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Energy policy: access or plunder

Two groups of people will be meeting in two weeks’ time in Québec to talk about energy, the environment and security. The meetings will be miles apart - literally and figuratively. On the one hand, unions and fair trade activists will be meeting in Montréal. On the other, energy ministers, along with the leaders of Canada, the US and Mexico will be meeting in Montebello.

The Montebello meeting of the Security and Prosperity Partnership promises to focus on - among other things - negotiating guaranteed access to energy resources, which means guaranteeing the energy-poor United States that Canada will sell them energy, no matter whether Canada has enough or not. Meanwhile, the Montréal meeting of unions, environmental, and fair trade organizations will be focusing on energy conservation, energy access and energy as a public service.

CUPE will be present at the popular energy sector conference and the anti-SPP rally planned for Parliament Hill.


Moist applauds Saskatchewan’s TILMA snub

CUPE’s National President applauds Saskatchewan’s provincial government for deciding to stay out of the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement.

The agreement - only BC and Alberta have signed on to date - gives corporations the right to sue a provincial or municipal government or school board over anything it did that might influence the market.

TILMA tribunals - conducted in private - would be able to award up to $5 million in damages per violation.


Our cities’ problems: Paul Moist responds to Terence Corcoran

In his recent front-page National Post article (“Guess who’s running your city; CUPE’s power handcuffs mayors,” July 28), Mr. Corcoran attempts to paint a picture of relentlessly striking workers, and cities in constant labour turmoil. Yet last year, 955 contracts were successfully negotiated, and only six CUPE locals went on strike.

Mr Corcoran’s tale of Montreal West city workers - CUPE members of 15 years standing - refusing to plant flowers is simply false. This story was placed in the media by the municipal administration even before the flowers at issue were delivered to the municipality.

Mr. Corcoran is right about one thing though: CUPE is leading the charge against the privatization of public services. This fight is difficult because cities are facing budget crises. These crises are not the result of CUPE’s bargaining of fair contracts. They are a result of federal and provincial governments downloading costs onto municipalities.

Years of cutbacks and underfunding have created an infrastructure deficit in Canada estimated at $100-billion and growing by at least $2-billion a year. Stephen Harper’s Conservatives think the solution is privatization. They even say cities won’t be eligible for funding unless they can prove that they’ve undertaken the expensive process of preparing a P3 proposal.

But P3 projects aren’t saving taxpayers money. All over Canada, P3s have resulted in delays, cost over-runs, bankruptcies, lack of public control and higher costs for the public and the public sector.

Canadians - CUPE members included - want, need and support public services. And CUPE is committed to doing everything it can to ensure this is what Canadians get.


Tips for Vancouver’s negotiators: After receiving an ‘offer’, present a ‘counter-offer’

Vancouver’s Civic workers are beginning to wonder if negotiators for the Vancouver led-Bureau (GVRD Labour Relations Bureau) missed out on a few lessons at collective bargaining school, so they’ve produced a guide to help the city reach a settlement like their counterparts in Delta, Surrey, Richmond and Burnaby.

Some highlights:

Lesson #1: When two parties are engaged in bargaining, the appropriate response on an offer is a COUNTER-OFFER. Bargaining is a two-way street.

Lesson #2: Don’t tell the media that you “will not” present a counter offer. This only makes reporters and the public wonder why you are not bargaining when thousands of people are without civic services.

Lesson #3: An improved offer is one that actually addressed the concerns of the other side.

For further information, please consult with any Labour Relations expert on the planet.


FastFacts in your inbox!

Did you know you can get FastFacts by e-mail? To sign up for this service, please send an e-mail to clandry@cupe.ca. Make sure to include your name, Local number, e-mail address and province.

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