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Activists score P3 hospital win

The coalition fighting privatization and contracting out at Ontario’s hospitals has won a major victory.

The provincial government has sent all hospitals a new P3 policy that narrows the scope of privatization and effectively excludes contracting out of most support services.

This is a huge policy adjustment which protects almost all of our support, clerical and clinical members,” said Michael Hurley, president of CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions. “It is also a huge victory for the Ontario Health Coalition, labour and CUPE activists.”

Growing wage gap between workers, CEOs

By 9:46 a.m. on January 2, 2007, as most Canadians began another work year, Canada’s 100 highest paid chief executive officers had earned, on average, $38,010.

That equals the average annual earnings of workers in Canada,” said Hugh Mackenzie, a research associate with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). “Are Canada’s 100 highest paid CEOs really worth more in an hour than most Canadian workers are in a year?”

Visit www.policyalternatives.ca for more on the growing income gap.

Vancouver school board trustees vote to support special education services

Vancouver school board trustees have decided to maintain special education services that had been threatened with cuts.

We are pleased that students will continue to have access to the services of student support workers, whose jobs were on the line,“ said Donalda Greenwell-Baker, CUPE 15 secretary- treasurer.

In addition to maintaining the 10 positions that were slated to be cut, three additional workers have been added.

CUPE 15 represents some 1,450 support workers in the Vancouver School District.

Edmonton Sally Ann staff ring in the new year with new contract

Newly unionized workers with Edmonton’s Salvation Army Addiction & Residential Centre have kicked off 2007 with a new contract. The 60 support workers at five locations are members of CUPE 474. Bargaining with Salvation Army management began almost immediately after the workers voted to join CUPE last year.

Workers will gain between 3 to 30 per cent wage increases over the next three years. The largest increases were obtained for the lowest paid workers. Other contract gains include back pay, bonus vacation days, a night shift premium, union security, and bereavement and sick leave.

Alberta school custodians get wage increase

School custodians at the Black Gold School Region in Alberta will go back to work this month with a wage increase in the range of a $1.00/hour. The 63 employees, members of CUPE 474, ratified the wage increase in December.

The increase is the first step in a two-stage process to raise wages this year. On September 1, 2007 the custodians will receive a further 2.5 per cent increase. The increases come as part of a negotiated wage ‘re-opener’ to the collective agreement. CUPE and the employer have a contract in place until August 31, 2008.

B.C. Health Coalition launches new web site

In the wake of ongoing government spin, the British Columbia Health Coalition and the Hospital Employees’ Union have launched their own web site countering the myth that health care spending is spiralling out of control.

Now British Columbians can see their health care investment in perspective. The site, www.bchealthconversation.ca, is a friendly option for those interested in a discussion based on useful facts, not hysterical numbers.