Remembrance Day: CUPE calls for reinstatement of full pensions for veterans
On November 8, a letter from Paul Moist was sent to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, expressing concern over the treatment of Canada’s veterans, particularly those who have been injured while serving this country. In the letter, Moist urges Harper to reinstate full pensions for Canadian Forces members injured while serving in Afghanistan.
Veterans have been very clear about their concerns with the 2006 Veterans’ Charter, and the change from pensions to lump sum payments for injured veterans. The Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister for Veterans Affairs, has committed to addressing this issue, and the federal government recently made an announcement of $2 billion to enhance services and benefits to wounded veterans.
Fallen Tofino paramedics laid to rest at ceremony attended by thousands
In a moving ceremony attended by paramedics, firefighters, police officers and other emergency personnel from all over North America, the community of Tofino, British Columbia, said goodbye on Saturday, November 6, to Jo-Ann Fuller and Ivan Polivka, the two paramedics who died in the line of duty on October 19.
The memorial was held in a specially constructed tent—which covered an entire playing field at the local school—as there was no facility large enough for the more than 3,500 mourners who came to pay tribute. More than 1,000 emergency personnel from across Canada and the United States, including hundreds of B.C. ambulance paramedics took part in the procession. Hundreds of Tofino residents lined the streets and silently watched the procession go by.
John Strohmaier, President of the Ambulance Paramedics of BC, CUPE Local 873, marched in the procession, along with CUPE National President Paul Moist, CUPE BC President Barry O’Neill, Secretary Treasurer Mark Hancock, General Vice-President Paul Faoro, Regional Director Robin Jones (a former paramedic) and Hospital Employees Union President Ken Robinson.
Committee tackles privatization and contracting out of public services
Threats to public services right across Canada were the top concern of the second annual meeting of the National Contracting Out and Privatization Coordinating Committee, held November 4 to 6 in Ottawa. While each community shared different examples, the message was clear – our valued public services are at risk of being handed over to private interests. Whether it’s health care, water and sewage or child care, many services are threatened.
Committee members carefully analyzed the results of municipal elections recently held in four provinces and pledged to double their efforts to work with new councils to protect public services. Members discussed strategies to protect services and looked closely at some examples of where communities are working together. They will sound the alarm in their communities over the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement.
Air Transat recalls laid-off flight attendants
The union representing Air Transat’s flight attendants has learned that 183 of its 343 members laid off in October and November will be recalled on December 1, while the remaining 160 flight attendants will be recalled on January 1. In addition to this good news, Air Transat will be hiring about 110 new flight
attendants who will start training in January 2011 in order to be ready to work February 1.
Air Transat had announced in September that the temporary layoffs would be cancelled over a recall period extending from mid-December to mid-May. In the end, 161 Air Transat flight attendants were laid off in Montréal in October and November, and 126 of them will be recalled on December 1. In Toronto, there were 126 layoffs and 27 recalls and in Vancouver, 56 layoffs and 30 recalls.
Local hospital food is better, say Kingston residents
A recent survey of Kingston residents found that the vast majority of respondents agree — local food is better for hospital patients. Eight out of ten people polled—or 79 per cent of respondents—said that a local food service solution is the best option for Kingston General Hospital (KGH) because it supports local farmers, merchants and workers.
When asked whether they approved how KGH has handled the bidding process that recommended buying almost all the hospital’s food in Toronto, only 8 per cent said they did approve. The poll also found that most Kingston residents would support a local food service solution even if contracting it out is cheaper.
KGH has been defending a decision to contract out its hospital food service to the Compass Group, a Toronto-based, global food-processing corporation. The KGH Board of Governors will be voting to approve or reject the Compass deal at its November 23 meeting.
CUPE 374 calls on council to consider the public option
CUPE 374 is calling on Sooke’s Mayor and Council to hold an open tendering process and to look at a public option for delivery of water and wastewater services in Sooke, B.C. The District of Sooke issued a news release late last week stating that they were moving forward with negotiations to enter into a 21-year agreement with EPCOR, their current wastewater provider. Elector approval is required for Council to proceed with the 21-year deal. The District of Sooke will direct staff to prepare an electoral approval bylaw.
“CUPE 374 will ensure that the public knows the full cost of this long-term 21-year deal,” said CUPE 374 vice-president Trevor Davies.
CUPE introduces Code of Conduct
In a joint letter to all CUPE chartered organizations, National President Paul Moist and National Secretary-Treasurer Claude Généreux recently announced the introduction of the union’s new Code of Conduct, a document that is aimed at ensuring all CUPE events are welcoming and safe so that all members have access. To be applied at national conventions, conferences, schools, meetings and all other events organized by CUPE National, the code also provides a process for dealing with complaints of inappropriate behaviour.
Read CUPE’s new Code of Conduct at: http://cupe.ca/updir/Code_of_Conduct-PDF.pdf.