Champions for Change conference kicks-off national effort.
OTTAWA, September 29 2010, with YouTube video: Close to 100 "Champions for Change" from across Canada gathered in Ottawa this week to discuss a unique new campaign being launched by the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) called All Together Now.
The campaign intends to promote the value of public services, defend public servants and call for tax fairness. Instead of spending millions on expensive advertising or relying on online methods, it will rely on personal contacts, training union members to talk with fellow workers about these important issues.
"Governments are saying that the recession and deficits mean they're going to have to make some tough financial decisions," says James Clancy, NUPGE national president. "We're concerned about the impact of those decisions on public services and the workers who deliver them."
"The campaign is called All Together Now because we reject the old, failed vision that whatever challenges we face as a nation, the best way to solve them is for people to fend for themselves," says Clancy. "We believe instead that we're all in this together and we need a collaborative approach to meeting the challenges we face."
The campaign strategy is to reach out and engage NUPGE members in promoting public services and fighting for tax fairness. The tactics for the campaign are primarily word-of-mouth, relying on member-to-member conversations and presentations.
The campaign was launched with the Ottawa conference. The 100 activists who attended learned to deliver a member-to-member conversation and/or presentation about public services and tax fairness.
"These 100 members are our Champions for Change because they reject the status quo position of governments who say there's no alternative to cutting public services," says Clancy. "Our Champions for Change know there's an alternative and it's called tax fairness."
"We're equipping a whole bunch of our members with some fundamental knowledge about what the truth is, and we're asking them to go back and speak the truth to their fellow members," said NUPGE Secretary-Treasurer Larry Brown. "We've got 350,000 people in our national union. If we can reach even 200,000 of our members and equip them with the truth, that this is a funding problem not an overspending problem... they'll be well-equipped, and then they can go and talk to their friends and neighbours, and the information gets spread.
Larry Brown talks with Ish Theilheimer for Straight Goods News about the All Together Now campaign in a YouTube video:
"For about twenty years now, we've been facing a very coherent ideology" that changed public perceptions "that we're all in this together, that we should be looking after each other," Brown said.
"We've been told, first of all, that there are fewer resources, and of course, this is nonsense. We've been told that we can't afford public services anymore. We've been told that the way to achieve things is for people to pursue their individual greed instead of the community. And underlying all that is a fundamental shift in the way public services are financed."
The aim of All Together Now, which all recognize will take a long time, is to reverse this shift, beginning one member at a time.