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A brief history of the CULE Solidarity Fund

April 12th, 2016

Although the idea of a social justice fund had been raised during the 2004 round of CULE/PSAC bargaining, the CULE Solidarity Fund was truly born out of the desire expressed by the CULE membership to continue the International Solidarity work that began prior to and during the first CULE Convention, which was held in 2006. Early in the planning process, the CULE Executive elected to build a strong International Solidarity component into the Convention, which was held in Cuba. As part of organizing activities, a three-person committee was struck and tasked with identifying areas in which CULE could provide assistance to the Cuban people.

The Committee made contact with labour leaders in Cuba, drew up a list of supplies that were needed, and identified a school and medical centre in Matanzas that would be the recipients of these goods. They worked through the winter of 2005 to solicit donations and coordinate their delivery to Cuba. Material and financial donations were received from within the CULE membership, other Unions, the community, the Alliance Executive Committee, and vendors – most notably Grand & Toy.

CULE members brought an estimated nine thousand dollars worth of school and medical supplies to Cuba in January 2006. Members, their partners, and their children delivered many of these supplies in person to a school in Matanzas and were extremely well received. CULE President, Lisa Garnier, was invited to speak at a school assembly where she brought to the students and teachers CULE’s message of Solidarity with the Cuban people. During the Convention the President of hotel’s local union addressed the delegates and provided them with an overview of the situation in Cuba.

In a letter addressing some business that had arisen at the CULE Convention then-PSAC President Nycole Turmel wrote “I do wish to congratulate you and CULE on your efforts to promote social justice objectives through your recent contribution of school and medical supplies to Cuba. The AEC looks forward to continuing to work together with you on similar initiatives.”

In April 2006, the CULE Executive formally created the Solidarity Fund – modeled on the PSAC Social Justice Fund – and struck a permanent CULE Solidarity Committee.

To learn about the various activities that the CULE Solidarity Fund has undertaken since 2006 please go to “Latest News & Reports” link on the CULE website

The fund is not a registered charity. Although there have been investigations on this matter, at this time there are no plans to proceed with seeking charitable donation status. The CULE Executive feels that the amount of time and financial resources that would need to be dedicated to this process would not be cost-effective.

The CULE Solidarity Fund and its objectives have our full support and attention and we plan to continue building International Solidarity – whether it be in Cuba, the Philippines, or anywhere else we see social and economic injustice.

At this time, the Solidarity Committee consists of Sister Hetty Alcuitas, Sister Joan-Ann Gravesande, Brother Dave Shaw, and Sister Monica Urrutia.