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Reflecting on our struggles, working for stronger communities

On this Labour Day, we celebrate the role of CUPE members in every town and city in Canada. We can be rightly proud that our work makes our communities stronger and healthier, making a concrete difference in peoples’ daily lives.

Our efforts shine through despite public funding cuts, service downloading and the contracting out of our jobs to private companies. We persist in the face of dubious “partnerships” with companies scheming for taxpayer-guaranteed profits. We stand up for our communities.

Some people say that unions are no longer necessary. They are wrong. Unions are more needed than ever – and not just for better wages and working conditions.

The public services we provide, from local water and electricity to health care and school maintenance, make our communities great places to live. This is why we will continue to fight privatization and keep these services public in every community. It’s hard to imagine our communities without our members’ hard work, public services or public investment.

We fight for better communities. We fight the “WalMartizing” of our economy, because part-time and temporary jobs with no benefits are unjust and unfair. And, because our solidarity extends around the world, we fight for global justice by opposing corporate trade deals.

In fact, public sector workers are vital to the well-being of communities everywhere. They and their unions help sustain and rebuild communities hit by disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the terrible tsunamis that struck on Boxing Day last year.

And we are there to support the workers in the current lockouts and strikes The workers at the CBC and Telus have our solidarity and our support. CUPE members in Regina, Bathurst, N.B., and Varennes, Que., have it too. So do the workers at CanWest/Global in Quebec City who are facing a big fight to keep their jobs. These are the struggles that remind us of the need for strong unions.

On this Labour Day, let’s rededicate ourselves to helping more Canadians receive the benefits of unionization. Let’s pledge to continue building a vibrant, united labour movement. Let’s re-commit to embracing new Canadians, workers of colour and aboriginal workers. And let’s reinforce our participation at all levels of the labour movement, making it stronger for all working people.

On Labour Day 2005, unions are more relevant than ever as we stand by our values of solidarity, respect and dignity for all.

In solidarity,

Paul Moist
CUPE national president

Claude Généreux
CUPE national secretary-treasurer