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MONCTON, NB - Approximately 65 municipal workers from Eastern Canada met this weekend in Moncton, New Brunswick to attend the first Conference of Municipal Workers, organized by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

The conference host, President of the Council of Municipal Employees of New Brunswick, Marc Doiron, reminded delegates of the many challenges facing municipal employees. “We need to form a united front against the privatization of our services, the continued attacks on our pension plans, and the budget cuts imposed on municipalities by provincial governments,” said Doiron.

Speaking at the opening of the conference CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer Claude Généreux highlighted the need for municipal employees to work together. “It is important for us to dialogue and together try to find solutions to the many problems that face us. “He noted that the services provided by municipal employees are part of the very fabric of our daily lives.

Généreux also stressed the dangers of the new trade agreement between Canada and the European Union, which poses a threat to this country’s public services, particularly its municipal services. He characterized the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) as a “clear and present danger”.

On Saturday, CUPE National President Paul Moist and National President of the Council of Canadians Maude Barlow will take part in a forum on CETA, as part of the municipal conference.

CUPE and the Council of Canadians are opposed to the agreement because of the effects it will have on public services and the environment.