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President Obama

The election of Senator Barack Obama as President of the United States is an historical moment.

He represents the triumph of hope over fear.  He inherits a country embroiled in war.  A country in economic crisis.  A country in which millions do not have health coverage, where in recent years the rich have become richer and the poor, much poorer.

He represents hope for peace.  Hope for principled leadership by the US internationally.  Hope for a new approach to global trade deals.  And hope for a return to an automatic certification system and the rebuilding of the American labour movement.

Above all, Obama’s victory represents an historical turning point.  A racial barrier has fallen, and Americans and people throughout the globe are inspired.

We applaud the efforts of American trade unionists and others who worked so hard to elect Obama.

We wish him well.

CUPE 3903 on strike at York University

CUPE 3903, representing 3,400 contract faculty, teaching assistants and graduate assistants at York University went on strike November 6.

It’s clear that the University administration is pushing us to go out on strike.  Over the last three years, our members have had to work harder with less job security and fewer resources,” said union Chairperson Christina Rousseau.

The union’s membership does more than 50% of the teaching at York University.

Support CUPE 3903. Visit: http://cupe.ca/action/3903-york

Moist urges Harper to protect Canadians from economic crisis

Paul Moist called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to act on the increasingly volatile economic and financial situation.

In a letter, Moist urged Harper to:

• Maintain strong levels of federal support for public services, investments, and transfers.
• Accelerate funding for investments in public infrastructure.
• Improve governance of financial institutions in Canada and around the world.
• Stronger cooperation on economic policy.

Now is the time to reinforce and strengthen our public services and social supports, not diminish them or tear them down, Moist wrote.

HEU elects Ken Robinson

Delegates to HEU’s biennial convention elected Ken Robinson as its new president.

Robinson cited “critical staff shortages, ongoing privatization, and lack of access to resources for seniors” as the most pressing issues coming from the convention floor.

Robinson replaces Fred Muzin, who was a biomedical engineer at St. Paul’s Hospital before becoming HEU’s president in 1993.

Both Claude Généreux and Paul Moist were on hand to speak to the delegates.

Environment course gets green light

CUPE’s new course on the environment, called Green Action, is getting its first test-run this week in Parksville, British Columbia.

Normally for a weeklong workshop, we ship boxes of material from Ottawa to wherever the workshop is held.  This time we’ve deliberately kept the paper resources to a minimum.  All the background information is provided on a participant CD or can be downloaded from our web site,” says Morna Ballantyne, Managing Director, Union Development. 

To schedule the new Green Action workshop, contact the Union Development Department or your CUPE education representative.

Legal opinion says handing lab services to US-owned company could threaten privacy and public control

The Ontario government’s plan to restructure eastern Ontario lab services will weaken public control of and access to medical lab services according to a CUPE-sponsored legal opinion.

Key safeguards that currently insulate Canadian health care policy and law from international trade challenges and investor claims may be negated,” warns trade lawyer Steven Shrybman.

Victoria still wants public sewage treatment

Two years into planning for sewage treatment, the overwhelming majority of Victoria residents still trust the local government more than a private corporation to operate new sewage treatment, according to a new poll.

CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill says that the results send an important message to municipal candidates looking to get elected on November 15.

Despite significant pressure - from the province and from some in the CRD - the people who live here want sewage treatment, and they want it to be public,” says O’Neill.

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