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After the apology, action is needed

CUPE sent a letter this week to Prime Minister
Stephen Harper acknowledging the important apology he made to First Nations people this week for the residential school program.

But the union’s national leaders noted that actions will now be the measure of the sincerity of the federal government’s apology.

After all, Paul Moist and Claude Généreux said, we have a long way to go:

• In more than 100 First Nations communities across Canada, water must be boiled before it can be used.
• Fifty-four percent of Aboriginal children live in housing Statistics Canada deems substandard.
• One in four children in First Nations communities lives in poverty.

CUPE calls on the Harper government to immediately:

• move on the Assembly of First Nations’ “7 Point Plan for Change” for meaningful steps towards addressing the needs of First Nations people;
• increase funding, awareness, and action on the Sisters in Spirit campaign of the Native Women’s Association of Canada; and
• revive the Kelowna Accord, declare a commitment to bring it to effect, and reconvene the same participants to negotiate and oversee the process.

Harsh internal trade rules not needed

This week Canada’s provincial internal trade ministers decided to institute court orders and monetary fines of up to $5 million for ‘violations’ of trade rules.

What real trade barriers justify measures that would so drastically undermine democracy?”  Paul Moist asked.

Since the Agreement on Internal Trade was first implemented in the early 1990s, compliance by provinces has been voluntary.

As with TILMA, decisions on whether or not provinces are in violation would be rendered by private arbitration panels.

Moist at CAW conference

Paul Moist delivered a message of solidarity to delegates at the Canadian Auto Workers 2008 Bargaining and Political Action conference in Toronto this week.

After a visit to the CAW line at the GM Canada headquarters in Oshawa, Moist spoke to convention delegates pledging CUPE members’ full support for the struggle to the tide of job losses in the auto and other manufacturing sectors.

We will be with you and we will work with you to defeat those who refuse to help you,” he said.

Retrain Bridgepoint Hospital support workers, Paul Moist tells rally

Bridgepoint Hospital must work with its union to retrain the more than 200 personal service providers it plans to lay-off, Paul Moist told a rally in Toronto this week.

These workers – mostly women – have dedicated themselves to providing the most basic, intimate personal care to Bridgepoint Hospital patients and now management has decided to simply get rid of them,” Moist said.

The hospital wants to replace the support workers with licensed practical nurses.

CUPE 79 President Ann Dembinski pointed out that ten years ago the hospital brought in personal support workers to replace nurses.

Brockville part-time bus drivers join CUPE

Part-time bus drivers with the city of Brockville have voted to join CUPE.

They will belong to the same union as the full-time drivers (CUPE local 115), but may negotiate a separate collective agreement.

Local 115 president Jason Barlow welcomes the new members.  “We are looking forward to helping them in any way we can so they get the respect and fairness they deserve.  And we will all work together to keep the Brockville transit system accountable to the public.”

Durham school board workers stop EA cuts

Durham District School Board workers have saved 19 educational assistant positions the board had planned to cut by September.

CUPE 218, representing over 2,500 school board workers, mounted a campaign to stop the cuts.  The local mobilized members, worked with community groups and concerned parents and reached out to the media to publicize the issue.

Following a strong public response to CUPE’s campaign, the board rescinded their decision to cut the 19 EAs for the next school year and will now assess the entire situation.

This is a victory for our community – quality education won,” said CUPE 218 president Don Bryans.  “We want to thank the community for their strong support.”

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