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WINNIPEG The President of Manitobas 24,000 CUPE members says the events of the past year have for many brought home a renewed importance in how much our collective security and well-being depends on our collective sense of who we are as a people and a nation.

We are all interdependent and we need a strong social safety net to be there for us in times of personal or collective crisis, said CUPE Manitoba President Paul Moist. In the year ahead, government at all levels should recognize that fact and act to re-invest in our important public services and restore confidence in our social safety net.

Moist said the dramatic events of September 11th and its aftermath have renewed the importance of working together with a shared sense of purpose and values.

We need all levels of government municipal, provincial and federal to work together to renew the infrastructure that supports the services that matter most to everyone, said Moist. Defending our borders should not be at the expense of preserving our quality of life. Our public services are our first line of defence in any crisis. Theyre too important to sell off for private profit.

Moist said CUPE members across Canada and here in Manitoba are committed to fairness for working people and will continue to take a strong stand both at the bargaining table and in their communities in the months ahead.

Whether its sovereignty over our fresh water supplies, support for public education, speaking up for better health and safety legislation, or defending our Medicare system, CUPE members and their families will be on the front line in the coming year working with Manitobans to preserve and protect our cherished public services, he said.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is Canadas largest union representing more than a half-million women and men. In Manitoba, CUPE represents 24,000 members in health care, education, municipalities, social services, child cares, utilities, libraries and emergency services.

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For more information, contact:
Paul Moist, CUPE Manitoba President, Cell: (204) 981-2873