The Public Works! campaign has three national priorities: protecting and expanding public health care, stopping water privatization and protecting public services from trade agreements.
The campaign also tackles emerging privatization threats in utilities, the post-secondary sector, social services and primary/secondary education.
In addition the Public Works! campaign supports strategic campaigns at the local, sectoral and regional levels, where these fights are of national significance.
Protecting and expanding public health care
Across the country, CUPE members are on Medicare Alert. CUPE is taking action to protect public health care – sounding the alarm bell about underfunding and privatization, and developing solutions to protect, reform and expand Medicare. There’s no time to waste. Privatization schemes like Ralph Klein’s private hospital law place Medicare in serious danger. The public health care system we all count on could soon be gone.
Cutting through the bluster of federal and provincial health ministers, CUPE continues to advocate for a strong public health care system, without for-profit services or user fees.
As funding to health care is cut, service and staffing levels fall, creating increased support for medicine for-profit. CUPE is committed to halting the spread of the privatization virus before it does any more damage.
Stopping water privatization
Canadians want to have confidence in the safety of what comes out of their tap. Yet as the tragedy in Walkerton highlights, some of Canada’s drinking water and waste water systems are in desperate need of upgrading and repair.
As funding and regulation support for municipalities shrinks, water privatization looms as an every larger threat. Cash-strapped municipalities have their backs against the wall. But privatization is the wrong choice when it comes to the environment, public health, accountability and affordability.
CUPE continues to press for an expanded, well-maintained and properly funded public system with government support for proper environmental and public health regulation. CUPE has also helped establish more than 30 Water Watch committees in communities across Canada. These committees are the eyes and ears of safe water, acting as a warning system for municipal water supplies are at risk.
Protecting public services from trade agreements
The World Trade Organization is quickly becoming the most powerful body on the planet, setting the rules that govern the global economy - in the interests of huge multinationals. It’s bent on privatizing public services and restricting the power of governments to protect human rights and the environment so the wealthy few can maximize their profits.
Despite the failed attempt to kick off a new round of WTO negotiations last year in Seattle, talks to carve up public services continue through the WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).
GATS negotiators have all public services in their sights, including health care, educations, social services, utilities and municipal services. CUPE is pressing the Canadian government to take a strong stand outlawing trade in these vital services.