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Talks for NS school board workers break off

Conciliation talks for 3,700 school board workers in Nova Scotia have failed to reach a deal.  This begins the countdown to a possible province-wide work stoppage in all school boards outside of the Halifax region.

The employer failed to provide an acceptable response on any of CUPE’S bargaining proposals,” said CUPE school board coordinator Kathy MacLeod. 

The school board workers have been working under a collective agreement which expired March 31, 2007.

McMaster workers on strike for a fair deal

CUPE 3906, representing over 3,000 teaching and research assistants at McMaster University, is on strike for a fair contract.

The university workers are fighting to secure a deal that addresses core issues such as overcrowded classes and heavy workloads, benefits erosion and tuition fee increase protection.

Paramedics’ legislation a shameful first

Over 3,500 paramedics in BC are facing “back to work” legislation – with a retroactive one-year deal that contains less than the offer they are voting on right now.

Although the BC Liberals initially claimed the legislation was a response to the H1N1 pandemic, memos released by CUPE BC showed pressure being placed by the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee for “definitive confirmation” that “all required ambulance services will be available as planned.”

BC paramedics have been on strike since April 1 for better response times, equipment, wages, and staffing levels.  They have continued to work throughout the dispute under essential services orders.

CUPE members and striking ambulance paramedics with CUPE 873 held a mid-day rally on Friday outside the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee headquarters in Vancouver.

From Canada to South Africa, the wealth of workers is in public services

Paul Moist brought greetings of global solidarity to the South African Municipal Workers Union congress this week. 

Speaking at the congress’ opening panel on developing a workers’ response to the global economic crisis, Moist pointed out that deregulation, privatization, and free trade have had devastating effects on domestic industries, and have put huge pressures on the public sector.  He also pointed out that protecting strong public services is essential to providing basic human rights such as clean water, sanitation, and electricity.

Tentative agreement at Toronto libraries

A tentative deal has been reached between the Toronto Public Library Board and CUPE 4948 – averting a strike of over 2,400 workers at libraries across Toronto.  Bargaining has been ongoing since April, and a strike deadline of November 9 had been set.

We are thrilled to have negotiated a settlement that addresses our main issues –
full-time jobs and fairness for part-time workers” said Maureen O’Reilly, Chair of the Bargaining Committee.

Details will be released following the ratification vote planned for next week.

Apply to sit on CUPE’s national committees

CUPE is encouraging members to apply to sit on 15 national committees and working groups.  The committees advise CUPE’s national leadership on their area of involvement – from pensions to privatization to Aboriginal rights.

A full list of the committees and a description of their mandates can be found at http://cupe.ca/about/committee-applications , along with the application form. 

All applications must be received by Friday January 15, 2010.

CUPE requests a public enquiry into the municipal world

The day after the November 1 Québec municipal elections, which are often marked by scandal and suggestions of corruption, CUPE, which represents the vast majority of Québec’s municipal employees, demanded that the Charest government undertake a radical change of direction in order to clean up the rules governing municipal affairs.

For CUPE, this cleanup must include a public enquiry, as well as changes to the rules concerning the financing of municipal political parties.

It is essential that municipal public and para-public services be given back the role they should have.  It is clear to us that, when it comes to anything concerning the awarding of contracts by municipalities, legislative changes do not suffice” said Michel Poirier, CUPE’s Québec Director.  “It is essential to be able to justify contracts awarded externally and to put in place the firewalls necessary to derail any attempt to implement a system of cronyism and patronage.”

Hydro-Québec makes cuts to client service

Beginning November 6, and unless there is an unlikely change in the situation, Hydro-Québec must eliminate about 250 positions in client and collection services. 

The quality of service is going to deteriorate, files in arrears will increase, and people will wait longer on the telephone.  It is an incomprehensible and unacceptable decision on the part of Hydro-Québec”, thundered Claude Arseneault, president of the Syndicat des employé-es de techniques professionnelles et de bureau d’Hydro-Québec (CUPE 2000).  

On November 4, the union denounced this decision in the pages of La Presse, le Soleil and le Métro, and radio messages will soon be widely broadcast in all regions of Québec. 

The layoffs will primarily affect young women and will occur in all parts of Québec, including the North Shore, the Lower St. Lawrence and the Saguenay.  All of this is happening in a time of economic difficulty for many communities, while Hydro-Québec is generating considerable profits. 

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