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Paul Moist presses for pension reform at Council of the Federation

Canada’s 13 premiers met in Winnipeg on August 4-6 for the 2010 Summer Meeting of the Council of the Federation.  Leading into the meeting, CUPE National President Paul Moist urged Canada’s premiers to keep pension reform front and centre.

Over the last six months, we have seen positive movement on the pension reform issue,” says Moist.  “What we need now is buy-in from the provinces, and a commitment to improve pensions for the millions of Canadians who aren’t saving enough for retirement.”

The CPP is the safest, most secure retirement income available.  At present, the average Canadian retiree receives $502.05 per month in CPP earnings.  Given that the CPP is, for many, the only retirement income option, CUPE is asking for a phased-in doubling of the benefits funded by a moderate increase in employer/employee premiums.

A phased-in doubling of CPP is a modest increase that would provide secure, fully portable, universal coverage to all workers in all industries,” says Moist.

CUPE releases international solidarity report

From Haiti to Colombia, from South Africa to the Philippines, CUPE members are standing shoulder to shoulder with our sisters and brothers from across the globe.  As workers and as citizens in the global community, we are standing up for fundamental human rights - including the right to shelter, the right to water, the right to health care, and the right to organize.

CUPE’s 2009-2010 international solidarity report highlights these struggles, and is available online at: http://cupe.ca/global-justice/international-solidarity-report-2009-2010

Tentative agreement with TELUS ratified

TELUS Québec union members have voted 95.7% in favour of a tentative agreement previously reached on June 18.  Over the past four weeks, 53.9% of the 1,000 members took part in the vote held on the North Shore, Gaspésie, Beauce, the Québec City region, Montréal and the Bas-Saint-Laurent.

The course of our negotiations has been long and eventful, but the perseverance of our members and our negotiators has borne fruit.  We are very pleased to have achieved our objectives and to move into the fall with a new labour contract,” said Diane Gagné, president of the local union.

Agreement ratified at RNC Media

At the general meeting on July 27, members of the RNC Media union voted 84% in favour of the tentative agreement concluded on June 29.  The new four-year collective agreement covers the period from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2013.

The wage clauses in the collective agreement provide a freeze for 2009 and increases of 1.5% for 2010 and 2011.  In 2012, the increase will be a minimum of 2% and a maximum of 2.5%, depending on the Consumer Price Index published by Statistics Canada.  Also note-worthy is the job security clause, which was improved to allow better distribution of protected salaries among the various employee groups.

CUPE BC opposes Enbridge tanker plans to navigate off coast

CUPE BC joined First Nations and environmental groups on July 29 in voicing opposition to the Enbridge Northern Gateway project - a project that would involve super tankers carrying bitumen from the Alberta tar sands and navigating the coast of British Columbia, including the fragile Great Bear Rainforest.

CUPE BC says that any potential benefits of the Enbridge plan are outweighed by the high risk of another disaster like the BP oil spill.  Enbridge itself has lost credibility in recent days with a pipeline leak that resulted in more than three million litres of oil flowing into the Kalamazoo River in southern Michigan, coating birds and fish.

In a letter to Premier Gordon Campbell, CUPE BC President Barry O’Neill reminded the premier of B.C.’s promise in 2006 to protect the Great Bear Rainforest.  “We urge the provincial government to oppose the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Project altogether and honour the Great Bear Rainforest agreement it signed,” wrote O’Neill.

Port of Montréal must restore full operations

Seven days after the resumption of activities at the Port of Montréal, tie-ups and delays continue to disrupt operations.

Although the pointless Maritime Employers Association (MEA) lockout was lifted after five days, its effects continue to be felt.  This week, the situation has been very difficult for the truckers and for companies that are waiting for containers.  We share their frustration, since we have no responsibility or control over it.  We urge the employer to use all means at its disposal to ensure that the port is operating at 100%,” said Daniel Smith, president of Port of Montréal Longshoremen’s union (CUPE 375).

The Port of Montréal longshoremen have been without a contract since December 31, 2008.  They were locked out by the MEA from Monday, July 19 to Saturday, July 24.  At a special general meeting held on July 23, nearly 700 members voted in favour of the return-to-work protocol that ended the lockout.

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