Statement from CUPE National President Mark Hancock and National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury:

As workers who serve the public on a daily basis, CUPE members find themselves on the front lines of public health crises, and the current coronavirus outbreak is no different.

We extend our deepest gratitude to the paramedics, health care workers, flight attendants, and others who are working through this outbreak despite the risks. We understand the stress and confusion that this situation is causing, and we encourage our members to make use of the union’s resources and expertise for these types of situations.

We remind our members and all workers that procedures and precautions exist for managing these risks, and that all workers in Canada have the right to refuse unsafe work. It is the responsibility of employers to ensure the health and safety of their employees.

We also note that governments who routinely underfund public services, like health care, deeply undercut Canada’s ability to respond to viral outbreaks and other health crises in a timely and efficient manner.

CUPE members who want to know more can consult CUPE’s coronavirus guide.