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Human Rights Conference passes declaration to strengthen diversity

Delegates to CUPE’s First National Human Rights Conference in Vancouver endorsed a declaration to strengthen diversity in the union.

The Vancouver declaration unifies our efforts to promote human rights, equality and diversity,” said National President Paul Moist. “It will build on CUPE’s work in the struggle for equality, and guide the work of our committees, conferences and conventions at all levels of the union.”

The declaration includes the creation of a human rights course and initiatives to ensure that all levels of the union, committees, executive and staff structures reflect the full diversity of CUPE’s membership.

Visit cupe.ca to view the declaration and for the full conference wrap-up.

CUPE to strengthen aboriginal workforce

CUPE has reached an agreement with the federal government to increase and strengthen aboriginal participation in the public sector workforce in Canada.

The partnership agreement between CUPE National and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada is based on the knowledge that First Nations, Métis and Inuit persons are underrepresented in the public sector labour force.

The Aboriginal Workforce Participation Initiative will help CUPE work with aboriginal members, communities and organizations, and with public sector employers across Canada to develop representative and meaningful employment opportunities for aboriginal workers.

CUPE Saskatchewan signed a similar agreement with the Saskatchewan government in 2000.

Conservatives’ economic plan a “wake-up call”

CUPE was quick to respond to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s Economic and Fiscal Update and Advantage Canada economic plan, released last week.

The plan sends a clear message that should serve as an important wake-up call for anybody who cares about the future of our country.

The Fiscal and Economic Update shows that Stephen Harper’s government is trying to buy the votes of Canadians with the promise of more tax cuts that could lead to deep spending cuts in the future,” warned National President Paul Moist.

Go to cupe.ca to read our full response.

Nova Scotia review of special needs services must include workers

CUPE says a review of provincial special needs educational services had better look at the issue of inadequate staffing if it is to be credible.

The government needs to talk to frontline workers about how inadequate staffing across this province is having an impact on the educational experiences of special needs students,” said CUPE school board co-ordinator Kathy MacLeod.

For this review to be in any way taken seriously, the government will need to pay close attention to those whose job it is to ensure special needs students are able to be in the classroom in the first place.”

Another library local for CUPE in British Columbia

For the second time in less than a week, a group of British Columbia library workers has decided to seek union representation through CUPE.

Nine employees of the Terrace Library held a certification vote, with all members voting in favour of joining CUPE. All but one of the workers are part-time.

Last week, workers at the Penticton Public Library also voted to join CUPE.

Patient transfer workers join CUPE

Patient transfer workers with Paladin Ontario Transfer, operating as Travois Medical Transfer in Durham Region, voted 87 per cent in favour of joining CUPE.

The 63 new CUPE members provide non-emergency patient transfer services in Durham region and the counties of Peterborough, Haliburton and Northumberland.

Quebec dockworkers reach tentative agreement

A tentative agreement has been reached between 70 dockworkers at the St. Lawrence River ports of Trois-Rivières and Bécancour and their employer, the Association des employeurs maritimes.

The deal is seen as somewhat historic, since the workers, members of CUPE 1375, have been without a contract since 1994—that’s right, 12 years. The workers will vote on the deal this week.

BCFL convention delegates demand action from province on private clinics

About 1,000 delegates to the British Columbia Federation of Labour convention in Vancouver are demanding that the provincial government take action to shut down private clinics operating in violation of the Canada Health Act. The emergency resolution was in response to last week’s revelation that the False Creek Surgical Centre in Vancouver is planning to open a private emergency room December 1.

Delegates passed the resolution unanimously. Meanwhile, the leadership of B.C.’s largest health care unions joined BCFL president Jim Sinclair at Vancouver City Hall to lobby councillors to pull False Creek Surgical Centre’s business license.

December 1: World AIDS Day

December 1st is World AIDS Day. HIV/AIDS remains one of the most tragic, unresolved crises in the world, despite more than 25 years of campaigns, activism, research, education and promises.

CUPE and other labour organizations have long supported HIV/AIDS education and fundraising efforts. They are pressing governments at home and abroad to make good on past commitments and address prevention, treatment and eradication of the disease.

Many of our members have met this disease face-to-face, either through their work as care providers or in their personal lives,” said CUPE National President Paul Moist. “Our governments need to hear from workers across Canada that stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS worldwide is a priority.”

Visit cupe.ca or www.worldaidscampaign.info for more on World Aids Day.

Other important upcoming dates

December 3: International Day for Disabled Persons

December 6: National Day of Remembrance on Violence Against Women