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May Day, 2008

May Day might not be a day off, but if there is a day to honour those who’ve struggled to improve the lives of working people, May Day is it.

While we’re never ones to pass up a chance at a parade or picnic of working people - we think we should support Labour Day events - we feel it’s important to think of those workers who laid down their lives for the eight hour day and other basic labour standards that we now take for granted.

Corporate globalization is driving down wages world-wide.  Companies are shuttering profitable operations to find more profits elsewhere.

In the face of this, we should remember how May Day started:  80,000 working people from all professions, trades, and walks of life, coming together to seek the betterment of all on a street in Chicago in 1886.

Let us use May 1, 2008 to remember we are connected to working people everywhere.

P3 for Québec City hospital going nowhere

The administration at a Québec City hospital is calling on the province to drop efforts to rebuild a facility as a public private partnership.

The union of CHUQ employees has always argued that private financing would prove more expensive than conventional borrowing and that the private contractors were vastly underestimating the amount and complexity of the work that needed to be done.

The board of the Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Québec which runs the facility has reached the same conclusion.

The project should have begun in December 2007.

Manitoba childcare plan offers lessons to NS, BC

Manitoba’s ambitious, five-year plan to create 6,500 new childcare spaces offers lessons to BC and Nova Scotia, CUPE says.

While [BC] is committed to capital funding of big-box, for-profit childcare and pay cuts for childcare workers, the Manitoba government is actually doing something to make the public childcare system better for everyone,” says CUPE BC President Barry O’Neill.

The Manitoba plan will increase the number of available child care spaces by 28 per-cent and nursery school spaces by 33 per-cent over five years.

CUPE Nova Scotia President Danny Cavanagh said his province’s plan “hopes to add 1,000 new spaces, but over the next 10 years”.

Montreal emergency dispatchers launch online action

Emergency medical dispatchers in Montréal - without a contract since 2003 - launched an online action this week to pressure Québec health minister Philippe Couillard for a settlement.

The dispatchers, members of CUPE 3642 staged a one day strike April 15, but because they’re considered essential, each member of the local was only allowed to withdraw their labour for an hour a day.

Montréal’s dispatchers earn 32 per cent less than their 911 colleagues and between 40 and 60 per cent less than those in Alberta, BC, and Ontario.

To send a message, visit: http://www.appuyonslesrmu.com/

CUPE Newfoundland gets 20% wage hike

CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador’s new tentative agreement includes historic new wage increases.

The four-year deal, reached with the provincial government on behalf of 4,200 CUPE members, increases wages by 8% in year one and 4% in the next three years.

CUPE bargains provincially for Health Care, School Boards, Libraries, Housing, and Government House.

Sid Ryan promises a fight if TTC workers deemed ‘essential’

CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan said the union would fight any law that took away Toronto transit workers’ right to strike.
Ryan denounced the Ontario government for legislating the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113 back to work.

Without any seemingly public safety issue at stake, these politicians circumvented workers’ rights,” he said.  “At no time during the discussion was proof put forward that public safety was in jeopardy by these workers exercising their democratic rights.”

Ontario Council of Hospital Unions sets up phone hotline on hospital-acquired infections

The Ontario Council of Hospital Unions has set up a telephone hotline for people to share their concerns about and experiences of hospital acquired infections.

Michael Hurley, President of the Ontario Coalition of Hospital Unions (OCHUCUPE) said the following measures would save money and lives:

• hospitals need to stop contracting out cleaning services
• hospitals need to hire more cleaning staff
• the provincial government needs to require hospitals to report outbreaks of hospital acquired infections
• the provincial government needs to increase core funding for hospitals by more than 2.4%

Anyone with a concern or an experience to share can call 1-888-599-0750.

Hospital-acquired infections cause about 2000 deaths every year in Ontario, and make many more people very sick.

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