CUPE to step up efforts to win pension reform
With federal and provincial finance ministers recently agreeing to further negotiations to expand CPP benefits, Paul Moist says unions continue to make progress to win improved retirement incomes for all Canadian workers.
“We will need to lobby provincial governments to win their support for expanded CPP benefits,” says Moist. “And we must boost pressure on the Harper government to increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement to lift hundreds of thousands of low income retirees out of poverty.”
Moist says provincial backing is vital if reforms are to be won because of the CPP amendment formula. Two-thirds of provinces representing two-thirds of the population must sign on for any change to be implemented.
New bank tax fair way for financial industry to pay share of economic meltdown costs
CUPE’s National Executive Board recently passed a resolution to campaign and lobby for the new taxes on banks and financial institutions, and is calling on the Canadian government to stop putting its efforts into derailing international dialogue on a bank tax.
“This is a chance of a lifetime for countries to work together to create a system of global governance that would insulate working people at home and abroad from the repercussions of another financial crisis,” says Paul Moist.
Read more about CUPE’s position:
CUPE, AFN lay groundwork for closer cooperation
In an historic meeting, leaders of CUPE and Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Grand Chief Shawn Atleo have pledged to work together in practical ways to get things done to improve social and economic conditions for First Nations people.
Atleo met June 17 with CUPE’s National Executive Board—the first time a formal meeting between the two groups has taken place.
Atleo sought CUPE’s support for efforts to boost post-secondary and skills training opportunities for First Nations youth, and to press the Harper government to ratify the UN charter on the rights of indigenous people. Canada and the U.S. are the only two states in the world that have refused to do so.
P.E.I. leadership on child care an example for others
CUPE says the government of Prince Edward Island is to be congratulated for showing leadership with its new Preschool Excellence Initiative.
“Premier Ghiz and his government have embraced the need to guarantee a quality system of Early Childhood Learning and Care (ECEC) that is accessible and sustainable—something we’ve long advocated for,” said Paul Moist.
P.E.I. is the first province to implement an ECEC system for preschool children aged four and under, and will open 20 early learning centres for September 2010 and 20 more in 2011.
Funding for the Canadian Council for International Cooperation is threatened
Federal funding for CCIC, Canada’s pre-eminent coalition to end global poverty, is threatened. Cutting off funding for CCIC means that a critical and well-respected voice for the world’s poor risks being silenced.
“Our union has increasingly supported international aid and development. Our work has grown in response to our members’ desire to advocate for the poor both at home and abroad,” said Paul Moist.
CUPE represents workers at a number of international development organizations including CCIC staff.
For more information, visit CIDA Funding to CCIC Threatened – Take Action:
Don’t let the Conservatives win on gun control
After weeks of testimony at the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety from groups representing doctors, police, police chiefs, unions, victims of domestic violence, and women’s shelters – all in support of maintaining Canada’s national gun registry – Members of Parliament were poised to vote on Bill C-391 this month. However, the final vote on whether to scrap the gun registry is now scheduled for September 2010.
CUPE members are encouraged to contact the twelve NDP Members of Parliament who voted with the government on the bill in November, 2009, in support of strong gun control laws in Canada and the gun registry.
Join CUPE at the G8/G20 People’s Summit
The Group of Eight world leaders and the Group of 20 world leaders are meeting in Toronto, Ontario from June 25-27. This meeting provides a unique opportunity for the community and labour to come together to educate, empower, and ignite positive change.
A list of event details and ways CUPE members can participate in Toronto or from across Canada is available on the CUPE website and the People’s Summit 2010 website at http://peoplessummit2010.ca/section/8.
Western municipal workers share strategies and solidarity
More than 140 workers from cities and towns in western Canada met in Regina June 10-12 to share strategies for negotiating in the current economic climate, dealing with the municipal infrastructure deficit, expanding public pensions, and protecting public services.
CUPE economist Toby Sanger outlined the economic boost that public sector jobs and services deliver. He also dismantled right-wing attacks on public sector wages – attacks which don’t stand up to economists’ scrutiny.
Read the presentation: http://cupe.ca/updir/Western_Municipal_Workers_Conference_June_2010-with_notes.pdf.
Sainte-Anne-de-Madawaska Municipal employees locked out
The employees of the Village of Sainte-Anne-de-Madawaska, NB, Local 4576, were locked out on June 16 by the village council.
The municipality wants to freeze salaries, reduce benefits, and eliminate jobs, in addition to going after the seniority and guaranteed hours of work clause in the collective agreement.
The collective agreement of Local 4576 expired in December 2009.
Canadian North flight attendants join CUPE
Earlier in June, the Canadian Industrial Relations Board granted a certificate to CUPE to represent the flight attendants of Canadian North.
These 99 flight attendants, with bases in Edmonton and Calgary, previously negotiated with their employer as an independent association. CUPE will work with them to ensure they can do their jobs safely and to improve their working conditions.
CUPE urges Town of Ignace to resume negotiations
Municipal workers in Ignace, Ontario are urging management negotiators to resume contract talks after the employer asked the Ministry of Labour to start the countdown to a legal lockout or strike deadline after just one day of conciliation talks.
Management negotiators are seeking contract concessions that would include contracting out two part-time positions and stripping away employee benefits from part-time workers.
CUPE Local 87 represents 12 municipal workers in the Town of Ignace, including custodial, office/clerical, landfill, arena, and public works employees.
Sudbury municipal workers conclude tentative agreement with City
CUPE Local 4705, representing 1,400 municipal workers with the City of Greater Sudbury, reached a tentative agreement on June 7.
Details of the agreement will not be discussed until it has been reviewed and ratified by CUPE 4705 members.
Red Cross threats, intimidation push drivers to strike
More than 40 drivers for Red Cross Mississauga-Halton in Ontario are on strike following an employer campaign of threats and intimidation.
Picket lines went up on June 7 by the group of low-paid workers who are trying to achieve their first collective agreement.
SickKids Hospital workers join CUPE
Over 300 healthcare workers from the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto recently voted to join CUPE over issues of fairness, equity, and job protection.
These part-time and casual service employees will join their full-time counterparts already represented by CUPE 2816.
In Ontario, CUPE represents 60,000 hospital workers.
Powell River community forms Water Watch Coalition
Several concerned Powell River, B.C. community groups have come together to form the Powell River Water Watch Coalition.
These groups were shocked by the City of Powell River’s surprise announcement last April that they had reached an agreement in principle with Catalyst Paper for, among other things, co-treatment of municipal sewage in the Catalyst Powell River mill.
The Water Watch coalition includes CUPE Local 798 (Powell River municipal, regional and library workers), the local chapter of the Council of Canadians and the three ratepayers associations – Townsite, Wildwood, and Cranberry, as well as the local chapter of the Sierra Club.