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CUPE May Day Statement

For more than 100 years, May Day has been a time for workers around the globe to take stock of how far we’ve come, and the distance we have yet to go.

Established to commemorate the 19th century fight for the eight hour day, it has symbolized the tenacious and revolutionary spirit of the labour movement.

This May Day, CUPE will be working to prevent the ratification of a free trade agreement with Colombia, a country that has violently suppressed the rights of trade unionists.

The global economic crisis has only emphasized the need for a strong labour movement.  The solution is to provide stimulus through public services, create jobs in all sectors, and to keep money in our communities rather than in corporate pockets.

CUPE members from coast to coast to coast can be proud of the accomplishments of our brothers and sisters in our union.

While May Day is a time to celebrate all that we have achieved in the past, let it also be a time to rejuvenate, refocus, and reaffirm our conviction to move forward.

Day of Mourning 25th anniversary

April 28, 2009, is the 25th anniversary of the National Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured as a result of their workplace.

Events were organized in dozens of communities across Canada.

Since the last Day of Mourning, the following CUPE members have died at work:

• Patrick (Ollie) O’Rourke, 62 years of age, CUPE Local 7000, Delta, BC died as a result of a workplace fall from a height.  He fell on February 8, 2008, and died on September 9, 2008.  He was in a coma for the entire time and never regained consciousness.
• Nicole De Lafontaine Demontigny, 56 years of age, section locale 930 du SCFP, Verdun, QC died after being struck by a car as she was working.  She died on November 28, 2008.
• Martin McEwen, 56 years of age, CUPE Local 407, Vancouver School Board, died on January 16, 2009.  He had suffered a fall and broke a hip on January 9.
• James Robert “Jamie” Vecchio, 34 years old, CUPE Local 3, City of Sault St. Marie, ON was fatally crushed by a crane.
• Clifford Payne, (63 years old) school bus driver in Corner Brook, Newfoundland Labrador, suffered a fatal heart attack at the end of his shift on March 12, 2009.

Ambulance paramedics rally in Victoria

More than 500 CUPE members and supporters joined striking B.C. Ambulance Paramedics in a mid-day march protesting government inaction.

A sea of fluorescent green jackets and a forest of CUPE flags made its way from the
CUPE BC annual convention to a rally outside a “temporary” ambulance station housed for the past eight years in a hotel near the B.C. Legislature.

CUPE 873 President John Strohmaier told the crowd that “crappy working conditions and ambulance stations, uncaring management, and lousy wages have led to a steady decline in what is health care’s front line in the province.”

Dear Mayor of Windsor: if it’s not about the money…

In a textbook case of why negotiating through the media is a bad idea, Windsor mayor Eddie Francis told journalists this week that the strike by CUPE 82 and CUPE 543 is not about money.

CUPE 82 President James Wood and CUPE 543 president Jean Fox agreed, adding that they’ve proposed creative solutions to contain the cost of retiree benefits.

But still the strike continues.

CUPE Ontario president Sid Ryan visited the city again to walk the picket lines and meet with the mayor to sort through the confusion around what the city’s issues are.

Twice CUPE has tried to break the deadlock with the mayor and council and twice we have just missed the mark,” Ryan said.

Halifax child care activists demo against ‘big box’ daycare

Big box’ daycare opponents were on hand as Canada’s largest for-profit childcare provider, Kids and Company, held an open house at its new Halifax facility.

Kids and Company has about two dozen centres, mostly in Ontario and Alberta, and plans to open up three centres in Halifax.  Their fees can be as high as $900 a month.

:te/cope 491