Mark HancockMark Hancock | National President 

We’re not exactly entering 2022 on the note most of us would have liked, with the Omicron variant of COVID-19 wreaking havoc on our health, our jobs, and our road to social and economic recovery.

I know that as we pass the two-year mark of this pandemic, a lot of us are fed up. We’re sick and tired of this pandemic. We’re sick and tired of governments who don’t care about workers and their families. As union members and activists, every single one of us has been through a lot.

But we cannot lose sight of the opportunities and important work ahead of us. Our job as Canada’s largest and strongest union remains the same.

In 2022, we are going to fight for a fair recovery from this pandemic, that focuses on fixing our broken health care system and helping the precarious workers, low-income families, and racialized folks who endured the cruellest effects of this crisis.

We are going to fight for a feminist recovery that addresses the inequities faced by women at work and in our communities. That starts with fighting for a national, affordable child care program, and fighting for better wages, job security and working conditions in occupations predominantly staffed by women like health care, long-term care, education, and more.

We are also going to head off calls for austerity and privatization. You can already hear right-wing governments and pundits sharpening their knives, looking to cut and sell off the very public services that helped our communities weather this pandemic.

And we’re going to win. Just look at what our members achieved a few short months ago in New Brunswick. Outgunned by a provincial government that wanted to continue paying essential workers the lowest wages in the country, our members organized, engaged their locals and their communities, and fought back. And not only did we stop the Conservative agenda in New Brunswick – we made important gains for our lowest paid members too.

This is the kind of fight we are going to be bringing all across Canada.

And our fight won’t stop at Canada’s borders either. The failure of rich countries like Canada to push for vaccine equity has devastated less-fortunate countries, and it has also allowed dangerous variants like Omicron to evolve and spread like wildfire. CUPE has been a leading voice since day one calling on pharmaceutical companies to waive their patents on vaccines so that less-wealthy nations can buy or produce enough vaccines for their populations. We’ll keep up the pressure on this too.

We’re not there yet. But together, we are going to fight through this pandemic and build a better country, and a better world.