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Paramedics’ legal strike ended by force

The B.C. Liberal government forced an end to the ambulance paramedics’ legal strike on November 7, following an all-night session in the Legislature.

Bill 21, the Ambulance Services Collective Agreement Act, sends 3,500 ambulance paramedics from CUPE 873 “back to work” after a seven-month strike.  Throughout the dispute, the paramedics have been working under essential services orders.
The bill is a shameful first in Canadian labour history, marking the first time a government has forced its public employees back to work while they are in the middle of voting on a contract offer from that same government.

CUPE kicks off national long-term care tour

A national speaking tour focusing on issues in residential long-term care began this week in Nova Scotia, and will make stops across the country.

To promote the tour, cupe.ca has launched a series of video testimonials from seven CUPE members who work in residential long-term care.

With over 67,000 CUPE members working in Canada’s residential long-term care facilities, our members know the problems facing seniors’ care in Canada, and have solutions to offer.

To watch the videos: http://cupe.ca/long-term-care/ltc-video-montage

To learn more about the tour: http://cupe.ca/long-term-care/tour

Philippine organization thanks CUPE for resolution

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) wrote CUPE National President Paul Moist this week to thank the union for passing Resolution No. 238, which pledges to work with the Canadian Labour Congress and labour allies to stop the repression of workers in the Philippines.

The resolution was passed one month ago at CUPE’s 24th National Convention, along with several other international solidarity resolutions.

ACT thanks the union for “expressing CUPE’s support for our struggle against the extrajudicial killings of unionists and activists in the Philippines and for continued solidarity relations with ACT.”

We have a proud tradition of international solidarity in CUPE.  Worker to worker, shoulder to shoulder, we struggle for basic human rights and for access to quality public services,” Moist said.

UofT sessional faculty reach tentative agreement

CUPE Local 3902 Unit 3, representing University of Toronto sessional teaching staff, reached a tentative settlement with the university administration on November 8.

UofT sessionals perform 30% of the teaching at the UofT.  The union began negotiations with the university in July, and both filed jointly for conciliation at the end of August due to a stalemate on the issue of job security.  A further impasse on the issue of wages resulted in the union setting a strike deadline of November 9.  On the eve of the deadline, the parties reached a tentative agreement which the union’s bargaining team agreed to recommend to the membership.

This is only the third contract for UofT sessionals,” said Robert Ramsay, CUPE 3902 Chair.  “We’re still catching up to what many of our colleagues across the province, and indeed across the country, already have in terms of job security and wages.  But it was the strength of our members’ resolve that allowed us to make the gains we did make in this round of bargaining.”

Brutal privatisation: Canadian response to President Calderón

A coalition of unions and Canadian civil society organisations, including CUPE, sent a letter to Mexican President Felipe Calderón on November 10 condemning the liquidation of the Luz y Fuerza del Centro electricity company and the brutal dismissal of its 44,000 workers.

The letter, which was drafted during a follow-up meeting to the Third Tri-National Meeting of Energy Workers of North America held in Mexico March 16 to 18, 2009, asks the Mexican government to order the reopening of this public utility, and to guarantee the return of workers while ensuring respect for their collective agreement. 

Incidentally, on November 12 a major day of action against the scandal was being held in the Mexican capital.  The French daily, Le Monde, reported, “Six marches converging towards the centre of Mexico, five universities on strike, four highways blocked”.

Hydro-Québec: our counter-offensive continues

On the morning of November 10, Hydro-Québec’s professional and office workers union (CUPE 2000) launched a radio campaign in all regions of Québec to denounce the job cuts at the Crown Corporation.

That afternoon, the local sent a delegation to the National Assembly for question period, and to answer reporters’ questions. 

CUPE 2000 is denouncing the loss of 250 jobs in client and collection services at Hydro-Québec: 

Is there a manager at Hydro-Québec who seriously believes they can be more efficient with fewer employees?  Jobs will be lost in all regions of Québec and client service will deteriorate.  There is a lot of work to be done and the need is great.  There must be employees on the other end of the line to answer your calls and to deal with your files.” 

:te/cope 491