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Labour stands together in Sudbury

In a resolution passed last week, CUPE pledged its financial and moral support to the United Steelworkers locals on strike at Vale Inco.  Workers are on strike in Sudbury and Port Colbourne, Ontario, and in Voisey’s Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador.

CUPE will donate $10,000.00 to the United Steelworkers’ strike fund, and encourage CUPE locals to provide financial and/or picket line support.  CUPE will also join the United Steelworkers in lobbying all levels of government to introduce anti-scab legislation.

Nearly 3,000 supporters from across the international labour community gathered in Sudbury on Saturday to pledge their ongoing support to Vale Inco Strikers.

Vale Inco has taken over 4 billion dollars out of Canada in profit in the last three years, and yet it is looking for multiple concessions.  We will support the Steelworkers and the Sudbury community until they get the fair agreement they deserve,” said Paul Moist.

Vale Inco, which is 100% owned by Brazilian interests, is attempting to gut workers’ collective agreements by demanding they accept inferior pension plans and seniority agreements.

Feds’ new P3 fund out of step with reality

The federal government launched a $1.2 billion privatization fund last week that Paul Moist said was out of touch with reality.

Moist cited recent P3 to public conversions like BC’s Port Mann Bridge and the Turcot Exchange in Québec as examples of how public private partnerships have proven too expensive and are on their way out.

Governments can’t find the claimed savings, and private corporations can’t raise the cash,” says Moist.

If P3s deliver value for the public, why do they need this additional billion dollar subsidy from the federal government over and above what provincial and municipal governments already provide?” asked Moist.

BC paramedics back at the table

CUPE 873 negotiators were to be back at the table Tuesday after informal discussions with the BC Ambulance Service showed some promise.

CUPE 873 President John Strohmaier rescinded an earlier directive that members work only their regularly scheduled shifts in response.

The paramedics have been on strike since April over recruitment and retention, wages, health and safety, and training.

The government has rejected the union’s most recent offer which would have set up an industrial inquiry into the ambulance service.

Halifax’s water ban a “good first step”: coalition

Halifax Regional Municipality has voted to phase out purchase and provision of bottled water in City Hall and ensure access to public tap water in all HRM facilities.

Jocelyne Rankin of Halifax’s Ecology Action Centre said the vote was a sign the city was moving in the right direction.

So far:

• 69 municipalities from eight provinces and one territory have banned the bottle;
• 33 universities and colleges have established bottled water-free zones; and
• The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) passed a resolution in March, 2009 urging all members to phase out the sale and provision of bottled water in municipal facilities. 

Parliament debates Colombia free trade

Paul Moist criticized the conservative government last week for putting the Colombia free trade agreement at the top of Parliament’s opening agenda this week.

In the past eight months, 27 trade unionists and more than 77 members from the Indigenous communities have been murdered in Colombia.

Moist also levelled criticism at the Liberals for supporting the deal.

Moist urged CUPE members to visit www.cupe.ca/action/colombia-free-trade-vote  to send a message to their MP.

Windsor Ontario to ‘Rock for Public Services’ with Honeymoon Suite

CUPE Ontario held a ‘Rock for Public Services’ concert September 19 in Windsor, Ontario.

This was a free concert and a chance for Windsorites and people from the county and their families to enjoy a great show on the last weekend of the summer,” said Sid Ryan, CUPE Ontario’s President.

Headlining Saturday’s concert was Juno Award-winning Honeymoon Suite.  They were joined by special guests Spirit.

Moist gives Alberta NDP unity message

CUPE National President Paul Moist spoke to 180 delegates at the Alberta NDP convention last week, arguing that there is ample room for the NDP to grow in this traditionally conservative province.

When people like Peter Lougheed express dismay over the Alberta government’s squandering of the province’s wealth, and fear the government is being a poor steward of the environment, it means there is room for our party to grow,” he said.

Moist called on labour and the NDP to work together to elect more MLAs in Alberta, but said Labour has to do more than donate money.

Unions in court over EPCOR privatization

CUPE and its allies were in court September 11 fighting the privatization of EPCOR’s power generation plants.

Edmonton city council voted in April to create a new company out of EPCOR and sell shares on the stock exchange.

While opponents couldn’t stop the initial public offering in June, they are arguing the decision is illegal because it was made behind closed doors.

Alberta’s Municipal Government Act requires all city council decisions to be made in public.

:te/cope 491