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Flight attendants fight Air Canada layoffs

CUPE members are rallying, leafleting, advertising and e-mailing against Air Canada’s plan to eliminate hundreds of jobs and close bases in Halifax and Winnipeg.

CUPE is planning rallies for Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver on Monday, July 28 at noon, Winnipeg time.

On July 10, Air Canada management notified flight attendants in Manitoba and Halifax that they would be laid off in November.

The layoffs would affect 144 CUPE flight attendants in Winnipeg and 187 in Halifax.

Since then the union has launched a campaign to fight the cuts and the closures.  More than 3,000 people have written their MPs.  You can too at http://cupe.ca/action/respect-the-law.

BC unions challenge election gag law

Seven BC unions launched a legal challenge against the province’s election gag law, Bill 42, this week.

The law – even though it’s been watered down to respond to critics – still goes far beyond any similar law in restricting reasoned political discourse and preventing groups from communicating their positions on election issues.

Democratic governments should protect and defend the rights of citizens not trample them when it’s politically expedient,” says B.C. Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair.  “Bill 42 is Gordon Campbell’s attempt to silence critics and control the airwaves for months before the next election.”

Paul Moist on front line in Colombia

Paul Moist is visiting Colombia this week, one of four public sector union leaders examining the human rights situation with Canada’s most recent free trade partner.

Says Moist:  “The Frontlines Tour of Colombia is part of the work we do in collaboration with four other public sector unions and Public Services International (PSI), the global public sector union that CUPE is affiliated to, representing some 20 million public sector workers throughout the world.”

For updates and images from Paul Moist, see Paul Moist’s blog (paulmoist.cupe.ca).  For the tour’s official updates, follow our Global Justice page at cupe.ca/globaljustice.

Concert for public services rocks Sturgeon Falls, Ontario

More than 4,000 people heard Trooper and High Holy Days rock Sturgeon Falls this week at a free concert courtesy of CUPE Ontario.

Called “Rock for Public Services”, the event was the first of a series of rock concerts planned for cities across the province to celebrate and bring home the importance of public services.

This is our way of thanking people for their ongoing support and dedication to preserving public services that are the bedrock of strong communities,” said CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan.

CUPE wants to see details on internal trade deal

Anyone looking for details of the much-publicized provincial premier’s agreement on changes to the Agreement on Internal Trade went home disappointed this week.

Speaking for the provincial premiers, Jean Charest wouldn’t give any details of a proposed tribunal mechanism which would allow corporations to sue governments over regulations that impede profits.

By empowering private businesses to sue governments, the tribunal mechanism proposed by the premiers sets the stage for a labour agreement that is undemocratic.  Canadians don’t want NAFTA-like rules in interprovincial trade agreements,” said Paul Moist.

CUPE encourages PM to intervene in the case of Omar Khadr

Paul Moist wrote a letter to Stephen Harper this week encouraging the prime minister to intervene on behalf of Omar Khadr, a Canadian interned in Guantanamo Bay.

There is compelling evidence that Omar Khadr has been tortured and denied the fundamental rights.

The rights of this particular Canadian citizen are clearly being violated and without appropriate intervention and action our government is complicit,” the letter said.

CUPE BC calls for universal kindergarten for three-five year-olds

CUPE BC told the provincial education ministry this week that full-day kindergarten would significantly improve the lives of BC parents and children.

The union’s presentation was in response to an education ministry discussion paper on early learning.

Some of the union’s recommendations:

• ensuring that the program is universal, free of charge and optional; that the province provide full funding to school districts for all-day kindergarten and wrap-around child care (care before and after school hours);
• that “Big Box” daycare multinationals and other private operators be excluded from the system;
• kindergarten classrooms targeted for the program be converted to “play-based” settings.

Journal de Québec:  Support still needed

The year-long dispute at the Journal de Québec may be settled, but the union still faces a huge debt as a result of its efforts to defend CUPE members.

Locals, divisions and councils that pledged money at our 2007 CUPE National Convention and at CUPE provincial division conventions are reminded to send their cheques to the CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer’s office.

As well, the union welcomes any additional donations.

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