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Our 15 international guests went beyond the call of duty during national convention last week. They actively participated and assisted in convention functions.

On the first day of convention, Peter Waldorff, the new general secretary of Public Services International, talked of his plans to reach out to affiliates like CUPE around the world.

Petrus Mashishi, president of the South African Municipal Workers’ Union, addressed the anti-poverty rally, telling the crowd how public services help to beat back poverty in his country. Other guests, who had joined the march to the rally, cheered him on behind CUPE flags and banners.

Earlier in the convention, Norma Stephenson, president of UNISON, the public sector union in the United Kingdom, spoke to the women’s caucus and inspired that group with her strong support.

One guest from each country spoke at an international dinner, bringing a power to the room with their words of encouragement about the importance of international solidarity and global justice.

It was the same for the global justice forum, with one guest from each foreign delegation speaking. This time they addressed the issues of privatization, human rights and international solidarity from their own union’s perspective.

All of our guests met with delegates to discuss mutual concerns. In one case, the meeting may have been the beginning of an organizing drive. University workers talked with South African guests, who told them that CUPE was the union to join if they were serious about international solidarity.

Look for a feature article on all of our international guests in the next issue of Organize.