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Updated: 33 min 20 sec ago

Agreement in principle for Université de Montréal support staff

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 19:00

Montreal, Thursday, October 30, 2014 – On Wednesday evening, the Syndicat des employés de l’Université de Montréal (SEUM-CUPE 1244) reached an agreement in principle with the employer for the renewal of their collective agreement. The agreement covers approximately 1,950 support staff. They will convene at a general meeting on November 17 to learn the details of the agreement and to vote on it by secret ballot.

The agreement provides for the establishment of a new pay structure, which represents the final step in a pay equity process started in 1993. Out of respect for its members, the Union will not provide additional details until the general meeting.

The previous collective agreement expired on May 31, 2014. The negotiations were held this fall.

SEUM-CUPE 1244 represents approximately 1,950 support staff at the Université de Montréal, about 80% of whom are women in a wide range of jobs: office workers, technicians, librarians, etc.

With more than 111,000 members in Quebec, CUPE represents 10,400 university employees, mostly support staff. CUPE is also present in the following sectors: health and social services, communications, education, energy, municipalities, Quebec government corporations and public agencies, urban and air transport, and the mixed sector.  

Information:
Guy De Blois

CUPE Union Representative
 514-238-1167

Sébastien Goulet

CUPE Information
 438-882-3756

Income-splitting unfair no matter how you dress it up

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 18:30

OTTAWA – Stephen Harper’s announcement today does nothing to change the basic truth about his government’s income-splitting proposal. The plan is unfair and benefits primarily a small minority of the richest Canadian families.

Income-splitting is such bad policy that even the Conservatives’ traditional allies have panned the proposal. The right-leaning CD Howe Institute has stated that it is bad economic policy and bad social policy, while Harper’s own former finance minister, Jim Flaherty, criticized it for benefiting only the small minority of the richest Canadians who least need a tax cut. In fact, 86 per cent of Canadian families will see no benefit at all from income-splitting. Painted as part of the Conservatives’ family agenda, along with the inadequate Universal Child Care Benefit, the proposal does nothing to address the pressing crisis most families face trying to find affordable child care.

“No matter how it’s dressed up, income-splitting is bad policy. It doesn’t help Canadian families. Instead it just increases income inequality in Canada,” said Paul Moist, CUPE National President.  “What Canadian families need is a universal child care program.  Access to quality, affordable child care is the fair solution.  It is vital for our children, and it helps families work and study while keeping the wheels of our economy running smoothly.”

While the Conservatives are happy to simply tweak proposals that benefit a small minority of the richest Canadians, the NDP has proposed a $15-a-day child care plan that will provide a million child care spaces across the country and ease the child care crisis for all Canadian families.

For more information:

Willy Blomme, CUPE Media Relations
613-852-1494
wblomme@cupe.ca

Public jobs should not go overseas: CUPE

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 17:45

CALGARY – Marle Roberts, President of the Alberta Division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE Alberta) is calling on ENMAX, a publicly owned utility, to reverse its decision to outsource 38 jobs to India. 

“There is no reason for a company owned by Calgary taxpayers to send jobs and salaries to India,” said Roberts.  “Studies show that public sector jobs kept in house provide more value at a cheaper cost over and over again.”

Roberts said ENMAX’s rational for the move that consumers will still speak with Calgarians for customer service makes little difference. 

“These jobs are a huge loss to our community,” said Roberts. “The salaries will not be spent in our stores, and the work will not be performed by our citizens.  It doesn’t matter much which jobs are actually being lost.”

Roberts also pointed out with the recent news that Calgary contractors are using Temporary Foreign Workers to do park clean up, Calgary is getting a reputation as a city looking for low wage workers.

Contact: 
Lou Arab
Communications Representative
780-271-2722
larab@cupe.ca

Public jobs should not go overseas: CUPE

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 17:45

CALGARY – Marle Roberts, President of the Alberta Division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE Alberta) is calling on ENMAX, a publicly owned utility, to reverse its decision to outsource 38 jobs to India. 

“There is no reason for a company owned by Calgary taxpayers to send jobs and salaries to India,” said Roberts.  “Studies show that public sector jobs kept in house provide more value at a cheaper cost over and over again.”

Roberts said ENMAX’s rational for the move that consumers will still speak with Calgarians for customer service makes little difference. 

“These jobs are a huge loss to our community,” said Roberts. “The salaries will not be spent in our stores, and the work will not be performed by our citizens.  It doesn’t matter much which jobs are actually being lost.”

Roberts also pointed out with the recent news that Calgary contractors are using Temporary Foreign Workers to do park clean up, Calgary is getting a reputation as a city looking for low wage workers.

Contact: 
Lou Arab
Communications Representative
780-271-2722
larab@cupe.ca

Stop the move to scary food at Hamilton’s St. Peter’s cooking

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 14:30

HAMILTON — Halloween witches bearing delicious, good food and rotten, scary food plates will, this Friday, October 31 at 12 noon, join hospital staff mobilizing to keep the in-house kitchen at St. Peter’s cooking.

Recently Hamilton Health Sciences announced that the on-site kitchen at St. Peter’s would be closed and patient meals outsourced. But with a focus on seniors’ care and patients with chronic illness, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 7800 says maintaining the in-hospital capacity at St. Peter’s to provide patients with healthy, nutritious and appetizing meals while in hospitals, should be the priority.

“Closing down the hospital kitchen and outsourcing patient meal preparation is the opposite of what the hospital should be doing. Rather we should be making the food more appealing for ill patients to eat. That means sourcing local fresh produce from the amazing farm belt next door in Niagara and cooking everything from scratch in-house at the hospital kitchen,” says CUPE 7800 president Dave Murphy.

Last year when the Ontario government passed the Local Food Act, CUPE and its hospital division, the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) encouraged the province to move quickly on implementing the local food procurement targets for the public sector – including hospitals – provisions in the Act. Recently OCHU launched a “Keep Hospitals Cooking” campaign. There are many reasons the province has a vested interested in keeping hospital kitchens open, says OCHU president Michael Hurley. “Chief among them are better quality meals that patients will actually eat and the potential for hospitals to support local farmers and local economies by buying food grown nearby.”

Hurley will join Murphy and Hamilton area hospital workers for the noon rally Friday at the front of St. Peter’s Hospital on Maplewood Avenue.

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

Health and safety committee pays respects at National War Memorial

Wed, 10/29/2014 - 20:45

CUPE’s National Health and Safety Committee took time today to lay flowers at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, where Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was killed last week. The committee’s biannual meeting is taking place in Ottawa this week, and committee members agreed it was important for them to pay take the opportunity to pay their respects.

“This young man was killed serving his county. His death and the events of last week had a profound effect on us,” said Committee Co-chair Dolores Douglas. “It’s all so closely tied to our committee’s work, we felt like we needed to come down here and be part of the tribute.”

Douglas laid a bouquet wrapped in a CUPE ribbon on behalf of the committee at the foot of the memorial, among hundreds of other tokens already placed in recent days.

Dozens of other people were also there paying their respects. Members of the media were among the crowd, gathering reaction.

View more photos on our facebook page.

Health and safety committee pays respects at National War Memorial

Wed, 10/29/2014 - 20:45

CUPE’s National Health and Safety Committee took time today to lay flowers at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, where Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was killed last week. The committee’s biannual meeting is taking place in Ottawa this week, and committee members agreed it was important for them to pay take the opportunity to pay their respects.

“This young man was killed serving his county. His death and the events of last week had a profound effect on us,” said Committee Co-chair Dolores Douglas. “It’s all so closely tied to our committee’s work, we felt like we needed to come down here and be part of the tribute.”

Douglas laid a bouquet wrapped in a CUPE ribbon on behalf of the committee at the foot of the memorial, among hundreds of other tokens already placed in recent days.

Dozens of other people were also there paying their respects. Members of the media were among the crowd, gathering reaction.

View more photos on our facebook page.

OH&S conference focuses on psychological health in our workplaces

Wed, 10/29/2014 - 14:00

VANCOUVER—Members from across the province focused on the theme “Building safe psychological and physical workplaces” at CUPE BC’s Occupational Health and Safety Conference held October 22 – 24 in Victoria.

OH&S Committee Chair Dal Benning chaired the conference, which was opened with a blessing from First Nations Elder Butch Dick of the Songhees Nation.

CUPE BC President Mark Hancock welcomed conference participants, presenters and facilitators. He talked about his own experience as a new CUPE local president dealing with a serious workplace incident that left one worker with permanent injuries. Hancock said that he learned many safety lessons from that incident, including the need for training, awareness of hazards and support for new workers.

Hancock talked about the importance of addressing mental health and safe psychological workplaces, given that a significant number of people will experience a mental health issue in their lifetime and the impact that this has on individuals, families and workplaces.

He noted that CUPE BC is re-launching the very successful Spot the Hazard campaign to help prevent workplace injuries before they happen.  “This campaign is about identifying and communicating hazards – to protect coworkers and the public, and to let managers know that there is a hazard,” said Hancock.  More information about the campaign will be sent to all CUPE locals in B.C. in the near future.

Keynote speaker and workplace psychologist Dr. Jennifer Newman gave a thought-provoking presentation on the OH&S role in cultivating safe and healthy workplaces.

She presented an “unhealthy and unsafe workplace behaviour continuum,” which began with incivility and moved through to physical violence.  This was paired with a continuum of behaviour characterizing healthy and safe workplaces, ranging from civility to kindness.

Dr. Newman encouraged participants to make use of the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health & Safety in the Workplace, released in January 2013. She said that the standard offers a set of guidelines and a blueprint for addressing respect, wellbeing and psychological safety. While the guidelines are voluntary, they recognize that unhealthy and unsafe workplaces affect families, communities and society at large

Dr. Newman also outlined five tenets of Zero Harm as it applies to both physical and psychological safety in organizations.  Her PowerPoint Presentation includes slides that go into more detail.  She concluded with the advice that how we influence change matters as much as what we are trying to change. “Your respectful demeanor, your patience, your persistence, and your ability to walk a mile in everyone’s shoes are key.  It’s about treating others the way we’d like to be treated. And, choosing a respectful attitude in any circumstance.”

Following the opening plenary, a reception sponsored by CUPE BC gave conference participants an opportunity to socialize and network.  The reception also included a short presentation from Amber Hockin, who is endorsed by CUPE BC for the position of BC Federation of Labour president.  Elections will be held at the BC Fed convention at the end of November.

The next day opened with a panel discussion moderated by Vanessa Wolff, National OH&S Representative. Three panelists shared insights on different aspects of psychological health in the workplace.

Kathleen Fleming of WorkSafeBC gave a high level overview of changes that have happened since Bill 14 came into effect in July 2012. Fleming offered some statistics on the use and results of the new provisions. She noted that there is a high suspension rate, where 26 per cent of mental health injury claims are dropped.  The suspension rate for physical claims is about 12 per cent.  She noted that from July 2012 to September 2014 – a total of 5449 mental health claims injuries were registered. Of these, 45 per cent (2427) were disallowed, while 15 per cent (808) were allowed.

Retired CUPE BC president and long-time health and safety activist Barry O’Neill talked about the importance of the labour movement’s activism in bringing about legally mandated protections. Barry reminded participants that “unless you make a lot of noise and support the people you represent to come forward – there will be no change in the mandated and legal requirements for employers to have healthy and safe workplaces.”

Retired lawyer and former Chair of the Workers’ Compensation Advocacy Group Jim Sayre focused on thinking beyond Bill 14 and offered a substantial critique of the way the new law is working.  In the context of psychological health and respectful workplaces, Sayre talked about importance of the CUPE Equality Statement and the vision and system that support it.

He noted that since 2002 benefits for injured workers have drastically decreased in B.C., while at the same time employers’ immunity from lawsuits has dramatically increased.  In this context, he said that unions have the power to engage in “private law making” – enforceable by arbitrators and courts.  Given the shortcomings in the legislative and other remedies for workers, Sayre encouraged CUPE to bargain change rather than waiting for governments to offer legislative solutions.

CUPE National Representative and WCB advocate Tom McKenna followed the panel with a packed presentation on “Mental disorders in the workplace and WCB claims.” McKenna’s presentation is available online.

For the remainder of the conference, participants had the opportunity to attend three workshops. Topics covered were: Ergonomics; assisting workers with workplace mental health issues; knowing your rights; bullying & harassment; occupational hazards, diseases & near hits and misses – inside and out; women’s health & safety in the workplace; and violence in the workplace.

CUPE BC Secretary-treasurer Paul Faoro addressed delegates at the closing plenary. Faoro thanked participants for taking time to attend the conference, facilitators and presenters who put on top-notch workshops, and OH&S committee members, CUPE National and BC staff for putting the conference together.

He encouraged CUPE members to keep a focus on safety by ensuring we have functioning and effective OH&S committees, bargaining collective agreement language around health and safety, and continuing to push for progressive governments and legislative change that protects workers from injury and assists workers and families where someone has been hurt or died on the job.

Faoro announced that CUPE BC was once again working with Mark’s to offer a ten per cent discount to members for safety and work clothing. And those who were in attendance at the closing plenary were eligible for a prize of two nights and breakfast at the luxurious Hotel Grand Pacific in Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Faoro presented to the lucky winner – Glenda Stroomer, a CUPE community support worker from Nanaimo. Stroomer, a member of CUPE 3376, was attending her first-ever CUPE event.

As well as the information and discussion from conference sessions, participants went home with sample Spot the Hazard materials and a binder of information/ start up kit for new members on joint occupational health and safety committees.

Visit the CUPE BC gallery to view photos of the conference.

Kelowna city workers ratify new agreement

Wed, 10/29/2014 - 14:00

KELOWNA - CUPE 338 members who work for the City of Kelowna have ratified a new five-year agreement.

The previous agreement expired in December 2013 and bargaining began April 1, 2014. Following a lengthy and difficult round of bargaining that included a strong strike vote and mediation, Kelowna city workers are pleased to have stability for five years.

CUPE 338 President Lee Mossman said that the union pushed back on concessions and worked hard to achieve a solid contract.

“The new agreement balances the needs of CUPE members and the City of Kelowna,” said Mossman. “Our ratification vote of 95 per cent is a strong endorsement of an agreement that allows our members to continue taking pride in delivering high quality municipal services that contribute to an excellent quality of life in our community.”

The new agreement is effective January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2018. It includes an increase of 2 per cent in 2014, 1.5 per cent in 2015 and 2016, 2 per cent in 2017 and 1.5 per cent in 2018, for a total of 8.5 per cent over the five-year period. As well, the union achieved new family leave provisions, a tool allowance, and vacation improvements.

CUPE 338 represents workers in the City of Kelowna as well as a number of other employers including the Regional District of Central Kelowna, the City of Kelowna Airport, and the Kelowna Museum Society.

Kelowna city workers ratify new agreement

Wed, 10/29/2014 - 14:00

KELOWNA - CUPE 338 members who work for the City of Kelowna have ratified a new five-year agreement.

The previous agreement expired in December 2013 and bargaining began April 1, 2014. Following a lengthy and difficult round of bargaining that included a strong strike vote and mediation, Kelowna city workers are pleased to have stability for five years.

CUPE 338 President Lee Mossman said that the union pushed back on concessions and worked hard to achieve a solid contract.

“The new agreement balances the needs of CUPE members and the City of Kelowna,” said Mossman. “Our ratification vote of 95 per cent is a strong endorsement of an agreement that allows our members to continue taking pride in delivering high quality municipal services that contribute to an excellent quality of life in our community.”

The new agreement is effective January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2018. It includes an increase of 2 per cent in 2014, 1.5 per cent in 2015 and 2016, 2 per cent in 2017 and 1.5 per cent in 2018, for a total of 8.5 per cent over the five-year period. As well, the union achieved new family leave provisions, a tool allowance, and vacation improvements.

CUPE 338 represents workers in the City of Kelowna as well as a number of other employers including the Regional District of Central Kelowna, the City of Kelowna Airport, and the Kelowna Museum Society.

OH&S conference focuses on psychological health in our workplaces

Wed, 10/29/2014 - 14:00

VANCOUVER—Members from across the province focused on the theme “Building safe psychological and physical workplaces” at CUPE BC’s Occupational Health and Safety Conference held October 22 – 24 in Victoria.

OH&S Committee Chair Dal Benning chaired the conference, which was opened with a blessing from First Nations Elder Butch Dick of the Songhees Nation.

CUPE BC President Mark Hancock welcomed conference participants, presenters and facilitators. He talked about his own experience as a new CUPE local president dealing with a serious workplace incident that left one worker with permanent injuries. Hancock said that he learned many safety lessons from that incident, including the need for training, awareness of hazards and support for new workers.

Hancock talked about the importance of addressing mental health and safe psychological workplaces, given that a significant number of people will experience a mental health issue in their lifetime and the impact that this has on individuals, families and workplaces.

He noted that CUPE BC is re-launching the very successful Spot the Hazard campaign to help prevent workplace injuries before they happen.  “This campaign is about identifying and communicating hazards – to protect coworkers and the public, and to let managers know that there is a hazard,” said Hancock.  More information about the campaign will be sent to all CUPE locals in B.C. in the near future.

Keynote speaker and workplace psychologist Dr. Jennifer Newman gave a thought-provoking presentation on the OH&S role in cultivating safe and healthy workplaces.

She presented an “unhealthy and unsafe workplace behaviour continuum,” which began with incivility and moved through to physical violence.  This was paired with a continuum of behaviour characterizing healthy and safe workplaces, ranging from civility to kindness.

Dr. Newman encouraged participants to make use of the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health & Safety in the Workplace, released in January 2013. She said that the standard offers a set of guidelines and a blueprint for addressing respect, wellbeing and psychological safety. While the guidelines are voluntary, they recognize that unhealthy and unsafe workplaces affect families, communities and society at large

Dr. Newman also outlined five tenets of Zero Harm as it applies to both physical and psychological safety in organizations.  Her PowerPoint Presentation includes slides that go into more detail.  She concluded with the advice that how we influence change matters as much as what we are trying to change. “Your respectful demeanor, your patience, your persistence, and your ability to walk a mile in everyone’s shoes are key.  It’s about treating others the way we’d like to be treated. And, choosing a respectful attitude in any circumstance.”

Following the opening plenary, a reception sponsored by CUPE BC gave conference participants an opportunity to socialize and network.  The reception also included a short presentation from Amber Hockin, who is endorsed by CUPE BC for the position of BC Federation of Labour president.  Elections will be held at the BC Fed convention at the end of November.

The next day opened with a panel discussion moderated by Vanessa Wolff, National OH&S Representative. Three panelists shared insights on different aspects of psychological health in the workplace.

Kathleen Fleming of WorkSafeBC gave a high level overview of changes that have happened since Bill 14 came into effect in July 2012. Fleming offered some statistics on the use and results of the new provisions. She noted that there is a high suspension rate, where 26 per cent of mental health injury claims are dropped.  The suspension rate for physical claims is about 12 per cent.  She noted that from July 2012 to September 2014 – a total of 5449 mental health claims injuries were registered. Of these, 45 per cent (2427) were disallowed, while 15 per cent (808) were allowed.

Retired CUPE BC president and long-time health and safety activist Barry O’Neill talked about the importance of the labour movement’s activism in bringing about legally mandated protections. Barry reminded participants that “unless you make a lot of noise and support the people you represent to come forward – there will be no change in the mandated and legal requirements for employers to have healthy and safe workplaces.”

Retired lawyer and former Chair of the Workers’ Compensation Advocacy Group Jim Sayre focused on thinking beyond Bill 14 and offered a substantial critique of the way the new law is working.  In the context of psychological health and respectful workplaces, Sayre talked about importance of the CUPE Equality Statement and the vision and system that support it.

He noted that since 2002 benefits for injured workers have drastically decreased in B.C., while at the same time employers’ immunity from lawsuits has dramatically increased.  In this context, he said that unions have the power to engage in “private law making” – enforceable by arbitrators and courts.  Given the shortcomings in the legislative and other remedies for workers, Sayre encouraged CUPE to bargain change rather than waiting for governments to offer legislative solutions.

CUPE National Representative and WCB advocate Tom McKenna followed the panel with a packed presentation on “Mental disorders in the workplace and WCB claims.” McKenna’s presentation is available online.

For the remainder of the conference, participants had the opportunity to attend three workshops. Topics covered were: Ergonomics; assisting workers with workplace mental health issues; knowing your rights; bullying & harassment; occupational hazards, diseases & near hits and misses – inside and out; women’s health & safety in the workplace; and violence in the workplace.

CUPE BC Secretary-treasurer Paul Faoro addressed delegates at the closing plenary. Faoro thanked participants for taking time to attend the conference, facilitators and presenters who put on top-notch workshops, and OH&S committee members, CUPE National and BC staff for putting the conference together.

He encouraged CUPE members to keep a focus on safety by ensuring we have functioning and effective OH&S committees, bargaining collective agreement language around health and safety, and continuing to push for progressive governments and legislative change that protects workers from injury and assists workers and families where someone has been hurt or died on the job.

Faoro announced that CUPE BC was once again working with Mark’s to offer a ten per cent discount to members for safety and work clothing. And those who were in attendance at the closing plenary were eligible for a prize of two nights and breakfast at the luxurious Hotel Grand Pacific in Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Faoro presented to the lucky winner – Glenda Stroomer, a CUPE community support worker from Nanaimo. Stroomer, a member of CUPE 3376, was attending her first-ever CUPE event.

As well as the information and discussion from conference sessions, participants went home with sample Spot the Hazard materials and a binder of information/ start up kit for new members on joint occupational health and safety committees.

Visit the CUPE BC gallery to view photos of the conference.

Post a protest selfie to expose the Conservatives’ economic distraction plan

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 19:00

Conservative campaign a “distraction” from the need for real financial solutions.

Canadians work their whole lives to provide for their families and for a secure retirement, but instead of helping out the Harper government is turning financial planning into an Internet selfie contest.

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada is holding a “selfie” contest to promote financial literacy. This skill is important, but a poor substitute for real financial security. The selfie challenge adds insult to injury after the Harper government’s sustained campaign to whittle away Canadians’ safety net and leave working Canadians to fend for themselves.

If the Conservatives are serious about helping us achieve financial security they should stop their attacks on working Canadians and start:

  • Creating good jobs
  • Protecting public services
  • Expanding the Canada Pension Plan and restoring the age of eligibility for OAS and GIS
  • Improving Employment Insurance
  • Strengthening our public health care system
  • Investing in a national child care program
  • Making post-secondary education more affordable and reducing student debt

Their attacks have left far too many people in precarious, low-paid jobs. Now Harper is telling us we’ll be okay if we simply make our coffee at home and save a toonie a day to put towards retirement.

Let the Conservatives know their economic “distraction” plan is not good enough!

Post a protest selfie

To participate, post your own selfie with a message on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, showing the Conservatives what “real life” economic solutions you want from the federal government.

  • Print and pose with one of the messages below or come up with your own
  • Upload your photo and create a meme using an app like quickmeme.com

Make sure to add both of these hashtags: #FLM2014contest #EconomicDistractionPlan

We’ll share all of the selfies with these hastags. Visit the Economic Distraction Plan Facebook page to see the photo album. 

Health and Safety Guidelines: Ebola

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 18:30

The purpose of these guidelines is to provide advice and guidance to CUPE members about the potential hazard of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). This document includes information on routes of transmission, effects of infection and preventative measures grounded in the precautionary principle.

It is for occupational groups identified as being most at risk during an Ebola outbreak (acute care/hospital workers, paramedics, and flight attendants), but the information can be of use to any worker in an occupation that may be exposed to people infected with EVD.

If after reviewing this guide you have any additional questions, please contact your CUPE National Servicing Representative or Regional CUPE National Health and Safety Representative.

National Executive Board Highlights - September 2014

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 15:45

Our National Executive Board met September 23-25, 2014 in Ottawa. These are the highlights of their deliberations and decisions.

In Memory

The National Executive Board observed a minute of silence to reflect upon the loss of members of our CUPE family and workers killed on the job. Remembered were:  Brother William Mallock, Local 4848 (New Brunswick Paramedics and Dispatchers) who died in an air ambulance crash August 16; Brother Jacques Sirois, retired National Representative (Maritimes) also a former NEB member and President of CUPE

New Brunswick; Brother Daniel MacLean, retired National Representative, Sydney Area Office; and CUPE activists Sister Beth Kastelan, Local 748 (Kootenay Lake Schools, British Columbia); Sister Maddy Schmelcher, Local 15 in Vancouver; Brother Manny Jupista, Local 389, North Vancouver.

Bargaining Challenges

Pensions remain on the front-burner and the NEB devoted significant time to discussing our current pension challenges including Bill 3 in Quebec, and the positive results
in Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador where multi-union coalitions have had success in defending defined benefit pensions in both provinces.

NEB Resolution Supporting Naramata Centre Workers – Local 608

Thirty-four members of Local 608 who provide services at the Naramata Centre in British Columbia have been on strike since May 14.  There are many concessions being demanded by the employer, the most significant of which would result in no less than one third and up to over half of our members losing their jobs through contracting out.  While the Centre is owned by the United Church of Canada, the Church has taken a hands off approach.  The Board passed a resolution of support and will encourage all divisions and locals to write to the United Church of Canada calling on them to intervene to be consistent with the Church’s stated support of unionized workers. 
An information package has been sent to all locals.

Ebola Crisis

The Board adopted a statement on the Ebola crisis stating that CUPE stands in solidarity with the people of West Africa and the front line health care workers who have been providing care for those affected by the Ebola virus, at great risk to their own health. The motion adopting the statement included a donation of $10,000 to the Public Services International Aid Fund as well as a donation of $10,000 to Médecins Sans Frontières. The NEB is also calling on the Conservative government to increase its response to this horrific outbreak cupe.ca/cupe-donates-ebola-victim-aid-fund.

Financial Support 

The National Executive Board approved 22 cost-share campaign requests, totaling $740,616.37 and 19 requests for legal and arbitration support were approved, totaling $566,827.27.

Trustees Report

CUPE National Trustees, Colin Pawson, Mark Goodwin and Christian Trudeau  [Anchor] presented their findings from the 2013 Trustees’ audit.  All was found to be in good order and the Trustees thanked CUPE staff for their assistance in carrying out their audit and making all records available to them. 

Broadbent Institute

The NEB also had a very informative presentation from the Broadbent Institute which, three years into its creation, is offering a progressive alternative to right-wing think tanks like the Fraser Institute and the CD Howe Institute.

National Executive Board Highlights - September 2014

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 15:45

Our National Executive Board met September 23-25, 2014 in Ottawa. These are the highlights of their deliberations and decisions.

In Memory

The National Executive Board observed a minute of silence to reflect upon the loss of members of our CUPE family and workers killed on the job. Remembered were:  Brother William Mallock, Local 4848 (New Brunswick Paramedics and Dispatchers) who died in an air ambulance crash August 16; Brother Jacques Sirois, retired National Representative (Maritimes) also a former NEB member and President of CUPE

New Brunswick; Brother Daniel MacLean, retired National Representative, Sydney Area Office; and CUPE activists Sister Beth Kastelan, Local 748 (Kootenay Lake Schools, British Columbia); Sister Maddy Schmelcher, Local 15 in Vancouver; Brother Manny Jupista, Local 389, North Vancouver.

Bargaining Challenges

Pensions remain on the front-burner and the NEB devoted significant time to discussing our current pension challenges including Bill 3 in Quebec, and the positive results
in Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador where multi-union coalitions have had success in defending defined benefit pensions in both provinces.

NEB Resolution Supporting Naramata Centre Workers – Local 608

Thirty-four members of Local 608 who provide services at the Naramata Centre in British Columbia have been on strike since May 14.  There are many concessions being demanded by the employer, the most significant of which would result in no less than one third and up to over half of our members losing their jobs through contracting out.  While the Centre is owned by the United Church of Canada, the Church has taken a hands off approach.  The Board passed a resolution of support and will encourage all divisions and locals to write to the United Church of Canada calling on them to intervene to be consistent with the Church’s stated support of unionized workers. 
An information package has been sent to all locals.

Ebola Crisis

The Board adopted a statement on the Ebola crisis stating that CUPE stands in solidarity with the people of West Africa and the front line health care workers who have been providing care for those affected by the Ebola virus, at great risk to their own health. The motion adopting the statement included a donation of $10,000 to the Public Services International Aid Fund as well as a donation of $10,000 to Médecins Sans Frontières. The NEB is also calling on the Conservative government to increase its response to this horrific outbreak cupe.ca/cupe-donates-ebola-victim-aid-fund.

Financial Support 

The National Executive Board approved 22 cost-share campaign requests, totaling $740,616.37 and 19 requests for legal and arbitration support were approved, totaling $566,827.27.

Trustees Report

CUPE National Trustees, Colin Pawson, Mark Goodwin and Christian Trudeau  [Anchor] presented their findings from the 2013 Trustees’ audit.  All was found to be in good order and the Trustees thanked CUPE staff for their assistance in carrying out their audit and making all records available to them. 

Broadbent Institute

The NEB also had a very informative presentation from the Broadbent Institute which, three years into its creation, is offering a progressive alternative to right-wing think tanks like the Fraser Institute and the CD Howe Institute.

Expanded privatization in throne speech the wrong approach

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 21:45

REGINA -  In the throne speech setting the agenda for the year ahead, the Government of Saskatchewan announced an expansion of its misguided privatization agenda with promises of more public-private partnerships (P3s), private liquor stores and even possible private sector ownership and control of rural roads. It is an approach that will increase costs for residents and put vital infrastructure and services in the hands of for-profit corporations, warns CUPE Saskatchewan.

“Selling off public infrastructure and services does not make a stronger province,” said Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan. “The throne speech made one thing clear - Saskatchewan residents will be left to pay a high price for an expanded privatization agenda.”

Graham pointed to the government’s aggressive P3 expansion with unsubstantiated claims of savings as a particular concern.

“Municipalities should not face pressure from the province to hand over valued community infrastructure to companies looking to make a profit through P3s,” said Graham. “Federal tax dollars used to subsidize P3 deals does not obscure the reality they are proven to be costly mistakes.”

The Premier’s controversial proposal via twitter last week to allow those able to afford private MRI scans to access service more quickly and cause potential poaching of limited technologists from the public system was not referenced in the throne speech.

Contact: Tom Graham at 306-757-1009

Expanded privatization in throne speech the wrong approach

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 21:45

REGINA -  In the throne speech setting the agenda for the year ahead, the Government of Saskatchewan announced an expansion of its misguided privatization agenda with promises of more public-private partnerships (P3s), private liquor stores and even possible private sector ownership and control of rural roads. It is an approach that will increase costs for residents and put vital infrastructure and services in the hands of for-profit corporations, warns CUPE Saskatchewan.

“Selling off public infrastructure and services does not make a stronger province,” said Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan. “The throne speech made one thing clear - Saskatchewan residents will be left to pay a high price for an expanded privatization agenda.”

Graham pointed to the government’s aggressive P3 expansion with unsubstantiated claims of savings as a particular concern.

“Municipalities should not face pressure from the province to hand over valued community infrastructure to companies looking to make a profit through P3s,” said Graham. “Federal tax dollars used to subsidize P3 deals does not obscure the reality they are proven to be costly mistakes.”

The Premier’s controversial proposal via twitter last week to allow those able to afford private MRI scans to access service more quickly and cause potential poaching of limited technologists from the public system was not referenced in the throne speech.

Contact: Tom Graham at 306-757-1009

$25 million provincial cuts and $1.5 billion federal cuts to health care will hurt Hamilton patients

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 18:45

Hamilton, ON – Federal and provincial cuts to health care funding will strain Hamilton area residents and patients. The Ontario government’s funding for program and delivery service will decrease by $25 million for the year 2015-2016. This is on top of the $1.5 billion shortfall that the region faces over the next 10 years because the Harper government refused to sign a new health accord with the provinces.

“These cuts mean that the people of Hamilton-Niagara will not have access to the medical care they need.  Urgent hospital care will be most affected as local hospitals – now into the fourth year of funding freeze and cuts – continue to lose beds and services,” says Dave Murphy, president of CUPE 7800 that represents Hamilton area health care workers.

“And without a new federal health care accord, we will see $36 billion less for Medicare over the next 10 years. This is not acceptable,” added CUPE National President, Paul Moist. “Over 87 per cent of Canadians – in every region of the country and across party lines – support public solutions to make health care stronger. What we’re missing is real federal leadership to protect our public health care system.”

Moist and Murphy will hold a press conference on Friday, Oct. 24 to outline the impact of the cuts on patient care and local hospital services. Base funding for Hamilton hospitals has been frozen since 2012, while demand for hospital services is increasing. Over the last eight years $135 million has been cut from Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS), despite a growing and ageing population, an over 40 per cent jump in emergency care, a 26 per cent increase in ambulatory clinic care and nearly five per cent more acute patient care provided.

When: Friday, October 24
11 a.m.

Where: Hamilton General Hospital
237 Barton St E
Hamilton, ON
By the emergency entrance

For more information:
Willy Blomme
CUPE Media Relations
 613-852-1494

Stella Yeadon
CUPE Communications
 416-559-9300

$25 million provincial cuts and $1.5 billion federal cuts to health care will hurt Hamilton patients

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 18:45

Hamilton, ON – Federal and provincial cuts to health care funding will strain Hamilton area residents and patients. The Ontario government’s funding for program and delivery service will decrease by $25 million for the year 2015-2016. This is on top of the $1.5 billion shortfall that the region faces over the next 10 years because the Harper government refused to sign a new health accord with the provinces.

“These cuts mean that the people of Hamilton-Niagara will not have access to the medical care they need.  Urgent hospital care will be most affected as local hospitals – now into the fourth year of funding freeze and cuts – continue to lose beds and services,” says Dave Murphy, president of CUPE 7800 that represents Hamilton area health care workers.

“And without a new federal health care accord, we will see $36 billion less for Medicare over the next 10 years. This is not acceptable,” added CUPE National President, Paul Moist. “Over 87 per cent of Canadians – in every region of the country and across party lines – support public solutions to make health care stronger. What we’re missing is real federal leadership to protect our public health care system.”

Moist and Murphy will hold a press conference on Friday, Oct. 24 to outline the impact of the cuts on patient care and local hospital services. Base funding for Hamilton hospitals has been frozen since 2012, while demand for hospital services is increasing. Over the last eight years $135 million has been cut from Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS), despite a growing and ageing population, an over 40 per cent jump in emergency care, a 26 per cent increase in ambulatory clinic care and nearly five per cent more acute patient care provided.

When: Friday, October 24
11 a.m.

Where: Hamilton General Hospital
237 Barton St E
Hamilton, ON
By the emergency entrance

For more information:
Willy Blomme
CUPE Media Relations
 613-852-1494

Stella Yeadon
CUPE Communications
 416-559-9300

Workers urge voters to love their libraries and the people who breathe life into them

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 18:30

CUPE library workers mark Public Library Week in Ontario with celebration in front of Yorkville Library

As voters across Ontario prepare to go to the polls to elect mayors, municipal councillors and school board trustees, Toronto Public Library (TPL) workers in Toronto took time today to urge people to love their libraries and the people who breathe life into them.

At an afternoon ‘celebration’ and information session in front of the Yorkville Library, the workers, members of Local 4948 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 4948), along with their supporters, handed out postcards, novelty eyeglasses and candy, while talking about the importance of quality libraries in the community.

“There can be no more fitting way to celebrate Public Library Week in Ontario than right here in front of this building, which is the oldest library in the TPL system” said Maureen O’Reilly, President of Local 4948 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 4948).

“Libraries are vital to healthy, functioning communities. Indeed, good libraries are indicators of a community’s well-being,” she added.

The celebration and information session coincided with National Public Library Month and Ontario Public Library Week. The event was organized by CUPE 4948 and CUPE Ontario’s Library Workers’ Committee.

“People love their libraries, and people who love libraries love to vote,” said O’Reilly.

“That’s why we feel that public services, like libraries, ought to be at the top of peoples’ minds when they go to cast their ballots on Monday in the Municipal Election,” she added.

CUPE 4948 represents approximately 2,100 full-time and part-time library workers at TPL’s 99 branches, as well as administrative and technical support services.

For more information, please contact:

Maureen O’Reilly, CUPE 4948 President, 647-306-7457
Kevin Wilson, CUPE Communications, 416-821-6641