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Federal action needed for airlines

Federal transport minister Lawrence Cannon needs to intervene to save jobs at Air Canada, CUPE says.

The outlook for the industry is serious, but we are suspicious about the emphasis, timing, and intent of this announcement,” Paul Moist said.

Airline industry expert Joseph D’Cruz told CBC “there is no evidence that Air Canada is in serious difficulty.”

Air Canada Component President Lesley Swann asked Air Canada to let employees use the voluntary separation provisions in their contract.

Air Canada flight attendants have already given up 10% of their wages and a week of their holidays, among other things - to keep the company flying.

Federal action needed for manufacturing sector too

CAW members in Oshawa, Ontario spent two weeks barricading General Motors’ headquarters this month after the company said it would close a truck plant and eliminate 2,600 jobs.

Two weeks earlier, the company signed a collective agreement committing to operate the plant for three more years.

Paul Moist said General Motors deserves blame for making agreements it did not intend to keep, but said the Stephen Harper government and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty were responsible because they’ve done nothing to address the crisis in the manufacturing sector.

Meanwhile, the Harper government spends $8 billion a year to subsidize the oil and gas industry.

Moist congratulated the workers for their efforts to bring the issue to the attention of the public, and promised CUPE’s support for their ongoing struggle.

Toronto library workers get equity deal

Wages at Toronto’s public libraries are going up anywhere from 15 cents per hour to $4.22 per hour after CUPE 416 and the library signed a pay equity settlement last week.

The year-long job evaluation process also set a floor wage that means the library’s 119 lowest-paid workers (shelvers and pages) no longer earn poverty-level wages.

The settlement - which is retroactive to 2004 - will be worth $20 million over the first five years after it’s in place.

Québec City hospital board flirts with P3s again

P3 critics urged the board of the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Québec (CHUQ) to stay away from public-private partnerships this week.

The board had been speaking publicly against a P3.  But they reversed their stance.

The sudden change drove CUPE representative Carl Dubé to resign from the board.

The request for proposals hasn’t been issued, the contracts haven’t been signed and already the workers’ representative is being cut out of the loop, even though I was a board member,” he said.

Toronto Hydro Telecom sale is lost opportunity

Toronto Hydro’s decision to sell Toronto Hydro Telecom to Cogeco is a breach of the public trust and a lost opportunity for both the city and its residents.

We are extremely disappointed that Toronto is losing ownership of this valuable public asset,” said CUPE 1 spokesperson Paul Kahnert.

Kahnert said Toronto city council should have been involved in the decision to sell.

OCHU fears hospital cuts may risk patient health

Ontario Council of Hospital Unions president Michael Hurley warned the provincial government that health care cutbacks may be hazardous to patient health.

Hurley argued that the government’s funding cutbacks are translating into lowered cleaning standards and higher occupancy rates.

The Rouge Valley Health System proposes cutting 220 health providers - 24 of them cleaning staff - and 36 hospital beds, while pushing its bed occupancy levels from 82 per cent to 95 per cent.

After 62 patients died from a C. difficile outbreak at Burlington’s Joseph Brant Hospital, the hospital set a standard of cleaning each patient’s room twice a day and spent an additional $1 million on hiring more cleaning staff and providing them with better disinfectant.

CUPE backs federal workers’ bargaining

Federal government workers will hold rallies June 19 to back their demands for a better contract.

Paul Moist spoke to an Ottawa rally.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada has been in bargaining with Treasury Board for over a year.

The PSAC’s demands include:

• protections for quality public services;
• protections against discrimination in the workplace; and
• enhanced job security for federal employees.

The Harper government has rejected these demands and has tabled a wage package well below inflation and cost of living standards.

CUPE launches new poster on National Aboriginal Day

CUPE has produced a new poster to coincide with National Aboriginal Day.

The poster uses a combination of words, archival and modern images of struggle to connect the history of aboriginal people with contemporary issues.

To get your free poster, order online, email CUPE National’s Equality branch, or write to us at:

Equality, CUPE National
1375 St. Laurent Blvd.
Ottawa, Ontario
K1G 0Z7

te/cope 491