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Harper’s budget undercuts pay equity rights

The Harper conservative’s budget bill also includes a proposed law that would deny public sector workers the right to file complaints on pay equity with the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

The bill, the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act, bans unions from pursuing pay equity issues with the commission.  Individuals can still - at their own expense - pursue claims, but without support from their union, this ability is almost meaningless.

CUPE is supporting the CLC’s call for online action to pressure Members of Parliament to take the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act out of the budget legislation and dealt with on its own after proper public consultation.

To add your voice, visit: www.cupe.ca/action/pay-equity-budget

CUPE National opposes OUWCC resolution on Israel boycott

CUPE National does not support the resolution passed by the Ontario University Workers Coordinating Committee (OUWCC) of CUPE Ontario on February 22, 2009, Paul Moist announced this week.

The resolution does not represent CUPE National policy.

CUPE’s national policy on the Middle East was fully debated and adopted at our 2003 National Convention and reaffirmed at the 2007 National Convention.

That policy states that we:

• demand that the Israeli Government immediately withdraw from the occupied territories and abide by UN Resolutions 242 and 338;
• call for and actively work towards an end to all acts of violence that take the lives of innocent people, whether they be Palestinian or Israeli; and,
• help develop a peace process based on equality between Israelis and Palestinians and based on the implementation of United Nations resolutions and international law.

National school boards meeting convenes next week

Renowned author Barbara Coloroso will highlight next week’s national meeting of CUPE school board sector workers in Regina.

The internationally recognized speaker and author in the areas of parenting, teaching, school discipline, non-violent conflict resolution, and reconciliatory justice will give the keynote address.

Delegates are also expected to discuss declining enrolment, per-pupil funding formulas, workload and unpaid work, increased supervision and responsibilities, recruitment and retention problems, violence in schools, adopting green cleaning products and other issues.

CUPE hopes to post results of the conference after it adjourns March 4.

Did Nova Scotia and New Brunswick just hatch their own TILMA?

As the premiers of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia announced the Partnership on Regulation and Economy this week, CUPE and its coalition partners are wondering about the deal’s real purpose.

CUPE New Brunswick President Daniel Légère says, “We want a commitment from both these premiers that this inter-provincial trade agreement will not undermine labour standards.”  “When they talk about ‘harmonizing’ employment standards, does that mean moving them up or down?” he asks.

Council of Canadians regional organizer Angela Giles argues that if the Atlantic agreement is modelled on BC and Alberta’s Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement, it could serve to lower standards rather than improving them.

CUPE Québec convention to go green

CUPE Québec’s upcoming convention will be environmentally friendly and carbon-neutral, the division announced this week.

CUPE Québec will be encouraging delegates to use carpooling and public transport to come to the meeting.

To determine the carbon footprint of the convention, delegates will be asked about how they got to the convention when they register.

The union has contracted with an environmental assessment company to calculate the fossil fuels used to bring the convention together and will purchase carbon credits or plant trees to compensate.

The union will also be vigilantly collecting and recycling all paper distributed at the convention and will make recycling bins widely available for plastic.

The union is also encouraging delegates to bring a reusable water bottle to avoid consuming bottled water. 

Alberta paramedics worried about service in restructuring

Alberta is restructuring its ambulance services and CUPE paramedics are worried about the quality of service.

We believe this could put the future and quality of ambulance service in Alberta at stake” says CUPE 3421 president Rick Fraser.

The union is asking for a separate bargaining unit for paramedics.  “We have a critical voice that must be heard.  We need a seat at the table,” he said.

Fraser said the province needs to address waiting times and the shortage of trained emergency medical staff.

Health Care Workers Ratify Collective Agreement

Manitoba health care workers have voted 85% in favour of a new collective agreement.

Darrin Cook, Chair of the Provincial Health Care Council said “it was a difficult and long bargaining process but the bargaining team put in the effort to get the best deal possible.”

The agreement features wage increases of 2.9% for each of four years and an increase in the employer’s contribution to the benefits package.

:te/cope 491