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CUPE Saskatchewan health care providers achieve settlement

On August 13, the CUPE Health Care Council and two other provider unions finally achieved a tentative agreement with the Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations (SAHO) after nearly two years of contract negotiations.  The proposed settlement covers all 25,000 health care providers in the province represented by the CUPE Health Care Council, SEIU, and SGEU.

The tri-union bargaining coalition did not achieve many of their bargaining goals, but they successfully defeated most of SAHO’s demands for concessions and secured modest monetary gains for members.  The agreement preserves seniority rights in the area of lay-offs, provides improved shift differentials, and full retroactivity on the wage rates for members (including retirees and those on lay-off).  Full details of the agreement will be released once the information is shared with the membership and the ratification vote completed.

We believe it is the best agreement possible given the SaskParty government’s essential services legislation which crippled our power at the table,” said CUPE Health Care Council president Gordon Campbell.  Under the legislation passed just before negotiations began, more than 80% of CUPE’s health care providers were deemed essential and unable to strike.

Privatization contracts to be made public after decision of B.C. Information and Privacy Commissioner

In mid-August, B.C.’s Information and Privacy Commissioner handed down an important decision that forces the B.C. government and its health authorities to make public uncensored versions of commercial contracts with private corporations like Compass, Sodexo, and K-Bro Linen Systems that provide privatized support services at B.C. health care facilities.

This precedent ends years of secrecy for multi-million dollar details between government and Compass, Sodexo and K-Bro for hospital support services.  The ruling came after a long freedom of information battle waged by CUPE’s health services division in B.C., the Hospital Employees’ Union.

Thousands of health care support jobs have been privatized in B.C. since 2002 after the B.C. government broke the law by tearing up signed collective agreements to eliminate job security provisions for health care workers.  HEU says the ruling should create a higher standard of accountability to the public and more insights into the true costs of the B.C. Liberal government’s controversial privatization policies.

Read the decision of B.C. Information and Privacy Commissioner at: http://www.oipc.bc.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&catid=19%3Aorders-&id=88%3Apublic-sector-g-table-of-orders-2010&Itemid=85

Ontario hospital disability plan settlement moves ahead

Thousands of CUPE members working at hospitals in Ontario moved one step closer to sharing in millions of dollars of gains made in the 1990s when the insurance company that provided their disability income plan changed its corporate structure. 

Earlier this week, an Ontario Superior court judge certified the efforts of health care workers to share in the proceeds as a “class proceeding” and approved the terms of settlement reached in July by CUPE along with four other unions and the Ontario Hospital Association.

To find out more about these developments, go to the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions website at: http://www.ochu.on.ca/demutualization.html

Garbage pickup will continue uninterrupted in Ottawa

On August 19, members of CUPE Local 1338 ratified a new collective agreement with their employer, Waste Management Inc. 

The agreement, reached at the end of a marathon 36-hour bargaining session, means multi-unit residential, commercial, and light industrial garbage pickup will continue without disruption in Ottawa.  The agreement, which will be in effect until December 31, 2013, provides for modest wage increases in each year of the contract, and some improvements to employee benefits and holidays.  The employer has also agreed to enroll in the Multi-Sector Pension Plan (MSPP).

This agreement is the result of hard work on the part of our negotiating committee and will ensure the public who depend on us will continue to enjoy the quality service our members provide,” said Dan Sauvé, president of CUPE Local 1338.

Quesnel municipal workers apply for mediation

The City of Quesnel was granted their request for an essential services order by the Labour Relations Board on August 18.  This moves them one step closer to their threatened lockout of municipal workers.

CUPE 1050 represents 114 municipal workers in Quesnel who provide municipal services.  Talks broke off May 26 and they have been working without a contract since June.

CUPE 1050 has applied for a mediator to step in and settle the dispute.  Services that could be disrupted by the City’s lockout action include the arena, garbage, building permits, inspection services, parks, and others including those at the airport and cemetery.

NB hospital workers say the time has come!

The New Brunswick Council of Hospital Unions, CUPE Local 1252, has launched a campaign on behalf of the members and retirees to protect their pension.  CUPE 1252 has been talking to the province for two years on this without any results.  Members will be approaching candidates running for office in the upcoming provincial election.

The employees have been prepared for a long time now to contribute more money into the pension plan, but the Shawn Graham government refuses to accept its responsibility.  We find this difficult to swallow when the same government has put an additional $890 million into the teachers’ pension plan and $700 million into the Civil Service Pension Plan,” said Norma Robinson, president of Local 1252 representing over 10,000 hospital employees.  During the same period the province paid $62 million less than the amount contributed by the employees into the hospital employees’ pension plan.

CUPE 1358.2 concludes Early Learning Program agreement

CUPE 1358.2 reached a ground-breaking agreement with the Windsor-Essex Catholic District Catholic School Board (WECDSB), ensuring rollout of the new Early Learning Program in September. 

Among other things, the agreement provides a framework for the orderly placement of early childhood educators into the board’s existing collective agreement, as well as establishing the role ECEs will play in the classroom.

The letter of agreement incorporates the terms of the recently negotiated Provincial Discussion Table (PDT) agreement between the Province, school boards, and the unions which represent the bulk of Ontario’s school board staff.

The PDT agreement has now been incorporated into the current collective agreement between WECDSB and CUPE, and will be in effect until 2012.

Political Action Profile: Therese Taschuk for Smoky Lake Town Council

Local 4575 President, Therese Taschuk, is seeking re-election on Alberta municipal Election Day, October 18, 2010.

Therese grew up in Smoky Lake and worked in Bellis until the closure of the school in 1997 at the behest of the Alberta government.  By that time, she was already a seasoned CUPE veteran, serving as local president, a division executive, and on the Political Action Committee, as well as numerous other committees.  In 2001, she ran for the local health authority and lost narrowly.  However, in 2007 she ran for town council in Smoky Lake and easily won.

Taschuk is one of six declared candidates, so far, from CUPE in Alberta seeking public office in the upcoming election.  Other CUPE supported candidates seeking election in Alberta are: Anne Marie Watson, Red Deer Catholic School Board; Dave Loken, Edmonton City Council; Dianne Wyntjes, Red Deer City Council; Joyce van der Lee, Lethbridge City Council; and Tina Jardine, Edmonton Public School Board - Ward I.

:te/cope 491