CUPE to provincial finance ministers: resist Flaherty
Paul Moist is calling on provincial finance ministers to resist pressure from Federal Minister Flaherty to adopt his agenda of corporate tax cuts, harmonizing the GST, deregulation and privatization of public services.
“We need increased direct investments in infrastructure and public services to strengthen our economy and to increase economic security for ordinary Canadians,” said Moist.
Provincial finance ministers also need to resist pressure from Minister Flaherty to join TILMA or any other regime that restricts the ability of provincial governments to protect the public interest.
Moist also said Canada needed regulation and enforcement in the financial industry.
“Minister Flaherty needs to demonstrate that a national securities regulator would really protect the interests, savings and pensions of hardworking Canadians,” Moist said.
Harper must act on climate change
CUPE called on Stephen Harper to embrace the initiatives to reduce green house gases being discussed in Bali, Indonesia this week.
Governments also need to work with labour and non-governmental organizations to develop a just transition program aimed at mitigating the potential displacement of workers.
“The moment is now – there can be no better time than right now for Stephen Harper’s government to commit to a reduction in green house gases and implement an action plan that considers the needs of working Canadians and their municipalities,” said Moist.
Ontario re-introduces competitive bidding to home care.
The Ontario government has lifted a three-year moratorium on competitive bidding for the provision of home care services.
CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan said the move has already had a disastrous effect on workers.
Ryan says that the introduction of competitive bidding in the home care sector created a low-paying ghetto for workers, many of whom are women from racialized communities.
When a number of community non-profit agencies lost contracts, some home care workers with these agencies had no choice but to take jobs at much lower wages with the for-profit companies that won the contracts.
“Why would the Minister of Health lift the moratorium on competitive bidding just as the Ontario government is embarking on a poverty reduction strategy?” adds Ryan.
Criminal complaint in Bécancour port accident
CUPE Québec has filed a criminal complaint against management at the port of Bécancour after a dock worker lost a leg in an accident.
The December 3 accident occurred when a mooring cable snapped and struck one worker, severing one leg and breaking the other in three places.
The union believes the employer’s failings are serious enough to warrant criminal charges.
Since June, the local union - CUPE 1375 - has been demanding training sessions, safety procedures and the creation of a crew chief position for docking maneouvers.
The crew chief - a position that exists at port facilities in Trois Rivières - is in constant radio contact with the ship’s pilot and can react immediately if problems arise.
But the employer refused the union’s requests, judging them to be too expensive.
Top architect dumps P3 hospital
Renowned architect Moshe Safdie has quit as key designer of a Montreal P3 hospital.
Safdie, who designed Habitat 67 and the National Gallery of Canada, resigned as designer of the McGill University Health Centre hospital in the first week of December, saying P3s are “highly problematic” and will lead to “cutting corners”.
Safdie and his Boston-based firm were hired before the Quebec government decided to build the hospital as a P3.
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Ontario injured workers look to fix Harris-era damage
Injured workers in Ontario have seen their compensation rates drop 20 per cent since 1997. Meanwhile, employers had their workers compensation premiums drop 25 per cent over the same period.
The Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups held rallies across the province with partner organizations, including CUPE Ontario.
CUPE Ontario Secretary-Treasurer Fred Hahn said the McGuinty government must provide full restitution to injured workers if it’s to prove it’s serious about reducing poverty.
* Repay the 20 per cent earnings losses incurred by injured workers over the last decade.
* Give injured workers who cannot return to their jobs actual lost wages, not a “deemed” or “determined” amount.
* Examine employer incentives to reduce their accident rates.
* Make WSIB coverage mandatory for all Ontario workers regardless.
NS government times anti-strike law “perfectly”
Nova Scotia premier Rodney MacDonald postponed a planned vote this week on his government’s proposed law that would ban strikes in the health care sector.
CUPE Nova Scotia president Danny Cavanagh described the move as “cowardly and cynical”.
“After putting 32,000 health and community care workers through eight months of uncertainty over the fate of this legislation, to then not have the courage of your own convictions to bring the bill forward speaks volumes about the character of this government,” he said.
Onlookers expect the bill to reappear if and when hospital workers - currently in bargaining with hospital administrations - take a strike vote.