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Statement on International Women’s Day from CUPE BC

Statement on International Women’s Day from CUPE BC

BURNABY – International Women’s Day celebrates the achievements of the past and ongoing efforts to build a world where all people are truly equal. The values and activism that women bring to our movement are integral to CUPE BC and the entire labour movement.

Women are leaders throughout our union–in CUPE BC’s District Councils, on our executive board, on the CUPE BC Women’s Committee, and as members of local executives throughout the province.

On this International Women’s Day, we are just 62 days away from the May 9th provincial election. We can choose four more years of BC Liberal government that has spent 16 years favouring the wealthy and the well-connected while doing nothing to help low- and middle-income people and their families. Or we can elect a progressive BC NDP government that puts people first and starts fixing the damage caused by 16 years of right-wing BC Liberal governments.

Five women from CUPE are candidates for the BC NDP in this election, with several more women from CUPE seeking nominations. This is our opportunity to elect great CUPE activists and leaders like Lisa Beare in Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows, Judy Darcy in New Westminster, Sylvia Lindgren in Shuswap, Rachna Singh in Surrey – Green Timbers, well as Barb Nederpel (Kamloops North) from the HEU.

We live in challenging and uncertain times, especially given the election of Donald Trump and his new government’s efforts to turn back the clock on civil rights and women’s rights. But collective action in response to Trump’s misogyny and regressive actions has been inspiring. The Women’s March on Washington, D.C. and hundreds of other “sister marches” around the world—including more than a dozen marches here in B.C.—mobilized hundreds of thousands of women and their allies, many of whom were first-time activists. And those collective and individual actions are continuing—and building.

Progress is never easy, and hard-won gains must always be defended against those who would strip them away. CUPE BC has always been at the front lines of the fight for equality, and we always will be.

The struggle for equality is always at the forefront of our thinking at CUPE BC, whether in the workplace, at the bargaining table, in political action, or in our communities. So today, we celebrate International Women’s Day and commit to working tirelessly over the next 62 days to reclaim our province and public services that make life better for everyone.  As the great Rosemary Brown said, “until all of us have made it, none of us have made it.”

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