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Supporters rally behind Toronto strikers

Hundreds of supporters weathered record-breaking heat this week at a rally to support CUPE Locals 416 and 79 in Toronto.

The two locals - more than 24,000 members - went on strike June 22 over the City’s continued demands for concessions on benefits, wages, and seniority.

We didn’t pick this fight with the City, and we hope it won’t be a long one,” said
CUPE 79 President Ann Dembinski.

CUPE 416 President Mark Ferguson encouraged strikers to stand strong for future City workers.  “It’s through your solidarity that our children and the children of future generations will be able to enjoy the same benefits we do,” he said.

Québec backs away from P3s

The departure of a top privatization promoter in Québec signals the government’s retreat from P3s.

Québec P3 agency President Pierre Lefebvre resigned this week.  Half the agency’s board has left in recent months without being replaced – a sign the agency could be destined for the scrap heap, along with several major projects.

As one analyst says, the Charest government will cloak its next steps as ‘reflecting on the future’ of the P3 formula, but what’s unfolding is a “first class funeral” for P3s in the province.

Anti-P3 momentum has been building in the province for months, and several key government ministers have backed away from previous support for the schemes.

BC Paramedics apply for arbitration

CUPE 873 President John Strohmaier asked BC Health Minister Kevin Falcon to appoint an arbitrator this week to end the BC paramedics’ three-month strike.

The 3,500 members of CUPE 873 have been on strike since April 1 for faster ambulance response times, better staffing levels, wage parity with other emergency responders, and
a multi-year contract.

The union has repeatedly tried to get their employer to stay at the negotiating table.

The paramedics, Strohmaier wrote, are “simply asking for the same process afforded police officers and firefighters.”

Windsor strike gets financial boost

Claude Généreux was in Windsor this week to deliver a big cheque to CUPE Locals 82 and 543, on strike since April.

Généreux walked the picket lines with City of Windsor workers and presented the locals’ leaders with a cheque for more than $250,000.00, half raised from locals at the Ontario Division convention, half a matching contribution from CUPE National.

Généreux also announced that CUPE would cover benefit costs for Local 82 and 543 members for the remainder of the strike.

Strike: the play in Winnipeg

Over 5,000 people attended the latest performance of Strike in front of Winnipeg City Hall, the site of the main confrontations of the 1919 General Strike.

The play, written and directed by Danny Schur, is a dramatization of events during
June 1919 when 35,000 workers in the city and their supporters stopped work.  Myron Sokoloski was killed during one battle with police.

CUPE members volunteered at the event and helped raise over $3,000.00 by ‘passing the hat’.

Halton, Ontario Catholic School board plans to contract out cleaners

The Catholic School Board in Halton, ON has voted to contract out cleaning in three schools and replace full time employees with part time workers in others.

Our members are the eyes and ears of the schools,” said CUPE 2888 President David Langdon.

Our members know the students, staff and the parents and can spot strangers in schools,” he said, noting that putting contractors in would make schools less safe.

The union plans to contact parents of children in the affected schools to share their concerns around safety and encourage them to contact the board.

Flight attendants tentative deal with Air Canada

CUPE’s Air Canada Component reached a tentative agreement with Air Canada
June 22 that renews their contract for 21 months.

We are pleased to announce that a tentative agreement has been achieved.  Our next step will be to present this agreement to our members for ratification,” said CUPE’s Air Canada Component President Katherine Thompson.

NEB resolution supports local purchasing

CUPE’s National Executive Board has voted to support local purchasing by municipal and provincial governments.

The resolution responds to the backlash from corporate Canada and the Harper government against “Buy America” provisions in the U.S. stimulus plan.

In fact, the US has had “Buy America” policies since 1933.  But opponents are using America’s so-called “protectionist” policies to lock provinces and municipalities into free trade agreements.

A better option is to encourage municipalities to “buy Canadian” and purchase goods and services with as much Canadian content as possible.

The full resolution is here: http://cupe.ca/trade/Resolution-supports

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