As a society, we need to now respond effectively to, and then recover from, the COVID crisis, but we must do so in a way that does not just return us to the unsustainable old normal.
Ottawa (19 Aug. 2020) ― In June 2020, the North America Subregional Advisory Committee of Public Services International (PSI) met to discuss the multiple crises currently facing public employees in Canada and the US. Larry Brown, President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), offered a Statement of Principles and Procedures. The statement was then circulated to Subregional affiliates for their comments and suggestions. The final Statement of Principles and Objectives is available to read in English, French and Spanish.
Statement touches on multiple problems of pre-COVID society in North America
The countries in North America entered the COVID-19 crisis already suffering from levels of crises:
- the crisis of years of misguided government austerity abetted by tax cuts for the wealthy and the corporate sector,
- the crisis of income and wealth inequality that resulted, and
- the crisis of systemic, ingrained racism against Black people, Indigenous peoples, and people of colour, and
- the crisis we all face of a planet that is reacting to too many years of increasing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and
- the crisis of climate disasters becoming the norm.
Goals for the future
As a society, we need to now respond effectively to, and then recover from, the COVID crisis, but we must do so in a way that does not just return us to the unsustainable old normal. We cannot afford austerity.
We must demand not just short-term relief, but a major pivot to a new economic model built on economic and social justice for all. If we’re truly “all in this together,” as we’ve heard so many times since the start of the pandemic, then we all need to do our share in the recovery, according to our ability. Profitable corporations and the wealthy must pay their fair share of taxes. Any tax breaks should be specifically tied to job creation— no jobs, no tax break, period.
The statement will be submitted to the Inter-American Regional Executive Committee (IAMREC) and to PSI head office for further use and consideration in our continuing efforts to address the unparalleled problems facing public employees around the globe.
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