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Still time to register for human rights conference

Register now for CUPE’s historic National Human Rights Conference.

Don’t miss the chance to hear inspiring speakers, expand your knowledge at challenging workshops, and network with like-minded human rights and equality activists from across the country, all in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia.

CUPE is proud of the exciting lineup of keynote speakers. Two of them are Kiké Roach and Anita Braha. Roach is a charismatic, Toronto civil rights lawyer who has been outspoken on issues like institutionalized racism, police brutality and civil liberties. Braha is a lawyer from Vancouver who has litigated in many cases involving human rights, labour and freedom of information. She also teaches courses on human rights, duty to accommodate, and women and the law in the Labour Studies Program of British Columbia’s Capilano College.

Other speakers include B.C. social justice activist Itrath Syed and University of Toronto sociology professor Dr. Sherene Razack, author of several books on racism and violence.

Visit www.cupe.ca/humanrights or contact equality@cupe.ca for a complete agenda and registration information.

Nova Scotia hospital workers reach tentative agreement

A tentative agreement has been reached between CUPE and the Nova Scotia Association of Health Organizations on all outstanding issues in a contract dispute.

The deal with CUPE was reached after two days of bargaining, including an all-night session. Earlier this week, the NSAHO reached a settlement with its five unions on a pension issue that had several thousand workers poised to strike.

CUPE’s provincial negotiating committee is recommending acceptance. A final hurdle in the dispute remains with the CAW returning to the bargaining table November 2-3.

British Columbia residents support wage increase for municipal workers

The results of a new survey have buoyed CUPE municipal locals in Lower Mainland British Columbia as they head to the bargaining table. The 60 locals are pursuing significant wage increases and restored benefits for retirees.

The survey shows three-quarters of Lower Mainland residents support a substantial wage increase as a way to ensure that municipalities get qualified employees.

Two-thirds of respondents also feel their local government should restore and protect health benefits for retired municipal workers.

Compensation unions demand fairer treatment of injured workers

Reform of workers’ compensation legislation was the top of the agenda at the bi-annual meeting of the Conference of Canadian Compensation Unions.

The unions, which deliver services to injured workers and represent 10,000 workers’ compensation board employees across Canada, met in Barrie, Ontario, October 26-28, to endorse a set of principles for the national reform of legislation covering injured workers.

The principles call for a comprehensive public system, including universal coverage, prevention of injury and illness programs, including education programs for young workers, indexed pensions and benefits, and coverage of all workplace injuries and illnesses.

Local autonomy issues top UBCM agenda

The authority of local governments to determine infrastructure development and make decisions was the number one priority for many of the 1,900 delegates who gathered in Victoria, B.C., last week for the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) convention.

The convention began with a key resolution demanding that the provincial government repeal legislation that undermines local government authority over independent power projects. The resolution passed with near unanimity.

Meanwhile, the Task Force on Community Opportunities issued a report that looked at the delivery of local services. The report makes it clear that P3s will not solve the broader problem. The report also says local governments are best suited to solve the problems of small water systems.

Premier Gordon Campbell dropped a bombshell on the conference when he announced that Partnerships BC would now have the sole authority to decide whether major public infrastructure projects become P3s.

Employees in Two Hills, Alberta, join CUPE

Employees of the Town of Two Hills, Alberta, have voted unanimously in favour of joining CUPE.

Union organizer Al Halaby said the employees came to CUPE because of concerns over health, safety, dignity and respect in the workplace.

The union will shortly meet with its new members and start planning for negotiations for a collective agreement.

Unions, students sign solidarity pact at Carleton University

Unions and students are pledging to support each other as Carleton University prepares for a strike by teaching assistants and/or faculty and academic staff.

Teaching assistants (TAs) represented by CUPE 4600 and the faculty and academic staff union (CUASA), have committed to support each other should either reach a settlement before the other.

Carleton’s student unions have pledged to move their operations off campus should either union walk off the job. They are also pressing to win academic amnesty for students who respect picket lines. CUPE 2424, non-teaching staff at Carleton, has also pledged its solidarity.

CUPE works to fix Grande Prairie swimming instructor shortage

CUPE members in Grande Prairie, Alberta, have accepted a deal aimed at reversing the city’s swimming instructor shortage.

CUPE 787 president Randy Wald said the city is losing revenue because it can’t find people to teach swimming lessons during the day.

Many schools have special swimming programs,” said Wald. “But because most of the lifeguards and swim instructors are students, they are only available evenings and weekends.”

The deal creates two new job classifications for people who want to teach but don’t want to be lifeguards.