CUPE grieves the death of electrical worker Brodie Schwartz, member of CUPE 255
It is with great sadness that we learned that Brother Brodie Schwartz, a member of CUPE 255 and a power line technician at Westario Power, died while on duty in Port Elgin, Ontario, on September 21, 2010. CUPE will work with Local 255 to ensure a there is a full investigation into this incident and to prevent workplace injuries and deaths in the future.
“Our hearts are full of grief at the fact this young man is leaving a wife and a young daughter behind. No one should be at risk of losing their life because they show up for work,” said CUPE National President Paul Moist.
CUPE joins the Assembly of First Nations to call for fair quality education
The week of September 19 to 24 was the National Week of Action on First Nations Education. The week began on September 19 with a 135-klometre walk from Kitigan Zibi Annishinibeg First Nation in Quebec to Ottawa’s Victoria Island.
A rally and Pow Wow on Parliament Hill followed the walk, which was attended by thousands. CUPE was a sponsor of the event and was joined by members of the Canadian Federation of Students and the Public Service Alliance of Canada. Speakers at the rally included Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo; Jack Layton, leader of the NDP; and Brian Barron, CUPE Diversity Vice-President.
Barron told the crowd that, “CUPE will continue to push for the need to address unfair, unjust and inequitable education and push for a guarantee for education for indigenous young people across Canada.”
PotashCorp takeover not in Canada’s interests – CUPE to Harper
CUPE is adding its name to a growing list of groups and individuals who are opposed to the hostile foreign takeover of the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan. Meanwhile, CUPE is also calling on the Harper government to implement tougher controls over foreign ownership. That includes holding public hearings and requiring that the full terms of any sale of a Canadian company to a foreign entity be made public before any decision is made.
“In twenty-five years, Investment Canada has only rejected one foreign takeover while rubber-stamping 13,500. We need immediate action from the Harper government to implement stronger rules and more transparency, to protect Canadian resources and Canadian interests,” said Moist.
Quebec user fee backtrack applauded
CUPE welcomes Quebec’s recent decision to drop plans to charge people living in Quebec significant user fees to access health care services in the province. National President Paul Moist praised the work of CUPE Quebec and the Fédération des travailleurs du Québec (FTQ) in helping to organize widespread public opposition that made the Charest government backtrack. The FTQ will keep up the pressure to force the Quebec government to drop a controversial $200 per adult health care tax that was also announced in last spring’s budget.
Chinese delegates learn about union’s bargaining social policy for women workers
On September 20, CUPE welcomed a Chinese delegation made up of 11 labour specialists from the Chinese Academy of Labour and Social Security and also the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to the national office in Ottawa. The delegation has a mandate from the central government to conduct research and generate practical recommendations for reform of the maternity insurance system and labour standards that will lead to improved working conditions for the millions of female workers in textiles, manufacturing, construction and other industries.
CUPE defends green, reliable public power
The World Energy Congress was held in Montreal from September 12 - 16, 2010. Among the more than 3,000 delegates were Paul Moist, Claude Généreux and other CUPE delegates who attended plenary sessions and workshops. The conference touched on many issues including alternative energies like wind power, reducing pollution and greenhouse gases (particularly as caused by fossil fuels and nuclear energy) and the right to energy for countries and the poor.
In conjunction with the congress, CUPE unions involved in the energy field held a meeting of their own. This provided an opportunity to exchange information, share negotiating strategies, and reflect on common issues with the help of guest speakers. Some of the topics discussed at this sectoral meeting included a study of energy pricing between Canadian provinces in comparison with other countries, opportunities in the wind energy sector, issues in the nuclear sector, and the use of electricity (versus oil) in transportation. The energy sector unions affiliated with CUPE agreed to hold another meeting in June 2011 to discuss issues of common concern.
CUPE promotes public water services
The International Water Association (IWA) World Water Congress and Exhibition 2010 took place in Montreal from September 19 - 24. CUPE’s presence was particularly important given the privatization agenda dominating the IWA program. Keynote speakers included Pedro Pablo Errazuriz who is the Chairman of the companies Essbio, Esval, Saesa and Frontel in Chile. It should be noted that the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan is a major investor in Essbio, a private, for-profit water utility in Chile.
CUPE participated in the Global Private Operators Alliance dialogue session sponsored by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme and the Canadian Wastewater Association, which was organized by the Greater Moncton Sewage Commission. CUPE also joined the Council of Canadians demonstration outside the World Water Congress where a banner was unfurled with the message “Public Water Is A Human Right”. Members of CUPE 429, City of Montreal workers, joined the Council to voice their opposition to the event’s corporate agenda.
Pictou County workers back union with strike vote
Close to 400 employees of CUPE 2330 in three Pictou County long-term care facilities gave their union a very strong strike vote on September 20. They voted 96 per cent in favour of job action if the union is unable to reach a negotiated settlement.
CUPE national representative Wayne Thomas said, “As part of our provincial bargaining, we will return to the table on September 30 for conciliation talks with our lead table, MacGillivray Nursing Home in Sydney. The only outstanding issue in contract talks is wage parity with our counterparts in acute care. Equal pay for work of equal value – that’s what we are fighting to defend.”
Huron-Perth early learning professionals vote to join CUPE 3615
Early learning professionals at the Huron-Perth Catholic District School Board in Dublin, Ontario, have voted to join CUPE 3615. Local 3615 will now enter into negotiations with HPCDSB to ensure early childhood educators have the same protections and coverage as early learning professionals in other jurisdictions.
To date, CUPE locals across Ontario have concluded more than two dozen successful rounds of negotiations with school boards. These agreements incorporate the terms of the recently negotiated Provincial Discussion Table (PDT) agreement between the province, school boards and the unions that represent the bulk of Ontario’s school board staff.
The finalized negotiations include agreements signed this week between CUPE 65 with the Northwest Catholic District School Board in Fort Frances, and CUPE 1479 with the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board in Kingston.
Political Action Profile: Ian Thompson for Milton town council
CUPE national representative, Ian Thompson is running for town council in Ward 2 on election day, October 25, 2010, in Milton, Ontario. Thompson is concerned that infrastructure and services keep pace with on-going development. He believes we must also protect the environment and the existing communities. Among other things, he wants town staff to create neighbourhood advisory groups and consult with them in all phases of development.
Visit the Ian Thompson 4 Ward 2 Website at: www.ianthompson4ward2.ca.