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Updated: 23 min 36 sec ago

CUPE Saskatchewan applauds Supreme Court decision restoring balance to collective bargaining; calls for more consultation

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 20:45

REGINA – CUPE Saskatchewan applauds the historic Supreme Court of Canada decision handed down today which recognizes the constitutional right of public sector workers to go on strike and has determined the Saskatchewan Party Government’s essential services legislation to be unconstitutional.

“We are very pleased that Canada’s highest court has ruled to restore balance to collective bargaining by recognizing that the right to take strike action, if necessary, is critical to maintain balance during collective bargaining,” said Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan.

Today’s decision stems from labour legislation passed by the Saskatchewan Party Government in 2008 – The Public Service Essential Services Act – which put unjust limits on which public sector workers could go on strike in the province. The Supreme Court struck down the law because it violated Saskatchewan workers’ Charter right to freedom of association. The decision affirms that all workers, in all provinces, have the constitutional right to strike or to have another way to resolve labour disputes if their work is essential to health, safety or security.

“With this decision, we are hopeful the Government will meaningfully consult and include unions before moving forward with any new essential services legislation to ensure it is fair and respects the rights of workers in the rare event of a strike,” said Graham.

In response to the Supreme Court decision, the Minister of Labour has confirmed the provincial government will scrap Bill 128 – an amendment to essential services legislation drafted before the ruling.

Winnipeg's public water a service to be proud of

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 17:00

WINNIPEG – Following two days of a precautionary boil water advisory, final testing proved that there is nothing wrong with Winnipeg’s water. Winnipeggers should be confident with the quality of the city’s public water system.

“We are very proud of our public water in Winnipeg,” said Gord Delbridge, Vice-President of CUPE Local 500. “It is one of the best systems in the country, and recent events prove how seriously the City takes the monitoring and testing of our municipal drinking water.”

The City announced a city-wide precautionary boil water advisory on the evening of January 27 which was lifted on the afternoon of January 29. Water samples are collected and tested every day in Winnipeg from locations across the city, making it among the highest-tested water supplies in the world. Following a series of re-tests on the water samples, results were announced that the initial tests were false-positives on the presence of any harmful bacteria – meaning that there is no problem with Winnipeg’s water.

“We are thankful that these tests proved that our water is clean and healthy, but we are also not surprised” said Delbridge. “We know how vigorously our water is tested, and we are confident in our ability to ensure that our water is clean, safe, and is an excellent service to Winnipeggers.”

While this may be the first time many Winnipeggers have experienced a precautionary boil water advisory, it is important to note that over 90 Aboriginal communities across Canada are under boil water advisories every day, including Shoal Lake First Nation from which Winnipeg’s water supply originates.

“Winnipeggers know the value of having clean potable water,” said Delbridge. “These recent events should serve as a reminder that far too many Canadians live under boil water advisories every day, and this should be cause for us to take greater action in support of these communities.”

For information contact:

David Jacks
CUPE Communications
 204-801-7339

Winnipeg's public water a service to be proud of

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 17:00

WINNIPEG – Following two days of a precautionary boil water advisory, final testing proved that there is nothing wrong with Winnipeg’s water. Winnipeggers should be confident with the quality of the city’s public water system.

“We are very proud of our public water in Winnipeg,” said Gord Delbridge, Vice-President of CUPE Local 500. “It is one of the best systems in the country, and recent events prove how seriously the City takes the monitoring and testing of our municipal drinking water.”

The City announced a city-wide precautionary boil water advisory on the evening of January 27 which was lifted on the afternoon of January 29. Water samples are collected and tested every day in Winnipeg from locations across the city, making it among the highest-tested water supplies in the world. Following a series of re-tests on the water samples, results were announced that the initial tests were false-positives on the presence of any harmful bacteria – meaning that there is no problem with Winnipeg’s water.

“We are thankful that these tests proved that our water is clean and healthy, but we are also not surprised” said Delbridge. “We know how vigorously our water is tested, and we are confident in our ability to ensure that our water is clean, safe, and is an excellent service to Winnipeggers.”

While this may be the first time many Winnipeggers have experienced a precautionary boil water advisory, it is important to note that over 90 Aboriginal communities across Canada are under boil water advisories every day, including Shoal Lake First Nation from which Winnipeg’s water supply originates.

“Winnipeggers know the value of having clean potable water,” said Delbridge. “These recent events should serve as a reminder that far too many Canadians live under boil water advisories every day, and this should be cause for us to take greater action in support of these communities.”

For information contact:

David Jacks
CUPE Communications
 204-801-7339

Supreme Court recognizes constitutional right to strike for Canadian workers

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 15:15

OTTAWA, ON – The Canadian Union of Public Employees is celebrating today’s Supreme Court decision recognizing the constitutional right of public sector workers to go on strike. CUPE, Canada’s largest union, is calling the decision a huge victory for all workers across the country.

“The ability of workers to go on strike is a fundamental part of collective bargaining; a corner stone of our free and democratic society. It is extremely important to have the highest court in our country recognize this as a right of all workers, private and public sector alike,” said Paul Moist, national president of CUPE. “No union ever wants a strike, but without the right to strike, employers have an unfair advantage. This decision secures a balance between workers and employers in negotiations.”

Today’s decision stems from Saskatchewan labour legislation passed in 2008 - the Public Service Essential Services Act which put unjust limits on which public sector workers could go on strike in the province. The Supreme Court struck down the law because it violated Saskatchewan workers’ Charter right to freedom of association.  The decision affirms that all workers, in all provinces, have the constitutional right to strike or to have another way to resolve labour disputes if their work is essential to health, safety or security. Earlier this month, in the RCMP case, the Supreme Court affirmed the right of Canadian workers to form and join unions.

“I applaud the Supreme Court for recognizing the role unions play in improving the lives of workers through free collective bargaining,” said Moist. “This is a historic precedent for CUPE, public sector unions, and the entire labour movement.”

When the offending legislation was put forward by the newly elected Wall government, several unions, including CUPE, launched legal challenges. The cases were eventually combined by the courts into one led by the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour.

“On behalf of all CUPE members, I thank the SFL for their leadership in this important court battle, and I congratulate all the unions that came together to uphold the rights of our members – in Saskatchewan and across Canada,” said Moist. “This is a victory truly shared by the entire labour movement, and a testament of what unions can accomplish when we are united.”

For additional information, contact:

Greg Taylor
CUPE Media Relations
613 818-0067
gtaylor@cupe.ca


Photo used under Creative Commons from Shankar S

CUPE Wins Its Case in Supreme Court

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 21:15

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in Quebec has prevailed in the Supreme Court on the matter of the Expenditure Restraint Act (Bill C-10) and its impact on Radio-Canada employees belonging to CUPE 675. The Association des réalisateurs (AR) de Radio-Canada was also contesting the decision rendered by the Québec Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court has ordered that a new hearing be held.

We are very pleased with the Supreme Court decision,” stated Annick Desjardins, counsel of record for CUPE. “We have held from the beginning that it is illegal to break a duly negotiated contract.” CUPE and the AR were contesting the constitutionality of Bill C-10 adopted into law by the Harper government in 2009. The impact of this legislation included cancellation of pay raises previously negotiated and enshrined in the collective agreements of Radio-Canada employees belonging to the two unions.

The Supreme Court had previously struck down the Act, but the Court of Appeal had reversed the judgement. The Supreme Court is now sending the case back to the Court of Appeal, ordering that a new hearing be held on the matter. The new hearing will be bound to take into account the protection afforded by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms with respect to collective bargaining. “Especially since the unions in questions were never consulted concerning the application or adoption of this legislation,” explained Isabelle Doyon, president of CUPE 675.

The parties are preparing their submissions for the new hearing, a date for which has yet to be set.

CUPE has been active at Radio-Canada for more than 40 years. It currently represents more than 1800 employees through two unions, STARF (CUPE 5757), representing technicians and craftspeople at Radio-Canada, and CUPE 675, which represents office and professional workers.

CUPE Wins Its Case in Supreme Court

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 21:15

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in Quebec has prevailed in the Supreme Court on the matter of the Expenditure Restraint Act (Bill C-10) and its impact on Radio-Canada employees belonging to CUPE 675. The Association des réalisateurs (AR) de Radio-Canada was also contesting the decision rendered by the Québec Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court has ordered that a new hearing be held.

We are very pleased with the Supreme Court decision,” stated Annick Desjardins, counsel of record for CUPE. “We have held from the beginning that it is illegal to break a duly negotiated contract.” CUPE and the AR were contesting the constitutionality of Bill C-10 adopted into law by the Harper government in 2009. The impact of this legislation included cancellation of pay raises previously negotiated and enshrined in the collective agreements of Radio-Canada employees belonging to the two unions.

The Supreme Court had previously struck down the Act, but the Court of Appeal had reversed the judgement. The Supreme Court is now sending the case back to the Court of Appeal, ordering that a new hearing be held on the matter. The new hearing will be bound to take into account the protection afforded by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms with respect to collective bargaining. “Especially since the unions in questions were never consulted concerning the application or adoption of this legislation,” explained Isabelle Doyon, president of CUPE 675.

The parties are preparing their submissions for the new hearing, a date for which has yet to be set.

CUPE has been active at Radio-Canada for more than 40 years. It currently represents more than 1800 employees through two unions, STARF (CUPE 5757), representing technicians and craftspeople at Radio-Canada, and CUPE 675, which represents office and professional workers.

Ontarians suffer from government choices, this budget a chance to change for the better

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 19:30

Falling incomes, failed tax cuts, costly privatization must be addressed

TORONTO, ON – Past decisions to cut corporate taxes, and use costly privatization schemes are creating a drag on the economy and driving down incomes across the province, Fred Hahn, president of the provinces’ largest union, told the finance committee during pre-budget consultations at Queen’s Park on January 29.

The government must learn from past mistakes and restore public services, reverse corporate tax cuts and implement an immediate moratorium on all forms of privatization, he said. The president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario also urged the Liberals to balance the budget in a realistic timeframe. 

“We have been sounding the alarm with this government for more than five years on how budget cuts and austerity negatively impact people, communities and the province,” said Hahn, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario. “The evidence is in - incomes across the province are falling, and it’s time to reverse the decisions driving that decline.”

Hahn pointed to a new report from the Broadbent Institute showing median incomes in Ontario went down 1.7 percent between 2006 and 2012. Windsor saw a whopping 13.6 percent decline. Oshawa went down 6.5 percent, the Niagara region by 4.1 percent, Barrie by 3.8 percent and the provincial capital of Toronto by 2.8 percent.

Rising inequality is a cause for serious concern, which has now been raised even by fiscally conservative organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and TD Bank.

“Investing in public services is the best way to build the economy and create good jobs. We know investments in child care create many times more jobs than the government’s misguided corporate tax cuts, and add more GDP growth,” he said.

Budget cuts are causing serious reductions in public services, including lost hospital beds and school closures across the province, and child protection agencies closing their doors for days at a time, he said. At the same time, the province has also lost more than $8 billion in revenue from corporate taxes. Combined with more than $8 billion in unnecessary costs because of a reliance on privatization schemes, that’s more than $16 billion that could have been used to preserve and enhance public services that support communities and build the economy.

CUPE Ontario’s pre-budget submission calls for an immediate moratorium on all forms of privatization.

“Governments have to stop believing privatization is good. For Ontarians, it’s been a disaster,” said Hahn. “We call on this government to impose an immediate moratorium on all forms of privatization, including public-private partnerships and schemes such as asset recycling, which is really just a novel way to repackage the discredited and costly idea of privatization.”

Hahn also cautions that, while carbon pricing could be good for the environment and for the province’s finances, it should only be brought in if it is revenue-positive and does not harm public services or middle- and low-income earners.

CUPE is Ontario’s community union, with members providing quality public services we all rely on in every part of the province every day. CUPE Ontario members are proud to work in social services, health care, municipalities, school boards, universities and airlines.

For more information, please contact:
Craig Saunders
CUPE Communications
 416-576-7316

Photo credit: Lending Memo

Hundreds of students and workers unite to fight cuts at U of M

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 17:00

WINNIPEG – Campus labour and student groups at the University of Manitoba held a rally on January 27 in opposition to major across-the-board cuts proposed by the university’s administration. The University of Manitoba is proposing four per cent cuts across the university, yet have been silent on details.

CUPE Locals 3909, 1482, and 5156 joined a coalition with the University of Manitoba Faculty Association, Association of Employees Supporting Education Services (AESES), Unifor, the Student Action Network, Canadian Federation of Students, University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU) and others in opposition to these cuts, as well as to the ongoing corporatization of campus services and programs.

Jennifer Black, CUPE Local 3909 Vice-President Unit 1, representing student academic workers, spoke at the event highlighting the impact the proposed cuts would have on the university community. “These cuts could include layoffs and reductions in academic support staff campus-wide” said Black, “the administration is proposing an austerity budget that would greatly harm the quality of education provided by the University of Manitoba.”

Students and workers began the march at the university’s engineering complex and detoured through the university’s Administration Building after attempting to walk-in on the Board of Governors meeting taking place on campus. “Students and campus workers are taking direct action” said Black, “the University needs to see exactly how high the stakes are when they propose cuts to our education.”

For more information, take a look at the University of Manitoba Students’ Union’s backgrounder: Understanding the cuts: How the University’s budget cuts will affect you.

Contract academic faculty at the University of Toronto authorize strike action, if necessary, in historic vote

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 13:15

In historic numbers, sessional lecturers, writing instructors, music professionals and sessional instructional assistants, members of Local 3902 (Unit 3) of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 3902), have voted overwhelmingly to authorize ‘any and all actions necessary’ to secure a fair collective agreement with their employer, the University of Toronto (U of T).

Last week, Unit 3 members held a strike vote for only the second time in the ten year history of their bargaining unit. Close to 260 ballots were cast (nearly doubling previous voter turnout), with 92.1 per cent of members giving their bargaining committee a mandate to take any and all actions necessary—up to and including strike action—if they cannot achieve a collective agreement through negotiations with U of T.

“This vote reflects members resolve that ‘business as usual’ is no longer an option; it serves notice that members demand the kind of job security, compensation and benefits that reflect their contribution to the university’s reputation and position as one of the world’s top teaching and research institutions,” said Unit 3 Vice-Chair Dr. Erich Vogt.

Sessional Lecturers perform about 35 per cent of all undergraduate teaching at U of T, yet comprise only one per cent of the university’s overall budget. The majority have the same qualifications and experience as permanent faculty, but lack job security, never knowing what work they will have from term-to-term, and having to reapply every four-to-eight months for courses they have successfully taught in the past. Since August 2012, there has been no increase to the base rate of wages, and benefit levels have remained frozen for a decade. Many Unit 3 members, who have PhDs and are teaching at the university level, live below the poverty line and are afforded a mere $275 per course for health benefits.

Members of CUPE 3902 Unit 3 now join with members of Unit 1, which represents graduate student teaching assistants, course instructors, invigilators and accessibility services employees, who this past fall issued a 91.3 per cent strike mandate. Between the two units, close to 2,000 education workers at the U of T have expressed their willingness to take job action, if necessary.

“CUPE 3902 is proud of our members and the decisiveness of their vote,” said Dr. Erin Black, chair of CUPE 3902. “This union always bargains in good faith, but we cannot compromise the core needs of our members. It is time the university shows our members – who contribute so significantly to the delivery of undergraduate education at Canada’s largest university – the appropriate respect and recognition that they deserve.”

For more information, please contact:

Erin Black, CUPE 3902 Unit Chair, 416-806-3902  

Kevin Wilson, CUPE National Communications, 416-821-6641                                                          

Good jobs for Kingston, high-quality services for students and staff, focus of Queen’s rally

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 17:00

CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn lends his support in Kingston.

KINGSTON, ON – On Wednesday, January 28, Kingston residents and members of the Queen’s university community will be urged to show their support for high-quality services at Queen’s by supporting the workers who provide them. The call will come at a rally organized by workers from Queen’s University.

Joining them will be CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn, who will address the importance of secure, stable jobs for communities like Kingston.

Rally participants will include representatives of the universities’ trades, maintenance and custodial workers; library technicians; lab, AV and other technicians; and food service workers.

They will hold a rally and information picket on the campus of Queen’s University, at the corner of University Avenue and Union Street West, on Wednesday, January 28 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Members of CUPE Locals 229, 254 and 1302 are seeking contracts that protect the quality of jobs and services at Queen’s.

Who: trades and maintenance staff; lab and other technicians; library technicians; food service workers
What: rally and information picket
When: Wednesday, January 28, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Where: corner of University Avenue and Union Street West, Queen’s University Campus, Kingston
Speaker: CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn will speak at 11:30 a.m. 

For more information, contact

Mary Unan
CUPE Communications
 647-390-9839

Donna Carlaw
CUPE National Representative
 613-453-2597

Good jobs for Kingston, high-quality services for students and staff, focus of Queen’s rally

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 17:00

CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn lends his support in Kingston.

KINGSTON, ON – On Wednesday, January 28, Kingston residents and members of the Queen’s university community will be urged to show their support for high-quality services at Queen’s by supporting the workers who provide them. The call will come at a rally organized by workers from Queen’s University.

Joining them will be CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn, who will address the importance of secure, stable jobs for communities like Kingston.

Rally participants will include representatives of the universities’ trades, maintenance and custodial workers; library technicians; lab, AV and other technicians; and food service workers.

They will hold a rally and information picket on the campus of Queen’s University, at the corner of University Avenue and Union Street West, on Wednesday, January 28 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Members of CUPE Locals 229, 254 and 1302 are seeking contracts that protect the quality of jobs and services at Queen’s.

Who: trades and maintenance staff; lab and other technicians; library technicians; food service workers
What: rally and information picket
When: Wednesday, January 28, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Where: corner of University Avenue and Union Street West, Queen’s University Campus, Kingston
Speaker: CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn will speak at 11:30 a.m. 

For more information, contact

Mary Unan
CUPE Communications
 647-390-9839

Donna Carlaw
CUPE National Representative
 613-453-2597

CUPE Human Rights Conference Program

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 21:30

Equality empowers us all.

Table of contents

1. Greetings from CUPE’s National Officers

2. Equality statement

3. Combating harassment: CUPE’s ombudspersons

4. Code of Conduct

6. Agenda

10. Our speakers

13. Special performers

14. Conference information

CUPE Human Rights Conference Program

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 21:30

Equality empowers us all.

Table of contents

1. Greetings from CUPE’s National Officers

2. Equality statement

3. Combating harassment: CUPE’s ombudspersons

4. Code of Conduct

6. Agenda

10. Our speakers

13. Special performers

14. Conference information

New report details clerical working conditions in BC’s public school system

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 19:00

By John Malcolmson

A new report looking at the performance of clerical work in BC’s public school system explores how CUPE members have fared in the wake of a decade of government austerity and service cuts.

Under Duress: the intensification of clerical work in BC’s public school system is based on an online survey of clerical workers undertaken in the spring of 2014, along with a review of relevant research, and analysis of school budgeting. About 1,300 clerical staff in 49 BC school districts completed this survey for a response rate of close to 30 per cent. The report was written by CUPE research representative John Malcolmson.

Who occupies today’s K-12 clerical jobs?

The report confirms that clerical work remains overwhelmingly female-dominated as 98 per cent of survey participants indicate they are women. The average age of today’s K-12 clerical worker is 51 years and that worker has 22 years of clerical work experience, roughly half of which is with her current employer.

The largest group of clerical workers holds college-level credentials, with a smaller number reporting university degrees. Most clerical work in the public school system is both continuing and full-time in nature. The average K-12 clerical worker earns almost $36,000 annually.

What did we learn about K-12 clerical work?

Under Duress shows that, like other school support workers, clerical staff face relentless budgetary pressure on school operations. Combined with a push to direct maximum resources “to the classroom,” there have been ongoing efforts to squeeze more out of school system support workers with less funding.

The result has been a compression of clerical work hours and increased workload. Other effects include increases in job requirements, additional range and complexity of things demanded of workers, and rising stress associated with these demands.

Despite these changes, clerical staff report high levels of overall job satisfaction, citing the importance of the personal relationships they cultivate to how they feel about work.

The report does uncover health and safety concerns. Most clerical staff report pain – concentrated in the neck, back and shoulder areas – and most see it as work-related. The survey also compiles information on ergonomic issues raised by members, chief among them the fact that many clerical staff work long hours seated in front of computer screens. This raises concerns regarding the long-term health of clerical staff faced with these job requirements.

Unpaid time is also an issue for clerical staff. On average, a clerical worker performs half an hour of unpaid work each week. As Under Duress notes, the performance of unpaid work provides clear evidence of the commitment members have to their jobs amidst conditions marked by declining hours of work and increases in individual workload.

Clerical staff also reference a significant incidence of aggressive encounters with parents, community members and students. The way they deal with them differs depending on the circumstances. Encounters with students are more likely to elicit formal reporting, and follow-up consequences as students are generally covered by codes of conduct. Parents and community members are not as clearly covered so there is increased likelihood of members brushing off these kinds of encounters.

What’s next?

The report calls for workers, CUPE and public school employers to work together to address key issues and concerns raised and to improve the work environment faced by K-12 clerical staff.

Read the full report. Check out Under Duress: the intensification of clerical work in BC’s public school system at cupe.bc.ca.

Quebec imposes restructuring on municipal pension plans

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 18:45

Quebec municipalities and unions have 12 months starting February 1 to negotiate an agreement to restructure all defined benefit pension plans in the municipal and urban transit sectors and the pension plan of Quebec municipal employees. The negotiations were mandated as part of An Act to foster the financial health and sustainability of municipal defined benefit pension plans (Bill 3) passed last December by the Quebec National Assembly.

The negotiation period can be extended by six months (two three-month periods) if necessary. The parties can use conciliation if they wish. However, if this process does not produce an agreement, arbitration is mandatory.

Prior to negotiations, pension committees also had obligations to fulfill. They were required to perform an actuarial valuation up to December 31, 2013 and submit it to the Régie des rentes du Québec (the province’s pension regulatory authority) no later than December 31, 2014. Failure to do so would result in penalties. This valuation defines the share of the deficit attributable to retirees and active workers.

Effects on active workers and retirees

The restructuring of the various plans will take effect retroactively to January 1, 2014. There will be many adverse effects on workers and retirees.

The deficit attributable to active members for years of service prior to January 1, 2014 must be shared by the employer and active members equally. Active members must pay their share by reducing their benefits or increasing their contribution (by no more than 3 per cent). If a new deficit for the years of service previous to January 1, 2014 were to appear during a subsequent actuarial valuation, the employer would assume full responsibility.

Bill 3 also calls for the elimination of all automatic indexing clauses as a first measure to scale back entitlements. The normal pension is protected and cannot be reduced, and the same applies to the accrual rate.

As for the deficit attributable to retired members on January 1, 2014, municipalities can decide to suspend indexation if they wish, effective January 1, 2017. The value of the indexation suspension cannot cover more than half of the retired members’ share of the deficit. If a subsequent actuarial valuation were to uncover a surplus, the indexation must be restored and take priority over any other right.

Deficits attributable to years of service after December 31, 2013 must be shared equally by the employer and active members. Plans must also have a stabilization fund to which parties contribute equally. The current service cost contribution is capped at 18 per cent of payroll. This cap can be increased by 0.5 per cent if the majority of active members are women. If the average age is greater than 45, the cap is increased by 0.6 per cent for each full year of deviation between the average age of the group and 45.

As county administration tries to make peace, Reeve and Councilors continue to battle front line employees

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 22:00

EDMONTON – The union representing 30 employees of Westlock County is responding to comments made by Reeve Bud Massey in his recent report to council.

CUPE Representative Lou Arab said the Reeve’s report was “misleading” and “didn’t tell the full picture regarding the County’s attempts to push long serving staff out the door.”

Arab said the report was disappointing because it came at the same time county administrators are showing signs of trying to improve their relationship with employees.

“Massey never mentioned the fact the County signed a consent order at the Labour Relations Board – conceding and apologizing for the way they handled the severance issue,” said Arab. “His report points blame wherever it can – but ignores the fact the county has accepted responsibility, in writing.”

Arab said that the part of Massey’s report indicating that the County was a good place to work, because 90% of union members voted for a recent contract – was also misleading.

“Employees voted for a contract they could live with, and they expect their employer to live up to its obligations in that contract,” said Arab.  “The recent disputes have been because the County isn’t living up to the contract they themselves voted unanimously in favour of.”

“It’s a shame that the council is still acting in a confrontational manner, because there are indications the CAO is trying to improve employee relations,” said Arab.  “We had a good meeting with Peter Kelly yesterday, with a commitment to continue meeting every month and to provide every employee with a copy of the consent order.  But the Reeve and Councillors seem to be pushing in a different direction.”

“The council needs to live up to its written commitments, both with our contract, and with the consent order from the Labour Board.” 

For more information:
Lou Arab
 780-271-2722

CUPE responds to United Church’s Naramata Centre closure

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 21:30

BURNABY- In the wake of yesterday’s announcement that the United Church’s Naramata Centre will close permanently, CUPE will seek renewed discussions with Church representatives.

“We have had 30 employees on strike and on a picket line at the United Church’s Naramata Centre for over eight months. This dispute has always been about fair treatment of loyal employees and we will seek fair treatment as part of any closure of operations and discussions on the future of the property,” said Tom O’Leary, CUPE National Servicing Representative.

CUPE BC Secretary-Treasurer Paul Faoro noted CUPE’s 40-year relationship with the Naramata Centre – as a loyal user and promoter of the facilities and a representative of employees there since 1994.  “This is a very sad day for CUPE members, the community and all involved in Naramata. We hope that we can work constructively with the Church to move forward from here.”

The strike by 30 unionized employees at Naramata Centre started in May 2014 in response to the church centre’s plan to replace loyal, long-term staff with lower-paid, non-union positions.

In November, CUPE filed an application to have the United Church and Naramata Centre recognized as a common employer in a bid to bring the church to the bargaining table and take responsibility for its workers. That application remains in front of the Labour Relations Board.

CUPE members remain on the picket line at the Centre.

For more information, please contact:
Tom O’Leary
CUPE National Representative
 250-862-6131

Roseanne Moran
CUPE Communications Representative
 778-835-7537

CUPE to Happy Valley-Goose Bay mayor – a lockout is not ‘business as usual’

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 17:15

HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY – The president of CUPE Local 2019 says he’s starting to wonder if the mayor of Happy Valley-Goose Bay actually knew what the consequences of locking out his employees would be.

Glenn Pittman says, “Did Mayor Snook think it was going to be ‘business as usual’ when he chose to lock out his entire municipal workforce in the middle of winter in Labrador,” he asks.

Says Pittman, “We are honouring our letter of intent, which is what we said we would do and, frankly, more than what happens in many other labour disputes.”

CUPE NL President Wayne Lucas, meanwhile, says, “This mayor needs to stop berating the employees that he locked out and start taking responsibility for his actions. I would suggest it’s the mayor that has reneged on his duties to residents when he locked these workers out.

“The only one compromising public safety in this community is Mayor Snook. He needs to put his ego aside, get the pension concession off the table, get back to the bargaining table and fulfill his commitment to residents.

“This lockout could be over and our full workforce out there plowing the roads that quickly,” says Lucas.

The 43 members of Local 2019 were locked out on January 13.

Richest 1 per cent will own more than all the rest by 2016

Wed, 01/21/2015 - 22:00

The combined wealth of the richest one per cent of the world will overtake that of the other 99 per cent of people next year unless the current trend of rising inequality is checked, according to a report released by Oxfam International. Oxfam is an international confederation of 17 organizations working together with partners and local communities in more than 90 countries.

The World Economic forum’s annual meeting held in Davos, Switzerland begins on January 21 and runs until January 24, 2015. The Forum’s annual meeting convenes global leaders from across business, government, international organizations, academia and civil society to discuss the key transformations reshaping the world. Oxfam International will be attending the meeting and warns “that the explosion in inequality is holding back the fight against global poverty at a time when one in nine people do not have enough to eat and more than a billion people still live on less than $1.25-a-day.”

Oxfam International executive director Winnie Byanyima will co-chair the Davos meeting and according to the organization she will “use that opportunity to call for urgent action to stem this rising tide of inequality, starting with a crackdown on tax dodging by corporations, and to push for progress towards a global deal on climate change.”

Read more on the report

CUPE National Convention 2015

Wed, 01/21/2015 - 21:00

The 27th CUPE National Convention will be held from November 2 to 6, 2015 at the Vancouver Convention Centre’s West Building in Vancouver, British Columbia.

As per our National Constitution, the Call for Resolutions and Advance Notice package containing information on hotel reservations, travel arrangements and National Convention Assistance Fund will be mailed on May 6, 2015. 

We look forward to seeing you in Vancouver this November!