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CUPE health care workers are ready for action, armed with winning strategies and a militant action plan to stop privatization and expand public health care. About 180 members from across the country met for a lively two-day health care workers’ conference in Ottawa before the People’s Summit.

Delegates surveyed the current political scene, including the work ahead after the First Ministers meeting, and shared fightback strategies. Members learned how PEI members defeated what would have been Canada’s first P3 hospital - on a shoestring budget of $5,000. They also drew inspiration from New Brunswick’s strong show of solidarity. Here, members have resolved that if one group of CUPE members is attacked, all other CUPE members in the province will join the battle.

Delegates also shared creative tactics, like the successful fight against ambulance downloading and privatization in Ontario. The cross-province ambulance tour has become a model for other health care campaigns. And the room lit up when HEU/CUPE president Fred Muzin shared his story of taking direct action to block trucks carrying privatized laundry from leaving a BC hospital.

That energy and inspiration fed into a strong health care action plan, adopted unanimously. The plan calls for CUPE to resist privatization in all its forms, defending publicly delivered and publicly funded health services and the jobs of CUPE members providing that care.