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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

Workers urge voters to love their libraries and the people who breathe life into them – CUPE library workers mark Public Library Week in Ontario with celebration in front of Yorkville Library

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 18:30

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                                                                     

CUPE officers deliver message of unity and solidarity in response attacks in Ottawa

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 15:30

In the aftermath of yesterday’s events in Ottawa and on behalf of all CUPE members, we offer our solidarity and sincere condolences to the family of Nathan Cirillo the 24 year old armed forces reservist who was killed at the hands of a lone gunman in Ottawa.

We also offer our message of solidarity and thanks to all emergency response workers including the Ottawa Paramedics, represented by CUPE 503 who were called into duty yesterday. We salute all emergency response workers who serve and protect us throughout the country 24/7, 365 days a year.

We also stand in solidarity with all Members of Parliament and the hundreds of staff who work on and near Parliament Hill.

Fear and anger are natural emotions when events such as occurred yesterday happen. It is important that we stand together in solidarity, committed to one another as Canadians and committed to not letting fear define us. Rather, our unity and solidarity must reaffirm our commitment to peace, social justice and our responsibility to do our part to build a better world.

In solidarity,

Paul Moist, National President
Charles Fleury, National-Secretary Treasurer

CUPE officers deliver message of unity and solidarity in response attacks in Ottawa

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 15:30

In the aftermath of yesterday’s events in Ottawa and on behalf of all CUPE members, we offer our solidarity and sincere condolences to the family of Nathan Cirillo the 24 year old armed forces reservist who was killed at the hands of a lone gunman in Ottawa.

We also offer our message of solidarity and thanks to all emergency response workers including the Ottawa Paramedics, represented by CUPE 503 who were called into duty yesterday. We salute all emergency response workers who serve and protect us throughout the country 24/7, 365 days a year.

We also stand in solidarity with all Members of Parliament and the hundreds of staff who work on and near Parliament Hill.

Fear and anger are natural emotions when events such as occurred yesterday happen. It is important that we stand together in solidarity, committed to one another as Canadians and committed to not letting fear define us. Rather, our unity and solidarity must reaffirm our commitment to peace, social justice and our responsibility to do our part to build a better world.

In solidarity,

Paul Moist, National President

Charles Fleury, National-Secretary Treasurer

Graham: Regina wastewater treatment plant P3 claims need scrutiny

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 19:45

In a letter to the editor, Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan, challenges recent claims surrounding the Regina wastewater treatment plant public-private partnership (P3) currently under construction.

Letter: P3s need scrutiny

Published October 21, 2014 in The Leader-Post.

In his Oct. 8, column (“P3 projects need more scrutiny”), Murray Mandryk states that the Regina waste water treatment plant public-private partnership “has unquestionably worked” because the yet-to-be-built plant, which includes a 30-year operation and maintenance contract with a private company, is supposedly coming in under the city’s initial budget.

The claim we will save $138 million (including the subsidy of $48.2 million federal tax dollars) by using a P3 model before the project is built and the full costs of the lifespan of the contract are realized raises one obvious question: based on whose figures?

It turns out the accounting firm Deloitte – which also happens to be a sponsoring member of the leading lobbying organization for the P3 industry – has determined in these early stages that the waste water P3 will save money without releasing details on how it arrived at this conclusion. I think it is fair to ask how an accounting firm that signs on to promote P3s can offer an independent analysis.

P3 privatization schemes do need more scrutiny. It should be crystal clear from the evidence of costly P3 mistakes across Canada that they are a great way for investors to make money and the worst way to provide public infrastructure and services.

Tom Graham
President, CUPE Saskatchewan Division

Graham: Regina wastewater treatment plant P3 claims need scrutiny

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 19:45

In a letter to the editor, Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan, challenges recent claims surrounding the Regina wastewater treatment plant public-private partnership (P3) currently under construction.

Letter: P3s need scrutiny

Published October 21, 2014 in The Leader-Post.

In his Oct. 8, column (“P3 projects need more scrutiny”), Murray Mandryk states that the Regina waste water treatment plant public-private partnership “has unquestionably worked” because the yet-to-be-built plant, which includes a 30-year operation and maintenance contract with a private company, is supposedly coming in under the city’s initial budget.

The claim we will save $138 million (including the subsidy of $48.2 million federal tax dollars) by using a P3 model before the project is built and the full costs of the lifespan of the contract are realized raises one obvious question: based on whose figures?

It turns out the accounting firm Deloitte – which also happens to be a sponsoring member of the leading lobbying organization for the P3 industry – has determined in these early stages that the waste water P3 will save money without releasing details on how it arrived at this conclusion. I think it is fair to ask how an accounting firm that signs on to promote P3s can offer an independent analysis.

P3 privatization schemes do need more scrutiny. It should be crystal clear from the evidence of costly P3 mistakes across Canada that they are a great way for investors to make money and the worst way to provide public infrastructure and services.

Tom Graham
President, CUPE Saskatchewan Division

Library workers celebrate 150 years of public libraries in Oshawa

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 17:30

One week before voters across Ontario go to the polls to elect mayors, municipal councillors and school board trustees, library workers in Oshawa took time today to urge people to love their libraries, and the people who breathe life into them.

“I can’t think of a more fitting way to celebrate Public Libraries Week in Ontario than here in Oshawa, where people have been using libraries for more than 150 years,” said CUPE Ontario Secretary-Treasurer Candace Rennick, who joined with members of Local 960 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 960) in front of the Oshawa Public Library’s Bagot Street branch.

“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 outside the Bagot Street branch coincided with National Public Library Month and Ontario Public Library Week. The event was organized by CUPE 960 and CUPE Ontario’s Library Workers’ Committee.

Workers handed out postcards and bookmarks containing information about the history of public libraries in Ontario, as well as bags of candy to children who attended.

“People love their libraries, and people who love libraries love to vote,” said Tiffany Balducci, president of CUPE 960.

“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 960 represents 80 workers at the Oshawa Public Library.

For more information, please contact:

Tiffany Balducci, CUPE 960 President, 905-391-1571
Kevin Wilson, CUPE Communications, 416-821-6641

Library workers celebrate 150 years of public libraries in Oshawa

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 17:30

One week before voters across Ontario go to the polls to elect mayors, municipal councillors and school board trustees, library workers in Oshawa took time today to urge people to love their libraries, and the people who breathe life into them.

“I can’t think of a more fitting way to celebrate Public Libraries Week in Ontario than here in Oshawa, where people have been using libraries for more than 150 years,” said CUPE Ontario Secretary-Treasurer Candace Rennick, who joined with members of Local 960 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 960) in front of the Oshawa Public Library’s Bagot Street branch.

“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 outside the Bagot Street branch coincided with National Public Library Month and Ontario Public Library Week. The event was organized by CUPE 960 and CUPE Ontario’s Library Workers’ Committee.

Workers handed out postcards and bookmarks containing information about the history of public libraries in Ontario, as well as bags of candy to children who attended.

“People love their libraries, and people who love libraries love to vote,” said Tiffany Balducci, president of CUPE 960.

“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 960 represents 80 workers at the Oshawa Public Library.

For more information, please contact:

Tiffany Balducci, CUPE 960 President, 905-391-1571
Kevin Wilson, CUPE Communications, 416-821-6641

Changes to Champlain Community Care Access Centre services leaving seniors without care, families scrambling

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 17:30

OTTAWA, Ont. – The potential of thousands of patients having health care services withdrawn by the Champlain Central Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) in eastern Ontario is coming closer to reality. 

“We are extremely concerned about the impact these cuts will have on patients and their families,” says Brian Madden, President of CUPE Local 503 representing 170 staff at the CCAC.

Champlain CCAC has revised its patient assessment criteria requiring patients to have much more acute conditions to qualify for publicly provided health care services. The systematic reassessment of patients is resulting in the withdrawal of services to them.

“If a reassessment resulted in services being withdrawn under the more stringent criteria, what would happen if the patient’s condition subsequently worsens? They will most likely have to be placed on a waitlist, given the management imposed financial restraints currently in place,” added Mr. Madden.

In a communication tool provided to staff by the Champlain CCAC management, there is a direction to discourage patients and their families from contacting their MPP, the LHIN which oversees distribution of health care dollars or the media and to redirect them to CCAC managers.

“Rather than providing public health care services which ought to be universally accessible, patients and their families are being left with the impression that they should seek other sources of care or to purchase services they need from private health care agencies,” concluded Mr. Madden. 

For information, contact:
Jean-Marc Bézaire, CUPE National Representative
613-293-8163 or e-mail jbezaire@cupe.ca

Changes to Champlain Community Care Access Centre services leaving seniors without care, families scrambling

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 17:30

OTTAWA, Ont. – The potential of thousands of patients having health care services withdrawn by the Champlain Central Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) in eastern Ontario is coming closer to reality. 

“We are extremely concerned about the impact these cuts will have on patients and their families,” says Brian Madden, President of CUPE Local 503 representing 170 staff at the CCAC.

Champlain CCAC has revised its patient assessment criteria requiring patients to have much more acute conditions to qualify for publicly provided health care services. The systematic reassessment of patients is resulting in the withdrawal of services to them.

“If a reassessment resulted in services being withdrawn under the more stringent criteria, what would happen if the patient’s condition subsequently worsens? They will most likely have to be placed on a waitlist, given the management imposed financial restraints currently in place,” added Mr. Madden.

In a communication tool provided to staff by the Champlain CCAC management, there is a direction to discourage patients and their families from contacting their MPP, the LHIN which oversees distribution of health care dollars or the media and to redirect them to CCAC managers.

“Rather than providing public health care services which ought to be universally accessible, patients and their families are being left with the impression that they should seek other sources of care or to purchase services they need from private health care agencies,” concluded Mr. Madden. 

For information, contact:
Jean-Marc Bézaire, CUPE National Representative
613-293-8163 or e-mail jbezaire@cupe.ca

Management at Community Living Durham North triggers countdown to service disruption

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 19:15

Front-line workers at Community Living Durham North (CLDN) are shocked with their employer’s latest bargaining stunt that would jeopardize services to people with developmental disabilities and their families, said the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing 220 developmental services workers at CLDN.

“As front-line workers, we know how important our services are to the lives of supported individuals that we care for,” said Mary McArthur, spokesperson for CUPE 2936.11, representing part-time workers at CLDN. “So, it is very distressing when management pulls the trigger on bargaining talks and starts the countdown toward locking out workers that service supported individuals and their families.”

Prior to the October 14 conciliation meeting with the employer, management threatened workers’ representatives that if the union did not accept their proposals on conciliation day management would ask for a ‘no-board’ report that would trigger a lockout or strike situation. “That is not bargaining, but dictatorial behaviour that our members have witnessed and experienced at their workplace,” said Jacqui Lancaster, CUPE national representative. “That is not acceptable and, unfortunately, with the latest stunt, management started a countdown toward a potential service shutdown that would deny the very services our members provide to supported individuals.”

This latest stunt pulled by management occurred before the union had a chance to fully review and respond to the employer’s proposal. Management forced a ‘no-board’ on both the full-time and part-time units which, once issued by the Ontario Labour Relations Board, would start a 17-day countdown toward a potential service shutdown that could occur sometime in the first or second week of November, depending on when both the ‘no-board’ reports are issued.

“Pulling the trigger on bargaining talks on the fourth day of talks was premature, unnecessary, and reckless,” said John Halik, spokesperson for CUPE 2936.07, representing full-time workers at CLDN. “Management knew that workers’ representatives were going to meet with the provincial government to find out how funding designated for front-line workers will be distributed in the province. It would have been prudent for management to know the outcome of the meeting that would help both parties reach a fair deal, but, instead, we are in this situation that could potentially compromise services that supported individuals rely on.”

Both parties are scheduled for mediation talks on October 27 with the help of a mediator. “We are urging management to come back to mediation talks with the full intention of bargaining respectfully and fairly so we can achieve a fair deal and avoid a service disruption that would hurt the supported individuals that we care for,” concluded McArthur.

For more information, please contact:

Mary McArthur, Spokesperson for CUPE 2936.11, 519-981-9871
Jacqui Lancaster, CUPE National Representative, 905-242-7654
James Chai, CUPE Communications, 905-739-3999                       

Management at Community Living Durham North triggers countdown to service disruption

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 19:15

Front-line workers at Community Living Durham North (CLDN) are shocked with their employer’s latest bargaining stunt that would jeopardize services to people with developmental disabilities and their families, said the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing 220 developmental services workers at CLDN.

“As front-line workers, we know how important our services are to the lives of supported individuals that we care for,” said Mary McArthur, spokesperson for CUPE 2936.11, representing part-time workers at CLDN. “So, it is very distressing when management pulls the trigger on bargaining talks and starts the countdown toward locking out workers that service supported individuals and their families.”

Prior to the October 14 conciliation meeting with the employer, management threatened workers’ representatives that if the union did not accept their proposals on conciliation day management would ask for a ‘no-board’ report that would trigger a lockout or strike situation. “That is not bargaining, but dictatorial behaviour that our members have witnessed and experienced at their workplace,” said Jacqui Lancaster, CUPE national representative. “That is not acceptable and, unfortunately, with the latest stunt, management started a countdown toward a potential service shutdown that would deny the very services our members provide to supported individuals.”

This latest stunt pulled by management occurred before the union had a chance to fully review and respond to the employer’s proposal. Management forced a ‘no-board’ on both the full-time and part-time units which, once issued by the Ontario Labour Relations Board, would start a 17-day countdown toward a potential service shutdown that could occur sometime in the first or second week of November, depending on when both the ‘no-board’ reports are issued.

“Pulling the trigger on bargaining talks on the fourth day of talks was premature, unnecessary, and reckless,” said John Halik, spokesperson for CUPE 2936.07, representing full-time workers at CLDN. “Management knew that workers’ representatives were going to meet with the provincial government to find out how funding designated for front-line workers will be distributed in the province. It would have been prudent for management to know the outcome of the meeting that would help both parties reach a fair deal, but, instead, we are in this situation that could potentially compromise services that supported individuals rely on.”

Both parties are scheduled for mediation talks on October 27 with the help of a mediator. “We are urging management to come back to mediation talks with the full intention of bargaining respectfully and fairly so we can achieve a fair deal and avoid a service disruption that would hurt the supported individuals that we care for,” concluded McArthur.

For more information, please contact:

Mary McArthur, Spokesperson for CUPE 2936.11, 519-981-9871
Jacqui Lancaster, CUPE National Representative, 905-242-7654
James Chai, CUPE Communications, 905-739-3999                       

Fact Sheet: Ebola virus disease

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 19:00

Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a severe disease that causes haemorrhagic fever in humans and animals. Diseases that cause haemorrhagic fevers affect the body’s vascular system (how blood moves through the body). They can lead to significant internal bleeding, organ failure, and are often fatal.

Background

EVD was first identified in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks in Africa, including one near the Ebola river, where the disease got its name. There are five known species of Ebola: Zaire, Bundibugyo, Sudan, Taï Forest and Reston. The first three species, Zaire, Bundibugyo, and Sudan, have been associated with large outbreaks in Africa. The Reston species is not associated with disease in humans. The virus causing the 2014 West African outbreak belongs to the Zaire species.

Symptoms

Recent studies have shown that 95 per cent of patients that become infected by an exposure to EVD will show symptoms in two to 21 days. Humans are not infectious until they develop symptoms. The first symptoms are the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness and fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. The disease progresses to vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, symptoms of impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding (e.g. oozing from the gums, blood in stool). Laboratory findings include low white blood cell and platelet counts, and elevated liver enzymes. EVD infections can only be confirmed through laboratory testing.

Transmission

Person-to-person transmission from an infected individual is the most likely form of transmission in North America. EVD can be transmitted via direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes of the eyes, nose or mouth) with:

  • Blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola, including but not limited to urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen.
  • Objects (e.g. needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the virus.
  • Surfaces and materials (e.g. bedding and clothing) contaminated with these fluids.

Transmission is most likely when EVD-infected people are symptomatic but not yet diagnosed. CUPE members who work as health care workers, first responders and in airline transportation are at the highest risk of exposure because they may come in contact with infected blood or body fluids of infected people before effective protocols are put into place.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that Ebola is not spread through the air or by water. However, activities that put an unaffected person close enough (one metre) to come into contact with the airborne contaminates from aerosol-generating events are at high risk of contracting EVD. Aerosol-generating events include coughs, sneezes, profuse diarrhea or vomiting.

People remain infectious as long as their blood and body fluids, including semen and breast milk, contain the virus. According to the CDC men who have recovered from the disease can still transmit the virus through their semen for up to three months after recovery from illness.

There is no evidence that mosquitoes or other insects can transmit Ebola virus. Only mammals (for example, humans, bats, monkeys, and apes) have shown the ability to become infected with and spread the virus. Though transmission from animals is possible, this is not a significant concern in North America.

Treatment

Currently, the prognosis of a person infected by EVD is poor. Estimates of the fatality rate of people affected by EVD range from 50 to 90 per cent. Survival rates are greatly improved with the use of supportive treatments such as rehydration care with oral or intravenous fluids and the treatment of specific symptoms such as pain, nausea, fever, anxiety, and dialysis when there is kidney failure. In extreme cases, blood transfusion and clotting agents have been used to reduce the negative effects of internal and external bleeding. There are currently no 100 per cent-proven treatments available for EVD.

Prevention and control

It is CUPE’s position that any worker that is likely to be exposed to the Ebola virus should be protected. Appropriate personal protective equipment as well as training on its use and related procedures must be provided before an incident of potential exposure occurs. All workers also have the right to refuse work they feel is unsafe, or that they are not trained to perform safely.

General members of the public are at low risk, but because of the severity of the disease, everyone has a role to play to prevent it from spreading. The World Health Organization notes that “Community engagement is key to successfully controlling outbreaks. Raising awareness of risk factors for Ebola infection and protective measures that individuals can take is an effective way to reduce human transmission.”

The first way to control an outbreak of Ebola is for the public to remain calm but vigilant. While most people are unlikely to be in a situation that exposes them to the Ebola virus, it is important to recognize symptoms, and contact or report to an appropriate medical facility for screening. Many of the early symptoms mimic the early stages of a common cold or flu. But anyone having symptoms, including a fever, who may have been in a place where they could have been infected, should first contact their local public health services. If they cannot be reached, all provinces have telehealth systems (numbers listed below) that can be contacted. They will advise whether it is appropriate to go to the emergency room, or what other steps you should take to receive treatment.

A person with a suspected or confirmed case of EVD will be placed in quarantine and a specialist team will work to identify people who may have been in contact with the infected person, particularly in the period after they developed symptoms. Those who were in contact are unlikely to spread the disease unless they start to show symptoms, so monitoring the health of identified groups for 21 days and separating the healthy from the sick can prevent further spread of the disease.

CUPE members who do not work in a medical setting but do routinely deal with the public and have concerns about being exposed may also take preventive measures. Employers should be encouraged to provide N95 masks for workers, as well as free disposable face masks and approved disinfecting hand rubs for clients. Workers dealing with the public should frequently sanitize their hands and disinfect surfaces around their work areas. Keep a safe distance from anyone exhibiting symptoms and avoid touching your face and neck.

Gloves can create a false sense of security. Unless you’re handling items that are likely to be contaminated, or you have an open wound on your hand, gloves provide little additional protection. Avoid touching your face or neck with or without gloves.

The care of infected individuals must be administered by health care workers carefully observing a high level of barrier separation from the infected person, along with certain cleaning and disinfecting techniques.

CUPE has prepared several position papers with recommendations for occupational protection from EVD for the following groups:

  • Health care providers
  • Health care support staff
  • Paramedics
  • Flight attendants

This information can be obtained by contacting the health and safety branch.

Residual transmission prevention

Though scientific studies have been conducted, it is not currently known exactly how long the Ebola virus can last outside the human body on contaminated surfaces. Estimates of several days are not unreasonable. As such, contaminated surfaces, clothing, materials etc. can still spread the disease for a significant amount of time. Until every surface or material has been effectively decontaminated, protective measures must remain in place.

The Ebola virus can be eliminated with heat, alcohol-based products, or bleach. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, the virus is susceptible to 3 per cent acetic acid, 1 per cent glutaraldehyde, alcohol-based products, and a 10-minute exposure to dilutions of 1:10 of 5.25 per cent household bleach (sodium hypochlorite), or bleach powder (calcium hypochlorite). For surfaces that may corrode or discolour, they recommend careful cleaning to remove visible stains followed by contact with a 1:100 dilution of 5.25 per cent household bleach for more than 10 minutes. For other surfaces Ebola will be deactivated by heating to 60°C for at least 60 minutes, or boiling for at least five minutes. Gamma irradiation (1.2 x106 rads to 1.27 x106 rads) combined with 1 per cent glutaraldehyde is also effective at rendering the virus inert.

Provincial telehealth/telemedicine phone numbers British Columbia
New Brunswick
Nova Scotia
Quebec
Prince Edward Island
Dial 811 Alberta 1-866-408-5465 Saskatchewan 1-877-800-0002 Manitoba 1-888-315-9257 Ontario 1-866-797-0000 Newfoundland 1-888-709-2929


Much of the information for this fact sheet was retrieved from sources at the following:

Packed town hall meeting rejects Harper vision for health care

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 18:00

Moist, Barlow, local residents call for protection and expansion of Medicare

CAMPBELL RIVER—More than 200 people crammed into the Maritime Heritage Centre here on Monday night (October 20), as CUPE National President Paul Moist and Council of Canadians National Chairperson Maude Barlow led a spirited town hall meeting that called for an end to the Harper Conservative government’s gutting of public health care.

The meeting, sponsored by the Council of Canadians and the Hospital Employees’ Union (HEU), took place on what would have been the 110th birthday of the father of Medicare, Tommy Douglas.

With cuts to Medicare expected to reach $36 billion ($5 billion of that in B.C. alone) over the next ten years, Canadians in every region of the country and across party lines are speaking out in defence of public health care, Moist told the crowd.

“Medicare remains the number one social program in Canada, across all income groups,” he said. “But without federal leadership it could not have been established across the country. From day one the federal government has put in 50 per cent of Medicare funding.  By 2024, federal funding will have fallen to under 13 per cent.”

The federal government’s retreat from its commitment to health care is far more significant than simply the $36 billion in cuts, according to Moist.  He also pointed to the litany of programs and services that the Harper Conservatives have abandoned for ideological reasons.

“The Conservatives walked away from discussions with the provinces to control the cost of drugs and forge a national drug coverage program. They closed the Health Council of Canada. They cut health care for veterans. They cut refugee health coverage. They refused to uphold the Canada Health Act’s protections for patients against user fees and extra billing. And they walked away from providing coverage for home and continuing care.”

Barlow echoed Moist’s call to keep the defense of public health care front and centre in the news.

“This isn’t just semantics for people. This is people’s lives. It’s life and death, and that’s what we talking about tonight,” she said.

Challenging the right-wing orthodoxy pushing public-private partnerships, Barlow argued that a quality health care system can be properly funded if corporate Canada paid its fair share.

“Canadians for Tax Fairness say that $185 billion a year would be saved if we closed loopholes for offshore tax havens,” she said, to a gasp from the crowd.

Lois Jarvis, from Citizens For Quality Health Care, recounted heartbreaking stories from the U.S.– of a family twice bankrupted by health care costs and of a hospital with no emergency department – as a warning of what is in store for Canada if the Harper government is allowed to keep dismantling the system.

“For profit companies cherry pick their patients,” said Jarvis. “Private clinics have higher rates of complications post op, because they push through as many patients as possible. Patients with chronic health conditions are often left uninsured and without available health care because they are not considered profitable for private insurance companies.”

During the open floor discussion, HEU President Victor Elkins spoke of how privatization and cutbacks have turned health care into a real estate venture, with space in hospitals now coming at a premium.

“They are turning health care, seniors care, into property services,” said Elkins.

Dave Coles, former national president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, said that frontline workers are compromising their own personal safety because of the cuts to Medicare.

“The cuts are not just about patient care. They are also about workers who go to work and want to come home safely. And this government is absolutely responsible for the suffering that’s going on right now,” said Coles, who is currently seeking the nomination as the federal NDP candidate for the newly-created Vancouver North Island - Powell River riding.