Paul Moist rallies CUPE 410
Paul Moist and CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill rallied with locked out CUPE 410 library workers in Victoria March 25th in support of their struggle for pay equity.
Library workers circled Victoria’s Central Library and “passed a buck” to symbolize how local politicians have been dealing with the lockout, which began February 17th.
The pay equity issue goes back to a 1992 letter of understanding that said library workers would get pay equity with municipal employees.
Fifteen years later, library workers are the only municipal workers in Victoria who still do not have pay equity.
Winnipeg is not for sale
CUPE Manitoba president Kevin Rebeck spoke to about 100 campus, labour and community activists March 26th, protesting the City of Winnipeg budget that will cut services and jobs.
The budget reduces services while maintaining a freeze on property taxes.
CUPE 500 has launched a major campaign to raise public concern about the destruction of public services in Winnipeg.
Ontario budget: corporations, $750 million, the poor: $167 million
The Ontario budget that was supposed to focus on poverty is focused on corporations instead according to CUPE Ontario president Sid Ryan.
The budget’s anti-poverty measures add up to $167 million, while corporate tax cuts will cost the McGuinty government $750 million.
“Guess who won this war?” Ryan said.
But Ryan said funding for more than 4500 nurses and personal support workers over three years in long-term care is welcome news, though he cautioned, “Unless funding is tied to staffing levels and direct personal care, seniors will still be in soiled diapers.”
Ryan also criticized the budget for not addressing hospital funding shortfalls and for doing nothing to bolster the manufacturing sector.
Edmonton school board workers benefit from hot labour market
More than 3000 staff at Edmonton public schools are earning $1 per hour more these days, thanks to Alberta’s hot labour market.
The school district’s administration has been having a hard time finding and retaining custodial, maintenance and support staff.
The agreement, reached during a week-long series of meeting with custodial (CUPE 474), maintenance (CUPE 784), and support staff (CUPE 3550) locals, also gives the workers an annual cost of living wage increase based on average weekly earnings in Alberta.
Québecor wants gag order on hearings
Québecor has applied for a publication ban on labour board hearings into strikebreaking charges.
Journal de Québec union spokesperson Denis Bolduc called the action deplorable. “Why would a media outlet attempt to prevent other media from covering labour board hearings? What are they trying to hide?”
“After engineering this lockout from top to bottom you’d think they’d have the decency to explain themselves publicly,” Bolduc said.
Bolduc said the employer - in this case a Québecor subsidiary, the Nomade Agency - has already failed to get a publication ban at a March 12th hearing.
The lockout began April 22, 2007.
Layoffs loom for CUPE 108 members at Enviro Care
CUPE 108 members at Enviro Care, a non-profit agency that collects solid waste in parts of Halifax and Bedford, were told last week they’d be out of work on June 30th.
Enviro Care’s parent agency - the Halifax Regional Development Agency - was the successful bidder in the municipal government’s tender for the work.
But then, citing unnamed problems with the contract, the HRDA backed out of the deal.
“This makes no sense to us,” said CUPE 108 president Dave Carr. “Surely, there’s a way we can fix this and save these jobs.”
Lucie Levasseur acclaimed president of CUPE Québec
National executive board member Lucie Levasseur has been chosen as the new president of CUPE Québec.
The division held a special convention this week to elect Levasseur, who succeeds Mario Gervais. Gervais is retiring after six years in the position.
An employee of the University of Québec’s distance education program for 29 years, Levasseur got involved in her union in 1988 as a shop steward and a member of the bargaining committee.
She became president of her local in 1990 - a position she still holds today.
She’s been an active education, treasurer, women’s rights advocate and spokesperson for the fight against breast cancer.
She was a member of the National Women’s Task Force and was elected Regional Vice-President for Québec at the 2007 National Convention in Toronto.
BC to cut university funding by $16 million
The BC government announced last week its plans to cut funding to universities by
$16 million province wide.
“Before the last election, Gordon Campbell said that making B.C. the best-educated jurisdiction in North America was one of his ‘Five Great Goals for a Golden Decade,’” said CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill.
“Well, so much for that promise.”
Some colleges are also being cut back.
The government has given very little notice, and no indication of what this will mean in terms of layoffs, reduced course offerings, or cancellations.