From 16-18 February, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) have been hosting a national meeting of their municipal employees – under the title “Building Community.” They have gathered together over 400 people – including local stewards, presidents and staff to discuss the challenges faced by public sector workers in Canada and globally, and strategies to build progressive reforms for the public sector and support for public sector workers.
On 17 February, I was invited to address the conference to talk about how strong coalitions can provide a powerful strategy. I talked about the how the imbalance between the power of the market, government and community is the root cause of many of the issues that pubic sector workers are facing, and that coalitions – particularly sustained intentional relationships between powerful community-based organisations – can provide avenues for real hope and social change.
I shared the experiences of the NSW Teachers Federation of the public education alliance, and then identified the five principles of strong coalitions. An article about strong coalitions was distributed at the conference and can be downloaded here: CUPE: principles of strong coalitions.