Here is the full text of Jean’s speech at the rally in support of striking postal workers:
I want to start off by acknowledging we are on the stolen territories of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh, and Squamish — and to thank them for taking care of this beautiful land for millennia.
I bring you greetings of solidarity from COPE and our for representatives who recently got elected: Barb Parrott, John Irwin, Gwen Giesbrecht, and me.
COPE was founded 50 years ago with the support of the labour movement.
In addition to being an anti-poverty organizer, I have worked for the labour movement including when the whole province rose up against austerity measures and attacks on workers introduced by the right-wing Socred governments back in the 1980s.
We called that movement Operation Solidarity. Community groups and unions came together because we understood “An Injury to One is an Injury to All.”
Today, we need a new, even bigger Operation Solidarity to bring us together in the fight against inequality and climate change – to bring more justice to this country and the world.
CUPW, in addition to sticking up for their members’ rights as workers, has a lot of great ideas about fighting inequality and climate change.
They want postal banking and post offices as hubs of a new green economy. Workers providing services to seniors. Maybe that’s partly why this government is targeting them.
In our election campaign, we fought for the City We Need. CUPW is fighting for the Post Office We Need and the Unions We Need.
But there are some people standing in our way. On a Monday, Justin Trudeau tells unions he believes in workers rights, then on a Tuesday he introduces illegal, strike-breaking back-to-work legislation.
We’ve seen this before. Justin Trudeau says nice things about housing as a human right, but his National Housing Strategy is at best tinkering at the edges, while the housing crisis continues to throw thousands into the street.
COPE and CUPW both understand that radical solutions are today the only practical solutions.
In Vancouver, workers wages and salaries have been left behind by the out of control housing market.
Rents have gone up way faster than wages. We need wages to go up and rents to go down.
We need a Solidarity City. And of course a Solidarity City has to truly be a Sanctuary City – and a City where we put an end to racist carding practices by the police.
It will take all of us, political movements and unions, climate justice activists and organized tenants to come together, support each other and win the City and the country we need!
My thanks to CUPW member for going on strike and taking action to fight for what we need even when it means personal sacrifices.