NUPGE adopts strategy to stop privatizers

Delegates to the 2016 NUPGE Convention overwhelmingly agreed to undertake NUPGE’s twin-track strategy to fight privatization.

Ottawa (29 June 2016) — Delegates to the 2016 Triennial Convention of the National Union of Public and General Employees have adopted an innnovative strategy to fight privatization.

“Canada would be a much harsher place if we hadn’t been fighting privatization for the past 30 years,” National President James Clancy told the delegates. “But the fight against privatization is going to get more difficult.” 

All public services under threat

Clancy said privatization is now an organized industry bent on profiting from public services.

“The world is changing and they’ll now try to privatize anything that moves. No public service is safe.”

The twin-track strategy

The first track of the twin-track strategy is to fight privatization at the bargaining table. “Whether it’s a 5-member bargaining unit or 5,000—we have to get anti-privatization language on every single table,” said Clancy. He pointed out that it was through such co-ordinated bargaining that we achieved things like maternity leave.

The strategy’s second track is to fight privatization in the community by engaging allies and the public in campaigns to enact legislation that ensures that all the details of any proposed privatization scheme are publicly disclosed, studied, and debated.

Shining light on the process

“Most privatizations happen in secret. We have to bring sunshine to that process,” said Clancy. “Because privatization is like a maggot. Once you expose it to the light, it dries up and crumbles away.”

OPSEU President Warren “Smokey” Thomas spoke in favour of the strategy. “In Ontario, the Liberals are privatizing Hydro One [the province’s electrical utility],” he said.

“They wouldn’t have been able to do it if we’d had legislation forcing them to demonstrate that it was a sound financial thing to do for the province.”


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 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


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