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MédiaMatin stops the presses!

Friday August 8, 2008 will be the final distribution day for MédiaMatin Québec, the city’s first-ever free newspaper.  The five-day “daily” was created when Journal de Québec workers were locked out of their workplace last April 2007. 

The paper is finally able to stop its presses in the wake of a negotiated settlement and signed agreement between Sun Media Corporation and its 252 Journal de Québec employees.

CUPE’s National Secretary Treasurer Claude Généreux expressed his pride in these members, saying “Friday might be the first day of the Olympics, but today CUPE’s gold medal winners are the 256 Journal de Québec workers who just signed a negotiated contract after 16 months.”

For more information see http://www.mediamatinquebec.com

Tony Clement does not speak for CUPE activists

Canada’s Health Minister Tony Clement embarrassed Canada at the AIDS 2008 Conference in Mexico City by publicly denouncing Insite, Vancouver’s internationally-lauded safe injection site.

Gerry Lavallée, co-chair of CUPE’s Pink Triangle Committee, and Roger Procyk of the National Aboriginal Council, are representing CUPE at the conference.  Both members are angered by Clement’s remarks and say his views do not represent those of the front line activists who work in harm reduction.

In a guide released earlier this week, the World Health Organization identified safe injection sites like Insite as “priority interventions” to help slow the spread of HIV.

For more information, and to read about Gerry and Roger’s experiences and impressions at the international conference, see http://cupe.ca/hiv

CUPE members warn of Bill 77’s dangers

Front line workers in Ontario are raising red flags about new legislation they say will allow private, for-profit brokers to find support workers for individuals and families, who would then take on the role of employer without being subject to the same accountability measures as community-based service agencies.

CUPE’s recommendations to the standing committee include:

• Deleting any reference in the bill to waiting lists and mandating the provision of services and support for any individual deemed eligible;
• Requiring the use of a common assessment tool to determine eligibility in order to ensure consistency across the province; and
• Ensuring that any public monies go only to not-for-profit service providers.

CUPE and City of Belleville reach new collective agreement

The City of Belleville and CUPE 907 have reached a new collective agreement covering the next three years.

Highlights include annual wage increases of 2.75 per cent over three years, improved benefit provisions and increases in some shift premiums and mileage rates that employees incur.  Sick leave language was made clearer, and the two sides created a better process for the return-to-work for injured or disabled employees.

Mayor Neil Ellis welcomed the new agreement, and congratulated both sides for the hard work at the bargaining table.

Southern Rail members discuss pension plan

CUPE members from Southern Railway demonstrated last week that they care about their pensions. 

Close to 60 retired and active members of CUPE Local 7000 took time away from a perfect summer day to meet in Langley and discuss a shortfall in pension plan funding.

The meeting heard from CUPE national representative and pension staff Gary Johnson about the recent actuarial valuation of the Southern Rail pension plan. 

Members voted unanimously to establish a committee to meet with the employer to look at solutions to pension plan problems.  As part of the meeting, members also signed up to participate in a community campaign if necessary.

CUPE Manitoba helps UFCW collect bicycles for migrant workers

UFCW Local 832 has recently ratified a first collective agreement with the migrant agricultural workers at Mayfair Farms in Portage, La Prairie. 

They are a group of approximately 50 seasonal farm workers from Mexico who come to Manitoba each year to work in the vegetable fields, sending money home to improve the lives of their families. 

Their collective agreement is the first one for migrant workers in North America and came after a long struggle, first in front of the Labour Board and then at the bargaining table.

These workers live and work several kilometers outside of Portage, and with transportation at a premium they must walk into town each week for shopping, banking, etc. 

CUPE is helping to spread the word about the need for donations of used bicycles that would be for communal use on the farm. 

For more information contact Jeff Traeger at (204) 786-3175 or jeff.traeger@ufcw832.com.

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