CUPE NL calls for public auto insurance

CUPE NL is calling on the Newfoundland and Labrador government to introduce low-cost, non-profit public auto insurance. It would be a home-grown solution to premiums that are among the country’s highest but deliver fewer benefits than systems in other provinces.

Private insurance companies in Canada have a captive market, since drivers are legally required to be insured. This delivers a secure stream of profits to a handful of corporations that dominate the industry. Most companies are headquartered outside the province.

CUPE’s submission to the province’s public utilities board calls for a publicly-owned automobile insurance system that delivers comprehensive no-fault insurance to all licensed drivers in the province. Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia have long-standing public insurance programs.

Cannabis creates CUPE jobs

Legalization of cannabis is leading to a number of positive economic benefits, including more good public sector jobs.

Workers at Cannabis NB, the provincial agency responsible for retail sales of legal marijuana and cannabis products in New Brunswick, will be members of CUPE 963. CUPE could also gain members in Quebec with the establishment of the Société québécoise du cannabis, joining the 850 members of CUPE 3535 working in handling and delivery, as well as trades and maintenance, at the Société des alcools du Québec.

In other provinces, unions representing liquor board workers are gaining members, as provinces take responsible control of cannabis production and sales. Legalization of cannabis is also expected to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in public revenues, with the provinces receiving 75 per cent of pot taxes that are collected.

Trump rolling back child labour laws

U.S. President Donald Trump wants to weaken decades-old child labour protection laws and is planning to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to work extended hours in hazardous occupations. Apprentices under the age of 18 are currently only allowed to work for very limited periods in particularly hazardous occupations. The Trump administration claims that removing current restrictions will help to launch “more family-sustaining careers.” Injury rates continue to be high among young workers, but these rates had declined with the introduction of stronger labour protection laws.