Public Values

Public servants respond to international attacks

Scapegoating and diversion used to avoid dealing with economy's real problems.

Clancy: Unions fight for quality public services, protect the interests of members and the Straight Goods News staff

An international magazine based in London, The Economist, devoted an early January issue to attacking public sector workers and their unions. Two Canadian unions, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), responded fiercely in defiance of the magazine's attempts to blame the global recession on the public sector.

NUPGE National President James Clancy wrote in his letter to the publication, "It wasn't the public sector, public employees or their unions that caused the debt and deficit crisis that governments are scrambling to deal with. The crisis was caused by greedy bankers and a lack of controls on a financial system run amok."

And CUPE National President Paul Moist wrote in a letter of his own, "As demand for public services increases, public sector workers are providing more services with less."

  "The services and programs our members deliver are an integral part of tackling inequality and providing a good quality of life for all families in Canada."

"A large majority of public sector workers are in health care, social services, schools, and local government, mostly women who are far from highly paid. The average annual pay for the 600,000 members of our union is less than $40,000 a year — hardly excessive," Moist's letter adds.

"The services and programs our members deliver are an integral part of tackling inequality and providing a good quality of life for all families in Canada. We believe that protecting our members' interest is actually protecting the interests of the public and we'll continue to fight for quality public services," states Clancy

"In Canada, we would not have universal health care, quality public education, unemployment insurance benefits or a strong public pension system without unions," he argues.

"Attacks on public sector workers and unions are little more than an attempt to create a scapegoat and diversion for those unwilling to tackle the real problems with the economy," Moist concludes.

Links and sources
  NUPGE answers unfair Economist attack on unions
  Public services wonÂ’t be scapegoats

Posted: February 08, 2011

  Public services
  Front lines

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