Labour movement makes it clear where we stand – CLC convention 2017

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Friday May 19 2017

Last week, more than 3000 trade unionists came together at the 2017 Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) Convention in Toronto. It was a tremendous opportunity for us to connect with activists from across the country and participate in key discussions about the direction of the labour movement.  The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) was present.  Our delegation made its voice heard by advocating for better public postal services and calling on the labour movement to mobilize workers to challenge the bosses and their governments.

We are proud to have helped brother Donald Lafleur get re-elected for a second term as labour congress executive Vice-President. Brother Lafleur is a long-time activist in our union, and his presence at the highest level of the Canadian Labour Congress is a testament to our hard work of solidarity building within the movement.  Brother Lafleur continues to be a tireless advocate of organizing the unorganized, health and safety, education, social, environmental and economic justice.  We know he has an important role to play in the struggles ahead.

The CLC convention is the body where unions across the country can put forward resolutions to guide the Labour movement. I want to highlight two resolutions that were adopted, one dealing with postal issues, and another with human rights of Palestinian prisoners.

A comprehensive composite resolution on postal services was adopted by the convention.  This brings the full might of the 3.3 million members of the Canadian Labour Congress behind our struggle for expanded services and against cuts, deregulation and liberalization.  As the Liberals deliberate on their decision, the labour movement has made it clear where we stand.

The following resolution was also passed.  CUPW was one of the first unions to speak out about the occupation of Palestine.  For years, this was considered a taboo subject in the Canadian labour movement.  The fact that such a resolution could make it to the CLC convention floor at all, illustrates not only the changes that are happening in the labour movement, but also the advances that are being made around these issues in general.

CUPW members can be proud of the role we are playing in the labour movement, pushing progressive issues and advocating for a class-struggle approach to trade unionism. 

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Resolutions

CANADA POST

The CANADIAN LABOUR CONGRESS (CLC) WILL call on the federal government to :

a)    instruct Canada Post to permanently stop cuts to postal services and restore home mail delivery to the pre-2013 level of service;

b)    expand Canada’s postal service to include public banking and environmental leadership, as outlined in the “Delivering Community Power” campaign, including advocating for:

  1. the expansion of services offered through Canada Post, such as a national check-in service program for seniors using carriers;
  2. the implementation of community hubs at post offices throughout the country in order to provide basic public service, postal banking and improves communication services where such a need exists;
  3. the implementation of a nationwide system of DC electric vehicle charging stations at select post offices in areas where service is otherwise lacking; and
  4. a Canada Post which continually experiments with innovation in the public interest;

 c)     create a taskforce on, and conduct a public review of, Canada Post’s plans for our post office in order to determine how to deliver new financial and banking services that could expand revenue generating services to support a strong, healthy and sustainable public postal service for generations to come.

The CLC WILL encourage affiliates and labour councils to:

a)    demand that the government and Canada Post cease closing and downsizing post offices and reducing hours, and reject any plans to privatize or deregulate Canada Post; and 

b)    in conjunction with CUPW and CPAA, launch a campaign to make the public, its affiliates, its allies and other central labour bodies better aware of the various opportunities to extend the services of Canada Post, notably to banking services, and that this campaign will denounce the cuts, privatization and abolishment of good jobs. 

PALESTINIAN PRISONERS’ DIGNITY STRIKE 

THE CANADIAN LABOUR CONGRESS (CLC) WILL:

a) Call on the Canadian Government to pressure Israel to stop violating international law by illegally detaining Palestinians and depriving them of their basic human, civil and political rights; and

b) Work with global union federations, affiliates and civil society organizations in Canada on campaigns in support of Palestinian prisoners.

BECAUSE more than 1600 Palestinian prisoners have been on a hunger strike since April 17, 2017; and

BECAUSE key demands of the hunger strike include: end to the denial of family visits, the right to appropriate health care, the right to education in prison and an end to solitary confinement and « administrative detention »; and

BECAUSE the CLC supports the right of the Palestinian people to national self-determination and an end to the illegal Israeli occupation as the basis for a just peace in the region.

Mike Palecek
National President