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Haphazard rollout stymieing PSW wage increase approved in Ontario budget

10 hours 4 min ago

TORONTO, ON — A haphazard rollout is hampering many home and community care personal support workers (PSWs) from receiving the modest and long-overdue wage increase approved in the Ontario budget, charges the Canadian Union of Public Employees (Ontario/CUPE).

What should be a good news story for tens of thousands of PSWs and for the provincial Liberals, is hitting significant problems with some home and community care agencies refusing to implement the first portion of the $4 an hour (over two years) wage increase for PSWs, says Candace Rennick, CUPE Ontario.

“The provincial government did the right thing in raising PSWs’ wages. Now the Liberals must act quickly to address the rollout issues and honour the commitment they made to low paid PSWs in the last budget. We can only assume that the health minister and Premier are unaware that the wage increase they intended for PSWs is not reaching many of them,” says Rennick.

CUPE Ontario has learned that some home and community care employers are refusing to apply the PSW wage enhancement. In other cases, sick leave, vacation and training hours are not included. One employer is refusing to accept the provincial dollars outright saying it does not want to incur additional pension and benefit associated costs. Also acrimony has been created in some workplaces with the new wage increase allocated to some PSWs, while others have been excluded.

CUPE Ontario has sent a letter to the provincial minister outlining significant concerns about the PSW wage enhancement rollout, says Rennick. The letter also stresses that the province must ensure the wage enhancement covers more than just direct care hours provided and compensate PSWs for travel costs and benefits.

Home and community care for ill and vulnerable Ontarians is rationed to only a few hours a week. This means the majority of PSWs are not only low paid, but they have no guaranteed hours each week and work only part-time hours. The wage increase approved in the budget is a first step to creating better working conditions for PSWs. The next step says Rennick is increasing care hours for home care recipients and moving toward full-time, guaranteed hours for PSWs.

“Continuing to exploit PSWs, who are predominantly women, as a low waged labour pool with no guaranteed hours, is, we are sure, not what the Premier intended when she announced the $4 an hour wage increase back in the spring.
We are asking the health minister to intervene directly and make sure all PSWs receive the wage increase,” Rennick says. “To make it work, government and employers must work with workers and their representatives to resolve the outstanding issues. A one-sided dialogue between government and employers is a recipe for failure.”

For more information please contact:

Candace Rennick
Secretary-Treasurer CUPE Ontario
 416-799-5109

Stella Yeadon
CUPE Communications
 416-559-9300

Haphazard rollout stymieing PSW wage increase approved in Ontario budget ... Liberals must act quickly to stop continued exploitation of PSWs

10 hours 4 min ago

TORONTO, Ont. — A haphazard rollout is hampering many home and community care personal support workers (PSWs) from receiving the modest and long-overdue wage increase approved in the Ontario budget, charges the Canadian Union of Public Employees (Ontario/CUPE).

What should be a good news story for tens of thousands of PSWs and for the provincial Liberals, is hitting significant problems with some home and community care agencies refusing to implement the first portion of the $4 an hour (over two years) wage increase for PSWs, says Candace Rennick, CUPE Ontario.

“The provincial government did the right thing in raising PSWs’ wages. Now the Liberals must act quickly to address the rollout issues and honour the commitment they made to low paid PSWs in the last budget. We can only assume that the health minister and Premier are unaware that the wage increase they intended for PSWs is not reaching many of them,” says Rennick.

CUPE Ontario has learned that some home and community care employers are refusing to apply the PSW wage enhancement. In other cases, sick leave, vacation and training hours are not included. One employer is refusing to accept the provincial dollars outright saying it does not want to incur additional pension and benefit associated costs. Also acrimony has been created in some workplaces with the new wage increase allocated to some PSWs, while others have been excluded.

CUPE Ontario has sent a letter to the provincial minister outlining significant concerns about the PSW wage enhancement rollout, says Rennick. The letter also stresses that the province must ensure the wage enhancement covers more than just direct care hours provided and compensate PSWs for travel costs and benefits.

Home and community care for ill and vulnerable Ontarians is rationed to only a few hours a week. This means the majority of PSWs are not only low paid, but they have no guaranteed hours each week and work only part-time hours. The wage increase approved in the budget is a first step to creating better working conditions for PSWs. The next step says Rennick is increasing care hours for home care recipients and moving toward full-time, guaranteed hours for PSWs.

“Continuing to exploit PSWs, who are predominantly women, as a low waged labour pool with no guaranteed hours, is, we are sure, not what the Premier intended when she announced the $4 an hour wage increase back in the spring.
We are asking the health minister to intervene directly and make sure all PSWs receive the wage increase,” Rennick says. “To make it work, government and employers must work with workers and their representatives to resolve the outstanding issues. A one-sided dialogue between government and employers is a recipe for failure.”

For more information please contact:

Candace Rennick
Secretary-Treasurer CUPE Ontario
 416-799-5109

Stella Yeadon
CUPE Communications
 416-559-9300

Parksville city workers net four-year deal

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 22:45

PARKSVILLE – CUPE Local 401 and the City of Parksville have reached a new tentative collective agreement. The four-year contract includes wage increases totaling eight per cent over four years beginning Jan. 1, 2014 and running until Dec. 31, 2017.  The wages will be implemented by a 1-per-cent hike every January and July 1st.

The new agreement includes language improvements to the dental plan as well as an increased ‘dirty work’ bonus and improvements to the banked sick time language to include caring for a child as well as a spouse.

The tentative deal must still be ratified by CUPE Local 401’s Parksville unit.  The 62 members of the unit comprise inside and outside workers in Parksville whose work includes staffing city hall, parks and public works. A ratification vote has been scheduled for next Tuesday, Sept. 23. Parksville City Council ratified the new contract last night.

For more information, please contact:

Blaine Gurrie
​CUPE 401 President
250-714-6150
blaine.gurrie@cupe-401.com

Murray Bush
CUPE Communications Representative
778-554-2234
mbush@cupe.ca

Parksville city workers net four-year deal

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 22:45

PARKSVILLE – CUPE Local 401 and the City of Parksville have reached a new tentative collective agreement. The four-year contract includes wage increases totaling eight per cent over four years beginning Jan. 1, 2014 and running until Dec. 31, 2017.  The wages will be implemented by a 1-per-cent hike every January and July 1st.

The new agreement includes language improvements to the dental plan as well as an increased ‘dirty work’ bonus and improvements to the banked sick time language to include caring for a child as well as a spouse.

The tentative deal must still be ratified by CUPE Local 401’s Parksville unit.  The 62 members of the unit comprise inside and outside workers in Parksville whose work includes staffing city hall, parks and public works. A ratification vote has been scheduled for next Tuesday, Sept. 23. Parksville City Council ratified the new contract last night.

For more information, please contact:

Blaine Gurrie
​CUPE 401 President
250-714-6150
blaine.gurrie@cupe-401.com

Murray Bush
CUPE Communications Representative
778-554-2234
mbush@cupe.ca

Joan Rivers’ death at private clinic yet another example of mounting evidence against expansion of out-of-hospital private surgeries here in Ontario

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 13:30

TORONTO, ON – With the recent tragic death of comic Joan Rivers at a New York (NY) City private surgery clinic resulting in both the state health department and the city medical examiner investigating the cause of death, today the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) urged Ontario’s health minister to reconsider a policy that would expand the use here of similar private surgery and procedure clinics.

Last week the New York Times reported (September 9, 2014) Rivers’ treatment at the private surgery clinic “has drawn attention to a flourishing model of medical treatment, outpatient surgery centers, which have been licensed by the state to replace hospital operating rooms for minor procedures…..They are common in other states, but only now gaining traction in New York, where by law, the traditional hospital model is nonprofit.”

The Ontario Liberal government under then health minister Deb Matthews changed regulations to facilitate the expansion of private surgery clinics. There was little public consultation and the regulatory changes did not require approval from the Legislature. “This happened,” says Michael Hurley the president of OCHU, “despite the fact that cutting surgeries out of public hospitals and moving them to private clinics, is a radical health policy that most Ontarians are completely unaware of.”

While the circumstances of her death are still unclear, it seems Rivers had originally gone to the private clinic for a “routine endoscopy” procedure.

Rivers’ death follows a summer full of reports from the United Kingdom (UK) that patients there operated on at private surgery clinics have suffered complications from routine surgeries and in some cases even blindness.

Public hospitals, says Hurley come under greater scrutiny and regulation than private clinics, which are often referred to as “independent facilities” in Ontario.

“Private clinics are self-policing while hospitals fall under the Public Hospitals Act. There are ethical implications here. Providing the best possible quality and safest medical care should be the criteria for health policy, not how much it costs and how to do it on the cheap. There is abundant evidence that patients are at greater risks at private clinics. We are optimistic that the minister, himself a physician is closely scrutinizing the mounting evidence against private clinics,” says Hurley.

For more information please contact:
Stella Yeadon
Canadian Union of Public Employees Communications
 416-559-9300

Joan Rivers’ death at private clinic yet another example of mounting evidence against expansion of out-of-hospital private surgeries here in Ontario

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 13:30

TORONTO, ON – With the recent tragic death of comic Joan Rivers at a New York (NY) City private surgery clinic resulting in both the state health department and the city medical examiner investigating the cause of death, today the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) urged Ontario’s health minister to reconsider a policy that would expand the use here of similar private surgery and procedure clinics.

Last week the New York Times reported (September 9, 2014) Rivers’ treatment at the private surgery clinic “has drawn attention to a flourishing model of medical treatment, outpatient surgery centers, which have been licensed by the state to replace hospital operating rooms for minor procedures…..They are common in other states, but only now gaining traction in New York, where by law, the traditional hospital model is nonprofit.”

The Ontario Liberal government under then health minister Deb Matthews changed regulations to facilitate the expansion of private surgery clinics. There was little public consultation and the regulatory changes did not require approval from the Legislature. “This happened,” says Michael Hurley the president of OCHU, “despite the fact that cutting surgeries out of public hospitals and moving them to private clinics, is a radical health policy that most Ontarians are completely unaware of.”

While the circumstances of her death are still unclear, it seems Rivers had originally gone to the private clinic for a “routine endoscopy” procedure.

Rivers’ death follows a summer full of reports from the United Kingdom (UK) that patients there operated on at private surgery clinics have suffered complications from routine surgeries and in some cases even blindness.

Public hospitals, says Hurley come under greater scrutiny and regulation than private clinics, which are often referred to as “independent facilities” in Ontario.

“Private clinics are self-policing while hospitals fall under the Public Hospitals Act. There are ethical implications here. Providing the best possible quality and safest medical care should be the criteria for health policy, not how much it costs and how to do it on the cheap. There is abundant evidence that patients are at greater risks at private clinics. We are optimistic that the minister, himself a physician is closely scrutinizing the mounting evidence against private clinics,” says Hurley.

For more information please contact:
Stella Yeadon
Canadian Union of Public Employees Communications
 416-559-9300

CUPE Local 2330 to hold ‘Info Picket’ in Stellarton

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 13:00

New Glasgow – Employees at Riverview Adult Residential Centre (RARC) will be holding an information picket on Thursday, September 18.

WHO:      Members of CUPE Local 2330

WHAT:    Supporting mental health in Pictou County

WHEN:    Thursday, September 18, from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM

WHERE:  At the intersection of Foord Street and Acadia Avenue

WHY:       The provincial government won’t talk to us so we’re taking our message to the public.

Sault Ste. Marie long-term care residents deserve higher care levels say CUPE, Unifor

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 15:30

Sault Ste. Marie, ON – Recent cuts to care hours for residents at several Sault Ste. Marie long-term care homes are part of a bigger crisis facing long-term care in Ontario, say front line staff holding a media conference Tuesday, September 16, 2014, 12:00 noon at the Delta Waterfront.

Candace Rennick, secretary-treasurer of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in Ontario and Unifor Local 1359 leaders, whose unions jointly represent over a 1,000 registered practical nurses (RPNs), personal support workers (PSWs), dietary and activation, laundry and housekeeping staff between them at the F.J. Davey Home and at Extendicare, Van Daele Manor and Mapleview, will update media on local issues affecting resident care levels and quality. They will also outline specific asks of the provincial government and of area MPP, David Orazietti.

Last spring CUPE joined with residents’ families to successfully restore some of the resident care hours cut at the F.J. Davey Home. This summer Unifor publicly raised the issue of staff layoffs at one home and the impact on resident care.

A poignant video (called “Time to Care”) featuring the daughter of a Long-Term Care (LTC) resident and heartfelt accounts from PSWs and RPNs about the challenges they face providing quality care to residents under crushing workloads and severe understaffing, will be screened for reporters during the media conference.

CUPE Ontario, Unifor and many community partners have consistently urged the province to mandate a daily care standard for residents of LTC homes. 

As part of its “Time to Care” campaign, CUPE Ontario is advocating for a legislated minimum daily four hour care standard.

For more information about CUPE Ontario’s “Time to Care” campaign, please go to: www.cupe.on.ca/timetocare.

For more information please contact:
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications, 416-559-9300

Sault Ste. Marie long-term care residents deserve higher care levels say CUPE, Unifor – Media conference tomorrow, 12 noon, Delta Waterfront

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 15:30

Sault Ste. Marie, ON – Recent cuts to care hours for residents at several Sault Ste. Marie long-term care homes are part of a bigger crisis facing long-term care in Ontario, say front line staff holding a media conference Tuesday, September 16, 2014, 12:00 noon at the Delta Waterfront.

Candace Rennick, secretary-treasurer of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in Ontario and Unifor Local 1359 leaders, whose unions jointly represent over a 1,000 registered practical nurses (RPNs), personal support workers (PSWs), dietary and activation, laundry and housekeeping staff between them at the F.J. Davey Home and at Extendicare, Van Daele Manor and Mapleview, will update media on local issues affecting resident care levels and quality. They will also outline specific asks of the provincial government and of area MPP, David Orazietti.

Last spring CUPE joined with residents’ families to successfully restore some of the resident care hours cut at the F.J. Davey Home. This summer Unifor publicly raised the issue of staff layoffs at one home and the impact on resident care.

A poignant video (called “Time to Care”) featuring the daughter of a Long-Term Care (LTC) resident and heartfelt accounts from PSWs and RPNs about the challenges they face providing quality care to residents under crushing workloads and severe understaffing, will be screened for reporters during the media conference.

CUPE Ontario, Unifor and many community partners have consistently urged the province to mandate a daily care standard for residents of LTC homes. 

As part of its “Time to Care” campaign, CUPE Ontario is advocating for a legislated minimum daily four hour care standard.

For more information about CUPE Ontario’s “Time to Care” campaign, please go to: www.cupe.on.ca/timetocare.

For more information please contact:
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications, 416-559-9300

Sault Ste. Marie long-term care residents deserve higher care levels say CUPE, Unifor – Media conference tomorrow, 12 noon, Delta Waterfront

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 15:30

Sault Ste. Marie, ON – Recent cuts to care hours for residents at several Sault Ste. Marie long-term care homes are part of a bigger crisis facing long-term care in Ontario, say front line staff holding a media conference Tuesday, September 16, 2014, 12:00 noon at the Delta Waterfront.

Candace Rennick, secretary-treasurer of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in Ontario and Unifor Local 1359 leaders, whose unions jointly represent over a 1,000 registered practical nurses (RPNs), personal support workers (PSWs), dietary and activation, laundry and housekeeping staff between them at the F.J. Davey Home and at Extendicare, Van Daele Manor and Mapleview, will update media on local issues affecting resident care levels and quality. They will also outline specific asks of the provincial government and of area MPP, David Orazietti.

Last spring CUPE joined with residents’ families to successfully restore some of the resident care hours cut at the F.J. Davey Home. This summer Unifor publicly raised the issue of staff layoffs at one home and the impact on resident care.

A poignant video (called “Time to Care”) featuring the daughter of a Long-Term Care (LTC) resident and heartfelt accounts from PSWs and RPNs about the challenges they face providing quality care to residents under crushing workloads and severe understaffing, will be screened for reporters during the media conference.

CUPE Ontario, Unifor and many community partners have consistently urged the province to mandate a daily care standard for residents of LTC homes. 

As part of its “Time to Care” campaign, CUPE Ontario is advocating for a legislated minimum daily four hour care standard.

For more information about CUPE Ontario’s “Time to Care” campaign, please go to: www.cupe.on.ca/timetocare.

For more information please contact:
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications, 416-559-9300

Projet de loi 3 sur les régimes de retraite - Les Retraités de la Coalition syndicale persistent et signent

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 14:00

Montréal, QC – At a press conference this morning, retiree members of the Coalition syndicale pour la libre négociation [Union Coalition for Free Negotiation] made public a letter addressed to Premier Philippe Couillard concerning Bill 3 on pension plans. The retirees, who joined the ranks of the Coalition this summer, wrote the letter to express their increasing frustration and the urgency of taking action since the parliamentary commission in late August. “Mr. Couillard, if you assumed that seniors would not be stepping up to join the protest, you were sorely mistaken,” stated their representatives.

We, the retirees, will be present en masse at the major demonstration taking place on Saturday, September 20, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in Montréal. We will be standing shoulder to shoulder with our fellow citizens of all ages, current and future retirees, children and families. Together, we will expose Bill 3 for what it is. It means the degradation of Quebecers’ rights, the impoverishment of retirees and the breaking of signed agreements in addition to jeopardizing workers’ right to a decent pension,” said Jean Carette, spokesperson and vice-president of Réseau Espaces 50+, surrounded by representatives of numerous other retiree groups.

Selected excerpts of the letter to the premier are provided below. The full text is available online at: http://bit.ly/YEe7Pq

In addition to organizations of retired former municipal employees, major retirees’ organizations including AREQ, AQDR, FADOQ and AQRP, which together represent hundreds of thousands of Quebec seniors, have tabled documents adopting a highly critical stance with respect to Bill 3 and called in a single voice for the withdrawal or redrafting of the proposed text.

“We have been extremely disappointed by Minister Pierre Moreau’s refusal to discuss the issues raised and proposals brought forward through the Commission. […]

“We consequently call on you urgently to: withdraw Bill 3 immediately in its current form; […] submit for consideration the platform for a decent pension brought forward by the Coalition formed in 2011 and currently representing 70 organizations seeking significant improvements to the Québec Pension Plan, which would also help to relieve the burden of defined-benefit pension plans. […]

“Mr. Couillard, do not allow the obstinacy of your government to lead to a social crisis. That is not what we seek, and we therefore ask you to think carefully about the overall issues raised by what, in our opinion, is already a serious political mistake.”

The retired members of the Coalition syndicale pour la libre négociation include: Espaces 50+, Regroupement des syndicalistes à la retraite affiliated with the FTQ Regional Council for Metropolitan Montréal, Regroupement des syndicalistes à la retraite affiliated with the FTQ Regional Council for Laurentides-Lanaudière, Les Retraités du 429 (white-collar workers for the City of Montréal), Regroupement des retraités cols bleus de la Ville de Montréal, Organisation des retraités du transport de Montréal (STM managers, white-collar workers and drivers) and Organisation des retraités du transport de Montréal (STM maintenance workers) as well as the Congress of Union Retirees of Canada (affiliated with the Canadian Labour Congress).

The Coalition comprises a total of more than 65,000 members including white and blue-collar workers, firefighters, police officers, professionals and public transportation employees. It represents virtually all unionized municipal employees in Quebec. Its platform and a full list of member organizations are available on the Internet at librenego.com.

Information: Sébastien Goulet, Communications, Coalition, 438-882-3756 – sgoulet@scfp.qc.ca

Pension Innovation for Canadians: The Target Benefit Plan

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 18:45

Submission by CUPE to the Department of Finance Canada’s consultation paper.

Cuts going ahead after second review of school crosswalks in Halifax

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 17:45

The union representing Crosswalk Guards with the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) says Halifax Regional Police (HRP) has conducted a second survey of the eight crosswalks where guards were eliminated in June. 

A report was received by the union this week advising that ‘reinstatement of staff at these locations is not warranted at this time’.

CUPE National Representative Marianne Welsh says, “The cuts to guarded crosswalks continue to give us major concerns, including the fact that some parents are now assuming responsibility for a service formerly provided by HRM, and while parents often accompany children at the beginning of the school year, especially primary grade children, we can’t assume that will be a year-long phenomenon.

“Parents of school-age children in HRM should be asking the Halifax Regional Police where this responsibility lies,” added Welsh.

HRP has not sought any input from the 150 members of CUPE Local 4814.

CUPE Local 4814 President Glenna Casavechia says, “We’re taking our message to the public with newspaper ads this week and hoping some common sense will prevail. Children’s safety is not something you can put a price on.” 

Cuts going ahead after second review of school crosswalks in Halifax

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 17:45

The union representing Crosswalk Guards with the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) says Halifax Regional Police (HRP) has conducted a second survey of the eight crosswalks where guards were eliminated in June. 

A report was received by the union this week advising that ‘reinstatement of staff at these locations is not warranted at this time’.

CUPE National Representative Marianne Welsh says, “The cuts to guarded crosswalks continue to give us major concerns, including the fact that some parents are now assuming responsibility for a service formerly provided by HRM, and while parents often accompany children at the beginning of the school year, especially primary grade children, we can’t assume that will be a year-long phenomenon.

“Parents of school-age children in HRM should be asking the Halifax Regional Police where this responsibility lies,” added Welsh.

HRP has not sought any input from the 150 members of CUPE Local 4814.

CUPE Local 4814 President Glenna Casavechia says, “We’re taking our message to the public with newspaper ads this week and hoping some common sense will prevail. Children’s safety is not something you can put a price on.” 

Council of the Federation 2014: Paul Moist calls for urgent action in letter to Premiers

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 19:45

August, 2014
First Ministers of Canada

Dear Premier:

I write to you today in advance of the Council of the Federation on behalf of 628,000 Canadian workers. Across Canada, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) members provide vital services in municipalities, school boards, universities and hospitals. CUPE members also provide other health care services and deliver a broad array of social services. The work of our members makes life better for all of us.

Through our 2013 national convention, our provincial division conventions, sector meetings and strategy sessions, CUPE members have prioritized a number of issues for urgent action. Notwithstanding Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s refusal to meet with premiers as a group, I urge you and your colleagues to use the upcoming Council of the Federation meeting to challenge the federal government to work with territorial and provincial leaders to build a better and stronger country‎.

Read the full letter sent to Canada’s Premiers

Campbell River city workers reject ‘offer’ - call for mediation

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 16:30

CAMPBELL RIVER - Striking members of CUPE Local 401 have overwhelmingly rejected a ‘last offer’ from the City of Campbell River. In a BC Labour Relations Board supervised vote, the workers rejected the city’s contract terms by more than 3-to-1.

Now that the City-ordered vote is out of the way, CUPE Local 401 President Blaine Gurrie says it’s time to get back to the bargaining table. “We want a fair and reasonable contract, and the way to get that is with both sides sitting down and hammering out a deal.” Gurrie said the union is asking the City to return to the table with a mediator present.

The outstanding issue is wages. In the last round of bargaining, CUPE members accepted a zero wage increase in the first year on the understanding that wages would be adjusted once they helped the city out of its financial difficulties.  Now that Campbell River has run three successive surpluses, the union wants a modest 2 per cent per year. So far, the City has balked at matching recent wage settlements seen in municipalities across Vancouver Island.

After talks broke down more than a week ago the union served strike notice and initiated a ban on overtime work. While  Gurrie said CUPE hasn’t ruled out a full-blown city-wide walkout, “our priority is to restart meaningful talks and our goal is a fair settlement that will let us all focus on what we do best - serving the public of Campbell River.”

CUPE Local 401 represents 202 inside and outside city employees in Campbell River. Under BC labour law, an employer can force its workers to vote on the last offer it made at the bargaining table before talks broke down. At yesterday’s vote, 77 per cent rejected the City’s offer (of the 162 members who voted, 125 voted ‘no’ and 37 voted ‘yes’). Campbell River civic workers have been without a contract since Dec. 31, 2013.

For more information, please contact:

Blaine Gurrie
​CUPE 401 President
250-714-6150
blaine.gurrie@cupe-401.com

Murray Bush
CUPE Communications Representative
778-554-2234
mbush@cupe.ca

Campbell River city workers reject ‘offer’ - call for mediation

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 16:30

CAMPBELL RIVER - Striking members of CUPE Local 401 have overwhelmingly rejected a ‘last offer’ from the City of Campbell River. In a BC Labour Relations Board supervised vote, the workers rejected the city’s contract terms by more than 3-to-1.

Now that the City-ordered vote is out of the way, CUPE Local 401 President Blaine Gurrie says it’s time to get back to the bargaining table. “We want a fair and reasonable contract, and the way to get that is with both sides sitting down and hammering out a deal.” Gurrie said the union is asking the City to return to the table with a mediator present.

The outstanding issue is wages. In the last round of bargaining, CUPE members accepted a zero wage increase in the first year on the understanding that wages would be adjusted once they helped the city out of its financial difficulties.  Now that Campbell River has run three successive surpluses, the union wants a modest 2 per cent per year. So far, the City has balked at matching recent wage settlements seen in municipalities across Vancouver Island.

After talks broke down more than a week ago the union served strike notice and initiated a ban on overtime work. While  Gurrie said CUPE hasn’t ruled out a full-blown city-wide walkout, “our priority is to restart meaningful talks and our goal is a fair settlement that will let us all focus on what we do best - serving the public of Campbell River.”

CUPE Local 401 represents 202 inside and outside city employees in Campbell River. Under BC labour law, an employer can force its workers to vote on the last offer it made at the bargaining table before talks broke down. At yesterday’s vote, 77 per cent rejected the City’s offer (of the 162 members who voted, 125 voted ‘no’ and 37 voted ‘yes’). Campbell River civic workers have been without a contract since Dec. 31, 2013.

For more information, please contact:

Blaine Gurrie
​CUPE 401 President
250-714-6150
blaine.gurrie@cupe-401.com

Murray Bush
CUPE Communications Representative
778-554-2234
mbush@cupe.ca

Regina Workers Standing up for Pension Security

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 16:00

Hundreds of workers attended a town hall meeting on Monday to learn how they can defend the Regina Civic Employees’ Pension Plan.

Workers and retirees have been worried ever since they received news in July that the City of Regina was walking away from a deal it signed with workers, and the Superintendent of Pensions was considering cancelling the pension plan.

On Monday, they were given the opportunity to ask questions and learn about the steps we can take to protect the plan.

It is imperative that workers stand together to take action to combat the threats to the pension plan.

On September 3, the City of Regina officially walked away from a pension deal it signed with employees jointly just over a year ago. The City of Regina submitted its own pension proposal to the Superintendent of Pensions – a proposal that is significantly different from the deal it signed with employee groups just a year ago.

The City has proposed a fixed contribution rate, which means there is no guarantee for an adequate pension. Instead, the pension income would fluctuate as the market fluctuates. You may think you will be getting $1,500 a month for your retirement (which is the average monthly income for workers in this plan), but there is no guarantee.

Protecting the defined benefit nature of the pension is an important fight for all workers. The most important thing each of us can do is stand up and take political action.

The member-side Pension and Benefits Committee will be submitting our own proposal based on the signed Letter of Intent. We are committed to doing our part to ensure that this plan is not cancelled and that both current and future plan members have access to a secure retirement. But we also need each of you to take action.

Please take a moment to send the Minister of Justice and City Council an email.

The Superintendent of Pensions is accepting comments on the plan until November 30, 2014. You can download the letter writing guide.

Prince Albert Health Care Festival Huge Success

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 20:00

Over a thousand people came out to the Prince Albert Keep Health Care Public Festival to listen to great bands, eat some good food and learn about the threats to public health care.

Though Saskatchewan is the home of medicare in Canada, public health care is facing large scale threats.

In Prince Albert, over 100 hospital laundry workers are going to be losing their jobs due to privatization. In May of last year, the provincial government decided to privatize all hospital laundry in the province and contract it out to a profit seeking Alberta company called K-Bro Linens.

Laundry is just one of the health care services on the chopping block. The government has tasked 3sHealth with creating business plans for the privatization of over ten health care services, including food services, medical transcription, cleaning and janitorial services, medical diagnostics and more.

The crunch in Saskatchewan is made worse because of the federal government’s refusal to renew the health accord. Saskatchewan is losing over 1.1 billion dollars over ten years.

Health care workers around the province are standing up to privatization and speaking out about the impact the privatization of health care will have on our communities, workers and the quality of care.

The event was organized by CUPE Local 4777, which represents health care workers in the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region. Throughout the summer, Local 4777 members organized barbecues in communities all over the health region to raise awareness about the impact of privatization. This event capped off a very successful summer of public engagement.

The festival featured eight great local bands, including headliner Constant Reminder. CUPE gave out over 1,400 hamburgers and 300 hotdogs to a hungry crowd. There was a very busy children’s activity tent that included face painting and a jumpy castle.

Prince Albert Health Care Festival Huge Success

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 20:00

Over a thousand people came out to the Prince Albert Keep Health Care Public Festival to listen to great bands, eat some good food and learn about the threats to public health care.

Though Saskatchewan is the home of medicare in Canada, public health care is facing large scale threats.

In Prince Albert, over 100 hospital laundry workers are going to be losing their jobs due to privatization. In May of last year, the provincial government decided to privatize all hospital laundry in the province and contract it out to a profit seeking Alberta company called K-Bro Linens.

Laundry is just one of the health care services on the chopping block. The government has tasked 3sHealth with creating business plans for the privatization of over ten health care services, including food services, medical transcription, cleaning and janitorial services, medical diagnostics and more.

The crunch in Saskatchewan is made worse because of the federal government’s refusal to renew the health accord. Saskatchewan is losing over 1.1 billion dollars over ten years.

Health care workers around the province are standing up to privatization and speaking out about the impact the privatization of health care will have on our communities, workers and the quality of care.

The event was organized by CUPE Local 4777, which represents health care workers in the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region. Throughout the summer, Local 4777 members organized barbecues in communities all over the health region to raise awareness about the impact of privatization. This event capped off a very successful summer of public engagement.

The festival featured eight great local bands, including headliner Constant Reminder. CUPE gave out over 1,400 hamburgers and 300 hotdogs to a hungry crowd. There was a very busy children’s activity tent that included face painting and a jumpy castle.