Caring for seniors in the nursing home where Louise works is like caring for family. As a licensed practical nurse, she comforts and heals every day. Shes proud of her work and glad to be in CUPE. As a CUPE member, she knows first-hand the strength of the union. By joining together all the nursing home workers in New Brunswick, CUPE had the power to negotiate a pay raise in their new contract.
Her first charges are arriving for the day, dropped off by busy parents happy to know their kids are in safe hands. And Saras ready for them. Soon, the child care centre will be hopping and so will she and her co-workers. Though shes young, Sara thinks about the future and her pension. So she was thrilled when as a member of her CUPE bargaining team, she was able to negotiate a new pension plan for her local. CUPE had a special plan to meet the needs of members in small locals. Now Sara and her co-workers have some security for the future.
Sylvies phone never seems to stop ringing. As a clerical worker in a busy municipal office, theres always a question to answer or a problem to solve. Its interesting work that keeps her on her toes. When Sylvie had a problem of her own to solve, shes glad CUPE was there to back her up. Her shop steward helped her file a complaint about harassment. Her local had good contract language that backed up her concerns and gave her solutions. Now she has what her collective agreement promises: a safe and comfortable workplace.
Ming knows all about juggling shifts. Shes a part-time education assistant, working with kids with special needs. Shes got years of training and lots of on-the-job expertise. Two years ago, her pay was low and her monthly budget was a juggling act. But the last round of bargaining changed all that. A significant pay raise has made a big difference. Her CUPE local also got better vacation benefits for part-timers like her. It took nearly four months of bargaining and a coordinated show of support with the education assistants.
For years, Langston worked through his lunch and breaks. As a social worker, there was always something to do. These days, hes trying to take his breaks and deal with stress. In an understaffed group home, thats a big deal. Workload overload is a huge problem and CUPEs backing workers like Langston in their struggle. A province-wide campaign that draws on CUPEs research, communication and organizing resources has spread like wildfire among social workers who are CUPE members. And employers are listening.
Hospital laundry worker Mary has time for a quick sandwich on the picket line. Today, the paramedics, members of another CUPE local, brought them. Mary and 25 other laundry workers have been on strike for almost two weeks. Theyre defending their in-house laundry. The hospital wants to cut costs by contracting it out. But Marie knows this will mean a lower quality service and fewer jobs. Armed with CUPE research showing the problems with contracted-out services, CUPEs been winning support for their cause with patients and their families. Theyre back to the negotiating table tomorrow, and Maries hopeful the hospitals heard enough to change its tune.
When new technology entered Ninas day-to-day work at the local library, she was worried. She didnt have all the training, and wasnt sure how to handle the change. Management wasnt organized to help the librarians. But information in Ninas CUPE newsletter helped bridge the gap. The local newsletter editor drew on CUPE national resources about tech change, highlighting key issues and giving tips to cope with the changes. Since Ninas manager also reads the newsletter, it was educational for the employer, too.
Nguyen landed his recycling job his first full time job since coming to Canada three years ago. Paying the bills at home was suddenly a lot easier. When the city tried to cut costs by cutting the number of workers in his department, Nguyens job was on the line. His local stepped into action, using language in his contract, while at the same time building support in the community. Local environmental groups got involved, and put pressure on the city. Being a CUPE member meant Nguyen was backed by a strong contract to protect his job, and the respect that CUPE has in the community. His job and three others were saved.
Time for a quick coffee break. Kirstens taking a breather from the lab something she never did when she first started. But over the years, the work has just piled up more samples, more tests, more paperwork. Lately the workload and stress has been feeling like too much. So when she read an article in CUPEs magazine about taking your breaks, she took it to heart. As a shop steward, shes encouraging her co-workers to come for a coffee with her. Its helped her feel like everything is more manageable and helped her be realistic about her work.
Its the end of her route for the day, and Chris has dropped her last passenger safe at home. Now, shes on her way home to her own family and new baby. Its her second week back on the job after 52 weeks of maternity leave. Her CUPE contract guaranteed her the leave, and made sure her benefits continued while she was on leave. She was also guaranteed her job when she came back. Her contract will continue to help, giving her parental time off to take her daughter to appointments and care for her when shes sick.
Its been a long day, but its not over yet for Gabriel. Hes on his way to a meeting of his CUPE local. A carpenter, he and the other band council workers have been meeting regularly since they joined CUPE. Its a chance to share news and answer questions. Tonight, theyll be talking about plans for their next round of contract negotiations. Gabriels got some ideas about improving their health plan. Hell share them with the negotiating committee, and get them on the agenda.
As a casual worker, Yuki didnt have a lot of perks. No holidays or health plan, lower pay than other city workers, and never knowing when shed be called in for a lifeguarding shift. After talking with another city worker in the cafeteria one day, that all started to change. With the help of the full-time workers, CUPE members, she started a campaign to bring casual workers into the union. Now, Yuki and the other city rec workers get the same benefits as the other city staff, and knows shes guaranteed her shifts. Her life is a lot more secure.
Another students just left Raminders office, feeling a lot better about the essay due next week. The students keep coming back to visit. But every year Raminder wonders if shell be back too. As a university sessional, she never knows if shell be hired back in September until the last minute even though shes been teaching a popular course for five years. She and the other sessionals are fed up. Theyre heading into contract talks next week, and theyre going to stand firm. She knows her students are behind her and so is CUPE.
Franks up next, and hes reviewing his notes one last time. Hes about to make a presentation to city council about keeping water services public. He understands the importance of safe, clean drinking water he works in the water treatment plant. His CUPE local set up a Water Watch committee, and connected with environmentalists and other groups. When they got wind council was considering privatizing their water systems, they were ready for action. Research and communications helped Frank fine-tune his speech, and plan the campaign. Hes confident they can convince council that Public Works!
When Lisas partner got sick, it hit them both out of the blue. There was plenty to worry about. But they didnt have to think twice about the expensive drugs she needs. Theyre covered, thanks to Lisas health plan. Shes a community health worker. Her CUPE contract ensures same-sex partners are included the health plan. And when Lisa needed to take time off to care for her partner at home, it wasnt a question she took the time. Shes proud CUPE takes pride in her.
Lock up the doors and time for one last look around the school, then Bills going home. Hes finished mopping the floors with a new cleaner. The old cleaner the school board supplied had some chemicals Billd never heard of. He and the other custodian contacted their locals health and safety committee. With the help of CUPEs health and safety resources, the committee found out the chemicals were dangerous for the custodians, and the children in the school. Their evidence convinced the school board to switch cleaners, and made the school a healthier place.
Martines flights just landed. Tonight was quiet but it isnt always. Flight attendants like her are on the front line when air rage happens. Its a dangerous situation in the sky and it needs action from the government and the airline. Its about a safe workplace, and a safe space for travelers. CUPEs airline division is pressing for both. Flight attendants are safety professionals they know the problem and they have solutions. CUPEs strength in numbers gives flight attendants a voice that cant be ignored.
Safety and security are Claires job. Women come to her shelter seeking refuge from violence and abuse. Claire gives comfort and care, helping them start new lives. When shelter management wanted to save money by having her work the overnight shift alone, Claire filed a grievance. She and her CUPE steward successfully made the case for keeping two workers on overnight for the sake of the residents and workers. Its a relief for everyone to know the shelter will keep that added safety.
Two weeks flew by so fast. Travelling through Europe is an experience Marie wont soon forget, even with the daily bustle at the casino. She got the time off from her dealers job thanks to the new CUPE contract. When she first started, it was hard to get paid time off when she wanted. Thats all changed. Now that shes got the traveling bug, shes already planning next years holiday. The pay raise she got with her last contract helps with her plans, too.
Talks for their new contract took almost a year. Utility workers like Dave were holding out for a decent pay increase, after years of freezes. When the city finally offered a good wage, the workers accepted. Daves CUPE local made sure the workers got everything they were owed. That meant negotiating a retroactive settlement that ensured the pay increase went back a year.
When an emergency happens Claudes among the first on the scene, working to save lives. His face is familiar, as one of the towns few emergency medical technicians. Hes alone on call for long stretches sometimes 24 hours at a time. He and the towns other EMTs joined CUPE last month. They want their employer to hire more ambulance drivers and EMTs. Theyve already got lots of signatures on their petition, and it will be a top priority in their first contract talks. CUPEs experience with other EMTs across Canada give Claude and his co-workers the backing they need.
Mikes clearing the first snowfall of the season, getting the roads ready for the days traffic. His family, friends and neigbours drive the roads so keeping road maintenance and cleaning in the community is a top priority for Mike and his CUPE local. When the government tried to contract the work out to a foreign corporation, CUPE had the research to show why it was a problem and proved it was safer and cheaper to have public sector workers on the job. Together, the community pressured the government to keep their roads safe by keeping them public.
Making breakfast for a hospital full of patients means getting up early. Dolores knows her five-year-old son, Sammy, is still sleeping soundly at home. Hes sleeping easier these days, thanks to a new drug that helps his asthma. Without her health plan, Dolores wouldnt have been able to pay for the drug. Thanks to the health coverage negotiated in her CUPE contract, she can give her son the care he needs.
Head office is thousands of kilometers away from Monica. Shes a development worker in Nicaragua. Keeping connected to homes important to her and CUPEs a big part of that. Through her locals newsletter, the CUPE web site and emails from her steward, Monicas plugged in and participating in her local. Shes also putting solidarity into action, connecting with workers where shes living learning from their experiences and sharing CUPEs ideas.