CUPE’s national leadership approved a labour agenda for the next federal budget at its December meeting.
The budget - promised for Jan 27 in return for its survival - will make or break the Harper government. The conservatives will need the support of one of the opposition parties to get the budget approved.
“In case Stephen Harper realizes that another ‘do-nothing’ plan for the economy will win him a one way ticket to political obscurity, unions in this country have some proposals for steering the economy through this recession,” said Paul Moist.
Resolution of CUPE’s National Executive Board
CUPE NATIONAL WILL:
Work with the Canadian Labour Congress, opposition parties and social justice partners to advance an agenda for labour as the basis of the next federal budget. This agenda will include:
- Invest in Our Future: Infrastructure and Procurement
- Initiate a major buildings retrofit program that would stimulate energy conservation and jobs.
- Launch a national infrastructure program that includes roads, sewers, basic municipal infrastructure mass transit, passenger rail, affordable housing, hospitals and schools.
- Ensure that these are “Made in Canada: Projects Through a National Procurement” strategy.
- Invest in public assets and quality public services, ensuring that projects are not privatized, funded or operated with a private public partnership model.
- Ensure that infrastructure and procurement programs include a focus on green alternatives: green industry, green jobs and just transition.
- Increase Access to Employment Insurance and Training
- Revise EI legislation such that all mandatory EI premiums are returned as benefits to workers.
- Basic entrance requirement of 360 hours.
- Benefits based on 60% of earnings over the best 12 weeks.
- Benefit coverage for 50 weeks.
- Training for laid-off workers to access the new jobs created through public investment.
- Cancel plans for EI office closures.
- Protect Workers Pensions
- Create a Pension Guarantee Fund.
- Fund significant increases to the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security benefits.
- Improve portability of pensions between plans and jurisdictions.
- National Stakeholders’ Pension Summit.
- Investment in Manufacturing and Forestry Jobs and Communities
- Invest directly in sector strategies designed to save good jobs and to create new employment (research and development, training, new investment in machinery and equipment).
- Expand funding and program delivery of the Community Development Program to First Nations communities and resource and manufacturing communities hit by the economic crisis.
- Maintain and Expand Services for People
- Create new investments in child care, home care and long term care for the elderly.
- Create a National Pharmacare Program to help workers, retirees and employers.
- Enforce the Canada Health Act.
- Working people have been betrayed by the Conservative government; and
- The opposition parties need the support of the labour movement to advance our agenda.