I hope members are aware of CUPE BC’s fightback campaign against the BC Liberal Government which Local 1004 and locals throughout BC are participating in - it is now known as Community Action Day. We have received feedback from members that Democracy Day was a confusing term and the campaign was renamed Community Action Day to better reflect the purposes for the day.
The BC Liberal Government has hurt the poor, working families, and the environment. I have made a list of actions that the government has enacted that hurt our communities:
HOSPITALS - Closed hospitals, cut beds and shut down long term care facilities
CHILDREN & FAMILIES - Cut $50 Million from child care subsidies for working poor, eliminated 15,000 before and after school child care spaces and laid off staff who support families in crisis
ENVIRONMENT - Abolished the Ministry of the Environment and weakened forestry and environmental regulation
TUITION - Skyrocketing tuition fees at colleges and universities
SOCIAL ASSISTANCE - Cuts to social assistance including forcing thousands of people off welfare and making it harder to qualify for disability benefits
SCHOOLS - Increased class sizes in public schools, closed neighbourhood schools and cut special needs support
HEALTH CARE - Privatized health care services in hospitals and long term care facilities
MINIMUM WAGE - Brought in the $6/hour training wage
TAX BREAKS - $2 Billion in tax breaks benefiting mostly wealthy British Columbians
BC HYDRO - Taken the first steps to privatize BC Hydro by selling off administration and accounting services to the US firm Accenture
CONTRACTS - Tore up legally-binding negotiated contracts with public sector workers
DEFICIT - Increased the provincial deficit to $3.5 Billion and added to our debt
WAIT LISTS - Increased hospital waiting lists by 21 per cent
ADVERTISING - Spent millions on advertising trying to convince us health care is better off
MSP - Increased Medical Services Plan premiums 50%
BC RAIL - Privatized BC Rail
As you can see this list is quite lengthy but the list does go on, and I don’t think I can keep your attention for hours of reading.
Local 1004 continues to mobilise its membership for the Community Action Protest Day. We have called for an All Job Stewards meeting on March 11 to include the Stewards in our information campaign and job site visits.
Given the current political climate and the evidence of the provincial government’s self destruction, CUPE BC probably will wait for a significant trigger (legislative event or announcement) before it will call on all locals to join in protest.
When the call is eventually made, Local 1004 will be as ready as possible through information packages, job site visits, and website updates.
In closing, I believe that we must send a very strong message to the provincial government - that 70,000 members of CUPE throughout BC are willing to go off the job and giving up a day’s pay - because if we don’t speak out now, there won’t be any services in the future.