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CUPE upset about three work accidents at the Port of Matane

CUPE is upset about three work accidents that occurred May 12 at the Port of Matane.  The accidents caused the death of Gilles Létourneau of Saint-Léandre, and serious injury to two other workers. 

On behalf of all the members of CUPE, union representative Yanick Proulx first offered his condolences to the family, relatives, and colleagues of Gilles Letourneau and wished the two other victims a speedy recovery.

Tweet-In for Colombia – stop the free trade agreement

Members of CUPE were encouraged to Tweet-In for Colombia in person at the Commons trade committee meetings, or via Twitter on May 11 and May 13, 2010.

The Tweet-In was a huge success, with 25 labour people attending inside the Commons trade committee to hear witnesses on Bill C-2. 

With our labour friends, we reached 25,000 people and made the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement the number two trending issue on Twitter during the event. 

The electronic lobby stopped Harper’s Conservatives from shutting down debate on the FTA.

Message from Paul Moist - Congratulations to all CUPE Nurses

National President Paul Moist offered congratulations and thanks to tens of thousands of Registered and Licensed Practical nurses as they celebrated National Nursing Week from May 10 to 16.  CUPE has proudly represented tens of thousands of Registered and Licensed Practical nurses across Canada since 1963. 

Registered and Licensed Practical nurses work throughout the public healthcare system including teaching hospitals, emergency rooms and surgery units, long-term care facilities, home care and community clinics.

End deadly asbestos industry, experts urge Canadian government

On May 12, a broad coalition of CUPE members, politicians, world renowned experts, asbestos victims, labour leaders, researchers, and health care providers issued a joint call to the Canadian government to ban the production and export of asbestos.

The group is also calling for just transition policies for communities relying on the asbestos industry.

Saskatchewan health provider unions present revised offer of settlement

On May 11, the three unions representing 25,000 health care providers in the province presented a new offer of settlement in contract discussions with SAHO.

The unions point out that the cost of addressing the equity issues is minimal and does not put health care providers above the compensation rates applied to others in the public sector. 

In addition, more and more union members will exit the health care system because they are overworked, understaffed, and disrespected.  Vacancies will remain unfilled until an equitable resolve is achieved.

“These are key people who schedule surgeries, test for cancer or the H1N1virus, provide skilled nursing care and therapy services, ensure quality infection control and nutrition services, among many other health care services,” said Gordon Campbell, President of the CUPE Health Care Council.

CUPE members say: we need pension reform

More than 100 delegates at CUPE PEI’s 30th Annual Convention unanimously supported a resolution to solve the pension and retirement income crisis in our country once and for all.

CUPE members across the Island are calling on the federal government to take the following actions to resolve this crisis:

• Doubling CPP benefits to provide up to 50% of the average wage and increasing the GIS by 15% so no senior lives in poverty.
• Tougher laws to protect workers retirement income.
• Ensuring more Canadians are part of defined benefit pension plans.

Delegates also requested a national summit on pensions.

Conservatives fund risky, expensive privatization deals

The federal government would get more bang for its buck by investing its $1.2 billion privatization fund directly into public infrastructure, says CUPE National President Paul Moist.

The federal crown corporation in charge of privatization called this week for new applications to the P3 Canada Fund, yet they only disclosed one recipient of the first round of cash.

P3s are an expensive and risky way to deliver infrastructure.  Major industry figures, most recently the head of Bombardier, have questioned the value of P3s given the private sector’s higher financing costs.

In addition to costing more, privatization through P3s injects lengthy delays into the process, limits local purchasing and hiring, and lacks transparency.

Sudbury municipal workers to enter conciliation talks following solid strike mandate

CUPE 4705 representing 1,400 municipal workers with the City of Greater Sudbury voted 87% in favour of strike action.  They will enter conciliation talks hoping to reach a negotiated settlement and avert a strike or lockout.

A strike or lockout would affect many city services, including roads maintenance, solid waste (garbage collection), child care, paramedics, by-law enforcement, construction services, citizen services centres, parks and recreation, community centres, arenas, public transit, libraries, museums, social services, office, clerical, building maintenance, water and wastewater, airport maintenance and other services.

Time to end homophobia in the sports world

Chances are, more than one player on the teams still battling it out for the Stanley Cup this month is gay.  But we’ll never hear about it, and those players will never come out of the closet, because the world of professional sports—especially the National Hockey League—is one of the last bastions of homophobia in our society.

On Monday, May 17, the theme of this year’s International Day Against Homophobia is “Speaking About Silence: Homophobia in the Sports World.”  The campaign aims to speak about the world’s reigning silence on everything related to sexual diversity in sport.

It calls on all those involved with educational institutions, the media, professional and amateur sports organizations, sponsors, the LGBT community, and public authorities to confront the issue.

Seymour-Capilano Filtration Plant opens

CUPE BC President Barry O’Neill was in attendance as the largest water filtration plant in Canada, and a model of public infrastructure officially opened on Friday, May 7 in Metro Vancouver - thanks in no small part to CUPE’s efforts to keep it public.

Metro Vancouver CAO Johnny Carline praised union leaders for their efforts in establishing the plant, singling out O’Neill and CUPE for educating the public about the benefits of public infrastructure.

CUPE’s campaign to keep the Seymour-Capilano Water Filtration project in public hands dates back nearly a decade.  The June 2001 decision to keep the new plant public was a major victory that rippled across the country, giving fresh energy to other anti-privatization fights.

CUPE organized on the ground with community allies, including the Council of Canadians, to raise awareness about the problems of privatization – including the trade dangers.  It was the trade implications that proved to be the tipping point for the GVRD - and sparked broader trade concerns with other municipalities.  At the time, the GVRD said CUPE’s campaign was a ‘catalyst’ in its decision.

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