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June 7, 2000, Burnaby, BCJudy Darcy, National President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) will speak to the 300 delegates and guests at the annual CUPE BC Division Convention Thursday.

Darcy is leading CUPE in a campaign to secure the safety and reinforce public accountability in Canadas water and waste water systems. The tragic events in Walkerton, Ontario have changed the way millions of Canadians think about water forever. Perhaps out of this horrible tragedy is a moment for Canadians to recommit to strong, vital public services. A moment to reflect upon what taxes pay for, says Darcy.
The residents of Walkerton trusted the water they drank. They never expected it to kill them, but downloading, privatization and deregulation broke a vital link in the chain of communication and accountability that is supposed to protect the public water and public health. says Darcy.

Representing front line workers who deliver water services across Canada including in BC, CUPE members have been warning local councils and provincial medical officers about the potential dangers in our water system for years. Today in BC, says Darcy, the threatening water news comes from Creston and Kye Bay, but CUPE members know that cutbacks and old, poorly regulated systems have been affecting the quality of water throughout the Kootenays and other places for a long, long time.

Darcy is an executive member of the Canadian Labour Congress and is calling for greater labour unity in action in order to fight public sector cuts and privatization of vital public services like health care and water. As a demonstration of labour unity in action, CUPE is spearheading a health care day of action on June 14th in cooperation with the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, NUPGE affiliates and SEIU.

The joint action by Canadas four largest health care unions, will see health care workers gather in front of hospitals, clinics and nursing homes to sing, shout, clap and chant in support of public health care, she said.

Judy Darcy will be available for interviews on Thursday, June 8 and Friday, June 9, 2000.

CUPE is Canadas largest union, with over 100,000 members in British Columbia, and representing 480,000 women and men in health care, education, municipalities, social services, libraries, utilities, transportation and airlines across Canada.

Louise Leclair
CUPE Communications
(604) 454-4711

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