"We want to thank each person who took the time to share their story with us. It's their voices that we will continue to hear as we move forward into another stage of our All Together Now! campaign." — James Clancy, NUPGE National President.
Ottawa (10 Oct. 2014) — After 40,000 kilometres, from the shores of the Atlantic to the shores of the Pacific and hundreds of communities in between, the Fairness Express is on its last run.
Today, the bus is in Wapella, Saskatchewan talking to residents at the Town Centre.
National tour a huge success in building a movement to fight income inequality
"Our goal was to go to where people live to find out how they are managing in this difficult economy and what their hopes are for the future," says James Clancy, National President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE). "We accomplished that goal hundreds of times over. Our teams in every province engaged with Canadians like never before.”
Urban or rural, from coast to coast, our message of hope and renewal resonated with the people in every community. From farmers to fire fighters, college instructors to health care workers, people were attracted to the message of fairness.
"When it feels like the economy is not working for ordinary folks," says Clancy, "the Fairness Express helped people focus on the ways that we can make positive changes. They liked our focus on what we can do to make a difference, rather than just a message of what's wrong."
Since the beginning of the tour in September 2013, so many people have joined the movement to fight for tax fairness, quality public services, good jobs in our communities and to strengthen our labour rights.
“Time and time again, people would start out being surprised that we wanted to hear from them, but by the end of the conversation, they thanked us for caring enough to listen about how income inequality is having a negative impact on them and their families," he said.
The All Together Now! campaign was embraced from coast to coast
There is definitely a stronger recogniition with the public that Canada is suffering from a revenue problem rather than a spending problem.
“People see major corporations and the uber-rich finding more and more ways to hide their profits so they can avoid paying their true share of taxes,” explained Clancy. “Regular people know that's wrong. They know that it's the government letting the corporations and tax dodgers get away with it.”
"When we have tax fairness, there will be enough revenue to maintain and improve our quality public services and create good jobs. When we have respect for labour rights, workers are treated with dignity and there is respect for the value of the important work they do."
Life changing experience for many NUPGE members
The tour didn't just affect the people the Fairness Express met on the road. For many who worked as Engagers and rode the bus for many of those kilometres, or who set up at events, or who fed the community, it was a life changing experience.
"Over the last year, as part of this tour, our members did what they do best. They connected with people. They presented positive arguments to current problems. They respected a diversity of opinions and listened well," Clancy added. "And they were rewarded over and over again. People shared parts of themselves and their lives with our members."
“Hope is a contagious thing. The Fairness Express and our teams gave the people a peek at what our lives can be, when we put the core value of fairness at the forefront and work together to make a difference."
The big green bus may have completed its long journey, but the energy and enthusiasm of the tour will continue to be shared in homes, workplaces and in communities for days to come.
"This is a solution-based campaign," Clancy said. "And each person we talked to has a role to play in making our country a fairer place to live. We want to thank each person who took the time to share their story with us. It's their voices that we will continue to hear as we move forward into another stage of our All Together Now! campaign."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE