Winnipeg’s municipal workers support Shoal Lake #40

WINNIPEG – The municipal workers who deliver Winnipeg’s water have joined those calling for the building of an all-weather access road to Shoal Lake #40 First Nation.

“It is unjust that the people who live in the community that sources our public water have been under a boil water advisory for 17 years and are often cut-off entirely from accessing clean water and public services” says Mike Davidson, President of CUPE Local 500. “As the workers who deliver this water to Winnipeggers, we feel that clean, public water should also be available to those who source it.”

On July 21, 2015, CUPE Manitoba officially endorsed the Shoal Lake #40 “Freedom Road” campaign by sending a letter to Chief Erwin Redsky indicating the support of Winnipeg’s municipal workers, as well as a letter to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt urging him to act immediately to improve the living conditions of the people of Shoal Lake #40.

CUPE MB Aboriginal Council attended National Aboriginal Day, collecting petitions calling for clean water for all Aboriginal communities.

“We applaud the City of Winnipeg and Province of Manitoba for committing to help build a road to Shoal Lake” said Kelly Moist, President of CUPE Manitoba. “Everyone seems to acknowledge the urgency of this situation, except for the federal government.”

While the federal government refuses to commit funding to help Shoal Lake #40 gain access to potable water and services via an all-weather road, Canadians from all levels of civil society are taking initiatives to support the community – from petitions, to writing letters to Members of Parliament, to fundraising.

CUPE Local 500 has been outspoken against the privatization of water and wastewater treatment, and is a staunch advocate for continued investments in public water infrastructure.

“We all benefit from the clean, potable water provided to us by Shoal Lake” said Davidson. “It is unacceptable that this community should suffer on our behalf.”

Shoal Lake Facts

Shoal Lake #40 First Nation is located at the Manitoba-Ontario border south of the Trans-Canada highway. Shoal Lake has provided Winnipeg’s drinking water since 1919 via a 153 km aqueduct.

The population of Shoal Lake #40 is 270, and the community has been under a boil water advisory for the past 17 years. The community spends approximately $100,000 per year importing bottled water, despite supplying 700,000 Winnipeggers with water from the nearby lake and reservoir.

Currently there is no all-weather road access to the community, which must travel via boat during the summer, or cross the ice in the winter to fetch basic supplies and drinking water. At least 9 community members have died taking this journey.

ShoalidarityThe cost of building the all-weather “Freedom Road” to connect the community to the Trans-Canada highway is estimated at $30 million. All levels of government have committed $1m towards a road plan. The Province of Manitoba and the City of Winnipeg have each committed to contribute a share of the cost towards the project, but the federal government has not committed, leaving the community at risk.

CUPE believes that water is a basic human right. There are still far too many communities across Canada under boil water advisories, and CUPE will continue to push for safe, public drinking water for all.

CUPE Local 500 represents approximately 4,200 municipal workers in Winnipeg.

Letter to Chief Erwin Redsky

Download (PDF, 342KB)

Letter to Minister Valcourt

Download (PDF, 330KB)

CUPE Manitoba marches with Pride

CUPE members and activists joined over 10,000 people in the 2014 Winnipeg Pride parade held on Sunday, June 1.SONY DSC

“Our union works tirelessly each and every day to end homophobia, transphobia, sexism, and discrimination in our workplaces” said Kelly Moist, President of CUPE Manitoba “many of our members face these issues daily, and we are proud to stand up and speak out against this form of hatred”.

This year, the CUPE Manitoba Human Rights Committee and the CUPE Manitoba Young Members Committee joined together to host a colourful parade float, decorated in both Pride and CUPE flags.

“By being a visible part of Pride we hope not only to celebrate the LGBTTQ* community, but to also send a message to the broader community” said Moist “if there is any form of discrimination in our workplaces, we will be there to fight it”.

The Pride Winnipeg Festival started in 1987, and CUPE Manitoba has supported the festival over countless years.

Free the girls NOW rally

We would like to invite you to the following Rally on Thursday. The Institute for International Women’s Rights-Manitoba will be supporting this march from Portage Place, to the Legislative Building. We hope you can make it too.


We are deeply touched and solicit your support and participation alongside Winnipeg based Human Rights Activists in a Mega Protest March tagged “FREE THE GIRLS NOW” on Thursday, May 15, 2014, from 12:00pm to 1:00pm

The protest march shall begin at 391 Portage Place nearby the bus shelter and end at the Manitoba Legislative building, downtown, Winnipeg.

Let our voices re-echo the worldwide condemnation of the violence and nefarious atrocities orchestrated against the Nigerian girls, people and humanity at large by the extremist and terrorist group Boko Haram.

Join us in this historic March to free the very future of our world.

 If you are able, the dress code shall be red shirts/T-shirts in solidarity with their families and supporters.

Gertrude Hambira, Protest Organizer, (204) 962-3361

Roxana Obasi, Protest Organizer (204) 599-9678

Action Alert: Support Workers in Cambodia in International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day in Cambodia is closely associated with the women who make the clothes you might be wearing as you read this.  Their unions play a key role in organizing IWD events in that country.

All week the Cambodian government has been moving police and troops into position.  Tomorrow an estimated 30,000 women garment workers are expected to celebrate IWD  by attending an open-air ‘Forum on Labour Rights’ in Phnom Penh.  And if the recent history of Cambodia is anything to go by, they will then be attacked.

Knowing that the world is watching might just give the Cambodian government second thoughts.  The global union you might be a member of (among others, the Steelworkers and Unifor are affiliated to it), IndustriALL, is running an online action HERE. Take 5 seconds out of your Friday and send a message that might save a life tomorrow.

December 6 – Day of Mourning

At today’s Sunrise Memorial held at the Manitoba Legislature, 14 women who were murdered at the 1989 Ecole Polytechnique massacre in Montreal, and the 11 Manitoba women who were murdered within the past year were remembered.

A traditional aboriginal drumming group sang an honor song and all who attended wrote their commitments to continued, renewed activism and working towards eliminating violence against women.L & K L & SC & L Committments





Filipino Labour Activist Visits Winnipeg

The National President of the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE) will be speaking at two events in Winnipeg about the struggles and challenges of the labour movement in the Philippines.

Ferdie Gaite will be speaking at Sam’s Place, 159 Henderson Highway, to Manitoba labour leaders and union members on November 1, 2013, from 7 – 10 pm.

“We are honoured to have one of the Philippines’ most active labour organizers speak to us in Winnipeg” says Kelly Moist, President of CUPE Manitoba, “we are committed to helping defend labour rights of workers in the Philippines in the same way we are committed to defending labour rights in Canada, our struggles, while different, are the same”.

COURAGE is the largest labour confederation in the Philippines, with over 275,000 members at the forefront of the Philippine public sector workers’ struggle for decent wages, humane working conditions and full union rights. They are currently campaigning to expose, oppose, and fight against corruption.

“The struggle for decent wages, workplace health and safety, and decent public services is a universal struggle” says Moist, “building a bridge between our movements is essential in ensuring fairness for everyone”.

Also speaking at the event will be Kelly Moist, CUPE Manitoba President, Diwa Marcelino of Migrante, and a musical performance by Levy Abad Jr.

Admission is free, and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

The event is a pan-Canadian CUPE Global Justice Project.

Vigil for Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women – The Pas

CUPE Manitoba organized a vigil on October 4th in The Pas, Manitoba as part of the nation-wide day of action and remembrance for missing and murdered Aboriginal women. Over 200 vigils were organized across Canada through partnership with the Native Women’s Association of Canada.

The vigil in The Pas, located at the Clearwater Lake Pump House where Helen Betty Osborne was murdered in 1971, served as a stark reminder of the legacies and horrors of colonialism, racism, and misogyny faced by far too many Aboriginal women in Canada. The vigils also reignited calls on the Federal Government to implement a full public inquiry into the countless cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada.

CUPE Manitoba was honoured to have organized this event along-side the Opaskwayak Health Authority.