“We are humbled by their bravery and grateful for their sacrifices.” — Larry Brown, NUPGE President
Ottawa (24 Feb. 2020) — The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), along with the rest of the world, has been heartbroken to witness the extreme devastation caused by the ongoing bushfires in Australia. In response to the crisis, NUPGE and its Components were moved to make a contribution to the relief efforts.
Devastation is unfathomable
In the letter to the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), which is administering the Bushfire Relief Fund, Larry Brown, NUPGE President, remarked on the devastation caused by the ongoing bushfires.
“The tragic loss of life, including the millions of animals lost, and loss of homes, and the injury, displacement, and destruction caused by the crisis have been unfathomable,” wrote Brown.
Firefighters, others exhibit extraordinary bravery
“We have also watched with awe the courage of the firefighters, many who are volunteers, who have put their lives at risk,” noted Brown. “As you may know, some of our own members — wildland firefighters from across Canada — have gone to join the fight. We are humbled by their bravery and grateful for their sacrifices.”
“We also acknowledge the numerous other sectors, such as health care,” wrote Brown, “where workers are on the front lines and providing essential care to communities affected by the fires.”
Role of climate change undeniable
Brown recognized that climate change is inextricable from this crisis.
“It is clear to us, and to many others around the world, that climate change is fueling the unprecedented bushfire season,” wrote Brown. “We also know that climate change will only continue to exacerbate both the instance and severity of extreme weather and disasters, like fires, and so we hope the current crisis spurs governments to take meaningful climate action.”
NUPGE supports relief efforts
Together, NUPGE and its Component unions have donated almost $75,000 to the Bushfire Relief Fund administered by the ACTU. This includes donations made by the British Columbia Government and Service Employees Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) and Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA/NUPGE).
“We hope that our donation makes even a small contribution to supporting the hugely important and selfless work of those on the front lines of the Australian bushfires,” wrote Brown.
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