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Everyone has the right to a decent pension: Moist

We are experiencing a national pension crisis,” CUPE National President Paul Moist told a crowd over breakfast in Saskatoon this week.  Over 200 members gathered in the city for CUPE Saskatchewan’s division convention.

Moist says there are several factors that will change the retirement landscape for this generation and the next.  A wave of baby boom retirees will add strain to Canada’s retirement system, and the economic downturn has devastated many Canadians’ retirement savings.  Meanwhile, some companies are exiting pension plans altogether, or moving to inferior plans.

Approximately 70% of CUPE members are covered.  Our ultimate goal is to make sure that 100% of our members have decent pension plans.  And that those who have good plans keep them.”

Moist says the best way to fix Canada’s pension crisis is by strengthening the Canada Pension Plan.

As part of a CUPE’s national campaign on pensions, Moist will be meeting with members, media, politicians, and interest groups across the country to raise awareness about Canada’s looming pension crisis, and to work together to find solutions.

CUPE Celebrates: 2009 year in review

The sixth issue of CUPE Celebrates reports on the efforts of CUPE and its members in 2009.  CUPE’s membership continued to grow in the last year, passing the 600,000 mark - underlining the importance of public services and the significant role our members play in delivering services and influencing our country’s economic stability.

The 2009 issue of CUPE Celebrates brings many stories from the communities that CUPE members serve, and provides some of the significant statistics that reflect key victories.

Download a copy of CUPE Celebrates: http://cupe.ca/updir/Celebrate_2009_low_res.pdf

UN Convention on rights of persons with disabilities ratified

Finally, after a three year delay, Canada has ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the UN headquarters in New York.  The decision comes on the eve of the Paralympic Games in Vancouver.

This means that the government of Canada is committed to promoting and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities,” said Ray Smith, co-chair of CUPE’s Persons with Disabilities National Working Group (PWDNWG ).  “CUPE has long been pushing for Canada to ratify the Convention and to take a proactive role in ensuring our full participation in society.”

Peel long-term care workers fight cuts, concessions as talks begin

On behalf of 800 workers in Peel Region long-term care centres, CUPE Ontario says it is looking for respectful treatment from the employer when negotiations resume tomorrow with the help of a provincially-appointed conciliator.

“This employer continues to show a lack of respect for the mostly women workers who have the greatest care of our region’s seniors,” said Mary Jo Falle, president of CUPE 966.  “We have been fighting to get pay equity owed to our members and now we have to fight off concessions at the bargaining table.”

The parties met four times before the union requested a conciliator appointed by the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Falle said.  The major issues are benefit concessions that the employer is demanding from workers at Peel Manor, Sheridan Villa, Malton Village, and Tall Pines.  For its part, the union is seeking additional staffing.

CUPE Local 416 copes with tragedy

In a statement, TCEU Local 416 President Mark Ferguson said:

The members of Toronto Civic Employees Union Local 416, CUPE, are mourning the loss of one co-worker and hoping for the speedy recovery of another.

On behalf of all members, and especially those who work in the city’s solid waste department, I send sincere condolences to the family and friends of our departed brother.

The work our members perform is often dangerous.  We put tremendous effort into ensuring their health and safety on the job because we know the hazards that they face every day.

I also want to thank the city’s emergency responders for their efforts, especially those from Toronto EMS who assisted in the rescue and care of their union brothers.

Local 416 will work with our employer and Ministry of Labour investigators to find the cause of this terrible accident and continue working to prevent workplace injuries and deaths in the future.”

Water privatization a health risk for women

A new study underscores the dangers of water privatization for women’s health in Canada and around the world.

The report, Women and Water in Canada: The Significance of Privatization and Commercialization Trends for Women’s Health, was prepared by the National Network on Environments and Women’s’ Health (NNEWH).

Access to clean, safe drinking water is a central determinant of health in Canada, as it is all over the world.  As the primary caretakers of health, women are double affected by decisions about water governance,” said NNEWH Co-Director Anne Rochon Ford.

Read the full report: http://cupe.ca/privatization/water_privatization_hurts_women

45 Colombian union leaders assassinated in 2009

Amid new reports of human rights abuses in Colombia involving the assassination of union leaders, Canada’s largest labour organization says it is appalled the Harper government will try to fast-track approval of a free trade deal with that country.

I’m deeply saddened by a new report from Colombia’s National Labour School that chronicles the assassination of 45 Colombian trade union leaders in 2009,” says Paul Moist, president of the 600,000-member Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

The victims were women and men killed by right-wing death squads tied to the government because they were fighting to improve living standards and protect basic rights for Colombian workers.

We renew our call for Canada to carry out an independent human rights impact assessment on the situation in Colombia before any further talks with the Colombian government are held,” says Moist.

Major Common Front demonstration in Montréal on March 20

A major demonstration by the Common Front of Québec government employees will be held in Montréal on Saturday, March 20.  The gathering is set for noon at Place du Canada, on the corner of Peel and René-Lévesque West (Peel or Bonaventure Metro).  The procession towards the offices of Jean Charest will get underway at 1 p.m.

Those living in Montréal are asked to use public transportation to get to the demonstration.  Tour buses will leave from every region in Québec.  Contact the regional offices of the FTQ for schedules and reservations. 

Times-a-wasting!  Those we face at the bargaining table must sense our determination.  Let’s have the greatest possible turnout for this demonstration to show the Charest government our will to obtain respectful working conditions and decent salaries. 

It’s a date! 

Québec City’s trashcan wars: a disappointing verdict

In the matter of privatisation of household waste collection, Québec City’s outside workers are disappointed with the decision handed down by the arbitrator, Denis Provençal, who concluded that the union grievance was premature.  

In his decision, the arbitrator wrote that “therefore, for now, there is no vested and present litigation between the parties” (our underlining).  He also wrote “That is not to say that this decision by the City could not be attacked by the union, later on.”  The union’s officers and its lawyers are going to study the arbitrator’s decision and decide if it will be challenged.

With this turn of events, the representatives of the outside workers union are convinced that ultimately, it will be Québec City’s taxpayers who will pay the cost of this decision. 

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