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Taped boots reveal agents inciting violence at SPP demo

The boots told the tale. A peaceful demonstration near the “Three Amigos” meeting of George W. Bush, Stephen Harper and Felipe Calderone at Montebello, Que., this week saw three men, possibly police agents, posing as demonstrators planted in the crowd to incite violence.

A CUPE staff member managed to take revealing photographs of the men’s boots as riot police arrested them. The photos show that the men were wearing boots identical to the police footwear. When the dust settled, news reports showed that the three were nowhere to be found on the arrest sheet. Police have so far failed to comment.

An amateur video of the incident appeared on YouTube and, after a news conference exposed the men as probable agents provocateurs, the story appeared in many newspapers and media outlets. The news conference was chaired by Dave Coles, president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers, and Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians. Both were at the demonstration and witnessed the incident.

Hill demo protests SPP

Meanwhile, on Sunday, the recorded words of encouragement from Algonquin Elder William Commanda filled Parliament Hill as a diverse group of anti-SPP activists gathered to express their rejection of the Security and Prosperity Partnership being discussed in Montebello this week. A quick glance at the crowd revealed that unions are strongly opposed to the SPP, an arrangement that will commit Canada and Mexico to the Bush Administration’s so-called “War on Terror”, accelerate the privatization of public services, lower national standards and regulations regarding environmental protection, victimized immigrants, refugees and non-status individuals.

“It’s great to see such a presence from the labour movement,” said Denise Hammond, president of CUPE Local 1281, handing out buttons to the crowds of people gathered to watch the march, headed for the American Embassy.

For more information, visit http://cupe.ca/humanrights/CUPE_takes_on_the_SP.

Call for mediator in Vancouver civic dispute

In the latest update on the civic and library dispute in Vancouver, a select group of politicians has called for a mediator to bring forward a resolution. If the City of Vancouver requests all three striking CUPE locals to return to the bargaining table through mediation, CUPE 15, CUPE 391 and CUPE 1004 might consider it.

CUPE 15 represents 2,500 Vancouver inside civic workers. CUPE 391 represents 800 striking Vancouver library workers, experiencing the first strike in their 77-year history. CUPE 1004 represents 2,000 striking Vancouver outside workers. CUPE 1004 went out first on July 20, followed by Local 15 on July 23 and CUPE 391 on July 26.

For more information, visit http://www.fairnessforcivicworkers.ca/.

Retiree association founded in Vernon, B.C.

When a Vernon, B.C. local got a charter to establish a retired members’ association, it was the first time in a long while and possibly a first-ever in British Columbia. CUPE 626 considered it an honour to receive the first charter and mounted it on the wall with their other charters, some dating back to 1948.

The CUPE Constitution has long allowed for the possibility of RMAs, but this appears to be the first local in B.C. to actually organize one, and they remain rare. CUPE encourages others to follow this example in recognizing their retirees and keeping them active.

Local 626 represents the City of Vernon, District of Coldstream, Vernon Golf & Country Club and the North Okanagan Regional District recycling depot. CUPE 87, representing city workers in Thunder Bay, Ont., received its retirees’ charter on Aug. 10, 1983, and it hangs proudly with the local’s other charters dating back to 1938.

Energy unions slam SPP

Representatives of major energy sector unions from Canada, Mexico and the United States met in Montreal on Aug. 18 to denounce the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP). They confirm that the SPP is a reckless integration plan pushing aside basic democratic principles and sweeping the global ecological crisis under the rug.

With deregulation, privatization and by giving the U.S. a veto over continental energetic resources, the SPP would hike rates and lower wages in the sector, as well as finishing off the Kyoto protocol. Above all, by losing all effective means of public control, nations would be deprived of their energy sovereignty.

For more information, visit http://cupe.ca/energy/Energy_unions_slam_S.

Massive strike mandate at Carleton University

Staff at Carleton University in Ottawa voted 94 per cent this week in favour of a strike if a deal cannot be reached with the university employer. CUPE 2424’s 700 members will be in a legal strike or lockout position at 12:01 am, Sept. 5.

Issues include wages, benefits, job postings and employment security. A strike or lockout would suspend all office work at the university, information technology support, libraries and other technical and support functions.

Mediation talks have been scheduled for Aug. 30, and Sept. 3 and 4. CUPE offered to meet Aug. 31 and throughout the Labour Day long weekend, but Carleton officials refused.

For more information, visit http://cupe.ca/bargaining/Overwhelming_strike_.

Westmount water and sewer back in public control

Starting Jan. 1, 2008, Montréal’s municipality of Westmount will maintain its own water and sewer systems. The move will save tax payers about $200,000 per year, city managers said.

The City of Westmount decided to cancel its contract with Dessau-Soprin after two years of using the company to perform routine and emergency maintenance.

The city’s coalition for public water, Coalition Eau Secours praised the decision. The coalition had waged a long campaign to keep the services public. Coalition president André Bouthillier said “Contrary to what the Iron Lady of Québec, Mrs Jérôme-Forget, and her very conservative boss would like everyone to believe, our calculators were not broken.”

For more information, visit http://cupe.ca/water/Westmount_contracts_.

Aramark food workers face fall dispute

Conciliation talks have failed to produce an agreement for Aramark food service staff at Canadore College/Nipissing University, Commerce Court and secondary schools throughout the Near North District School Board. CUPE 1165 (sub-unit 6) could be on strike or locked out in early September.

For more information, visit http://www.cupe.ca/media/a46c9a909d8915.

Windsor U. locals set for September strike

Two locals at the University of Windsor reached an impasse in bargaining this week, as the administration continued to demand concessions and failed to move towards fair contract settlements in conciliation talks.

We have asked the conciliation officer to file a ‘no-board’ report with the ministry of labour, starting the countdown to a legal strike or lockout in early September,” CUPE national representative Joel Bentley said.

For more information, visit http://cupe.ca/bargaining/University_of_Windso.

FastFacts in your inbox!

Did you know you can get FastFacts by e-mail? To sign up for this service, please send an e-mail to clandry@cupe.ca. Make sure to include your name, Local number, e-mail address and province.

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