Organizing campaigns across the country between September 1 and November 30 resulted in 1,204 new members in 20 units joining our union.
Outreach to youth workers has paid off with the 40 part-time employees at the University of Toronto bookstore who were certified as a new CUPE local earlier this fall. Workers at the bookstore, mostly students who are struggling with increasing tuition costs, are looking for union protection in order to achieve some job security as universities move increasingly to contract out their work.
The 374 employees who work at the Banff Centre for the Arts voted 79% in favour of merging their Association with CUPE in November. The Banff employees work in hospitality, technical, arts and conference services. The new members in Banff will be CUPE Local 4318, Banff Centre Support Employees. The merger must be approved by the Alberta Labour Relations Board. No dates have yet been set for these hearings.
Bill 136 representation votes continue in Ontario. In the comings months we will face votes caused by municipal restructuring in Hamilton, Ottawa and Sudbury along with a hospital vote in Niagara.
On November 24, following the restructuring of Ottawas Civic, General and Riverside Hospitals, a representation vote involving 3,000 hospital workers took place. Workers at the Ottawa Hospital sent a clear message to their employer that they wanted a strong union to represent them as they negotiate a new collective agreement. The Retail Wholesale Union, formerly affiliated with the Steelworkers and the Operating Engineers were pitted against CUPE Local 4000 to represent service workers at the merged Ottawa Civic, Ottawa General and Riverside hospitals. RW switched horses mid-campaign to join the Canadian Autoworkers (CAW). The votes were counted November 25 and CUPE captured two-thirds of the ballots cast.
At the same hospital, CUPE unfortunately lost Local 1580, the professional paramedical group, despite an excellent campaign by Local 1580. While we had much fewer members than OPSEU, CUPE made a strong showing. With only 400 CUPE members, we captured 513 votes compared to 606 for OPSEU.
In Alberta, health care regionalization raises the possibility of forced represen-tation votes in the near future. As a result, CUPE Alberta is working on merging health care locals in order to strengthen their position and avoid having numerous CUPE locals on a run-off ballot.
After voting to merge with the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, the Canadian Health Care Guild began to raid CUPE locals in Calgary and Vulcan. The CHCG made eight applications at two CUPE locals. And even though the decision to accept CHCG by AUPE was made prior to the raiding, AUPE has taken the position that they were not responsible for the actions of CHCG.
CUPE Alberta, the Alberta Regional Office and the National Union were quick to respond to the crisis by putting in place an action plan to strengthen the CUPE membership. On November 8, the National Executive Board discussed the matter via a conference call. A crisis team was put into place bringing in organizers from Ontario and B.C. Unfortunately, 540 members were lost and 80 retained. CUPE NEB members have written letters and lobbied their provincial NUPGE counterparts. A hearing by the CLC umpire will be held December 16 and 17 to decide if sanctions will be imposed on NUPGE.