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Coalition work just beginning

Shortly after obtaining permission from the Governor General to prorogue parliament December 4, Prime Minister Stephen Harper left town.

While the Conservatives have only managed to prolong their dying days, the movement for a Liberal-NDP coalition government is just getting started.

Thousands of Canadians cheered as Jack Layton, Stéphane Dion and Gilles Duceppe addressed supporters at a rally on Parliament Hill Thursday afternoon.

Thousands more Canadians attended Coalition Yes! rallies on Thursday evening in Vancouver, Trail, Nelson, Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg, London, St. John’s, Halifax, Charlottetown and Moncton.  Supporters will gather in Thunder Bay, Yellowknife, and Whitehorse on Friday and in Montréal, Sudbury and Toronto on Saturday.

For the 62% of Canadians who did not vote for Stephen Harper, our work towards a stronger, more cooperative government is just beginning.

Canadians who want to see change must use the next month and a half to support the leaders who have worked together to unify parliament.

Ontario school board workers ratify coordinated deal

More than 50,000 Ontario school board workers have ratified a coordinated bargaining agreement that will see wage increases of 3% per year for the next four years.

The agreement, ratified November 30, covers 105 bargaining units and also includes gains in benefit plans, working hours and staffing.

It’s a proud occasion and an important achievement” said Terri Preston, Chair of the CUPE Ontario School Board Coordinating Committee (OSBCC).

Preston paid tribute to all the leaders of the locals, their servicing staff, and area reps on the OSBCC, as well as with the special “flying squad” of PDT specialists who pulled out all stops to complete the bargaining process. 

CUPE Ontario calls for standards of care

With long term care workers rallying outside, CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan presented a brief to the province’s pre-budget consultations this week.

Ryan noted the Liberal government promised a “revolution” in long-term care, but has so far refused to introduce the minimum care standards that residents need.

We call on the Liberals to honour previous funding commitments for long-term care so care levels rise, and to create a staffing regulation to ensure the extra money actually translates into extra hours of hands-on care for residents.”

Emergency dispatchers to shadow Charest

Montréal’s emergency dispatchers will follow Québec Premier Jean Charest’s bus during the last few days of the Québec election campaign in their own “election” bus.

It’s a priority issue for us.  These employees have been without a contract since December 2003,” said CUPE Québec Regional Director Michel Poirier.  “Their salaries have fallen way behind those of EMRs in Canada’s other large cities, and they earn 32% less than 9-1-1 technicians at the City of Montreal.”

Arlette Alcock plays for CUPE BC aboriginal group

CUPE BC’s Aboriginal Working Group got a command performance this week when Métis performer and CUPE 15 member Arlette Alcock picked up her acoustic guitar and played a few songs at the group’s meeting.

Alcock won a Songwriter of the Year award at this year’s Native-E Music Awards in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

At the AWG meeting, she shared stories of her life growing up in a family wounded by residential school abuse, sang an upbeat union song, and entertained AWG members with the satirical and saucy “Kitsilano Boys”.

PEI nursing homes stay public

The PEI government has scrapped its plans to privatize new nursing homes.

Under pressure from a broad coalition of health care workers and other community members, the province’s treasurer announced the homes will be public.

A year ago, the government announced it was looking at privatizing the homes – known on the Island as manors – through a public private partnership.  The public response was quick and widespread.

CUPE Ledger for Local Financial Officers

The electronic versions of the CUPE Ledger are back online.

Using Excel 2003, the ledgers total columns, insert information needed for treasurer’s reports, budget sheets and reports to trustees.  You will find an explanation of what to put in each column in the Handbook for Financial Officers.

Download the ledger here:

:te/cope 491