CUPE has become increasingly active in linking with unions in other countries to stop globalization. For example, at the invitation of Brazil’s National Union of Municipal Workers, CUPE representatives, including the president of Local 5167 in Hamilton, made a major presentation to a water and sewer management conference on our expertise in fighting water privatization. We sent a representative, Brother Edgar Godoy of CUPE Local 2191 and an alternate member of our national International Solidarity Committee, on the Invisible Struggles tour of Columbia. This tour of people and communities was organized partly to support popular opposition forces who are organizing against the plan to make Colombia even more dependent on foreign investment. We’re active on the International Executive Board and in ongoing activities of the Public Services International (PSI). Our work at the PSI has allowed us to build strong ties to public sector unions in other countries and we have become recognized leaders in the international fight against privatization. We have established important connections with important public sector unions in South Africa and many countries in South America, particularly on the issue of water and power privatization. And our International Solidarity Committee has established many strong ties, and is involved in many projects, with unions outside of Canada including unions in Cuba, South Africa and Chile.
We must continue to expand our international solidarity efforts on all these fronts. And we must also ensure that CUPE locals become more active in linking with other workers in other countries. To reach out to our allies around the globe, we must:
- Support links between CUPE locals and sister locals in other countries facing similar problems or employers.
- Include an international dimension within CUPE activities and campaigns to make the links with public sector struggles in other countries – whether it’s our fight for equality rights, against privatization, or in defence of medicare, public education or water.
- Use United Nations Conferences, Conventions and international law to put pressure on Canadian and other governments to adhere to agreements that promote policies and programs that support the rights of all workers.
- Continue to strengthen international solidarity committees among divisions, councils and locals.
- Strengthen the Union Aid fund with a major push to increase financial contributions from local unions and from members and staff, as well as negotiating contributions from employers.
- Give priority to funding Union Aid projects that are connected to globalization.