These are challenging and stressful times for CUPW members. The loss of normalcy; the loss of connection; the invisible, unknown health risks, and not knowing what tomorrow will bring are all testing us. The whole world is feeling worried – including me.
I am always amazed by the way disasters can bring out the very best in people. There are countless examples of kindness and cooperation in the media – including stories of CUPW members, who are helping your communities by delivering letters and parcels so that families in isolation stay connected and supplied with what they need. This, I keep reminding myself, is why I feel so privileged and proud to be the CUPW National President.
Each day, my singular focus is your well-being, health, and safety, as CUPW members show up each day to work under unfamiliar and ever-changing circumstances. I know that by taking care of our members, I’m contributing to the global effort to defeat the deadly threat of COVID-19.
Despite the fact that working remotely has been imposed on some CUPW offices, I am happy to report that your CUPW officers, Union Representatives, Local executive members, Social Stewards, Shop Stewards, and your CUPW staff are as focused as ever on protecting and supporting members and each other.
Many health officials and news organizations have started to shift away from the term “social distancing,” replacing it with “physical distancing” instead. This places the emphasis where it belongs. We absolutely need to continue practicing physical distancing, and we also desperately need social solidarity. We need to support the people around us – our co-workers, neighbours and loved ones – who are struggling with anxiety, depression, financial worries, disconnection and even loss of loved ones in this difficult period.
I have met so many CUPW members through the years and I think about each one of you, as well as those of you I haven’t yet met. I know that every single worker has been touched by the COVID-19 pandemic. I am very proud and inspired by the leadership that is being displayed by members, Local Executive Committees, and Health and Safety Representatives and committees.
Your passion and determination are making a difference for all workers and for the public. At all levels of the Union, we are pushing together to defend and protect our safety. We are all connected and dependent upon each other to get through this. I thank you for doing everything you can do in the spirit of social solidarity.