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Setting the Table Bargaining Women’s Equality Conference

CUPE members from across the country will gather in Montréal, Québec February 10-13, 2009 for the national bargaining women’s equality conference Setting the Table.

According to the 2007 National Women’s Task Force Report, the two main objectives of the conference are to build bargaining strength to advance women’s equality, and to set achievable goals on bargaining issues for women.

This is our opportunity to develop a Canada-wide bargaining agenda to move forward on these objectives.

All the registration information will be available on www.cupe.ca by September 15, 2008.  Take advantage of the easy online registration.

Police probe Montréal university P3 deal

Police are probing a public-private real estate development that has driven the Université du Québec à Montréal to the brink of bankruptcy.

The Sûreté du Québec’s criminal investigation comes on the heels of a provincial auditor’s report detailing how senior university officials mismanaged the Îlot Voyageur development and kept others overseeing the project in the dark about the deal’s growing costs.

Québec Auditor General, Renaud Lachance, didn’t mince words in his June report, saying the former rector of the university and two senior managers “showed a lack of transparency and provided incomplete and often inaccurate information” to UQAM, the Université du Québec, and the provincial education ministry.

Conservatives pull Bill C-484

Stephen Harper’s government has abandoned a private member’s bill, Bill C-484, that the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada has been organizing against with the support of CUPE, since it surfaced last year.

The private members bill put forward by Conservative Edmonton MP Ken Epp intended to create a separate offence for killing a fetus when a pregnant woman is murdered.  It would have given an unborn fetus some human rights in these cases, which was of great concern to the pro-choice movement.

Activists felt that the proposed law was not concerned with the roots of violence against women and will only take away women’s rights.

While we celebrate this victory, we will continue to keep an eye on Harper’s government for further attempts to chip away at reproductive rights in Canada.

CUPE Library Services workers ratify a new collective agreement

On Thursday, August 21, members of CUPE local 4705 ratified a new collective agreement with Ontario Library Services North (OLSN). 

The members voted 100% in favour of the settlement.

Wyman MacKinnon, president of CUPE local 4705, was glad that discussions finally came to a positive outcome.  “This was a very difficult round of bargaining” said MacKinnon.  “Our people have been subjected to concessions for the past twelve years.  I’m glad the members stood together this time around and that we were able to achieve a fair agreement.”

Gains made include cellular phones and adequate vehicles, as well as pay increases in line with inflation and the rising cost of living, and travel per diems that actually cover travelling expenses.

BC hospitals lose ‘unsung heroes’ to privatization

More than 53 experienced trades and maintenance workers will lose their jobs as British Columbia’s Interior Health Authority (IHA) pushes ahead with its public-private partnership expansion plans for Vernon Jubilee and Kelowna General Hospitals.

The workers are members of the Hospital Employees’ Union, CUPE’s BC health services division.  They include electricians, plumbers, power engineers, electronic technicians, and other maintenance workers, who are responsible for ensuring that hospital systems and equipment are well maintained and quickly repaired with little disruption to patients and other staff.

An HEU-commissioned poll taken in the Vernon-Kelowna area in June 2007 found that 80% of respondents thought that the IHA should reject government’s direction to privatize services if it felt that doing so would put patient care and safety at risk.  And 87% thought that patient safety and quality of care should be the top priorities when making decisions regarding the $200 million P3 project.

CUPE deal at Mile One Centre

The fate of Mile One Centre in St. John’s is looking somewhat more secure, with the signing of a new three-year deal by Local 569-01.

The 569-01 membership voted 96% in favour of the agreement which contains a 4% retroactive increase dating back to July 2007, another 4% retroactive to July of this year and an additional 2% starting July 2009, for a total increase of 10%.

CUPE Local 569-01 represents power engineers, maintenance staff, office staff, box office staff, and conversion crews.

Iran’s lashing sentences anger CUPE leaders

News of whippings and unjust jail terms for Iranian trade unionists has prompted CUPE national leaders to write again to the president of Iran.

We are appalled to learn of the recent whipping sentences and jail terms against labour activists in Iran,” wrote National President Paul Moist and National Secretary-Treasurer Claude Généreux in a letter to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dated August 20.

CUPE’s sources report that Sousan Razani and Shiva Kheirabadi were sentenced to four months each in prison and 15 lashes, Abdullah Khani was sentenced to 91 days and 40 lashes, and Seyed Qaleb Hosseini was sentenced to six months and 50 lashes.

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