CUPE Canada News

  • CUPE Child Care Workers Celebrate Victory in Peterborough
    by 6109 on January 17, 2020 at 8:00 pm

    The Ford Government was elected in Ontario despite making very few promises. Ontarians seemed willing to wait and see what they would do. But, after a series of high-profile cuts to services threatened his popularity, Ford decided to hide his austerity agenda behind municipal governments. Provincial funding adjustments put city councils in the position of having to decide whether to cut services or raise taxes. In Peterborough, the council considered ceasing operation of before and after school programs, and two municipally run child care centres, that had been in the community for 50 years. The move would eliminate over 200 child care spaces, in a city with a waitlist of over 1,000. And, 30 child care jobs for members of CUPE local 126 would also be lost Trish Bucholtz, a front-line child care worker, did not want to see these child care spaces, and good jobs held mostly by women, thrown away by the reckless decision making of the Ford government. “This move is an attack on children, women and my community,” she said. She snapped into action, getting in touch with CUPE staff and CUPE Ontario’s Communities, Not Cuts Campaign. Communities, Not Cuts aims to highlight the impact of Ford’s austerity agenda in communities all across Ontario, including what was going on in Peterborough. CUPE 126 members reached out to parents, child care advocates and allies, and organized a rally to pack city hall when the cuts were being debated. Council agreed to delay their decision and even invited their local Conservative MPP to come to justify the cuts. Councillors received almost 1,000 emails in support of keeping the child care centres and programs open. As the city moved into its budget process, the local gathered community support and lobbied city council. On Monday, January 13, another rally was held in front of City Hall. CUPE 126 President Bill Smith and a parent were joined by CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn. Hahn addressed the crowd and urged city council, “Choose your community, unified in support of these child care centres, and not the cuts imposed on Peterborough by Doug Ford.” CUPE, along with a dozen other supporters, spoke in support of municipally owned and operated child care centres. Several residents, unknown to the local, also felt compelled to speak out against these cuts. In the end, a motion was put forward to council to keep the child care centres and programs open. The vote passed council 9 – 2. Cheers erupted from the crowd when the results were known. “The victory of CUPE Local 126 demonstrates what can be achieved when CUPE members work together with their community to campaign for the services that impact everyone,” said Hahn.

  • Very strong public support to keep North Bay hospital addiction treatment beds open, poll shows
    by 7163 on January 15, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    74.3 per cent of 1005 people polled in North Bay support keeping the in-hospital addiction treatment program with 31 beds, including several dedicated to crisis intervention at the North Bay Regional Health Centre (NBRHC), open. The poll, conducted earlier this week, was released today by CUPE. In mid-December, the union alerted the community to the elimination of the only in-hospital residential addiction treatment program in the area. The beds and service cuts are slated to take effect this coming June. CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) President Michael Hurley, says the poll “suggests that many in the North Bay community believe that access to residential treatment is a key element in helping people who have chosen the hard road to recovery from addiction. They do not support the closure of the hospital program.”  Since CUPE raised concerns about the hospital addiction treatment program cuts, the number of reported drug overdoses and deaths has gone up in the area. North Bay Parry Sound District Public Health Unit data shows that between May 2019 and the beginning of January 2020, there were 154 reported drug overdoses. Eight of them have resulted in deaths. Only about 17.5 per cent of those polled said they think cutting the 29-bed around-the-clock hospital addiction treatment program and two in-hospital crisis beds, and replacing them with a 6-bed residential program in the community is a good idea. Area MPP Vic Fedeli is defending cutting the hospital residential addictions treatment beds and program in favour of community-based programs. When those polled were asked whether they agree with Mr. Fedeli, 65 per cent of them said, no. “There are many North Bay families struggling with addiction. It is misleading to make this a debate about community services versus an in-hospital residential program. It helps no one to cut a hospital treatment program and channel a small part of the money to a few community-based services,” Hurley says. “The discussion should be, ‘how do we increase access to treatment and keep the hospital program open?’” According to the Ontario Hospital Association, emergency departments at the province’s hospitals are busier than ever, with a higher number of people waiting for in-patient beds. Ontario’s readmission rates are also higher than in other provinces. “There is a trickle-down effect of closing the crisis addiction treatment services. Without the in-hospital crisis bed option, there will be an influx of patients at the hospital’s emergency department,” says Hurley. CUPE hopes that Cabinet Minister Fedeli will use his considerable influence to push his government for funding in the coming 2020 provincial budget to keep the NBRHC residential addiction treatment program open. The poll has a margin of error of ±3.053% 19 times out of 20.  

  • National Secretary-Treasurer's Report - December 2019
    by 6109 on January 13, 2020 at 5:30 pm

    Dear Sisters, Brothers and Friends: Budget 2020 As we prepare to begin the new decade, CUPE has much to be proud of. While there are many accomplishments to list, two of the most significant are that CUPE National is now 700,000 members strong, with a strike fund of over one hundred million dollars. This provides CUPE great strength and stability. At the same time, we are witnessing the rising tide of right-wing forces across the country. It is therefore the appropriate time for me to propose a budget that deals aggressively with some of our main challenges. Immediately following the conclusion of National Convention, I began the extensive budget consultation process. Many meetings took place with NEB members, senior staff from each region, and Managing Directors of each National Department. In addition, considerable preparation from researchers, our economist, and staff from the Finance and Administration Department established revenue projections for the new year. Our Strategic Directions document endorsed by delegates at the last convention also sets out some of the priorities for the year ahead and was considered in setting priorities. When all the input is combined, CUPE’s budget consultation process provides a clear vision for our work in 2020. When I cross the country and speak with leadership from coast to coast, the clear and unequivocal priority of our chartered bodies is to continue to increase the direct servicing support to locals. This is the priority focus for how the additional new positions are allocated in the 2020 budget. We anticipate a 5.3% growth in revenues for 2020 over the 2019 budgeted amounts. For the fourth year in a row since the financial and economic crisis of 2008-2009 and ensuing austerity, revenue growth appears to be stabilizing in the short term. This is primarily due to economic, membership and revenue growth in our largest provinces of Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia with significant growth in Manitoba although we anticipate that this stability will be short lived due to the agendas of governments right wing provincial governments. Our revenue growth fell from 6% in 2008 to an average of 2.5% through 2015 to 2017, increasing gradually to over 4% in 2019. Our projections for 2020 show that despite regional variations, overall revenue growth throughout the upcoming year should increase. This growth is due to the projected increases in membership numbers as we anticipate increased membership growth of 2.6% over 2019 projected actuals, similar to what we have seen in the last two years. This growth coupled with a less conservative approach to budget projections will open up access to more resources for the priorities for the coming year. At this Board meeting, I propose adoption of a budget that I believe will address many of the challenges facing CUPE, while continuing to ensure stability for the years to come. Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (TUED) Retreat, New York, USA The annual meeting of TUED took place in late September this year where important discussions occurred. This is the organization that joins over 70 trade union organizations from across the world together with community allies and academics. The goal of the TUED is to advance democratic control and social ownership of energy, in ways that promote solutions to the climate crisis, address energy poverty, resists the degradation of both land and people, and responds to the attacks on workers’ rights and protections. CUPE continues to be an important partner in this organization. At the September meeting there was a proposal for mobilization for the year ahead as well as a week of actions between the 2020 Earth Day and May Day. Several unions from around the world have signed-on to this plan. There are also three reports that will be of specific interest to CUPE members: - The Green New Deal, Net-Zero Carbon, and the Crucial Role of Public Ownership - The Road Less Travelled: Reclaiming Public Transport for Climate-Ready Mobility - Trade Unions & Just Transition: The Search for a Transformative Politics I urge you all to access these reports though the TUED website as they provide valuable insight and arguments to support our efforts to address the climate crisis. Federal Election 2019 This fall CUPE participated in the federal election as thousands of CUPE activists and staff worked on NDP campaigns across the country, and five CUPE members and three CUPE National staff even ran for office. Many local leaders took on the challenge of encouraging their members to get out and vote. Now that the Liberals have a minority government, we remain committed to holding them accountable to their campaign promises and working towards increasing the number of NDP seats in the next election. We must also remain vigilant in our fight to increase public services and prevent privatization. Airline Division Convention The day before the opening of National Convention, I attended the Airline Division convention held in Montreal on October 6, 2019. It was a productive day which brought together over 50 delegates from nine Canadian airlines resulting in a renewed commitment to work together to advance their working conditions and ensure safety and health across the airline sector. In addition, delegates voted on twenty-three amendments to the Division bylaws to make the Division more efficient and responsive in its decision-making process and its actions. Sara Nelson, the International President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO, met with the airlines delegates and reinforced the need for our airline members to work together on an international basis. CUPE National 29th Biennial Convention Our recent CUPE National Convention was held in Montreal in early October and attended by over 2,300 delegates and alternates. By many accounts the convention was a success as a record number of constitutional amendments were passed. In addition, significant resolutions were adopted as well as CUPE’s strategic directions priorities. We have mapped out a clear path for CUPE for the next two years. From switching to electronic voting in 2021 for elections and close counts to fighting precarious work, harassment and expanding public services, delegates dealt with many important issues. CUPE National is ready to take on the new realities and to continue the struggle for justice in our workplaces and communities. Manitoba Division Convention The Manitoba Division convention was held in Brandon Manitoba in early November. The minus 17 weather did not deter delegates from also rallying outside Brandon City Hall to oppose contracting out of the municipal golf course. Delegates were highly energized following from the health care sector votes across the province in late August which saw over 9,000 new members join the CUPE ranks. I congratulated all activists and staff who spent countless hours talking to their co-workers and campaigning for a strong CUPE majority. This incredible success was a direct result of the extremely high level of commitment resulting in CUPE becoming Manitoba’s largest health care union with over thirty-five thousand members. Significant reports were also made on the successful campaigns such as those calling for cancellation of P3 schools project. The Protect Manitoba Hydro was launched to fight privatization of hydro. Success also came in the form of the election of labour friendly municipal and school board politicians. Pressure is also being kept up on City of Winnipeg councilors to adopt CUPE’s campaign for a living wage. Québec As it was a considerable amount of time since I last was able to attend, I was particularly interested to be at the October 26th biannual convention of CUPE Local 2000, at Hydro-Québec. This was a particularly important convention where significant bylaw changes were adopted by the delegates to modernize and adapt the local’s structure to better meet current and future needs. CUPE Local 1500 also convened their convention in Rimouski at the end of October and I am always honoured to be invited and was able to attend this year’s gathering. This is my own home local. This was a particularly dynamic and successful convention where discussions and guest speakers made some significant headway towards efforts to discover new ways of communicating with enhanced use of social media and new technologies. I congratulate the newly elected President Stéphane Michaud on his efforts presiding over a very successful convention. Fédération des travailleurs du Québec (FTQ) Convention The triennial FTQ convention is the gathering place for most unions who are active in Quebec. Although always very actively engaged in their provincial federation, this year CUPE Quebec played an even greater role as CUPE Quebec Division President and National Executive Board General Vice-President Denis Bolduc was successful in his bid for the position of General Secretary of the FTQ. Denis will be greatly missed in his various roles in CUPE but we are very proud to have Denis as the newly acclaimed General Secretary of the FTQ. I sincerely congratulate Brother Denis in his new role and thank him for all he did for CUPE and our members. We will sincerely miss you. COP25 Madrid, Spain Following past United Nations gatherings launching the breakthrough agreements on worldwide action to address the climate crisis, representatives from nation states and civil society around the world gathered in Madrid Spain earlier this month. I was honoured to represent CUPE National at these talks. Together with the Canadian Labour Congress, other Canadian trade unionists, and civil society representatives, we pushed to renew and enhance the global commitment to halting the alarming speed of global warming, and resulting environmental, social and economic devastation. I came away from the meetings even more convinced that in CUPE we must continue to expand our commitment to greater engagement and activism on these critical issues. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS FOR THE QUARTER ENDED SEPTEMBER 30, 2019 General Fund The total assets in the General Fund at September 30, 2019 were $291.4 million compared to $279.0 million at December 31, 2018 and $290.4 million at September 30, 2018. The items of significance are discussed below. The bank balance at September 30, 2019 was $21.4 million up from the balance at December 31, 2018 at $17.9 million and down $6.7 million from September 30, 2018. The bank balance includes various internal cash reserves which are set aside for retirement payouts, future benefits funding, property management, the 2019 Convention and the Regional Building Fund. The total liabilities in the General Fund were $235.7 million at September 30, 2019 up from $223.6 million at December 31, 2018 and $235.0 million at September 30, 2018. The true liability as calculated by our Actuary at December 31, 2018 stood at $205.1 million, in comparison to $192.5 million at the end of 2017. The December 31, 2018 Balance Sheet has recorded a liability of $150.7 million leaving an unrecorded gap of $54.4 million at that time. In the first nine months of the year we recorded an additional $14.2 million of the liability, bringing the total recorded liability as at September 30, 2019 to $164.9 million. The Fund Balance at September 30, 2019 is $55.7 million of which a total of $2.3 million is restricted as follows: Convention and National Events Assistance Fund, $839,000 and Regional Building Fund, $1,500,000. Of the remaining Fund Balance, we have invested $69.0 million in fixed assets leaving a negative unrestricted balance of $15.1 million. This means that all of the equity in the General Fund is spoken for either in terms of being allocated for a restricted purpose or tied up in fixed assets. The preliminary operating surplus (before the provision for the Regional Building Fund) for the year is $381,289, as compared to a budgeted deficit of $2.2 million. Per Capita revenue is ahead of budget by $1.7 million and total revenue is over by $5.2 million due primarily to an unrealized gain of $3.1 million caused by a rebound in the financial markets since the sharp drop off at the end of 2018. Total expenses are over budget by $2.7 million. Salaries are under budget by $481,000, current benefits are over budget by $687,000 and future benefits, excluding the provision to add the unrealized investment gains to the liability, are over budget by $839,000. Cumulatively, the other operating expenses including Programs are $1.5 million under budget. Below are some of the more significant items: Strategic Directions is $1.0 million under budget. Overall programs are $439,000 under budget. Fightback Fund is $436,000 under budget. Election Spending is $378,000 under budget. Rent is $257,000 under budget. National Defence Fund As at September 30, 2019, we have $14.2 million in Total Assets compared to $14.4 million at December 31, 2018 and $15.4 million at September 30, 2018. The cash balance at September 30, 2019 is $1.3 million up from $280,000 at December 31, 2018. In addition, we have investments totalling $11.3 million on the books at September 30, 2019, down $693,000 from December 31, 2018. Under Liabilities we have accounts payable and accrued liabilities of $1.7 million at September 30, 2019 compared to $1.8 million at December 31, 2018. There is also $8.0 million in cost-shared campaigns’ liability compared to $8.1 million at the end of the previous year down $1.0 million from the last quarter. Finally, $659,000 is owed to the General at the end of this quarter. At September 30, 2019 the Fund Balance was $3.9 million, compared to $4.4 million at December 31, 2018 and $6.2 million at September 30, 2018. Cost-shared campaigns approved by the National Executive Board in the first nine months of the year totalled $3,696,718 with an annual budget of $3.65 million. There was a recovery of $984,739 in unused funds from prior years’ campaigns that have been closed out during the first three quarters of the year. Major Organizing expenses totalled $5,130,482 against an annual budget of $3.65 million. National Strategic Initiatives expenses were $1,527,820 against an annual budget of $2.85 million. Regional Strategic Initiatives expenses were $876,112 with a budget for the year of $2.325 million. National Strike Fund Total Assets in the National Strike Fund as of September 30, 2019 were $111.9 million, compared to $99.9 million at December 31, 2018, and $98.3 million at September 30, 2018. These assets consisted of $6.1 million in cash, $1.7 million in per capita receivable and $103.1 million in investments. Under Liabilities we have accounts payable and accrued liabilities totalling $294,000, down from $360,000 at December 31, 2018 and up from $8,000 at September 30, 2018. At September 30, 2019 the Fund Balance was $111.6 million, compared to $99.5 million at December 31, 2018 and $98.0 million at September 30, 2018. Revenue into the Strike Fund, including investment income, was $11.2 million at September 30, 2019 and expenditures totalled $3.0 million resulting in a surplus of $8.2 million before taking into account unrealized investment gains of $3.9 million. STRIKES, LOCKOUTS AND SETTLEMENTS Local 1505-06 (AB)– Wood Buffalo Housing, Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, 44 members locked out from May 13 to October 22, 2019. Local 1282 (NB) – City of Bathurst (Inside Workers) 22 members locked out from July 25 to September 29, 2019. Local 1294 (QC) – UQAM Support Staff Union, 1,800 members on strike from September 3 to September 17, 2019. Local 441 (BC) – Saanich School District No. 63, 500 members on strike from October 28 to November 17, 2019. Local 3625 (ON) – Something Special Children’s Centre, 8 members locked out from November 1 to November 17, 2019. Local 2278 (BC) – University of Northern British Columbia (Teachers Assistants), 96 members on strike since November 7, 2019. Local 3799 (BC) – University of Northern British Columbia (Support Staff), 396 members cannot cross the picket line since November 7, 2019. PER CAPITA ARREARS For the quarter ended September 2019, the total arrears were $9,473,387 which was an increase of $124,220 or 1.33% from the previous quarter ended June 2019. Total arrears have decreased 3.43% as compared to September 2018. INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (IT) REPORT In the last quarter of 2019, the IT Branch remains focused on readying the MRMS to support the 2020 CUPE Conference, enabling the Quebec Region to migrate from their Maurice System to the MRMS, as well as, planning for the replacement of CUPE’s Per Capita system. MRMS The IT Development team is focusing on the next iteration of the MRMS Events Management (EM) module that will give CUPE the ability to organize and manage conferences. The new conference functionality of the MRMS EM is scheduled to be released in early 2020. The Design work has started on the interface between MRMS and the new Per Capita System (PCS) and additions to the Local Union Information (LUI) module to support the new PCS. The IT Development team is continuing to work with the Organizing and Regional Services Department in a data validation/purification exercise with a focus on improving the accuracy of the existing data in MRMS and the processes needed to ensure the data is regularly and easily maintained going forward. The last minor MRMS release in 2019 is planned for the middle of December and will see enhancements to the Local Union Information (LUI) and Education (ED) modules of the MRMS. CUPEcloud Retention schedule consultations across the country are almost complete with over 110 consultations conducted since March 2018. These consultations will be completed in December and CUPE will have a retention schedule. The CUPEcloud Project Team is happy to report that the project has now reached a total completion of 89% across the country (progress includes: file cleanup, folder structure and naming convention). Per Capita Tax Online Payments The detailed plan and cost estimate to deliver the new system has been received and reviewed by Finance. A contract to deliver the new system has been signed with WebSan, the same Vendor that delivered CUPE’s electronic expense statement system, Moniroo). The target completion of this project will be late-2020. Finance and HR Systems Work was completed in May to move the HR system to the Cloud; this move will have benefits to CUPE by adding and improving functionality of the systems, reducing operating costs, as well as, giving CUPE a more comprehensive, built-in IT Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP). Testing and final deployment of the Finance system to the Cloud is targeted to be completed by the end of first quarter 2020. IT Infrastructure & Operations CUPE IT has executed on a plan to improve and make the IT network infrastructure consistent across all CUPE offices. Offices will now experience better networks, security and monitoring and management of those networks. PROPERTIES AND LEASEHOLDS After putting in place new leases in Calgary, Nanaimo and Yorkton, we are now in the process of constructing new leasehold improvements in these locations. We will be moving into our new Calgary office in December and move in dates for Nanaimo and Yorkton locations are targeted for March 2020. We also completed and moved to our new location in Prince Albert in September. We are presently analyzing our options regarding some leases coming to term in 2020, such as Kitchener, Peterborough and Windsor. We recently successfully negotiated a renewal of our lease in Timmins. We are completing renovations of our Trail office and are well in our way to completing the expansion of office space at the ORO, including the construction of offices for the OSBCU. These projects should be completed before the end of the year. We have also started the preliminary design for the Ontario Division Expansion project at the ORO. We anticipate starting construction for this project in late spring or early summer. We have received direction to proceed with the purchase of a development site in Regina. We are in the process of preparing the Offer to purchase. We have tendered and selected our general contractor and are now in the process of preparing a Request for Proposal for the consulting services of the architects and engineers. CONFERENCES AND EVENTS CUPE’s Twenty-Ninth Biennial Convention which took place at the Palais des congrès de Montréal from October 7 to 11, 2019, was a success with 2,086 delegates and 209 alternates. CUPE said farewell to some National Executive Board members and have welcomed new ones. Once again, CUPE was very proud to welcome the leader of the New Democratic Party, Jagmeet Singh, at our convention whose words and presence were one of the highlights at this year’s convention for both CUPE staff and delegates. While our national convention has passed, CUPE is busy planning a directors’ meeting, branch meetings and a National Executive Board meeting all before the end of year. In addition to events taking place in 2019, we are planning meetings for 2020 which include branch meetings, National Executive Board meetings, the All Committees’ meeting in March, as well as our fourth Sector Council Conference taking place in Winnipeg next October. This year was a very busy year for the CUPE convention office and there is no slowing down in 2020. CUPE continues to bring our committee members and staff together from across the nation, giving them an opportunity to discuss key issues that touch their lives and the lives of all who are part of the CUPE family. PENSION ADMINISTRATION The Joint Board of Trustees (JBT) will hold its fourth meeting of the year in December to discuss ongoing activities of the Plan. In November, in an effort to continue diversifying investments, the JBT hired a second investment manager with a global equity mandate. Baillie Gifford was created in 1908 and their headquarters are based in Edinburgh, UK. Approximately 5% of the CEPP Fund was allocated to this new investment mandate. Subsequently, the Eligible Foreign Companies (EFC) constraint was removed to avoid limiting the universe of investable securities to companies with substantial operations in Canada. The fall 2019 CEPP newsletter, Pension Connection, was sent to all participants in December and is available on the CEPP website. In 2019, two preretirement seminars were held. One in Vancouver at the end of September and one in Ottawa early December. Retirements Sister Patricia A. Mack, Comox Valley Area Office – November 1, 2019 Sister Nancy L. Patchell, Ontario Regional Office – December 1, 2019 Sister Luce Charbonneau, Quebec Regional Office – February 1, 2020 Sister Martine Busque, Ottawa Area Office – February 1, 2020 Brother Francis R. Dagenais, Research, Job Evaluation and Health & Safety Branch –February 1, 2020 Sister Carol T. Reardon, B.C. Regional Office – February 1, 2020 Sister Céline Poitras, Moncton Area Office – February 1, 2020 Sister Carol Proulx, National Services Department – February 1, 2020 Sister Liette Garceau, Quebec Regional Office – February 1, 2020 Sister Catherine L. Remus, Union Education Branch – March 1, 2020 Sister Ann Duprey, Accounting Branch – March 1, 2020 Brother John Gillies, Sydney Area Office – March 1, 2020 CONCLUSION As we prepare for the new decade ahead, we can be assured that CUPE National is in sound financial health and that we have the resources to face each challenge in the coming year. While the struggles will be significant, we will continue to build our union through resourcing increased member and community engagement, improvements to our internal systems and improved services to our members. As we begin the holiday season, we look back on 2019 with great pride in our accomplishments. I wish each of you and every CUPE member and staff person a peaceful and happy holiday. Respectfully submitted, CHARLES FLEURY National Secretary-Treasurer

  • National President's Report - December 2019
    by 6109 on January 13, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    Sisters, Brothers and Friends: As always, it’s been a busy few months! I know CUPE members and leaders across the country have been hard at work ensuring their members are well-represented, whether at grievance meetings or at the bargaining table, as well as protecting their interests at city council chambers and provincial legislatures. Which is why I am grateful that so many of you made the trip to Montréal in October to participate in our 29th biennial National Convention. National Convention Almost 2,200 delegates attended our 29th biennial National Convention in Montréal, October 7 – 11, 2019. We accomplished a lot, including adopting 14 constitutional amendments that have helped modernize our union. Many of these changes focused on longstanding practices that were generally understood by leadership but did not exist in writing and were therefore difficult for newer activists to learn. Clarifying these “unwritten rules” and enshrining them in our constitution brings transparency and accountability to our organization. In particular, the process for electing our National Executive Board relied heavily on custom and tradition, rather than written rules. Delegates in Montréal voted to change that, by adopting amendments that clearly lay out how we elect our General Vice Presidents, Diversity Vice Presidents, and Regional Vice Presidents, and establishing clear roles and responsibilities for these positions. We also voted to use electronic voting at future conventions. Convention also adopted significant changes to CUPE’s Trial Procedure, which stemmed from a comprehensive review that involved consultations with members and chartered bodies. The existing trial procedure wasn’t working as intended. It was frustrating for locals, and too often being used for political purposes, which was never its intent. Now, complaints will be dealt with outside of the local union, taking internal politics out of dispute resolution. An independent investigator will be assigned to cases and, if approved to proceed, trial committees will be composed of members from the surrounding region. Where complaints are rooted in harassment or discrimination, the complainant will have the option to proceed through an alternate dispute resolution process. We also adopted 26 resolutions and Strategic Directions which, together, provide us with a solid mandate to continue our work in promoting and protecting the work our members do and the services they provide, while also recommitting us to our important work in defending the rights of working people across Canada and around the world. We have already met with senior staff to review all the decisions taken by convention and are already hard at work on a plan to realize them. You will hear more about the role you can play in this plan in the months to come. Federal Election In the October 21 general election, Canadians went to the polls and came out with a minority parliament – after two consecutive majority governments. With 157 seats, Justin Trudeau retains the role of Prime Minister, with a much stronger Conservative opposition caucus of 121. The Bloc Quebecois achieved 32 seats, the NDP was reduced to 24, the Green Party has 3 seats and Jody Wilson-Raybould was elected as the lone Independent. While it was devastating to lose so many NDP members of parliament, especially in places like Quebec, Windsor and Saskatchewan, the small but mighty NDP caucus includes some impressive new talent. It was a privilege to witness them as they were sworn in this November, and I look forward to working with Jagmeet Singh and his new team. We especially look forward to pressing this new parliament for action on the issues that are so important to our members – a universal, public, pharmacare program and expanding health care coverage to dental care as well as mental health care, tackling climate change while ensuring workers can safely and fairly transition as the economy changes, making life’s necessities (like housing) affordable and accessible for everyone, and finally pursuing meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.   The Liberal minority governments of the 1960s, with the NDP holding the balance of power, brought us universal medicare, the Canada and Quebec Pension Plans, Canada Student Loans program, and federal labour standards that included the 40-hour work week. The Liberals also held power in a minority government from 2004 – 2006, which brought about equal marriage. The NDP was able to negotiate amendments to the 2005 federal budget which saw a reversal in corporate tax cuts in favour of a $4.6 billion investment in social programs and public transit. This new minority government presents a significant opportunity for progressive change, and CUPE will be working closely with labour and community allies to make sure we achieve it. Colombia Following the federal election, I travelled to Colombia at the invitation of two organizations we partner with through our Global Justice Fund. It was an important opportunity to learn first-hand about the vital work they do. We travelled with NOMADESC, a research and human rights organization lead by the fearless Berenice Celeita, into several different communities facing incredible challenges. We went to the port city of Buenaventura, the hub of the country’s most important trade routes, where development by foreign-owned resource companies has forced thousands of Indigenous and Afro-Colombian peoples from their communities, into a city that doesn’t have the housing, the services, or the jobs to support them. Two years ago, these people banded together and shut the city down for 22 days, demanding safety, security and essential services like water, sanitation, health care and education for the over-grown community. We met with members of the civic strike committee, and heard about their continuing struggles, and watched as one of the leaders of that strike, Victor Vidal, was elected as Mayor of Buenaventura. We also travelled into Bahia Malaga, and visited a community that has pushed back against government encroachment on their traditional territories. While they succeeded in establishing a protected marine reserve, they are still fighting the expansion of a nearby naval base. We met with Indigenous leaders in the province of Cauca, and travelled to the community of Tacueyo, where just the day before five Indigenous leaders had been gunned down by members of a paramilitary group. There, we witnessed hundreds of members from the surrounding communities come together, to grieve but also to organize and determine, collectively, their path forward. We spent time with SINTRACUAVALLE – the union representing workers at Colombia’s only public water provider, who have been bravely fighting water privatization in Colombia in the face of sometimes violent opposition. We toured a water treatment facility, and attended a meeting the union hosted for community members who are fighting for public water services. I found such deep inspiration in the remarkable courage of the women and men I met in Colombia, who organize and fight for human rights, and who stand against corruption, and corporate aggression in the face of such adversity and violent opposition. Their courage reminds me that there are too many places in this world, still today, where it isn’t always safe to speak out for the things you believe in, and where you risk your life just being a union activist. Collective Bargaining/Strikes/Lockouts There were five disputes involving job action during the reporting period that were resolved. PROVINCE LOCAL EMPLOYER # OF MEMBERS STRIKE BEGAN DURATION (days) Alberta 1505 Wood Buffalo Housing 46 May 10, 2019 165 Newfoundland And Labrador 1761 Town of Placentia 15 July 16, 2019 42 New Brunswick 1282 City of Bathurst 25 July 25, 2019 61 British Columbia 441 Saanich School District 460 Oct. 28, 2019 20 Ontario 3625 Something Special Children’s Centre 8 Nov. 1, 2019 17 CUPE 441 – Saanich School District – British Columbia The existing agreement for CUPE 441 expired June 30, 2019. The Local has approximately 460 members, is part of the K-12 President’s Council and was party to the Provincial Framework Agreement which was ratified in the summer of 2018. Local bargaining, which largely centered on monetary items, began April 29, 2019, and the parties reached impasse on June 26. This strike ended on November 17 when a new collective agreement was ratified that included the Framework wage increases of two percent increases per year in a three-year agreement, as well as significant steps to address the wage disparity in the region. CUPE 3625 – Something Special Children’s Centre – Ontario CUPE 3625 were locked out by their employer on November 1. The employer was demanding concessions to health benefits from these eight workers. The lockout ended November 18 as a new deal was ratified that dealt with pushing back against the demanded concessions to sick time. CUPE 1505 – Wood Buffalo Housing – Alberta Wood Buffalo Housing (WBH) in Fort McMurray, locked out its 49 employees on May 10, 2019; employees were forced to hit the picket lines. On October 22 after 165 days on the line a new two-year agreement was ratified by the membership.WBH is a non-profit subsidiary of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo which provides housing to residents of Fort McMurray. CUPE 1761 – Town of Placentia – Newfoundland and Labrador CUPE 1761, workers with the Town Council of Placentia, Newfoundland and Labrador ratified a new collective agreement on August 28, ending their strike that started on July 16, 2019. The Local was able to push back against the employer’s insistence that wage increases be frozen for four years, and achieved a signing bonus plus increases in the third and fourth year of the contract. The Local was also successful at pushing back the town’s demand to control employees’ work schedules and made gains that include access to sick days for part-time and casual employees. CUPE 1282 – City of Bathurst – New Brunswick CUPE 1282 ratified a new five-year collective agreement with the City of Bathurst after a 61-day lockout. The deal called for a signing bonus as well as increases for all classifications (the employer had proposed to freeze some out). Support across the country for this small local of 22 workers was strong and went a long way to promoting their solidarity on the line. OSBCU Following a week of “work to rule” action by 55,000 members that commenced on September 30, following a 93% strike mandate, a tentative agreement was reached on October 6 after a full weekend of intensive bargaining. A three-year deal was crafted with one percent per year as well as benefit improvements, statutory holiday improvements, and training improvements. Ratification votes were held from October 15 to the 31 and the deal was ratified by a 79% margin. Remaining now is the local bargaining. Non Strike-lockout Bargaining CUPE 2142 –The United Townships of Dysart – Ontario CUPE 2142 ratified a four-year collective agreement that encompasses the Roads Department employees, Equipment Operators, Mechanics and Foremen. The monetary gains are 8.25% compounded over four years. Included in this deal are increases to boot allowance, tool allowance and clothing, an increase in banking of overtime with it being renewable at any time during the year, and hours of work language incorporated into the agreement. CUPE 5512 – Prairie South School Division – Saskatchewan After a strong strike mandate from its 422 education workers, CUPE 5512 reached an agreement with the Prairie South Saskatchewan School Division. The union was able to achieve a number of monetary and non-monetary improvements, including a wage increase totaling 5.5% over the term of the agreement, a $700 signing bonus, and maintained a retirement gratuity. The new term of agreement is from August 31, 2017 to August 31, 2022. Regional Services Division Updates Maritimes Prince Edward Island PEI’s minority government enjoys the benefits of relative economic and demographic growth. Premier Dennis King declared in October he would reinstate elected school boards. Implementation of a universal, public, half-day pre-kindergarten for four-year-olds has been promised. Plans to review recruitment and retention practices for all health-care workers and a plan to develop an Island-wide public transportation have been made. And this fall the government introduced domestic violence leave legislation. At the same time, this favorable economic context is creating staff shortages in the public sector, especially for casual and part-time positions. Recruitment and retention issues are occurring in many workplaces on the island. CUPE PEI met with representatives of the Minister of Education and brought forward proposals to address staff shortages in a long-term strategy as well as in the short-term. Locals 1145, 1770 and 1775 who were in conciliation this fall, were not able to reach a fair agreement and will be going to arbitration. We are confident that we will be successful in that process. New Brunswick In New Brunswick, the Conservative’s plan of calling snap provincial elections in December seems to have been warded off by the recent federal election results.  CUPE, along with allies, are building an opposition momentum to the Conservatives, who are trying to rally their troops for an election this spring. In the meantime, the Bargaining Forward campaign entered phase three, where locals are holding events in the workplace and molding the objectives of the campaign to their respective bargaining situation. Members of CUPE 1190 (General Labour and Trades) and 1251 (Institutional Care and Services) walked off the job at Saint John Laundry on October 16 to protest poor working conditions and harassment by management. A complaint of unlawful strike activity was filed that day and, following a hearing the next day, the Labour Board issued a cease and desist order. Employees returned to work but their message was heard loud and clear: they will not accept a toxic work environment and the employer must act to dramatically change their management approach. At the end of September, the New Brunswick Association of Nursing Homes communicated a final offer to the NBCNHU and filed an application to the Labour Board for an imposed final offer vote. The way the offer was put, without any communication with the union, amounted to an unfair labour practice and CUPE successfully filed a complaint to the Board. At the time of writing this report, three locals had already rejected the employer’s final offer, with overwhelming majorities. The Conservatives’ narrative that CUPE leaders are out of touch with their members was completely invalidated with these results. NBCNHU members deserve decent wages and they are determined to continue their fight for fairness and respect. Respect is not what they are getting from the New Brunswick Government. The Province appealed the Labour Board’s decision that the Essential Services in Nursing Homes Act is unconstitutional, but a unanimous Court of Appeal issued an oral ruling from the bench dismissing the Province’s appeal.  In response, the Conservatives table a bill that establishes mandatory arbitration but with conditions that are totally unacceptable to us and the labour movement. The Conservatives got clear messages both from CUPE members and from the courts: collective bargaining is a fundamental right, and you don’t mess with that! Atlantic Nova Scotia CUPE Nova Scotia’s Long-Term Care Committee’s More Caring Hands campaign was launched mid-October in Truro. Fifteen videos that feature member interviews are the centerpiece of the campaign, which also includes an email action directed at MLAs, the Minister of Health and the Premier, urging them to increase hands-on care to 4.1 hours per resident per day. Members of CUPE 2330 at Glen Haven Manor participated in a work-in campaign in November, to demonstrate the advantages of the 4.1 ratio. Long-term care workers demonstrate an unwavering commitment to the residents they work with. They entered the field to enhance the lives of seniors and these workers derive great satisfaction when they are able to do that. But workers face unmanageable workloads and regularly go home feeling “defeated” by constraints in delivering the kind of care they want to provide. Most employers are attempting to correct the staff shortage problem however, many continue to leave the first sick-call unfilled (to meet budgets reduced by the government), as well as the practice of “mandating” staff to work overtime. In 2019, 44% of CUPE members had been mandated to work overtime shifts they did not want. CUPE Nova Scotia, the Nova Scotia Health Care Coalition, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the NDP, other unions and community groups have been calling on the Liberal government to stop using public-private partnerships (P3s), especially when dealing with health infrastructure. Because of this pressure, the provincial government announced in November that it was reversing course and would not construct two new health centres in Cape Breton using the P3 model. This was the right decision: public funding, maintenance and operation of public infrastructure is in the best interest of Nova Scotians. We now hope that the government will come to the same decision for the QEII redevelopment project in Halifax. As part of CUPE Nova Scotia’s anti-privatization campaign, the CCPA-NS released a new report in October entitled Shrouded in Secrecy: The Queen Elizabeth II Hospital Redevelopment and the Privatization of Nova Scotia’s Health Care Infrastructure. The report identifies a number of issues, including a lack of transparency and accountability, and private financing that is 125% more expensive than public borrowing. Newfoundland and Labrador In Newfoundland and Labrador, the September Boots on the Ground provincial tour was a great success! CUPE’s team travelled 8,000 kilometers to 18 meetings, speaking with members from Labrador City to Burgeo, St. Anthony, Grand Falls-Windsor, Marystown and all points in between. CUPE members gathered to say that they’re not taking one step back. The next stage of the campaign was to hold a strategy session in November, where dozens of bargaining committee members attended from 23 locals across the province, representing 3,800 members who work in health care, school boards, NL Housing, Government House, NL Public Libraries, and transition/group homes. In addition, representatives from other sectors were also present at the meeting. The bargaining team discussed contract proposals, member mobilization and CUPE’s no concession bargaining policy in preparation for upcoming negotiations with the province. The message to Government is: We’re ready. In October, members of CUPE 4745 at Bay St. George Long Term Care held a demonstration to protest extreme mandatory overtime and the provincial government’s failure to address staffing shortages. Both the union and the employer asked the province to increase training opportunities through the College of North Atlantic, but this has not been addressed and now our members are suffering stress and exhaustion from this situation that has been going on for two years. The event was also attended by many community residents. Workers at St. Patrick’s Mercy Home and Glenbrook Lodge, members of CUPE 879, learned this fall that Eastern Health plans to move the bulk of laundry away from their facilities and cut jobs. This came as a surprise since Eastern Health has repeatedly said that they have had no problems with the current service and efficiency of the work being done by the in-house staff. The nursing home workers went public with how it feels to lose their jobs without a full explanation from Eastern Health, and held an information picket. The impact of these job losses will be significant to the communities in which these workers pay taxes, provide food and shelter to their families and spend their hard-earned pay in local businesses. Across the country, we have seen employers consolidate and contract-out laundry services from nursing homes and hospitals, where they claim that there will be no negative impact on the services provided. In our experience, as the largest union in Canada, this has not been true. Any loss of laundry services performed by in-house staff always has a negative impact. Quebec On the eve of the Federal Government’s tabling of its new budget, SCFP-Quebec and two National Film Board (NFB) locals, CUPE 4835 and CUPE 2656, asked the Prime Minister to increase funding for this institution that showcases Canadian culture and know-how all around the world. Indeed, its artisans have won several international awards, and some of the most prestigious ones at that. However, notwithstanding its impressive results, the NFB is living on life support. Its success continues on today thanks to the devotion of its employees who have to make do with skimpy budgets and onerous work overloads. A shot in the arm is imperative to this cultural jewel. The Legault government has recently tabled legislation designed to abolish the province’s school commissions and to create shared services centres for schools in any given territory. This reform will eliminate any form of school-related democracy and will disrupt the school system’s stability. SCFP-Quebec’s Provincial School Support Staff Council made a presentation on the matter to a parliamentary committee, alongside the QFL, to deliver the following message: Once again, the government is focussing upon organizational structures without understanding what’s going on in the field. CUPE members who work in the education sector constantly feel the effects of all the cutbacks: work overloads, psychological distress and the deterioration of their working conditions. Rather than reinvest in the sector, the government heedlessly believes that it can still make further cutbacks by abolishing the school commissions. There’s more encouraging news coming to us from Quebec’s municipal sector:CUPE 2566, representing the employees of Saint-Constant, recently negotiated a letter of agreement to bring back in-house some of the snow removal previously done by the private sector. Seeing as submissions for the work had increased on average by some 42%, the city contemplated other options and quickly observed that it could do the work, with substantial savings (about $600,000 annually), by having the work done in-house. The city is also convinced that the work will be of better quality. A new group of public transit employees joined CUPE’s ranks in October: CUPE 5910 received certification to represent the 750 bus drivers and maintenance employees, working at the Outaouais Transit Corporation. More than 90% of the workers in the bargaining unit expressed their support for CUPE, and the Canada Industrial Relations Board was thus able to issue the certification order very quickly. Welcome to one and all! CUPE is now a force to be reckoned with in the Gatineau region. In the provincial public sector, CUPE members are mobilizing to protest the government’s erroneous and unfair application of the rules governing the integration and advancement of employees in the salary scales. A group of activists occupied the Treasury Board’s offices in Québec City at the end of October. This action clearly sets the table for the start of negotiations in the public sector, which are taking place in a context of staff shortages and employee retention problems. At the end of November, the “Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec” (FTQ) held its convention where elections were taking place for officers’ positions. The good news is that CUPE’s General Vice-President Denis Bolduc was elected as General Secretary of the FTQ. Denis’ long experience in the labour movement, both in the private sector as President of Local 1450 at the Journal de Québec and in the public sector at the helm of CUPE-Québec, will be a great asset for the FTQ. Congratulations to Denis. Ontario In September, the representation vote for service workers at Unity Health Toronto (UHT) took place. This was a vote between CUPE and SEIU. CUPE had 1,230 service members at St. Joe’s and Providence and SEIU had 950 service members at St Mike’s.  The vote results were overwhelmingly in CUPE’s favour. In addition, this local has a bargaining unit of 32 Chaplains and Spiritual Care Providers at UHT who we organized leading up to the merger and representation vote. We welcome these new members into CUPE 5441, which now represents approximately 3,300 members. On October 24, CUPE Ontario was made aware of proposed amendments to foundational OMERS governance by-laws to be voted on at the November 14, 2019 Sponsors Corporation (SC) meeting. Our initial impression is that these amendments would fundamentally re-write how OMERS governance has worked since workers and employers gained joint control of the plan in the OMERS Act, 2006. The proposed changes include eliminating the right of Sponsor Organizations to directly appoint and remove our SC members, removing the requirement for equal employee/employer representation on SC committees, deeming all SC board material to be confidential, and moving to a single Board Chair. A coordinated effort begun to push back against the November 14 date to give sponsor organizations an opportunity to make presentations against these changes. While this effort has been partially successful to date, the campaign is ongoing. In mid November, Ontario’s provincial government passed Bill 124 which empowers the Ford Conservatives to override collective bargaining and impose settlements that lock front line workers into wages that cannot keep up with inflation. Adapting the model that is being used in Manitoba, the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) along with a coalition of labour in the province, is poised to fight this draconian bill at every level. At the end of November, I had the opportunity to join the CUPE delegation in Toronto for the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) convention. I extend my congratulations to Sister Janice Folk-Dawson, who was elected as Executive Vice-President of the OFL. Prior to her election, Janice was President of CUPE 1334 and also served almost two decades as a member of the CUPE Ontario Executive Board. She brings a solid history of labour activism to her new role in our movement, which I know will serve working people in Ontario well. Manitoba Following this summer’s health care representation votes, workers will be transferred to their new bargaining units this December. While we wait for the formal transfer, we are working diligently on transition matters and getting ready for collective bargaining, including drafting a bargaining survey for our members and preparing for essential services discussions with employers. The legal challenge to the Pallister government’s wage freeze legislation, The Public Service Sustainability Act, finally had its first day in court on November 18. CUPE is a member of the Partnership to Defend Public Services, which is leading the legal charge against this legislation that was imposed on public sector workers in 2017. As with challenges to similar legislation that we believe restricts our Charter rights in other provinces, we anticipate this is going to be a long fight. It was my pleasure to return to Brandon in mid-November for CUPE Manitoba’s annual convention – and a special honour to recognize CUPE 69, representing workers at the City of Brandon, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary. Convention delegates elected new executive members and I offer my congratulations to those who were elected, including incoming CUPE Manitoba President Abe Araya. I also thank Gord Delbridge for his service to our members in Manitoba as acting President of CUPE Manitoba. Saskatchewan CUPE Saskatchewan held their 19th annual Aboriginal Conference in Regina in November. Participants heard from guest speakers about the benefits of intercultural and intergenerational exchange, and the history of the United Nations Declaration of Indigenous People – including the fact that Canada voted against the Declaration in 2007 and continues to lag behind other nations in its adoption, implementation and enforcement. Participants also elected two new members to the provincial Aboriginal Council. The Education Workers Steering Committee has released a new report highlighting the increasing levels of violence facing their members. Over 1,000 workers in the sector participated in a confidential survey, which found that over 70% of them had experienced violence at work in the last three years. Almost half of respondents noted an increase in incidents in the last three years, which corresponds with budget cuts and an increase in the number of students in each classroom. The Committee has presented the report to provincial legislators and will push for province-wide action to address the report’s findings. CUPE joined with other unions to ramp up pressure on the government to provide guaranteed multi-year funding for the province’s non-profit Community-Based Organizations (CBOs), which provide social services in communities across Saskatchewan. The current funding model, which provides funding one year at a time, leads to significant uncertainty for the people who rely on these vital services, and the workers who deliver them. The unions are engaging workers and community members with a petition campaign aimed at the Ministers of Social Services, Education, Health and Justice, and were in Regina on December 2 to deliver the first batch of signed petitions. Alberta The attacks on public services, workers and workers’ rights continue in Alberta. Premier Kenney introduced a budget in October that slashed funding for public services across the board, with cuts in the neighbourhood of $1.3 billion. In education, funding for class size reduction and Education Assistant services have been cut, which could result in job losses. Post-secondary institutions have also seen funding cuts, while tuition fees are expected to rise by 21% over the next three years. Municipalities have seen funding cut and costs downloaded, as well as money for much-needed infrastructure projects reduced by almost $600,000, with other projects stalled. Health care will likewise see infrastructure projects delayed, and over $200 million in cuts to services and operations. In social services, Marshall House in Fort McMurray has lost its emergency shelter funding and will be forced to close, which means job losses for the CUPE 1505 members who work there. Governing is about choices, and Kenney’s government has clearly chosen a $4.5 billion corporate tax cut over investing in the people of Alberta. While they have stalled various health, transportation and municipal infrastructure projects, the government has also announced that five new schools will be built – and operated – under a public-private partnership model. They have moved control of investments for the three largest public sector pension plans to a crown corporation. And we anticipate they will either reverse recent legislation wins that gave employees joint control of these pension plans or “professionalize” the boards in an attempt to affect workers’ and unions’ ability to choose their representatives on the boards. The government has already rolled back some of the improvements to workers’ rights achieved under the Notley government, and appears set to meddle further in our rights as unions to advocate for our members through anticipated legislation to restrict “political” activity. British Columbia On November 7, the Faculty Association at the University of Northern BC took strike action. Members of CUPE 3799 and CUPE 2278 respected their picket line, and walked in solidarity with faculty members and other university workers for more than three weeks. The Faculty Association has since removed their picket lines, despite not reaching a collective agreement, so that students can complete the fall semester. While our members have returned to work, their support during the strike has built strength and solidarity on campus that will hopefully aid in resolving this labour dispute. Bargaining continues across the province. All 57 of our K-12 bargaining units have successfully concluded agreements, as have four of our university bargaining units. The remaining university and college locals are at various stages of the bargaining process. And bargaining is well underway for municipal and library locals in Metro Vancouver. On November 13, CUPE 2950 gathered at the University of British Columbia to celebrate the 45th anniversary of their predecessor union, the Association of University and College Employees (AUCE 1). Following a presentation on the digitization project, attendees watched a video premiere of “A union for working women at UBC — AUCE 1.” The video celebrates the history of this feminist union, which was the first to achieve fully funded maternity leave through ground-breaking language achieved in their first contract in September 1974, and features interviews with five of AUCE’s founding members. During a Q&A session after the screening, audience members gleaned more details about the organizing drive and first contract from the three founders who were able to attend. The event was the culmination of a project that began with 43 boxes of historic materials, which the Local took possession of and, with partial funding from the BC History Digitization Program, catalogued and digitized the documents. The digital collection is available to anyone through UBC Library’s Open Collections at: https://open.library.ubc.ca/collections/auce On November 26, British Columbia became the first jurisdiction in the country to adopt legislation implementing the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The act, which will apply to all existing and new provincial legislation, requires that Indigenous peoples are included in all decisions that impact their rights. It was developed in collaboration with BC’s First Nations Leadership Council. We hope that the federal government will soon follow suit. Hospital Employees’ Union (HEU) HEU continues to urge the provincial government to address the problems being created in long term care because of financial difficulties faced by China’s Anbang Insurance Group, which bought Retirement Concepts in 2016. Eighteen months ago, Anbang was put under direct control of a Chinese government regulator. On September 30 one Retirement Concepts facility, Comox Valley Seniors Village, was placed under administration by the province. In late November, following an investigation and continued pressure from HEU, Nanaimo Seniors Village also came under administration. HEU had been raising alarm bells about continuing problems at both facilities, including systemic staffing shortages caused in part by low wages paid to care aides and licensed practical nurses at these private facilities. Airlines The Airline Division held its biennial conference in October, before the start of CUPE’s National Convention. It was an opportunity for the Division to review and make changes to its governance. As a result, the Division will now be better equipped to coordinate sectoral campaigns and initiatives. The Division leaders must be congratulated for the great amount of work that went into this important revision of governance and democratic rules. Locals and components representing flight attendants at Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge, West Jet, WestJet Encore, Swoop and Sunwing joined in expressing their concerns to Boeing about the safety of the 737 Max. On behalf of the 14,000 CUPE members who may be called to work on board these aircrafts, the local and component presidents called on the President and CEO of Boeing to prove to them that the aircraft are safe to fly. Standing in solidarity with our American counterparts who have expressed serious concerns surrounding the 737 Max returning to service, CUPE requested that all information be disclosed and that Boeing provide factual, data driven details of the measures that were taken to ensure the aircraft’s safety. The underlying systemic breakdown of the safety culture at Boeing within the Max program is disturbing and the company must now regain our trust. Organizing From September 1 to December 31, 2019, CUPE welcomed 2,645 new members in 22 newly certified bargaining units. Staff and member organizers organized 61 members in education, 78 members in the university sector, 115 members in long term care, 1,077 in health care, 251 members in municipalities, 224 new members organized into the HEU, 230 members in social services, and 710 in transportation. Currently there are 27 new campaigns underway that, if successful, would increase our membership by 8,330. There are five files for certification at Labour Boards that would bring in 500 new members. The fourth quarter of 2019 has been extremely busy across the country. We continue to focus on organizing long term care and home support workers in New Brunswick, as well as wall to wall organizing in existing locals. In Quebec, the 710 bus drivers, mechanics, garage and maintenance employed by the Outaouais Transit Corporation decided to leave the Amalgamated Transit Union and join CUPE. The CIRB issued its decision, in favour of CUPE, last October 30 and these workers are now members of CUPE 5910. CUPE also now represents the 83 blue-collar workers and school crossing guards employed by the City of Thetford Mines. These employees had previously been unionized with FISA (Independent Federation of Autonomous Unions). On September 5, a new bargaining unit covering 78 employees working at the Dam-en-Terre Tourist Complex was added to CUPE 2706. In Ontario the Conservative government restructuring in most CUPE sectors requires that we remain focusing organizing resources on drives that will better position our union for upcoming representation votes. Manitoba is actively preparing for the next anticipated round of healthcare votes. After several months of organizing efforts, CUPE was successful in unionizing CBI Health Group residential and transitional care home workers in Saskatoon. This is a fast-growing new workplace which currently employs over 200 community support workers, childcare workers, LPNs and homemakers. CUPE won the secret ballot vote – counted on August 14, 2019 – by a near unanimous margin. The Labour Relations Board issued the certification order on August 21, 2019. In Alberta we are seeing an increase in calls, from municipalities in particular, around the province asking for information on how to unionize their workplace. In British Columbia we continue to work on projects to organize wall to walls in community social services. We also successfully fended off an attempted raid of over sixty members of CUPE 2262 in Castlegar by the Public and Private Workers of Canada (PPWC). In Memoriam/Personal Messages of Condolences I offer my sincere condolences to the families of the following CUPE members, active staff and retirees who have passed away or lost a loved one in the reporting period. Members Ian Irwin                                                                           Member of CUPE 2359 Saskatchewan Ted Jager                                                                        Member of CUPE 1505 Alberta Debbie Onwu                                                                 Member of CUPE 4731 Alberta Dave Armstrong                                                             Member of CUPE 3007 Alberta Warren St. Peter                                                            Member of CUPE 2157       Alberta Paul St. Cyr                                                                     Member of CUPE 2559 Alberta Moreno (Mo) Cerra                                                        Member of CUPE 1004 British Columbia Lucy Phua                                                                       Member of CUPE 4879 British Columbia Jenny VanHorne                                                            Member of CUPE 1858 British Columbia Retired Staff Robert Gingras                                                               Secretary Quebec Regional Office Léopold Arseneault                                                  Representative Dalhousie Area Office Sister Evelyn Wilson                                                     Secretary London Area Office Stanley “Stan” Marshall                                            Managing Director National Office   Francis (Alex) Somerville                                             Representative Atlantic Regional Office Labour Movement Douglas O’Halloran                                                       President - Alberta UFCW 901 In solidarity, MARK HANCOCK National President

  • National Executive Board Highlights - December 2019
    by 6109 on January 13, 2020 at 4:45 pm

    Our National Executive Board met December 10 – 12, 2019 in Ottawa. These are the highlights of their deliberations and decisions. In Memory The National Executive Board (NEB) observed a minute of silence to reflect upon the loss of members of our CUPE family. Remembered were: Ian Irwin, Local 2359 (workplace fatality); Ted Jager, Local 1505; Debbie Onwu, Local 4731(workplace fatality); Dave Armstrong, Local 3007; Warren St. Peter, Local 2157; Paul St. Cyr, Local 2559; Moreno (Mo) Cerra, Local 1004 (workplace fatality); Lucy Phua, Local 4879; Jenny VanHorne, Local 1858; Robert Gingras, retired staff; Léopold Arseneault, retired staff; Evelyn Wilson, retired staff; Stan Marshall, retired staff; Francis (Alex) Somerville, retired staff; and Douglas O’Halloran, President of UFCW 901 in Alberta. 2020 Budget After five years of membership growth of less than 1% annually, CUPE’s membership grew more substantially over the past two years, with an average of 3.8% in 2018 and 2019. Growth comes from new organizing efforts, successful representation vote campaigns, and growth of existing locals. This year’s budget projections are therefore less cautious than previous forecasts, allowing us to better meet the needs of our growing membership and to continue our fightback against austerity governments. The NEB was extremely proud to add 20 new permanent positions and 2.5 temporary positions to our staffing complement in the 2020 budget, for a total of 22.5 new positions. It is important to note that the vast majority of our increased revenue will be allocated directly to servicing our members in all regions. Significant investments were made to support the priorities of our Strategic Directions adopted at the 2019 National Convention, including increased support for member engagement and education, defending the public services our members provide against funding cuts and privatization, and expanding our equality work, among many others. Canadian Labour Congress The Board discussed the upcoming convention of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) being held in Vancouver, May 4 to 8, 2020. They are committed to ensuring significant CUPE participation in this year’s convention, and resolved to fight for much-needed changes to the structure and leadership of the CLC. Credentials for the convention will be coordinated through the National President’s Office and more information will be sent to all local unions in January. Trial Procedure and a new Alternate Process The Board discussed the new Trial Procedure adopted at National Convention and adopted a new Alternate Process, which members can choose to use as an optional mechanism to resolve complaints of harassment, or discrimination based on prohibited grounds. Both the new Trial Procedure and the Alternate Process come into effect in June 2020. More information, including a call for applicants to serve on regional trial panels, will be coming soon. Financial Support  The National Executive Board approved 19 cost-share campaign requests totaling $1,519,451.53 and 10 requests for legal and arbitration support, totaling $391,610.16.

  • CUPE 416 enters conciliation with City of Toronto, seeks contract that protects city services
    by 5345 on January 9, 2020 at 8:00 pm

    As they enter conciliation with the city, CUPE 416 remains committed to negotiating a fair contract that protects city services for the residents of Toronto. Earlier today, the City of Toronto announced it had requested that the province appoint a conciliation officer to assist with negotiations in late December. The City and CUPE 416 have been in contract negotiations for over three months. “From our perspective this doesn’t really change much,” said Eddie Mariconda, President of CUPE 416. “Our goal remains the same, we are seeking a contract that protects the services that residents of Toronto use, and respects the hard work that our members do to provide these services. After some very productive negotiations, we are looking forward to working with the conciliation officer to achieve that contract.” CUPE 416 represents approximately 5,000 outside workers with the City of Toronto. Their contract with the city of Toronto expired on December 31, 2019.