On December 1, CUPE Ontario recognizes the importance of both World AIDS Day and the start of Indigenous AIDS Awareness Week. Both these important events provide opportunities to reflect and to remember the millions of people around the world whom we have lost to AIDS. They also allow us to rededicate ourselves and our union to the ongoing struggles that continue to exist in the fight against HIV/AIDS here and around the globe.

We are incredibly proud of the skill, passion and commitment of those CUPE members and of workers everywhere, who support persons with HIV/AIDS and who fight to maintain services they need.

World AIDS Day is an important and necessary annual reminder that the AIDS pandemic still exists, both close to home and beyond our borders.  After so many years, the continuing death toll highlights the deep need for public health care and the services that support it.

Decades ago, persons with HIV/AIDS were openly stigmatized, and unions were proud allies in fighting the homophobia, discrimination, and racism that created barriers to treatment and support. While much progress has been made, those barriers still remain, but so do our solidarity and support.  We will continue to fight alongside community partners and activists for the rights of people with HIV/AIDS.

Let us all be proud of the grassroots activism that forced governments to open up spaces and create supports within the public health care system to support people with HIV/AIDS.  Let us continue to advocate to maintain and strengthen the direct supports and services that people living with HIV/AIDS need. That means also fighting for fairness, just wages, sick time, and benefits for those who do this important work – because without them it just would not happen. CUPE Ontario is so proud to represent them and the vital work they continue to do.