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Here’s a look at some collective bargaining victories in 1999

  • A one-day strike, backed up by weeks of working to rule and refusing overtime, was enough to show the government that Saskatchewan health care workers were serious about bargaining. Health care restructuring motivated the 12,000 workers to stand firm throughout negotiations. They achieved parity in wages and hours of work, better benefits and a strong job security clause.
  • CUPE 4400, representing 14,000 workers at the new Toronto District School Board, set a historic precedent for education workers across the province. Negotiating a first post-amalgamation contract they won job security, wage increases and were able to contract in some work. In their wake, education workers in Ontario settled all contracts without concessions and made monetary and contracting-out improvements.
  • In British Columbia, after three months of strike action, community social services workers won parity with the community health sector, ending the historic discrimination against the social services sector. The members got wage increases and pay equity, as well as successor rights with private group home operators.
  • Three locals at Hydro-Québec – CUPE 1500, 2000 and 957 – used the innovative strategy of a ‘commercial strike’ when contract bargaining broke down, targeting exports and billing rather than residential or commercial customers. After a five month strike, the new settlement provides a minimum wage increase of 11 per cent over the next five years.
  • In Manitoba, the growing number of part-time and casual health support workers were a key issue at the province-wide health care bargaining table. The new contract includes a government commitment to convert casual and part-time work into full time employment. The 8,500 health care workers got improved wages and benefits as well as the increased full-time jobs.
  • In Nova Scotia, 3,000 nursing home workers forced the provincial government to sit down and bargain with nursing home workers as a single entity. They made big gains on all five of their major goals: wage parity, staffing levels, job security, pensions and training.
  • Ontario hospital workers (OCHU) joined forces with SEIU (forming a 50,000 member block) to demand an experienced and impartial arbitrator in its contract arbitration with the Ontario Hospital Association. The new contract provides for 5.5 per cent in retroactive wage increases and maintains the union’s strong contracting out language and chain bumping rights.
  • Air Canada flight attendants backed their bargaining committee with a 94 per cent strike mandate. They then rejected the company’s offers by 89 per cent and stood together until the end to get the best settlement in years.
  • More than 1,500 Toronto Hydro workers (CUPE 1) walked off the job to resist major concessions around some of the best collective agreement language and highest wage rates in CUPE. The local stood its ground, protecting hard-won contract language, strengthening job security and harmonizing wages upwards.
  • Bargaining for employees of the new amalgamated City of Toronto, CUPE 416 obtained wage increases of 7.4 per cent, bargaining unit wide seniority and contract language which makes it financially punitive for the City to contract out CUPE jobs.