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Remember the dead, fight for the living

April 28 is the National Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured as a result of unhealthy work environments.

This day is particularly important for CUPE members as it was CUPE’s National Health and Safety Committee, who in 1984, first proposed the idea for a day to honour workers injured or killed at work.  This year marked the 26th National Day of Mourning, recognized in more than a hundred countries around the world.

CUPE remembers the following local union members who lost their lives while on the job this past year.

• Clifford Payne, 63, CUPE 3148, school bus driver in Corner Brook, Newfoundland & Labrador
• Sheldon Miller, 29, CUPE 189, maintenance worker in Medicine Hat, Alberta
• Jacques Tremblay, 55, Chief Equipment Mechanic, section locale 1500 du SCFP, (CUPE 1500) Forestville, Québec
• James Best, 34, CUPE 416, municipal worker in Toronto, Ontario
• Pierre Leclerc, 57, section locale 301 du SCFP (CUPE 301), Pierrefonds, Québec

Nova Scotia premier announces bottled water ban

Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter used the annual convention of CUPE Nova Scotia to announce his government is committed to a ban on the purchasing of bottled water for provincial facilities that have potable water.

Reacting to the announcement, CUPE Nova Scotia President Danny Cavanagh said, “This makes Nova Scotia the very first province in the country to commit to ending this environmentally unfriendly practice.  It also tells Nova Scotians that this government is committed to promoting safe, clean, municipal drinking water”.

These are services that are provided by CUPE municipal workers across the province and something we are very proud of,” added Cavanagh.

Montréal’s inside workers launch massive campaign

Thousands of City of Montréal inside workers have had more than enough of the harmful effects of its hyper fragmentation.  On April 26, Montréal’s municipal employees union (CUPE 429) began a widespread public campaign with the theme “Montréal, fais une ville de toi!” (Montréal, pull yourself together!).
Two 30-second ads will be broadcast on a number of Greater Montréal’s French-language radio stations in the next number of weeks. 

Also, some 500 STM buses will be decked out with three different posters bearing the campaign’s principal message.  The ads denounce the lack of coordination in the services offered by the city core and the 19 boroughs, costly and useless contracting out, the loss of public expertise, and particularly the major economic losses for its citizens.

Living wage law a positive step to fight poverty

The New Westminster City Council adopted the first municipal living wage policy in Canada last night, voting unanimously for a plan based on the hourly wage required to keep a family with two children and two working parents above the poverty line.

“This is a great example of the important role municipal governments can play in reducing poverty in their communities and across Canada,” said CUPE National President Paul Moist.

New Westminster’s living wage policy will apply to both full-time and part-time employees, and will apply to both direct staff and to contractors performing physical work on City properties.

Raising the incomes of poor families creates stronger communities, both socially and economically,” said Moist.  “New Westminster has set a strong example for cities across the country.”

Poll shows strong support for Saskatchewan health care providers

A new poll commissioned by CUPE, SEIU and SGEU, shows 61.2% of Saskatchewan residents support health care providers, while only 21.8% support the government and health employers.

These results confirm our belief the public strongly supports a fair agreement for health care providers,” says Gordon Campbell, president of the CUPE Health Care Council.

The telephone survey of 402 Saskatchewan residents also shows most people (51.2%) blame the government for the lengthy delay in achieving contract settlements, and that 70% are concerned the shortages of health care providers will get worse unless contract improvements are negotiated. 

Tragic death in Pierrefonds

Pierre Leclerc, a 57-year old blue collar worker, met a tragic fate on the morning of
April 22, slightly after 8:30 in the morning.  He was a member of CUPE 301, representing Montréal blue collar workers.

Leclerc was hauling a cable backwards when he fell through the open hatch of a reservoir at the municipal water filtration plant where he worked, landing 15 metres below.  Leclerc had worked as a blue collar worker for 34 years.

It is with great sadness that we extend our condolences to the friends and family of
Pierre Leclerc.  Workers should never lose their lives while trying to make a living.

New report documents Peterborough waste collection victory

Municipal workers and city officials in Peterborough, Ontario have worked together to keep the city’s solid waste collection public.

This city-union cooperation headed off risky plans to privatize.  The end result is improved services and excellent value for money for Peterborough residents.

It’s all documented in a new CUPE report, Costs and Consequences of Solid Waste Collective Alternatives in Peterborough.

For more information, visit:

Haitian labour leader: solidarity, not charity

Haitian labour leader Dukens Raphael stirred delegates on the final day of CUPE BC’s 47th Annual Convention with a moving speech that called for greater solidarity—not charity—between international civil society organizations and the people they’re trying to help in his earthquake-ravaged country.

Raphael said that the problem with most international aid is that a lot of the money that flows into developing countries like Haiti doesn’t get to the people who need it most.

Raphael paid tribute to CUPE and its members for demonstrating “the kind of solidarity that shows respect for us as the citizens we truly are.  You contacted us to ask us what our needs were.”

CUPE BC President Barry O’Neill announced an additional $20,000.00 donation to assist in the reconstruction effort, half of which comes from the BC Division and the other half from CUPE National.

CUPE and HIV-AIDS: A short video

CUPE has a long history of working to fight the epidemic of HIV and AIDS – but more remains to be done.  A new twelve-minute video filmed in 2009 at CUPE’s national HIV/AIDS strategic planning meeting explores the following questions:

• What is the history of CUPE’s work around HIV/AIDS?
• What are the effects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa?
• How is it affecting Canada’s First Nations?
• Are we, as a country, effectively fighting this disease – or is the government imposing unnecessary obstacles?
• How can CUPE members and citizens make a difference?

The video can be seen online at: http://cupe.ca/hiv/hiv-aids-short-video

:te/cope 491