Flaherty offers little to working families
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty released an “economic statement” this week, which promises billions more in tax cuts but little lasting benefit to working families.
“The Conservatives have already cut taxes by over $15 billion a year, but most working families don’t feel any better off. These additional income, sales and corporate tax cuts will do little more to help,” said CUPE National President Paul Moist.
Taken together, Flaherty’s promised $20 billion in annual tax cuts could have:
· Phased in a national non-profit public child care and early learning program: guaranteeing a space for every 3-5 year old in Canada.
· Restored enough funding to cities and municipalities to end their budget crises, rebuild their infrastructure and community services.
· Started a national pharmacare program to provide affordable medicine to all Canadians.
· Provided enough resources for First Nations and Aboriginal communities to fund the Kelowna Accord and meet further health, educational, housing, land claims, environmental, fiscal and child welfare needs.
Pharmacare tour starts in Saskatoon
The Canadian Health Coalition’s national pharmacare tour started last week where medicare was born.
The coalition – to which CUPE belongs – plans to hold hearings on a national pharmacare program across the country.
The first set of hearings took place in Saskatoon, October 25.
The Coalition is collecting personal stories of hardship and difficulty to build the case for a national, publicly funded and administered insurance plan for medication.
It would cover essential drug costs the way Medicare covers hospitals and physicians, providing universal access to safe and appropriate care.
The Saskatoon hearings witnessed the tale of a woman who, despite having a private drug plan, still pays $500 per month for diabetes medication.
CUPE Ontario launches campaign against violence in the workplace
Starting this month, members of the CUPE Ontario Health and Safety Committee, along with local leadership, will hold media conferences and workshops in cities across the province on the issue of workplace violence.
The CUPE Ontario anti-violence campaign is calling on the Ontario government to introduce a Violence Regulation as part of the province’s Health & Safety Act.
Statistics Canada reports that one in five violent acts occur at work. Increasingly, those who work with the public are at greater risk.
Check out the campaign dates for your community or contact the committee to book a workshop for your area by calling Don at 613-391-7345 or Stephanie at 416-299-9739 x302.
Saskatchewan university workers stage walkout
CUPE 1975 members at Saskatchewan’s two major universities walked off the job for two hours October 30 to press for a contract settlement.
“We do not want a long protracted dispute that disrupts campus life,” says Brad McKaig, chair of CUPE Local 1975. “We just want the standard public sector wage increase and more funding to maintain our benefit plan.”
CUPE 1975 represents 2,400 support staff at the University of Saskatchewan and University of Regina.
CUPE 1975 contract expired December 31, 2006.
Building sell-off “bad deal for Canadians”
New research shows the Conservative government low-balled the price of federal buildings it recently sold as a P3 scheme.
The Informetrica analysis, commissioned by the Public Service Alliance of Canada, shows the undervaluing of the real estate assets means a $400 million windfall for Larco Investments, the corporation that bought the buildings.
In another development, a recent Federal Court ruling has forced the Conservative government to pull two Vancouver properties off the auction block. The court ruled that the government failed to consult with the Musqueam Band, on whose traditional territory the buildings are located.
The Conservative government continues to push its plan to sell $1.5 billion worth of office buildings and then lease them back through 25-year P3s despite strong criticism it “is bad public policy and lazy thinking” as well as a taxpayer ripoff. The Harper government is pursuing the P3 redevelopment or all-out sale of a further 31 federal buildings.
PSAC has been leading the fight to stop federal building privatization. They have an excellent online backgrounder on the issues, available in two parts.
For a monthly e-mail bulletin on privatization news, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
CUPE locals, UFCW team up to fight leukemia
A combined effort of private and public sector unions paid off in a big way last week, as three CUPE locals at the University of Victoria joined a United Food and Commercial Workers local to raise $4,000 in honour of Beth Lawson (CUPE 917) and Jan Stone (UFCW 1518), two union sisters who died of leukemia earlier this year.
CUPE Locals 917, 951 and 4163 at UVic have been working with the UFCW to raise awareness about leukemia and lymphoma research in honour and memory of Lawson, who worked at UVic Grounds, and Stone, who worked at The Bay.