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BC paramedics strike

Paramedics in BC - CUPE 873 - set up picket lines April 1.

Ambulance services will continue to run across the province under essential services legislation.

CUPE 873 president John Strohmaier said his 3,500 members were determined to address wages, job security, and ambulance shortages.

The main issue is wage parity with other emergency service professionals, including Vancouver police officers and paramedics in other parts of the country.


New Brunswick government to ban strikes in nursing homes

Nursing home unions in New Brunswick denounced the provincial government for introducing strike banning legislation even though the unions had settled with their employers.

New Brunswick Council of Hospital Unions president Valerie Black said the government used a tense round of bargaining as an excuse to bring in the law.

But the unions settled with the New Brunswick Nursing Home Association (NBNHA) on March 12.

The government is proceeding with the legislation, which, unlike essential services legislation for hospitals, excludes nurses.

If the province is so concerned with the well being of our seniors, why is it that they broke their promise of increasing the hours of care to 3.5 hours per senior?”, Black said.

New Air Canada president must deal openly with unions

Air Canada’s new CEO, Calin Rovinescu, has a history with the company and his ability to broker ‘deals’ is well regarded in financial circles.

Katherine Thompson, the president of CUPE’s Air Canada Component, says, “As of now, we have no information regarding Air Canada’s immediate or long term business strategy.  That said, given Mr. Rovinescu’s experience at Air Canada, we are confident that he will not underestimate the importance of dealing openly and honestly with both Air Canada’s workforce and its unions.”

HEU’s Darcy expresses condolences to Gibsons nursing home workers

HEU Secretary-Business Manager Judy Darcy expressed her union’s condolences and sympathies to families and staff of Christenson Village care facility in Gibsons – the site of a shooting incident last week.

This is an unimaginable tragedy for residents and their families, and for our members who work at Christenson Village,” said Darcy.

And on behalf of our 43,000 members, I extend our sympathies and best wishes to those injured in this incident, and to their loved ones.”

CUPE website of the year

CUPE has launched a new contest to give some credit to CUPE web workers who are working hard to get their word out over the internet.

Starting April 1, 2009, CUPE members can vote for their favourite CUPE website.  Voting will continue until April 30.  We’ll announce the winner on May 1, 2009.

To vote, visit www.cupe.ca/wsoty

Unions pull out of Ontario nursing home ‘distraction’ process

Unions representing most Ontario long-term care workers withdrew this week from a government initiative to reform long term care process.

The McGuinty government promised a ‘revolution’ in long-term care, but all residents are getting is more spin,” says CUPE Ontario executive Candace Rennick.

The reform process, led by Shirlee Sharkey, used a staffing model that wouldn’t put any more money back into front-line care, Rennick said.

BC’s election gag law hanging by a thread

BC’s Supreme Court struck down parts of a provincial law designed to limit participation in elections this week.

Justice Cole issued an oral decision this week that Bill 42’s limits on third party spending during the two months before an election call are unconstitutional.

CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill applauded the decision as a great victory for freedom of speech in British Columbia.

CUPE BC took Bill 42 to court as part of a coalition of unions.

Internal trade landscape looking scary: Shrybman

The Trade, Investment, and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) took effect between BC and Alberta this week as trade expert Steven Shrybman released a report on internal trade laws proposed and in practice that paints a scary picture.

The report, State of Play: Canada’s Internal Free Trade Agenda, argues that agreements like TILMA serve to dismantle local control of municipalities and force labour, environmental and social policy standards to harmonize to the lowest level.

The true purpose of this domestic ‘trade’ agenda is to impose broad constraints on the exercise of governmental and public authority under the rubric of addressing trade barriers,” says Shrybman.

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