception. At the bargaining table, through political action, and on the picket lines, women are showing leadership and building solidarity to fight for stronger public services, pay equity and fair wages, and better working conditions.

When Ontario’s Conservative government tried to rip up collective bargaining rights, CUPE education workers fought back. The majority of OSBCU members are women, and the lowest-paid members are more likely to be Black, Indigenous or racialized workers. Doug Ford tried to deny these workers fair wage increases, devaluing so-called women’s work. But he didn’t stand a chance against women union activists.

CUPE women also used our power to mobilize workers across the country to demand better child care. We won a major victory when the federal government finally introduced legislation to protect public funding for child care and expand high quality care for Indigenous children. In 2023 we will fight to ensure governments take action on the critical shortage of child care workers and commit to expanding public and non-profit care.

We also made progress when the federal and provincial governments finally released a National Action Plan on Gender-Based Violence. Though the plan is disappointing, CUPE women were central in calling for action and we will keep pushing for real solutions to violence and harassment.

We know that tackling gender-based violence means we must fight violence and harassment within our own union as well. CUPE’s Safe Union Spaces Working Group is creating systems to keep all CUPE members safe.

We have an incredible opportunity to mobilize when we gather March 12-15 at our national women’s conference, CUPE Women: Leading, Organizing, Resisting. Together, CUPE activists will build on our proud history of fighting for gender justice as we connect, learn and organize together.

As we fight for women’s rights, we must recognize that all struggles for human rights and justice are interconnected. To achieve justice for all women, we must dismantle all forms of oppression that women face including racism, transphobia, ableism, homophobia, and colonization.

This International Women’s Day, CUPE invites members to:

Take action:

  • Amplify the Canadian Labour Congress’s Future of Care Campaign and tell your MP to value care work.
  • Take steps to implement CUPE’s Anti-Racism Strategy in your local.

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