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CUPE 82 and 543 settle with Windsor

CUPE 82 and 543 members have approved a tentative agreement reached Jul. 23 with the City of Windsor, ON, ending a three month strike.

Said Paul Moist:  “The solidarity and strength of the members of locals 82 and 543 led to this settlement which contains major improvements over the employer’s offer prior to the strikes.”

“More importantly,” Moist added, “our members in Windsor have sent a message to all employers that notwithstanding the recession, CUPE members will fightback against outrageous concessionary demands. Their courage in this struggle has benefitted all CUPE members and on behalf of our entire union I salute their courage and solidarity.”

Moist encouraged locals to send cash donations to the CUPE National Office to help the many families in need after 100 days on strike.

Don’t pledge Air Canada’s landing slots

CUPE is asking Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to stop Air Canada from pledging its landing slots to a group of private lenders.

Air Canada is seeking a $600 million loan from a group of private financiers and the federal government. The company wants to use the landing slots to back the loan.

But Air Canada Component President Katherine Thompson said the government should provide the entire loan instead. That way Canada would still control the landing slots if the airline failed or filed for bankruptcy protection.

“Without these slots, Canada would no longer be capable of supporting an international carrier,” Thompson said.

West Nipissing ambulances to stay public

The ambulance service in Ontario’s West Nipissing district will remain a public service, its administrators have decided.

This is a resounding success for our community,” says CUPE 1101 president and paramedic Denis Allard.  “Our campaign generated a huge amount of pressure, and the Board got the message to keep our emergency medical services public.”

A private company, Medivie had bid on the service but North Bay General Hospital’s bid won out.

Allard noted that the details were yet to be worked out, including keeping an ambulance hub in West Nipissing and the question of 24-hour coverage.

BC Paramedics wear protest T-shirts despite threats

BC’s paramedics are striking in more ways than one these days.

The 3500 members of CUPE 873 have been on strike for 114 days. Essential service legislation keeps them on the job, but they’ve started wearing protest t-shirts to remind the government that they are still on strike.

Despite threats of discipline for being ‘out of uniform’ on the job, the paramedics are still wearing the shirts.

It’s really pathetic that, during a staffing crisis, the employer would consider sending someone home just for wearing a T-shirt,” says B.J. Chute, director of Public Education for CUPE 873.

The paramedics are on strike over chronic understaffing and long response times.

Winnipeg votes for corporate water utility

Winnipeg city council voted 10-6 Jul. 22 to set up a corporate utility to manage its water and wastewater services.

The utility opens the door to public-private partnerships the city calls “strategic partners” to design, build, finance and operate services.

CUPE 500 had lobbied politicians and mobilized members and the public to oppose the change in management. While the local said a public utility could meet city needs, a corporate utility would risk quality of service and increased costs.

Contractor hits Lanark ACL picketer

A man drove a truck through a CUPE 1521-02 picket line Jul. 20, hitting one picketer.

The CUPE member received medical attention for an injured arm and wrist.  She continues to have pain and discomfort.

CUPE 1521-02 has been on strike against Lanark Association for Community Living since Jul. 4.

Witnesses said a truck approached a picket line at the employer’s Carleton Place head office. The driver threatened to run people over if they didn’t move. Then he accelerated, struck the CUPE member with his vehicle and drove off without stopping.

We have zero tolerance for these kinds of intimidation tactics,” says Karen Bowes, Unit Chair of CUPE 1521-02.  “These are human beings on the picket lines who have to look after their families at the end of the day, so a little respect goes a long way.”