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Full-on strike at Saskatchewan universities

CUPE 1975 and management have agreed on essential services, but little else, as the strike at Saskatchewan’s two university campuses ends its first week.

More than 2,400 members in Regina and Saskatoon walked off the job November 2, after going without a new contract for almost a year.

This strike could have been averted if the employers had shown a willingness to compromise,” says CUPE 1975 chair Brad McKaig.

CUPE agreed this week to provide staff to maintain the University of Saskatchewan’s heating system and provide staff for some health and animal sciences services.  In Regina, the union will review the employer’s request for coverage.

CUPE 1975 represents cafeteria and food service workers, caretakers, security officers, clerical staff, library service workers, duplicating and printing staff, engineers and boiler operators, trades people, medical and lab technologists, nursing and dental assistants, farm workers and animal attendants.

The local’s current contract expired December 31, 2006.

BC health and hydro privatization hurts whatever you call it

The British Columbia government has cloaked its health and hydro privatization in a friendly-sounding term:  Alternative Service Delivery. But a new study shows privatizing key support jobs at both BC Hydro and the province’s Medical Services Plan and PharmaCare programs hurts public services and those who deliver them.

The study, published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, looks at workers who were privatized from the public sector to multinational, for-profit corporations.  Authors Penny Gurstein and Stuart Murray looked at the impact of privatizing “back office” work at BC Hydro, including customer services, IT services, human resources, financial systems, purchasing, and buildings services, and the privatization of administrative work at the Medical Services Plan (MSP) and PharmaCare.

Workers interviewed reported a deteriorating quality of work life, including:

· Not feeling valued as workers;
· Constant monitoring and surveillance;
· A push for quantity over quality;
· A rigid and hierarchical workplace with many roadblocks to job progression;
· A lack of training;
· Constantly-changing technology;
· Lack of consultation;
· Low morale.

All the workers felt quality of service to the public had declined since privatization.

The study is available at: http://www.policyalternatives.ca/.

Memorial for David Saunders

The Canadian Union of Public Employees invites members, staff, family and friends to join us for a Memorial Celebration of the life of Brother David Saunders, who was a much loved CUPE member and National Representative for over 30 years.

Saturday, December 1, 2007
11:30 a.m. Reception
12 noon Memorial Celebration
(Light lunch and refreshments will follow.)

Civic Ballroom, Sheraton Centre Hotel
123 Queen Street, West, Toronto, ON.

CUPE backs asbestos ban

CUPE is joining the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Labour Organization, the Canadian Cancer Society and other respected organizations to call for a full ban on the mining, production and export of asbestos.

The union also wants to see a respectful transition programme for workers in the asbestos industry and affected communities.

The Canadian government still exports asbestos and pushes the falsehoods of the asbestos industry, saying that chrysotile asbestos can somehow be safely handled.

Quebec, home to most of Canada’s asbestos mines, has one of the highest rates of mesothelioma (a deadly cancer caused by asbestos) in the world.

Yet the Canadian government refuses to even keep track of the growing numbers of Canadian workers who are sick and dying from asbestos-caused cancer.

For more, or to sign the petition, visit:

CUPE 410 steps up job action this week with rotating closures

Victoria library workers continued their rotating strikes this week with nine different branches closing in rotating job actions.

During the actions, members don’t picket, but rather attend study sessions on pay equity at the local’s strike headquarters.

CUPE BC updates The Wall Must Fall

CUPE BC has produced a 2007 edition of The Wall Must Fall:  End the Occupation and Violence in Israel-Palestine.

This update provides new insight into the 40 year Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian Territories.  It was prepared with information from and from the perspective of the Israeli and Palestinian peace movements.

Packed with facts, maps, charts and personal accounts not found in the mainstream media, The Wall Must Fall is a great resource for CUPE members, other trade unionists and concerned members of the community.

See http://cupe.ca/thewallmustfall.

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