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CUPE hosts expert tour on healthcare associated infections

UK healthcare expert Steve Davies is touring Canada to raise awareness about the importance of cleaning and other support services in combating healthcare associated infections such as MRSA, VRE, and C. difficile.

Davies is a senior research fellow at Cardiff University in Wales.  He has worked with government bodies, parliamentary authorities, employers, and unions, and contributed to the Romanow Commission in 2001.

Healthcare associated infections are the fourth-leading cause of death in Canada, with an annual infection rate of 220,000, resulting in 8,500-12,000 deaths each year.

The tour will focus on the connection between cleaning and healthcare associated infections, and how patient safety is compromised when healthcare cleaning is contracted out or short staffed.

CUPE supports new human rights museum

CUPE donated $250,000.00 to the Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights this week.

We believe that recognizing the importance of human rights through an institution of this stature will help protect the rights we have, and promote the rights we must extend to all citizens of Canada and of the world,” said Paul Moist, National President.

Gail Asper, National Campaign Chair for Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, accepted the donation.

Convention awards recognize hard-working union communicators

Each National Convention, CUPE’s National Communications branch recognizes the outstanding work of our union members who excel at communicating with their memberships.

Entry forms detailing the award criteria for websites, newsletters, and photographs went out in the April national convention mailing to all CUPE locals.  The form can be downloaded at www.cupe.ca/convention-2009/CUPE-Communications.  Deadline is June 30, 2009.

Grand Forks Library Board accepts contract terms

Grand Forks Public Library Board has ratified recommendations for a new three-year collective agreement with CUPE 2254 members.  The five members voted unanimously to ratify the recommendations from provincial mediator Mark Atkinson on Saturday.

The library board had locked out the local earlier this year but ended the lockout at the urging of a provincial mediator.

City workers fight concession demands with strike votes

About 24,000 City of Toronto workers, members of CUPE 79 and CUPE 416, are being asked to participate in strike votes as part of their fight against concessions.

We have been at the bargaining table for almost five months and the city’s negotiators have not budged on 118 pages of concessions that they put on our table,” said CUPE 416 President Mark Ferguson.

CUPE 79 President Ann Dembinski said the city’s lack of respect “shows in the fact that we have been talking for the last month and have made virtually no progress.”

CUPE 416 members vote Tuesday, May 19 and Wednesday, May 20.  CUPE 79 members vote May 24.

Inside workers in Lachute, Québec strike for two days

After three years of trying to get a new contract, 50 inside city workers in Lachute, Québec, members of CUPE 2188, went on strike May 8.

The local also voted for another one day strike May 15.

When talks began in 2006, the local was simply looking for the same wage increase as outside workers.

But management came with demands for concessions on job security and seniority for staff on parental leave or modified schedules.

It’s unfortunate that as municipal elections approach, some politicians are trying to score political points at the expense of white collar workers,” said CUPE 2188 President Éric Labonté.

HEU criticizes nurses union’s attempt to sign up LPNs

HEU Secretary-Business Manager Judy Darcy criticized the BC Nurses Union this week for taking out newspaper ads offering memberships to all Licensed Practical Nurses.

HEU represents about 5,000 LPNs.  Nearly all of BCNU’s 26,000 members are Registered Nurses.

HEU has worked with its LPN members to win increased recognition and support for LPNs’ professional practice from health ministry officials and senior nursing leaders within B.C.’s health authorities.

HEU reaches deals with its ‘Big 3’: Aramark, Compass, and Sodexho

HEU has reached tentative agreements with its big three: Aramark, Compass, and Sodexho covering cleaning and dietary staff at health authorities across BC.

These gains could not have been achieved without the influence and hard work of living wage activists, other bargaining support actions, and the strong strike mandate from members,” said HEU Secretary-Business Manager Judy Darcy.

The proposed agreements would have wage rates increase from the low $13.00 range to $15.00 an hour by 2011.

The union also negotiated significant improvements on non-monetary issues, such as workload, training, benefits for casuals, return-to-work programs, and paycheque errors.

For details, visit http://www.heu.org/big_3_bargaining/

Québec union centrals create historic common front

Unions representing more than 475,000 public and para-public sector workers - including CUPE - have joined together in an historic common front in Québec for public sector bargaining.

The union centrals’ relations are often fractious, but leaders from Secrétariat intersyndical des services publics (SISP), Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN), and Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ) held a press conference this week to announce the front which remains in place until April 2010.

The front’s first initiative was to propose a fast-track bargaining process to Québec’s treasury board.

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