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Hahn goes hungry: CUPE Ontario president endures one-week welfare diet to raise awareness

CUPE Ontario president Fred Hahn fared better than some thought when he decided to take on the “Do the Math Challenge,” a campaign designed to raise awareness of the hardships of a diet made up only of typical food hamper items.

CUPE Ontario is supporting the campaign as part of a response to cutbacks of public services by the McGuinty government. These cuts, like the decision to cancel the Special Diet Benefit for people on social assistance, have had serious effects on the quality of life for many of the most vulnerable Ontarians.
Check out Fred Hahn’s blog about his experience on the CUPE Ontario site at http://www.cupe.on.ca/doc.php?subject_id=232.

Contract talks break off between CUPE and Mile One Stadium

Conciliation talks between CUPE and Mile One Stadium have broken off. The 35 employees are members of CUPE Local 569-01, who work in the box office, conversion crews, engineers and maintenance workers.

CUPE National Representative Ed White said, “The stumbling block is a job evaluation plan that both sides have been attempting to agree on over the last two rounds of bargaining. We believe the union has tried to be as reasonable as possible, but this employer has been far too rigid on this issue.”

Part-time faculty at MSVU in Halifax ratify new contract

The part-time faculty at Mount Saint Vincent University has ratified a new union contract with the university. On October 7, the close to 200 MSVU employees voted to accept the deal, which runs from September 1, 2009 to August 31, 2012.

Winnipeg residents reject secret sewage contract—poll

A Probe Research survey shows that 78 per cent of Winnipeg residents believe that all the details of the 30-year contract the City of Winnipeg entered into with the private contractor Veolia Canada should be made public before the October 27 municipal election. Meanwhile, the poll, commissioned by CUPE, shows overall opposition to the Veolia deal is also strong as 61 per cent of Winnipeggers oppose it, with 39 per cent in support.

Clearly Winnipeggers have serious concerns with the mayor and council’s decision to enter into a 30-year deal with a private company to maintain and operate Winnipeg’s wastewater treatment plants,” says Paul Moist.

Full results of the survey and a Veolia fact sheet are available at: http://cupe.ca/water/winnipeg-residents-reject-secret-sewage.

FTQ campaign against the Charest government

This fall, the Fédération des travailleuses et travailleurs du Québec (FTQ) is speaking out against the latest Liberal budget and its devastating effects on workers and the general population. The FTQ created a leaflet called Le Québec que nous voulons (the Quebec we want) that will serve as a basis for discussion at the union’s general assemblies and district council meetings.

The union’s first victory was getting Quebec to renege on the health care user fees, but the plan to impose a health contribution and other irresponsible cuts are still on the horizon.
In order to get the message across, district councils will be setting up visits from Members of the National Assembly this fall. Furthermore, the province’s four labour federations are teaming up with student associations, progressive economists, doctors in favour of public health care, and Quebec’s Coalition Against User Fees and the Privatization of Public Services.

CUPE Nova Scotia seeks more details on proposed Halifax convention centre

The president of CUPE Nova Scotia, Danny Cavanagh, says his union is looking forward to receiving more details on the proposed convention centre for Halifax Regional Municipality.

Now that the initial figures are out, we will be requesting much more detailed information from Minister Estabrooks about this proposal, in particular details about how it will be financed,” said Cavanagh. “Now that the minister is saying it won’t be a P3, we are looking forward to finding out how the financing has changed.”

CUPE locals in British Columbia help spread the word

Lower Mainland CUPE locals helped make the 2010 “Word on the Street” festival a successful and fun event in Vancouver. The event celebrating literacy and the written word was held in Library Square on September 26. Word on the Street is a one-day national festival that brings communities together to support literacy and the written word. The festival is a showcase of local publishers, booksellers and authors and features book sales, readings and performance art.

Members from CUPE Locals 15, 389, and 391 contributed a lot to the occasion by volunteering at CUPE’s big tent on Hamilton Street. CUPE BC, CUPE Metro, CUPE National and Locals 15, 389, 391 and 1004 pitched in with monetary support and staffing of the CUPE tent. CUPE also sponsored readings by teen and adult author Maggie De Vries (Hunger Journey and Missing Sarah) and Aboriginal children’s and teen author Carol Ann Shaw (Hannah and the Spindle Whorl).

New contract for Montreal blue-collar workers

With undisguised satisfaction, Michel Parent, president of CUPE 301, which represents City of Montreal blue-collar workers, signed a new collective agreement for about 5,000 workers. The new contract, which will expire in December 2012, provides wage increases of about 2 per cent per year, except for the first year. In addition, the union has obtained 446 new permanent positions, recognition of blue-collar expertise, five additional floating holidays and equity with other municipal employees in terms of vacation.

We are pleased with what we have achieved and the contract we have just signed. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and provide the best public services to the people of Montreal,” said Parent.

Summerland municipal workers ratify agreement

CUPE 1136 members have ratified a collective agreement with the District of Summerland, B.C. The three-year deal runs from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2012. The agreement includes a 1.5 per cent increase in the second year and 1.75 per cent in the third year with improvement to benefits. The agreement covers 70 municipal workers who provide services in Summerland within City Hall, engineering and public works, recreation and parks and the RCMP station.

CUPE condemns attempted coup in Ecuador

On October 4, a letter written by Paul Moist was sent to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, condemning those responsible for the attempted coup d’état in Ecuador last week. Moist asks that the Canadian government reject any attempt to overthrow the democratically elected administration of President Correa.

Read the letter at: http://cupe.ca/global-justice/condemns-attempted-coup-ecuador.

Hospital staff hold rally to fight cuts in Peterborough

On October 4, more than 500 workers were in attendance at a rally to show their support to the 252 layoff notices to CUPE members issued by the Peterborough Community Hospital. In addition to the staff layoffs, the proposed cuts include: closing the downtown women’s health centre, dozens of hospital beds to be closed and an untold number of beds to remain unusable because they will not be staffed, and cuts to ICU, medical and surgical beds, infection control and housekeeping.

OCHU president Michael Hurley said, “This is just the beginning, we won’t let this government close community hospital and we will have many other rallies like this one with more and more people.”

CUPE Fact Sheet: Women and Pensions

Today, women make up the majority of the Canadian population and of the paid work force. Yet women are disproportionately represented in the low-wage, unstable and part-time categories of employment, and are thus least likely to have a workplace pension plan. Women working full-time on average earn only 72 per cent of what men working full-time earn.

To level the field for women workers, CUPE is calling for measures to raise women’s wages, such as pay equity legislation; an increased minimum wage; ensuring more access to full-time and permanent jobs; and employment equity legislation to ensure women have access to a wider range of careers.

Read the fact sheet at: http://cupe.ca/pensions/sheet-women-pensions.

Généreux honours local labour activists in Kingston with dedication

CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer Claude Généreux officially dedicated the CUPE Kingston area office as the J Ed. Scott Building at a special ceremony honouring local labour activists on October 4. J Ed. Scott, a long-time labour activist who established the CUPE Kingston Office in the early 1970s - organizing and serving area CUPE members until he retired in 1996, joined Généreux.

The ceremony also included a special dedication of the two office boardrooms as The Anderson Boardroom and The Dumbleton Boardroom, in memory and recognition of the life-long work of Sister Madeline Anderson, one of the first women CUPE staff representatives in Kingston, and Sister Linda Dumbleton, a local activist out of Queen’s University and a long-time CUPE staff representative in Kingston.

Saint-Bruno white-collar workers vote to strike

At a general meeting last week, 87 percent of Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville white-collar workers voted in favour of calling a 48-hour strike when deemed appropriate. This latest step shows an escalation of pressure tactics since the white-collar workers protested on September 20. The workers have been without a labour contract for over four years.

The point of contention is the pension plan. The City wants to transfer the plan under its direct jurisdiction while the union would rather leave it in a fund with other municipalities who demerged from Longueuil (Boucherville, Brossard, Saint-Lambert, and Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville).

Health minister proclaims October 4-8 Manitoba Health Care Support Workers’ Week

2010 marks the tenth year that the Province of Manitoba has dedicated a week to honour the contributions made by health care support workers. The proclamation issued by Minister Theresa Oswald acknowledges that health care support workers, like other professionals who work in health care, devote their efforts to preserve and protect the quality health care all Manitobans enjoy.

Read the proclamation at: http://cupe.ca/health-care/health-minister-proclaims-october-4-8.

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