Happy New Year to all CUPE 716 members and to all our union brothers and sisters around the world. The beginning of a new year is a time to look forward, and it is also a time to look back and reflect on the past.
Union members have a duty to learn about what unions have done for working people everywhere and they should be proud to be part of that heritage. There is still much to do of course in many areas of the world, but standards have been set and the world knows it. Europe and North America were the birthplace of the union movement but the birth was a difficult one. Any ‘rights’ workers have now had to be fought for. The story of that fight is an achingly long, dramatic, touching, tragic and triumphal one. Heroic people have lived the story and now we take our place, inheriting their mantle. It’s important to remember that while we enjoy the ‘rights’ we have inherited, we may be called upon at any time to defend them.
Too often we live oblivious to the past, thinking everything is easy now and it’s the duty of the union to take care of us. The truth is: the union is all of us, and we all need to take care of it.