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CUPE custodian turns lifesaver

She’s a part-time custodian at the Georgina Civic Centre, but co-workers and residents in this town on the south-eastern shores of Lake Simcoe have started using words like “hero” and “lifesaver” to describe Sandra Houghton.

Houghton, a member of CUPE 905, was working her usual night shift on Monday, November 16 when the town’s deputy clerk rushed out of a meeting to ask if she knew how to use the defibrillator, or AED, located on site.

Houghton, who had been trained to use the device just over a year ago, opened the AED case and got to work.  By the time York Region paramedics arrived, she had revived the man in distress – and saved his life.

I want to let everybody know, to tell employers, that it is so important to get this training and to have the AED in the workplace or other public sites,” Houghton says.  “It would make the world a better place.”

Blue Summit to focus on better water policies

Just one week before the UN climate conference in Copenhagen, a national water conference hosted by CUPE and the Council of Canadians will highlight the need for better policies to protect water in Canada and abroad.

Hundreds of participants from across Canada and allies from around the world will converge in Ottawa at the Blue Summit from November 27-29 for a weekend of music, engaging speakers, protest, and building a vision for the future.

The conference will take place at the Marriott Hotel, 100 Kent Street, Ottawa.  Event speakers will discuss the need to protect water resources and services in Canada from privatization, pollution, underfunding and overuse.

For more details, visit: http://www.cupe.ca/bluesummit

Ontario children’s aid locals raise awareness on National Child Day

CUPE locals representing children’s aid workers marked National Child Day on November 20 by wearing and distributing blue ribbons and spreading their message of concern about child protection services facing cuts due to provincial underfunding.

On November 20, 1989, Canada ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights
of the Child.  The convention says governments should protect children from harm and help them live and grow to their full potential.

The people we spoke to outside City Hall today were shocked to hear that because the children’s aid provincial funding shortfall is so severe, some kids could even be in danger of being abused and yet no one’s coming to protect them,” said Vicki O’Sullivan, president of CUPE 2501 in Burlington.

Ryan elected OFL president

CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan was named president of the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) at the federation’s bi-annual convention in Toronto earlier today.

Ryan has been a CUPE member since starting work at Ontario Hydro in 1976.  He became CUPE Ontario president in 1992, where he has represented over 225,000 of the province’s public sector workers for the past 17 years.

CUPE National thanks Sid for his dedication to our union, and wishes him the best of luck in his new post as OFL president.

BC P3 methodology ‘seriously flawed’

The BC government has been relying on flawed methodology to choose public-private partnerships (P3s) over traditional financing and procurement for major capital projects,
a renowned economist says in a damning review of the government’s case for P3s released last week.

Earlier this year, Partnerships BC – the government agency set up to promote P3s –released a document titled “Draft Discussion Paper: Methodology for Quantitative Procurement Options Analysis.”  Its purpose was to provide an overview of the methodology PBC uses to analyze the comparative benefits of P3s and traditional procurement options.  PBC has invited public feedback on its methodology until November 24.

CUPE BC commissioned Simon Fraser University professor and consulting economist Marvin Shaffer to review the PBC methodology.

Dr. Shaffer’s review finds that it completely fails to justify the use of P3s.

Its methodology is fundamentally flawed, providing no justification for selecting P3s over more traditionally procured, publicly-financed projects,” said Shaffer.

Non-specialized TV in danger in Canada

Last Thursday, CUPE representatives appearing before the CRTC could not have been clearer: non-specialized TV networks, the mainstay of Canadian culture, are about to go under.  According to CUPE, the CRTC must act now and allow these networks to be paid for the use of their shows.

Richard Labelle, vice-president of television for the CUPE communications sector, said: “We represent thousands of employees working for the various broadcasters and distributors, the two main businesses that have been facing off in an advertising war.  The consumer wants local programming, quality Canadian programming, without seeing the costs skyrocket.  To reach this goal, the CRTC should set royalty scales in order to control television costs for the consumer.”

Clear strike mandate in Lévis

At their general membership meeting held November 24, outside workers at the City of Lévis on Québec City’s South Shore, voted 98.5% in favour of a general strike mandate, to be declared at any time.

The outside workers’ collective agreement expired on December 30, 2007.  Bargaining to renew the collective agreement began before it expired.  The wage structure is at the heart of the bargaining.

:te/cope 491