Throughout our history, CUPE has developed and sustained partnerships and relationships with unions and social movements around the world. We have drawn inspiration and lessons from the experiences of others in struggles; whether its solidarity with migrant Mexican and Filipino workers in California who launched a five year boycott and strike action against grape growers in the 1960’s, the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s, or the Colombian water workers union fighting for the right to water in 2015. Our solidarity knows no borders.
In 2014 CUPE assessed our international solidarity work and adapted it to our changing world. We drew lessons from the campaigns and struggles of our sisters and brothers around the world, and developed an international policy that supports strengthening our relations and actions in solidarity with these struggles.
Our 2015 International Solidarity Report provides an overview of our work with our partner groups in Central America, Burma, the Philippines and Colombia. There are updates on our work as members of the Public Services International, our human rights work and our participation in United Nations and International Labour Organization events. The centre spread gives you a graphic illustration of the global reach of CUPE’s work and the final chapter outlines the range of international issues that have direct impact on our bargaining here in Canada.
International solidarity can inform our strategies at the bargaining table, as well as against privatization and austerity programs, because all workers experience the impact of a global economic system that puts profit over people; no matter where in the world we live. The popular refrain act locally, think globally is rooted in the reality that we are all connected as workers.
Strong movements are emerging to fend off privatization and maintain public services, defend human rights, and promote climate justice. These efforts are being countered on a variety of fronts including: legislation such as Canada’s proposed Bill C-51; international trade and investment agreements; and unjust migrant and temporary foreign worker programs. Conservative forces want to use fear as a baton to silence unions and other groups working for change. They want to undermine our solidarity and our collective power.
Today we support worker to worker, union to union solidarity in Colombia, Nicaragua, Honduras, Cuba and the Philippines because we believe we have a great deal to learn from workers and unions around the world. It is through exchanges and building relationships that we create a just world that serves the interests of the majority of the worlds’ people.
CUPE National President
CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer