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Carleton reneges on “tuition rebate” for teaching assistants

CUPE 4600 members at Carleton University in Ottawa were expecting a holiday bonus - a “tuition increase protection” rebate - first negotiated in 2001.  But it never arrived.

As it happens, the rebate - which has been renewed twice since - is the key issue in the local’s current round of bargaining.

The tuition rebate ensures that the wages TAs earn are not eaten up by tuition increases every year,” says CUPE 4600 President Heather Finn.

TAs receive their tuition rebates at the end of every semester.  The amount ranges from $75.00 to $430.00.

The two sides are in conciliation January 20, 2009.

Workers Compensation Board slams Compass over health and safety at Vancouver Island hospitals

BC’s Workers Compensation Board cited Compass, the private company contracted to clean a number of Vancouver Island Health Authority facilities, sixteen times in six months of 2008 for health and safety regulation violations.

HEU filed complaints over the company’s procedures.  Board investigators found numerous unsafe conditions and practices including:

• failure to provide adequate health and safety training to workers;
• failure to provide written procedures on the use, storage and disposal of highly toxic cleaning agents;
• failure to develop an adequate exposure control plan for workers who are exposed to materials contaminated with blood; and
• failure to provide investigation reports into causes of accidents.

“In an era of superbugs and increasingly virulent diseases, these poor health and safety practices put everyone who uses our hospitals at risk – not just workers”, says HEU Secretary-Business Manager Judy Darcy.

CLC ends Petro Canada boycott

Canadian Labour Congress President Ken Georgetti called off the boycott of Petro Canada January 6 after CEP announced a settlement in a 13-month lockout at the company’s Montréal refinery.

In a letter to CLC affiliates, Georgetti said “We demonstrated the strength of the solidarity of the labour movement and I am certain the national boycott, and the support of our brothers and sisters internationally, played a role in this successful outcome.”

OCHU plans campaign for hospital funding

OCHU leaders are touring Ontario over the next few weeks, meeting with locals to plan a campaign to press the McGuinty government to live up to its hospital funding commitments.

Freezing hospital funding would kill 9,000 Ontario health care jobs, 5,000 of them through lay-off, degrading patient care across the province in a system where half of Ontario hospitals are already facing deficits,” said OCHU President Michael Hurley.

Paul Moist writes Harper on Middle East crisis

In a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, CUPE calls for heightened diplomacy from the Canadian government to stop the violence in the Middle East.

From the letter:

CUPE condemns all acts of violence in the Middle East, including the Hamas rockets being launched into Israel and the Israeli offensive mentioned above.  CUPE demands that your government lend Canada’s voice to those nations seeking an immediate ceasefire and a renewed commitment to the pursuit of peace in the Middle East.”

Quebecor appeals anti-scab verdict

Quebecor has appealed a Québec labour board decision punishing the company for using scab labour during its 13-month dispute with CUPE locals at the Journal de Québec.

We certainly expected this, knowing Quebecor as we do,” said Journal de Québec union spokesperson Denis Bolduc.

The union will be opposing the appeal.

CCPA proposes economic recovery package, documents CEO pay

This week, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released a proposal for a one year economic stimulus plan that would create 407,000 jobs, boost the economy by 3%, and protect Canadians from the worst of a recession.

The CCPA will release the full Alternative Federal Budget later this month.

The progressive think tank also noted that while Canada may be in for a rocky economic ride, the nation’s best paid 100 CEOs got a record 22% average pay hike in 2007, earning on average $10,408,054 in total compensation in 2007.

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