Literacy and unions – building stronger voices
On September 8, 2010, CUPE celebrated International Literacy Day. Also, CUPE’s Literacy Program is celebrating ten years of literacy activism. Since July 2000, CUPE has worked with employers, governments and educators to develop workplace-based literacy training.
“Literacy and essential skills programs help workers develop new skills for a changing workplace, they enable workers to better participate at home and in their communities,” said Paul Moist, CUPE national president.
“We live in a world where computers have changed the way people work. Restructuring and privatization can threaten jobs. The need for training and upgrading has never been greater,” said Sylvia Sioufi, CUPE literacy program coordinator.
CUPE defends public services here and abroad
A CUPE delegation flew to Cartagena, Colombia on September 7 for a major inter-American conference on public services, organized by Public Services International. The conference explored topics of global interest, including water quality and water treatment, energy, education, health, municipalities and the environment. A number of other subjects, such as gender and racial equity were addressed.
CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer Claude Généreux, one of the five delegates, explained, “It’s important as a union to act internationally. We have a lot of information to share, because we are dealing with the same issues despite the different realities in each country. Our involvement in international solidarity is important to us. We will therefore ensure that we deliver on our commitments to the Confederation of Public and Private Sector Workers in Haiti, including helping to rebuild their union office.”
CUPE calls for common ethics code for Quebec municipalities
In response to Quebec’s Bill 109 (Municipal Ethics and Good Conduct Act), CUPE is calling for clear rules and a common code of ethics for all municipalities.
CUPE is concerned that the bill relies on self-regulation and that, under the pretext of respect for municipal autonomy, the government has decided to let municipal representatives define their own rules. CUPE understands the government’s desire to empower municipal representatives but does not share its optimism about the virtues of self-regulation.
Monique Côté, president of the Montreal white collar workers union, emphasized that the bill cannot be the only response to recent ethics scandals. “You don’t prescribe medicine without a diagnosis,” she said. “If the Charest government really wants to restore public confidence, it should launch a public inquiry to get to the bottom of the situation. In our opinion, such an inquiry would demonstrate the need to review party financing, to limit and regulate outsourcing to the private sector, and to strengthen the municipal public and parapublic service, among other things.”
CUPE calls for constitutional and democratic order in Swaziland
On the occasion of Swaziland’s National Day on September 6, Paul Moist joined civil society and trade union groups across the world in demanding a return to constitutional and democratic order in Swaziland, as well as an end to violations and abuses of human and workers’ rights.
CUPE is demanding:
• The abrogation of the over 37-year old Public State Emergency and the removal of all laws that prohibit political assembly
• A quick return to multi-party democracy and a democratic popular participatory constitutional reform process through a convocation of a democratically elected National Constitutional Assembly
• The true promotion and realization of a fairer distribution of national wealth through pro-poor and pro-people policies, programs and public expenditures
• Full respect for and implementation of ILO Conventions, to be done in full consultation and participation of trade union organizations
• An independent and free media and judiciary, as well as the unconditional release of all political prisoners and return of all political exiles
Part-time faculty at Mount Saint Vincent University reach tentative agreement
The part-time faculty at Mount Saint Vincent University has concluded negotiations with the university for a new collective agreement. No details are being announced at this time until the tentative agreement has been ratified by the membership; however, the bargaining committee is recommending acceptance. There are approximately 200 part-time faculty members at Mount Saint Vincent University, Nova Scotia.
More CUPE locals sign letters of understanding on Early Learning Programs
CUPE locals 1022 (Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board), 2331 (York District Catholic School Board), and 1238 (Lambton-Kent District School Board) have signed letters of understanding to help ensure successful roll-outs of the new Early Learning Program (ELP).
The letters of understanding incorporate the terms of the recently negotiated Provincial Discussion Table (PDT) agreement between the province, school boards and the unions that represent the bulk of Ontario’s school board staff. The PDT agreement has now been incorporated into the current collective agreement between the school boards and CUPE, and will be in effect until 2012.