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Most would pay more under New Brunswick tax reform 

A government-commissioned report on reforming provincial taxes would cost all but the richest New Brunswickers more. 

The report recommends a flat tax, an increase in sales tax, and cuts to business taxes. 

CUPE’s detailed analysis of the proposed reforms suggests the changes would cost most New Brunswickers at least $500 per year.  The richest 20 per cent of the population on the other hand would see reduced taxes of around $5,300 per year. 

“It’s hard to imagine tax reforms that are more regressive or less equitable”, said
Paul Moist, who presented the union’s findings to a government committee in Woodstock this week.

Long-term care needs rules with teeth 

Residents in Ontario’s long-term homes need enforced standards of care, not more vague reports calling for “voluntary guidelines”. 

CUPE, SEIU, ONA, and OPSEU called for an enforced standard of a minimum 3.5 hours of hands-on care per day for residents of Ontario’s long-term care homes, this week. 

Recent media reports say more than 60 per cent of Ontario’s long term care facilities fail to meet the province’s minimum standards for care. 

The McGuinty government released a report by Shirley Sharkey, a lobbyist for Ontario’s mostly for-profit long-term care homes which argues for a “hands off” approach to long term care.

Air Canada cuts will devastate

Lisa Vivian Anthony, whose members work for Air Canada out of Halifax, says the company’s decision to lay off more than 600 flight attendants will also hurt the local economy. 

Air Canada made a more detailed announcement July 10 about the layoffs it announced in late June. 

The company plans to close its Halifax and Winnipeg bases.  And while it claims to have studied the issue, Anthony says they refused to show the union their data. 

CUPE national representative Peter Baxter said closing the Halifax base would take
$8 million annually out of the Halifax economy. 

“The cuts were announced after years of concessionary bargaining, where employees took major rollbacks to help the company recover from financial instability”, Baxter said. 

Says Anthony, “It is the end of an era for us.  We have been serving the travelling public for 32 years.  We have some members who have been working here for over 30 years.”

CUPE leaders sign G8 letter to Harper 

CUPE National President Paul Moist and National Secretary-Treasurer Claude Généreux have signed a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper urging immediate action on climate change. 

The letter is co-signed by leaders of prominent Canadian labour, environmental, developmental, and social justice organizations. 

The letter urges Harper to:

• put in place a meaningful domestic climate change plan to significantly cut Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions; and
• pledge financial support to developing countries to help them take on clean technologies and adapt to the effects of climate change.

G8 leaders met this week in Tokyo, Japan.

National conference takes pulse of emergency medical services

More than 50 activists and staff who work in CUPE’s Emergency Medical Services sector met in Vancouver this week. 

Paul Moist joined CUPE 873 president John Strohmaier, whose local hosted the conference, and CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill in welcoming participants. 

CUPE has 10,000 EMS members across the country. 

The conference featured a look at the future of Emergency Medical Services in Canada, a review of bargaining and workplace issues from locals, and workshops covering many topics, including implementing CUPE’s National Strategic Plan for the EMS sector, succession planning, leadership development, and professional colleges and associations.

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