CUPE Canada News

  • CUPE 7000 issues 72-hour strike notice for SkyTrain
    by 5863 on December 6, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    CUPE 7000 has issued 72-hour strike notice to the BC Rapid Transit Company (SkyTrain) following four full days of mediation and more than 40 days of direct bargaining in which no significant progress was made on the key issues. “We are still committed to reaching an agreement at the table, and our committee will make itself available day and night, over the weekend, to reach a fair deal without any interruption of service,” said CUPE 7000 President Tony Rebelo. “We will need to work very hard to reach a deal that addresses our concerns about wages, forced overtime, staffing levels and trades adjustment language, among other issues.” The parties are still in bargaining. At 11 a.m. on Saturday, the Union will release an updated media advisory on the Local’s job action plan. On November 21, CUPE 7000 members cast a 96.8-per-cent strike vote. CUPE 7000 represents approximately 900 SkyTrain workers who provide service as SkyTrain attendants and control operators as well as administration, maintenance, and technical staff. The last contract expired on August 31, 2019.

  • Universal pharmacare needed to address employment inequities
    by 6109 on December 6, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    In yesterday’s Throne Speech, the Trudeau Liberals promised to help people who are sick to get the help they need. The government acknowledged that too many Canadians suffer financial hardship because of the cost of their medications. Our patchwork system of 100 public and over 100,000 drug plans is failing us. We need change now.  Despite this recognition, the government provided no indication of what steps it will take towards implementing a national pharmacare plan, or whether the plan will be public, cover all safe and effective medications, and be accessible to everyone. This is disappointing given that every national study on Canada’s health care system over the past 50 years has recommended that prescription drugs be covered by our universal health care system.  It also comes on the heels of a troubling study recently published by the Wellesley Institute, which found that 1.5 million workers in Ontario do not have prescription medication coverage.  30% of part-time workers compared to 21% of full-time workers, do not have medication coverage. Only 44% of part-time compared to 69% of full-time workers, have coverage through an employer-sponsored benefits plan. Disparities in drug coverage are even worse for part-time workers who are women, recent immigrants, visible minorities, and aged 25 to 34. Given that part-time workers are also more likely to be paid low wages, these iniquities are very concerning because they’re more likely to struggle to afford out-of-pocket medication costs and may not fill or renew needed prescriptions.  This isn’t just an Ontario issue. Part-time workers across the country face the same problems. With no clear indication of what kind of pharmacare plan the Liberals intend to introduce, it’s clear we need to keep up our fight to ensure that the government implements a national, public, universal, comprehensive, and single payer pharmacare plan that will benefit everyone.

  • Liberal throne speech prioritizes tax cuts over pharmacare
    by 5817 on December 5, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    CUPE is disappointed that the Liberal government’s top priority won’t be immediate help for Canadians who need it most - but a costly tax cut that benefits those that need it least. Instead of showing that his minority government will pursue transformative change and focus on the needs of ordinary people, Justin Trudeau’s throne speech signaled that he intends to govern exactly like Andrew Scheer would, fighting for tax cuts and big corporations. The speech made only passing reference to enacting pharmacare, as the Liberals promised during the campaign, and also signaled the Liberals have no intention of ending their court challenges against Indigenous children. “Tax cuts aren’t free - we pay for them when families can’t afford basic medication, when seniors don’t get the care they need, and when Indigenous kids don’t get the chances in life that they deserve,” said CUPE National President Mark Hancock. “There is nothing progressive about taking $6 billion out of federal coffers to pay for a tax cut for higher income earners.” Rather than a $6 billion tax cut that gives the largest benefits to someone earning $195,000 a year, CUPE calls on the government to invest in making pharmacare a reality for Canadians in 2020. “Imagine how much better off all of us would be if we put those resources towards helping people instead of padding the pockets of the wealthy,” said CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury. Throne speeches are, by nature, aspirational, setting out broad terms of what a government hopes to achieve, and CUPE is pleased to see the government’s aspirations around pharmacare, fighting climate change, and building more housing reflected in the throne speech. However, it is perplexing to watch the government signal those progressive aspirations while simultaneously, and intentionally, depriving itself of the revenue it would need to make them a reality.

  • 2018 Audited Financial Statements of CUPE
    by 31 on December 5, 2019 at 7:45 pm

    CUPE’s financial statements are independently audited by Deloitte & Touche.

  • Ontario Conservative government urged to scrap health service privatization bill
    by 87 on December 5, 2019 at 3:15 pm

    The Ontario provincial government has no mandate to “hurriedly” pass legislation (Bill 138) which opens health care clinical and support services to aggressive privatization. “Health service privatization seems to be a cruel holiday gift to people in Ontario who are sick, patients on stretchers in hospital hallways and long-term care residents who are languishing without enough care,” said Sharon Richer, Secretary-Treasurer of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU). “The Conservatives did not disclose their plans to open health care clinical and support services to aggressive privatization, during the 2018 provincial election.” “We are calling on the government to scrap Schedules 19 and 37 of Bill 138 and instead to table a white paper and initiate a transparent process to let the Ontario public have a full discussion about these significant changes to health care. OCHU represents 42,000 hospital workers and we were only afforded a five-minute presentation on a Bill that enacts or amends scores of Acts.” Schedule 19 of Bill 138 opens the door to more for-profit clinics. Ninety-seven per cent of Ontario’s so-called “Independent Health Facilities” are operated on a for-profit basis. The Ontario Health Coalition has also documented widespread user fees charged to those who use private clinics in Ontario. Schedule 37 of Bill 138 extends the concept of the supply chain from goods to include services across the public sector. It also allows for the creation of (potentially new) entities to deliver or contract-out and privatize those services. Services could include laboratories and diagnostics, pharmacy, cleaning, stores, food, maintenance, IT, health records and other services. Privatization of hospital services through public private partnerships has been very well documented by Ontario’s Auditor General as much more expensive than publicly delivered health services. “With Conservative budget cuts of 14.7 per cent coming over the next five years to hospital and long-term care budgets, the workforce cannot accept services being delivered more expensively and less efficiently. There will be a major battle over shifting precious health care resources away from patients to corporations,” said Michael Hurley, OCHU president. Without much notice, Bill 138 was hurriedly introduced by the provincial government at the end of November and rushed to limited committee hearings. “We think this legislation is harmful. It will erode public health care delivery. That’s why, it deserves wide-open scrutiny and broad province-wide consultations, not speedy passage through the Legislature before the holidays,” said Hurley.

  • Crisis in the CISSS du Bas-Saint-Laurent: CUPE demands an urgent meeting with the Health Minister and addresses the Board
    by 5817 on December 4, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    CUPE is sounding the alarm about acute staffing shortages in the CISSS du Bas-Saint-Laurent integrated health and social services centres.  They appeared before the Board today, and are demanding an urgent meeting with Danielle McCann, the Minister of Health and Social Services, to discuss the problems and the solutions to be adopted before it is too late. Services are already being affected by poor staffing, and the situation is getting worse as the Holiday Season approaches. “The citizens of the Lower St. Lawrence deserve better. In the very near future, they will no longer have access to the same level of services as elsewhere given the staff shortage. However, we do have some solutions to propose. They are not necessary financial but rather organizational in nature. Unfortunately, the employer is not listening, and workers are concerned about the lack of openness about this crisis,” said CUPE 5007 president Johanne Campagna. “Of course, the attractiveness of positions in the health care system overall is on the wane, but the situation at the CISSS du Bas-Saint-Laurent is deteriorating at an alarming rate. Employees are resigning right and left, and no replacements are in the wings. More than one-third of the positions go unfilled, and more than 80% of them are in CHSLDs,” added CUPE representative Yanick Proulx. CUPE 5007 represents thousands of employees, themselves citizens in the Lower St. Lawrence, who are collectively quite worried about the future of their CISSS. With close to 119,300 members in Quebec, CUPE represents 24,212 members in the health care and social services sector in Quebec. CUPE is also present in the following sectors: communications, education, universities, energy, municipalities, Crown Corporations and public organizations, air and land transportation, the mixed sector and maritime transportation. It is the largest union affiliated with the FTQ.