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New CUPE report links investment in cleaning to fight against healthcare-associated infections

Hand washing may be a positive measure but if governments and employers are to fight healthcare associated infections, they must invest in cleaning and keep services public, says a new CUPE research paper.

The best defence against HAIs is strong cleaning and support services.  Yet across Canada, these very services have been cut, and in many provinces, privatized,”
Paul Moist said.

The CUPE backgrounder is the first in the country to document the correlation between HAIs (such as MRSA, VRE and C. difficile) and cleaning and support services, overcrowding, and outsourcing.

The complete backgrounder is available at:


School workers conference wraps up in Regina

Regina hosted 270 school board workers this week at CUPE’s first national school board workers meeting.

Delegates called for:

• more effective communication tools;
• a campaign to improve employment insurance benefits;
• zero tolerance for bullying and violence; and
• strategies to strengthen bargaining power.

Claude Généreux said the conference reflected the union’s commitment to creating “a stronger national dialogue” among the union’s sectors.

Paul Moist heads to Brandon as striking clinic staff reject employer offer

CUPE’s national president was headed to Brandon, Manitoba late last week to support the 57 members of CUPE 2096 in their three week old strike against Brandon Clinic Medical Corporation.

The local also voted to reject an employer offer on wages this week.

We want to find a balance between our needs and the employer’s, but the employer is still ignoring our basic needs,” said CUPE 2096 vice-president Jennifer Loewen.

Haida Gwaii waste and recycling stays public

CUPE 105 won a major victory this week when Skeena Queen Charlotte Regional District (SQCRD) directors voted to keep Haida Gwaii’s waste and recycling service public.

The union’s campaign included attending district meetings, talking to the public, radio and newspaper ads, and lobbying district directors.

For us, the biggest thing was that the Island would have lost control of our garbage system,” says Thor Collinson, the lead hand who has worked at the landfill site for over 10 years.  “Now it’ll be well run by people who understand and value this public service.”

CUPE Research also prepared a report showing that privatizing the service would not save money in the long term.

Major BC P3 deal falls apart

The British Columbia government will borrow to pay for a $2.5 billion bridge expansion itself, after shaky P3 financing collapsed last week.

The privatized financing for the Port Mann bridge fell apart just weeks after the provincial government bailed the project out, guaranteeing $1.15 billion of the cash the private sector was trying to raise.

The global credit crunch has hit the project’s private-sector financier, Australian investment bank Macquarie Group, hard.  The bank has been struggling in recent weeks.

The province’s minister of transportation and infrastructure, Kevin Falcon, says “a traditionally financed arrangement is the better way to proceed at the current time.”  The private sector will be involved in designing and building the bridge, which will be publicly owned and operated.

Montreal cuts $155 million: blue collars say services threatened

Mayor Gérald Tremblay’s string of budget cuts will hurt city services, say Montréal’s blue collar workers.

CUPE 301 president Michel Parent said the city’s proposed hiring freeze will harm city services.

If you think there are potholes now, wait a few weeks and see what the roads look like with fewer people to fix them.”

Parent added that the start of spring is a particularly bad time to be understaffed.

:te/cope 491