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May Day in Haiti for Claude Généreux

Our National Secretary-Treasurer, along with nine union leaders from America, went on a solidarity visit to Haiti from April 30 to May 6.

Organized by Public Services International (PSI), the delegation celebrated International Workers’ Day on May 1st in Port-au-Prince.

Other activities included visits to areas affected by the recent earthquake, distribution of aid packages and the set up of a more secure and safe union office.  The development of an 18-month work plan together with PSI’s Haitian affiliate, the Confédération des Travailleurs et Travailleuses des Secteurs Public et Privé (CTSP) / Confederation of Public and Private Sector Workers was also part of the agenda. 

Moist speaks to trade committee

On May 6, CUPE National President Paul Moist told a parliamentary trade committee that Colombia’s failure to hold a “free and fair” congressional election in March proves the government can’t be trusted to credibly report on its own human rights situation. 

Colombia’s duty to report on human rights abuses is part of an amendment proposed by Liberal Trade Critic Scott Brison in order to achieve a free-trade agreement between Canada and Colombia (Bill C-2).

A recent report by the International Election Observation Mission to Colombia revealed widespread corruption in the country’s most recent election.  The report’s disturbing highlights show the involvement of illegal armed groups in the elections; vote buying and voter intimidation; illegal campaign financing including the use of drug-trafficking profits; and the manipulation of social program recipients who were told that their funding would end if they didn’t vote for a certain candidate.

Already damaged home care system at risk again as Liberals lift ban on competitive bidding, CUPE and Ontario Health Coalition warn!

In Ontario, a provincial moratorium on competitive bidding has now expired and the government has decided not to restore the ban, union officials, health care experts, home care workers, and clients warned at a London news conference held on May 6.

The news conference was part of a province-wide media tour by CUPE Ontario in partnership with the Ontario Health Coalition (OHC).  The centerpiece of the tour is a video produced by CUPE Ontario featuring interviews with real home care workers, families, and home care recipients from across Ontario.  

CUPE Ontario and the Ontario Health Coalition are demanding that the moratorium on competitive bidding be restored and the government start rebuilding a system of direct home care service rather than continue to expand in the contracting out regime brought in by Mike Harris’ Conservative government.

To view the video, visit: http://www.leslievilleproduction.ca/share/CUPE/HC.wmv (not available in French)

Time to beef up CPP, panel told

A few hundred people came from across the Lower Mainland to tell their stories and make the case for better retirement security at a May 3 forum on Canada’s retirement income system.

Conservative Members of Parliament Diane Ablonczy, Ted Menzies, and Alice Wong heard from close to 40 people – many calling for an improved Canada Pension Plan and better protection for workplace pensions – during the three and a half hour town hall meeting in Richmond, BC.

CUPE BC President Barry O’Neill, as well as HEU provincial executive members Jim Barrett and Louella Vincent spoke at the event.  Jesse Goodall, a young worker with the City of Surrey and a member of CUPE 402, talked about the challenges he faces trying to put himself through university and build for the future.

You can sign the CUPE petition at: http://cupe.ca/action/fix-the-pension-crisis.

CUPE NL raises $25,000 for Vale Inco strikers

Ten months into a strike against Vale Inco, Steelworkers in Labrador have received a $25,000 boost from their sister union, CUPE.

Delegates to the convention last week in Corner Brook and their locals pledged $12,855 for the strikers as a show of solidarity and support for this difficult labour dispute. 

CUPE National President Paul Moist told the crowd that the funds raised would be doubled by CUPE National.

Toronto paramedic among Time’s 100 most influential people

Toronto paramedic and CUPE 416 member Rahul Singh is one of the 100 people who have most affected the world, according to Time magazine.

Singh, a member of Toronto Civic Employees Union, CUPE Local 416 for the last eight years, founded GlobalMedic in 1998.  Members of his team were among the first disaster responders on the ground after a massive earthquake hit Haiti.  An essay by Haitian President Jean-Max Bellerive praising Singh and GlobalMedic will appear in Time magazine.

CUPE activist to monitor election in Philippines

CUPE 4600 member Priscillia Lefebvre is joining Member of Parliament Don Davies and 21 other Canadians on a visit to the Philippines to observe the May 10th presidential elections.

This election marks the end of the presidency of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.  Arroyo’s nine years in power have been marked by hundreds of politically motivated killings and enforced disappearances.

The April 2008 Report of the United Nations-Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions by Philip Alston revealed a climate of impunity for those guilty of these crimes.

May is Asian Heritage Month

May is Asian Heritage Month.

The annual event celebrates and acknowledges the long and rich history of Asian Canadians and their contributions to Canada in making our country the culturally diverse, compassionate, and prosperous nation we know today.

Dates to remember

CUPE will hold a National Health Care Sector Meeting on October 20-22, 2010 in Victoria, British Columbia.  Registration will begin June 1, 2010.

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