CUPE celebrates Black History MonthFebruary is Black History Month. It’s a time when members of Black Communities can celebrate the contributions made by Canadians of African Origin to our union, to our country, and around the world. It is also a great time for all of us to learn about and appreciate how these contributions have enriched our society.
To celebrate African heritage this year, we invite you to let us know what you, your local or division do to celebrate Black History Month and what it means to you. Please send your stories and activities to firstname.lastname@example.org for promotion on the CUPE.ca website.
CUPE supports the Student Day of ActionThe Canadian Federation of Students is rallying their members and allies for a national day of action on February 7, 2007.
“We are calling on CUPE locals to lend their support on February 7th to the Canadian Federation of Students in their struggle to improve access to post-secondary education,” said Paul Moist, CUPE National President. “Rising tuition is a great concern to all CUPE members and their families. Tuition fees create a barrier to postsecondary education for working people. The problem is acute for the thousands of CUPE university members who are also students. Increased tuition has a high cost: pay cuts for teaching and graduate assistants, more money out of the pockets of working families and bigger debts for their young residents. Tuition fees are user fees and just another form of privatization that hurts us all. We need adequate public funding for universities.”
For more information please see reducetuitionfees.ca.
Harper not the only one dithering on childcareThe Action Coalition on Early Childhood Education and Care (ACECEC) reports that 86,000 children in Nova Scotia have mothers in the paid labour force. In a province with only 2,750 subsidized child care spaces, the recent announcement of an addition of only 150 more is hardly even a drop in the bucket. It’s more like a drop in the canyon.
CUPE Nova Scotia President Danny Cavanaugh says, “We’ve also learned that the Auditor General told the Public Accounts Committee this week that none of the most recent $20 million in federal child care money has even been spent. This is particularly disturbing given that waiting lists for most centres are pages long, and wages for ECE teachers are near poverty levels.”
Strike vote at the Montreal CasinoCroupiers who work for the Montreal Casino, CUPE Local 3939, have voted 99.5% in favour of striking should radical action become necessary. Although the group’s contract ended on December 31, their negotiating committees have already met more than 20 times. There are 625 full time and 200 casual employees in the local. The primary issue is work schedules.
Niagara Educational Assistants demand actionNiagara area Educational Assistants (EAs) are urging the Ontario Liberals to show some foresight in this spring’s provincial budget. The funding and resources allocated to special education and support for special needs students must be increased greatly. In addition, attention must be paid to ensure safe workplaces for EAs.
Some key issues were outlined at a media conference this week: a shortened workday; fewer EAs in the schools; untenable workloads; and the high needs of students with severe physical and behavioural challenges. This combination has created the perfect storm in exposing EAs to injury, abuse, stress and burnout.
CUPE is calling on the McGuinty Liberals to work with us to develop solutions to this crisis.
Call for public hearing on “secret” trade dealCUPE is calling for a public hearing on the looming Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TIMLA) between BC and Alberta. This agreement undermines the authority of municipalities to determine the public interest of their communities by eliminating their jurisdiction to make any decision that would conflict with TILMA.
According to TILMA documents there will be “no obstacles” to trade, investment, and labour mobility. Possible “obstacles” to be eliminated include Government programs and regulations if they “restrict or impair” investment, regulations in one province that are different from those in another, the establishment of new, stricter regulations, and initiatives by one province that the other does not agree with.
CUPE BC President Barry O’Neill noted that consultation on TILMA has thus far only engaged the business community
Create jobs at home by “contracting in” workCUPE NL President Wayne Lucas says the provincial government could save money and create more decent-paying jobs here at home by bringing maintenance work in house.
Lucas points to provincial school boards as an example, saying, “By using their own qualified journeymen personnel over the last number of years, they’ve been able to do more and more capital works projects in a timely and cost-effective manner”.
“The Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation,” says Lucas, “has also been using their own employees for years and have even gone to the extent of sponsoring their employees for employment upgrades to obtain the necessary qualifications to perform the jobs.”
Cheshire Homes disputeAbout 35 group home workers at Cheshire, members of CUPE Local 3207, walked off the job last Friday, after the employer refused to improve its wage offer of two per cent.
Cheshire Homes received an additional $97,000 from the provincial government last year to improve the wages and benefits of its employees. The improved funding represented about a 17 per cent increase for the workers, who earn a starting salary of $8.55 an hour.
Most group home workers have received their salary increases. But Cheshire Homes in Regina insists it can only afford increases of two per cent.
Brothers of the Christian Schools dispute in Laval, QuebecChristian charity is not what it used to be. The manager of the Residence of the Frères des écoles chrétiennes (Brothers of the Christian Schools), Robert Taillon, has dismissed its new union president, Line Tremblay.
Elected last June, Tremblay immediately tried to breathe new life into her union, which displeased the manager who was accustomed to a different approach. Since last fall, he had imposed several penalties on her, all disputed by the union. She was then dismissed on the pretext that she has not followed her work plan and that colleagues have complained about her performance and inefficiency.
A grievance will be filed shortly, as well as a complaint to the Labour Relations Board for dismissal for union activity.