Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

October 05, 2009 12:05 ET

Canada Needs a Strong Labour Movement - CUPE President

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Oct. 5, 2009) - CUPE National President Paul Moist says now is a crucial moment for the Canadian labour movement.

Moist addressed a crowd of over 2,500 at the 24th Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) National Convention today at the Palais des Congres de Montreal.

"CUPE has an incredibly proud history," says Moist. "Over five decades, we have built Canada's largest union, with over 600,000 members."

"We have been on the front lines for 46 years, making things better for working men and women. And we have to be ready to stay firmly planted on those front lines, for there is a tough road ahead. Our work is too important to working people and their communities."

The challenge ahead, says Moist, is protecting workers' rights and public services as Canada confronts a global recession.

"Public services are the great social equalizer," says Moist. "But there has been relentless pressure to cut and privatize. This doesn't benefit communities, and as we've seen with the repeated failure of public-private partnerships, it doesn't balance budgets either."

Even as economists declare the end of the recession, Moist says employers may continue to demand concessions from workers in the name of deficit-slaying.

"Workers didn't cause the recession, but they're paying the price," says Moist. "Even in times of recovery, we will see rollbacks demanded from workers. We have to fight, not only to protect our collective bargaining rights, fair wages and pensions, but to defend those of every other worker in Canada."

"This is a pivotal moment, not only for CUPE, but for the labour movement as a whole. We must collectively decide that we will not march backward. That we will get through this recession, and we will have a plan for the future. Sixty per cent of Canadians have no workplace pension. Across the country, part-time jobs are replacing full-time jobs. Contracting out is rampant. And we have a long way to go before we achieve full equality in the workplace. Our work is cut out for us."

"There is a very clear need for the Canadian labour movement. Luckily, we're up for the challenge. In our union are some of the most committed activists I have ever seen. When we are united, we are an unstoppable force."

Contact Information

  • CUPE Media Relations