Despite the significant challenges, delegates attending the social service sector meeting at CUPE National convention also took pride in sharing success stories. Following a CUPE campaign that included outreach to anti-poverty and women’s groups in Manitoba, the provincial government put several million dollars into wages for community support workers.
In Alberta where the majority of CUPE members work in shelters and other types of community supports, one local successfully bargained a new contract that included participation in the Multi-Sector Pension Plan (MSPP).
Through bargaining coordination in the child welfare and developmental services sector, Ontario social service locals, representing more than 11,000 CUPE members, bargained modest wage increases, while ensuring quality services are maintained. This was no easy task at a time of prolonged flat-lined provincial funding for services. Working with child care and early learning advocates, CUPE was instrumental in achieving a $2/hour wage increase for several thousand child care workers and early childhood educators (ECEs).
Quebec members reported that the provincial Liberal government there is “pillaging community health and social services”. That government plans to “integrate” the two sectors, slashing services and jobs in the process. Several days of action are planned in Quebec later this month.
Using a unique approach that melds ideas from CUPE’s Fairness Project, the sector unveiled a new campaign template tool; Righteous Work – Just Pay to help local unions fight-back on the ground. The campaign template documents can be used in public campaigns to protect services and to support bargaining. Template graphics and materials including a postcard, stickers, a banner, buttons and letterhead are available at: firstname.lastname@example.org.