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Please find listed below a brief mention of key issues we are facing in our ten provincial divisions and our two service divisions.

Nova Scotia

With a minority government in place, the labour community through the leadership of the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour (NSFL), is actively pursuing reform in the area of labour law. With the assistance of the NDP, we were able to effect change to archaic overtime provisions as well as ensuring protection for workers as a result of new Sunday shopping laws.

Organizing activities continue to take a priority in the nursing home sector. There is a potential of bringing 2,500 unorganized workers into a unionized setting.

The strike at Autumn House, Local 4326, was settled on December 11, 2003 after over 100 days. Members maintained their outreach model and avoided 12-hour shifts, both of these were key issues in the dispute.

As well, coordinated bargaining in the school board sector is actively being discussed within the province. There is a general agreement amongst locals in Nova Scotia that issues such as coordinated bargaining need to be at the forefront of our activities in the province.

Newfoundland and Labrador

P3s continue to top the list of concerns for our members in Newfoundland and Labrador. Agressive campaigns by the Division and CUPE Local 1560 during the last weeks of their provincial elections highlighted concerns about P3s and contracting-out. The Division continues to mobilize its forces against the captains of industry who promote P3s and privatization as a means of destroying public services.

Recent surveys of our membership involved in provincial bargaining indicate that job security is key to upcoming negotiations. Coordination is of the utmost importance in achieving this goal.

On the legislative front, CUPE is advancing a legal challenge to the Supreme Court of Canada on provincial legislation concerning essential services in the school board sector.

As in other provinces, the Division is also coordinating its efforts to ensure a strong strategic plan is in place to combat the relentless push for privatization of public services.

New Brunswick

The government of Bernard Lord blinked as the New Brunswick Council of Provincial Institutional Services and Care groups embarked on the course of a general strike as a result of the governments intention to invoke back-to-work legislation in the event of a strike by our CUPE members in the sector. New Brunswicks CUPE leaders and staff were quick to coordinate their efforts in mobilizing all sectors of CUPE to take collective action in the event of back-to-work legislation. After a marathon session in negotiations, Local 1251 was able to secure a memorandum of agreement which generated a 14.7% increase over the term of the agreement.

On other fronts, the hospital sector negotiations have come to an impasse, with the possibility of strike action in the spring of 2004. Coordinated plans are being developed ensure that the maximum amount of pressure can be asserted to ensure a successful conclusion to negotiations. You may recall this sector was affected by back-to-work legislation in 2001.

A great deal of energy is being expended in New Brunswick on coordinated bargaining issues and in strengthening our ties with other unions and coalitions. In this province, there is a keen understanding and appreciation of coordinated bargaining.

P3s continue to be pursued by all levels of government in areas such as recreational complexes and water systems. As well, restructuring of New Brunswicks publicly owned utility is now being proposed with the intent of opening the electricity market to competition. As we know, this is the first step to privatization.

Prince Edward Island

The current government with a renewed mandate is following its stance of resistance to CUPEs pursuit of grandfathering presently employed water workers as a result of a new certification requirement. CUPE is actively campaigning for the necessity of employers to provide upgrading for these workers. Confidence is high that the campaign will provide the necessary protection to our water workers across the province.

A major campaign is under way by Local 501 to expose the cloak of deceit in dealings between the City of Charlottetown and Capital Area Recreational Inc. (CARI). The city has entered into a P3 deal with CARI in which CARI will operate the new rink and pool complex. The city is funding the project to the tune of $18.2 million with no ownership. The unions objective is to have the complex publicly owned in addition to being operated by members of Local 501.

In other areas, continued efforts are taking place to strengthen our ties with other labour groups and coalitions in the realization that together we can make a difference.


As this report is being written, the Quebec Federation of Labour has announced a day of protest against the Liberal government of Jean Charest. It is expected that 500,000 people will participate. The Liberal government has introduced a series of legislative proposals with the intent of quick passage.

All sectors of society will be affected by the draconian anti-labour legislation which in some instances will effectively pit union against union. Restructuring is being proposed in the health and social services sectors which will have a dramatic impact on the workers in these sectors.

As well, amendments to the labour code are being proposed affecting successor rights allowing employers greater ability to contract out services; increasing day care costs from $5.00 to $7.00; demerging of municipalities which had occurred during the previous governments reign; as well as introducing a review of administrative tribunals with the ability to remove non-professionals from participating.

These are some of the issues that will have a major impact on the labour movement and the public if the Charest government has its way.

The Quebec labour movement has a proud history in their struggle for workers rights. They will not allow for the lowering of the bar on working conditions nor will they allow contracting-out issues to be the prerogative of employer groups.

CUPE Québec, which is coordinating its efforts with the QFL, views this as a historic fight, one which they intend to win.


The betrayal of the Ontario public has started. The new Liberal government of Dalton McGuinty has reneged on a campaign promise to stop P3 involvement in new hospitals being built in Ottawa and Brampton. These P3 projects will now continue under the guise of a mortgage scheme developed with the assistance of the Liberal government and private interests.

CUPE in conjunction with its health care coalition partners are continuing to fight for the elimination of the P3 projects. On other fronts in the battle against P3s, CUPE Ontario is pursuing a reversal of the policy of the OMERS (pension plan) Board which allows the use of pension funds for P3 investments.

The big unknown is how far these betrayals will go. The liberals are now reviewing all areas of government involvement.

On December 3rd, 4th, and 5th, CUPE Ontario held a Strategic Planning Session with its executive and staff during which a major focus was not only on dealing with the current government of Ontario, but on advancing the cause of the membership through a coordinated effort. I am encouraged by the level of awareness and commitment of the leadership in Ontario in their efforts to fight for a better society as well as rights for workers which as a result enhance the quality of life for all Ontarians.


The provincial government declared October 6th to 10th as Health Care Support Workers Week across Manitoba. Representation votes continue in the school board sector as a result of restructuring. CUPE was successful in the first vote and will be at the Labour Board to determine how votes will proceed in three more locals. As expected, bargaining after restructuring is difficult as employers resist harmonization.


The positive results of the provincial election should help achieve our priorities in almost every sector, including pay equity for library workers, job evaluation in health care, increased funding for education and community based organizations. We will need to prepare for tough bargaining in the municipal sector, where right-wing administrations were successful in the recent municipal elections in both Regina and Saskatoon.


Early in November, we achieved a great settlement with 300 Sodexho workers in the Calgary Health Region. The new agreement saw increases of 35% over the term of the agreement plus benefit improvements. Bargaining in education and municipalities see consistent increases in the 3% to 4% range. Staff and activists are working to strengthen our locals and keep the need for a strong public sector in strong communities.

British Columbia

The Campbell government never quits. They introduced more legislation to strip workers of even more rights. Bill 94 is an anti-union employers dream all they have to do is keep subcontracting work and workers cannot organize. CUPE BC and HEU activists will step up the fightback and be working with the new NDP leader, Carol James, to prepare for the 2005 provincial election.

Members in the social services sector will be going to the table with other unions in a government-created association. As well, weve been front and center in the fight to save BC Rail from privatization, notwithstanding these efforts, the Campbell government announced the $1 billion sale in late November.


Our Air Canada Component continues to work under the cloud of the bankruptcy protection (CCAA) of their employer. All Components are working to reverse a devastating HRDC ruling that resulted in most laid off flight attendants being ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits. On the horizon is another threat to passenger safety and flight attendant jobs. It appears that the government is poised to implement a West Jet proposal to reduce the number of flight attendants from 1:40 to 1:50 on certain aircraft in all airlines. All CUPE members will want to inform themselves on this issue as it develops.


See item #2 of this Report.