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Auditor General slams NS P3 schools

CUPE Nova Scotia President Danny Cavanagh says the just released Auditor General’s report zeros in on P3 schools – and the picture is not pretty.

Among the report’s many startling findings:

Comprehensive contract terms and management processes and procedures which ensure services paid for are, in fact, received, are essential to protecting the public interest. Our audit identified significant weaknesses in both of these areas.

As a result we cannot conclude on whether key calculations supporting contract payments are correct or whether many services paid for are received.”

I trust this will send an undeniable message to the Dexter Government that P3s are simply a taxpayer rip-off,” says Cavanagh.

Standing with Haiti

Nearly three weeks after the earthquake, the situation in Haiti is still urgent – and both the Humanitarian Coalition and the Canadian Labour Congress’ Solidarity with Haiti campaign are still accepting donations. The federal government has promised to double all individual donations made through the site.

On the 19th of January, CUPE donated $100,000 to Oxfam-Quebec to help Haiti deal with the aftermath of the disaster. Throughout the country, CUPE locals are also continuing to raise funds.

Securing a better future: CUPE steps up pension strategy

At CUPE’s 2009 national convention, the union voted overwhelmingly to develop a strategy to protect and improve pensions. By passing the 2009-2011 Strategic Directions document, CUPE has committed to work with members, employers and governments to strengthen pensions for all working Canadians.

To learn more about the major pension issues facing workers, and to find out what you can do to protect and promote quality pensions, visit the Canadian Labour Congress’ “Retirement Security for Everyone” campaign. The CLC is also hosting pension forums in Sudbury, Oshawa, Brandon and Winnipeg.

In the coming months, CUPE will unveil its own pension campaign aimed at mobilizing and raising awareness among our membership. Keep watching cupe.ca for updates.

Health workers incensed by employers’ actions

The Saskatchewan government and health employers “final offered” 25,000 health care providers and cancelled conciliation.

Their actions have angered CUPE, which represents 12,600 health providers in five health regions.

We are bitterly disappointed that the employers’ first move in conciliation is to present a final offer and cancel conciliation,” says CUPE Health Care Council President Gordon Campbell. “They’ve made a mockery of the conciliation process.”

New trade deal short-changes Canadian provinces, municipalities

The new trade agreement forged by Canada and the United States as a way to side-step U.S.‘Buy America’ provisions amounts to Canada giving away the farm for very little in return,” says CUPE National President Paul Moist.

The agreement, which opens up Canada’s municipal and provincial procurement markets to the U.S., will give American companies access to over $100 billion in Canada’s annual sub-federal procurement market.

Under the new rules, provinces and municipalities will lose an important policy tool in the form of local purchasing power.

Buy local policies are good for the environment and for Canadian businesses, and they keep jobs and tax revenues in the community. Why the Harper government would enter Canada into such an uneven deal for Canada is baffling,” said Moist.

The agreement may also open the floodgates to increased privatization of public services such as water and hydro. While provincial and municipal procurement was previously excluded from NAFTA, now U.S. investors will be able to launch Chapter 11 investor rights challenges if they feel provinces or municipalities are taking policy actions that harm their interests.

Air Transat’s Flight Attendants Consult

Our Air Transat members have just concluded a major meeting in Quebec City. From as far away as Vancouver, they came together in Quebec’s capital, on January 31, for a summit meeting that ended last Friday. The program included discussions with former members of the negotiating committees, others on questions regarding retirement, as well as various training sessions.

At the opening of the meeting, Lucie Levasseur, President of CUPE Québec, saluted the work of our Air Transat members. “You are carrying out a very special mission and are engaged in a difficult profession, but you have reason to be proud. And, CUPE is also proud of you. Each year, you are responsible for the lives and safety of thousands of people and you do your jobs with a professionalism that does you proud”, she declared.