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Convention coming:  See you in Toronto

CUPE’s national convention begins in Toronto October 15.  More than 2,000 people are expected to converge on the city’s downtown convention centre to choose leadership and set direction for the national union.

If you can’t attend convention, CUPE National’s website will once again be featuring audio and text streaming of the entire proceedings as well as photos, sound and video of other convention events.

Convention delegates will be considering 467 resolutions and 52 constitutional amendments.

CUPE’s national convention website is:  http://cupe.ca/convention07.

How to “fix” BC’s Bill 29

HEU started negotiations with the BC government this week on how to undo the damage caused when five years ago Gordon Campbell’s liberals gutted the union’s bargaining rights.

I expect that we have some tough negotiations ahead of us,” says HEU secretary-business manager Judy Darcy.  “But we also have an important opportunity to find solutions that both respect our members’ fundamental rights and strengthen health care for all British Columbians.”

On June 8, the Supreme Court struck down parts of Bill 29, the law the BC government passed that forced health sector employers to contract-out food, cleaning and maintenance services.

The court ruled that three sections of the 2002 contract-breaking legislation violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  The court gave the government a year to work something out with the affected unions.

The talks will continue at least until the end of 2007.

Healthcare Support Workers Week in Manitoba

Each October, the Government of Manitoba holds “Healthcare Support Workers Week” to acknowledge their contribution to the health of Manitobans.

The proclamation issued by Minister Theresa Oswald, notes that “the work they perform is done with dedication and professionalism in accordance with high standards and deserving of recognition”.

… healthcare workers both on-the-job and as citizens working within their communities contribute to the development of polices which keep our healthcare system vibrant and functional.”

Across Manitoba, CUPE members working in hospitals, clinics and personal care homes use the week to build relations with their patients and their communities.  Information events, coffee and cake parties, open houses and displays are being organized by CUPE members during the week.

CUPE supports Burmese protests

CUPE joins millions of workers around the world in condemning the military regime in Burma (also known as Myanmar) for clamping down on peaceful protests in Rangoon and many other cities this past week.

Lead by Buddhist monks and nuns, protesters are speaking out against a regime that has wiped out thousands of villages, forced labour on many workers and created countless refugees.

For decades this regime has fought off pressure from democracy activists and has kept elected democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi under almost constant house arrest for twelve of the last eighteen years.

Dane to head PSI

Delegates to the 100th anniversary world congress of Public Services International last week in Vienna, Austria elected Peter Waldorff as its new general secretary.

Waldorff comes from the HK-Stat, the Danish union for government and public employees, where he has been president since 2001.  He defeated Keith Sonnet of UNISON, the United Kingdom’s public sector union.

The congress is a good reminder that despite some of the problems we face with regressive governments in Canada, there are millions of workers in other countries who need our solidarity,” general vice-president Rick MacMillan said.  “Workers are still risking their lives in some countries for basic labour and human rights.”

The next PSI world congress is set for 2012 in South Africa.

Saskatchewan health care workers honour their own

CUPE Saskatchewan’s Health Care Council honoured workers in the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region this week for their commitment to food excellence, public service and community spirit.

The council presents the awards to recognize the work of dietary staff and other health providers who prepare hot, nutritious meals from scratch, go the extra distance to improve the quality of life for hospital patients and long-term care residents, and buy locally to support the community.

Everyone knows the importance of nutrition to health and well-being,” says CUPE Health Care Council President Gordon Campbell.  “But it’s particularly true for hospital patients recovering from surgeries and elderly residents living in long-term care facilities.”

The award is only presented to facilities that prepare food with fresh ingredients and restrict their use of pre-packaged food products.

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