Working people call on Airport Authority to clarify role of temporary foreign workers

Working people at the Fort McMurray International Airport are calling on the Airport Authority to identify what role, if any, temporary foreign workers are being used to play in privatizing custodial services. Having replaced long-serving working people with temporary foreign workers would seem to represent a direct contravention of the terms of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). … Read more…

Flawed studies shouldn’t stop CPP expansion: President Paul Moist

CUPE National President Paul Moist at Convention

CUPE National President Paul Moist at Convention

Statement by Paul Moist in response to the Fraser Institutes’ recent report on the expansion of the Canada Pension Plan:

Encouraging Canadians to rely heavily on voluntary savings schemes for their retirement incomes is a fools’ errand that will only deepen this country’s pension crisis. Yet the Conservatives, banks and other financial institutions, and right-wing think tanks keep promoting RRSPs and other individual savings vehicles over the far more effective, efficient and affordable way of helping the over 11 million Canadians without a work place pension – expanding the Canada Pension Plan.

The latest CPP roadblock comes from the Fraser Institute. The right-wing think tank claims expanding the CPP would lead to Canadians contributing less to RRSPs.

The simple response to their less then vigorous analysis is – so what?

While individual savings are an integral part of Canada’s pension system, relying heavily on RRSPs for retirement income is a risky strategy. RRSPs are insecure, subject to high management fees, and are often funded without any contributions from employers. These factors leave retirement savings at risk of being wiped out by financial market instability, and pose the very real threat of people out living their savings.

And the statistics clearly show Canadians aren’t contributing to RRSPs. In 2013, only 23 per cent of people filing taxes reported any contributions. Canadians have almost $900 billion dollars in unused room to contribute. After decades of stagnant wages, most Canadians are just trying to make ends meet.

So why should we prop up the obviously flawed RRSP by forsaking a much better and fairer solution?

By expanding CPP benefits with modest, affordable phased-in increases to the contributions made by workers and employers, we can ensure millions of Canadians have a secure, reliable pension, indexed for inflation for their entire retirements.

This is the best plan. And as repeated polls showing overwhelming public support for CPP expansion, Canadians already know it.

– CUPE National President, Paul Moist

Keep Alberta hospital labs public

lab-worker

Hospital lab privatization has failed in the past. Previous Alberta governments have tried selling lab work to private businesses, only to reverse course after patient safety was compromised, and costs went up. The previous PC government pushed ahead with a contract to give lab services to companies with a history of overcharging, driving up health care costs and disputes with regulators and governments.

Now, the NDP government has to decide whether to continue this course of action, find a new contractor, or move the lab services in house.

A letter signed by sixteen pathologists at the University of Alberta Hospital makes it clear doctors see huge risks to patients and the public under this scheme.

Privately run health care delivers poorer quality services at a higher costs. Join the call to bring our hospital labs into a publicly delivered system.

Ask the Alberta Minister of Health to reverse the privatization of hospital labs.

CUPE hosts Bannock Lunch on Aboriginal Day

June 2015 Aboriginal Day

CUPE Alberta and the CUPE Aboriginal Council partnered with the Elizabeth Friday Society to provide a Bannock Luncheon at the Society on Friday. About 45 people attended, including Elder Elsie Paul, who said an opening prayer and greeted the group with a song.

The union worked in conjunction with Aboriginal Women’s Program Coordinator Rebecca Cardinal.  National Representative Audrey Barr and Gloria Lepine, Alternate Senator to the National Aboriginal Council, attended on behalf of CUPE.

Click here to see more photos.

-30-

lg cope#491

National Aboriginal Day – June 21st

June 21st is National Aboriginal Day, a day to recognize the contribution and the struggles of our Aboriginal peoples.

Earlier this month, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada reported details of the shocking and deeply disturbing history of residential schools.  It would be challenging to find a more shameful chapter in Canadian history than the forced separation of Aboriginal children from their families and the physical and sexual abuse that accompanied it.

The death rate of residential school students was often double, triple, or even quadruple the death rate among children in the population at large. Worse still, reasons for the deaths were not kept and parents were often never told of the details of their child’s death, or even where their children were buried.

Ripped from their homes and communities, Aboriginal children were treated harshly, without love, malnourished, and forced to abandon their language, culture, and way of life. Even their Aboriginal clothing was taken away from them.

Read more…

CUPE Alberta Weeklong School- Red Deer College

Alberta Weeklong 2015 - Group photo

RED DEER — Over 100 CUPE members from across Alberta participated in the 2015 Weeklong School at Red Deer College May 25-29th.

Four workshops were provided this year: Collective Bargaining (facilitated by National Representatives Tony Miotti and Jennifer Chretien), Parliamentary procedures and Public Speaking (facilitated by National Representative Rachna Singh) and two Steward Learning Series courses facilitated by Rodger Oakley, Rosanne Pazuik, Aneen Albus and Stephanie Lustig.

Acting Education Representative Audrey Barr was enthusiastic about this year’s group of students. “It was a fantastic group who were completely engaged in learning to assist their Local members when they finished the week.”

Read more…

CUPE researcher elected in Alberta

Ricardo MirandaCALGARY – The ‘Orange Chinook’ that washed over Alberta on May 5th included the election of CUPE Research Representative Ricardo Miranda as MLA for the riding of Calgary Cross.

Miranda was one of 54 NDP MLAs elected as part of Rachel Notley’s surprise victory in the Alberta provincial election.  Miranda won a squeaker, defeating PC star candidate, and former Calgary Police Chief Rick Hanson by only 100 votes.

Previously considered Canada’s most conservative province, Albertans surprised pundits defeating a 44 year old government and electing a Premier and party committed to better health and education funding, fighting climate change, a higher minimum wage and a review of the provinces energy royalty system.

A parent of two, Miranda worked as a flight attendant with Air Canada for 15 years, serving as President of CUPE 4095, joining CUPE’s staff in 2012. With CUPE, he worked as a National Representative, researcher and as an organizer, helping to bring employees into the CUPE family.

Read more…

CUPE Alberta welcomes government announcement on education funding

CUPE Alberta President Marle Roberts today said the NDP government’s education funding announcement is good news for students, their families, and workers.

“With 12,000 new kids entering the system in the fall, we need this additional funding,” Roberts said. “This will ensure we have well-maintained schools, with the support students need.”

Under the previous government, boards were ordered to cut their budgets, Roberts said. Boards were also told no new provincial funding would be available for the next three years, despite Alberta’s soaring enrolments.

“The previous government cut the amount of funding available to be spent on each student,” Roberts said. “This would have meant increased class sizes, more portable classrooms, program and staff cuts, less money on maintenance and student support – it would have been a disaster for students, for the learning environment, and for Alberta’s investment in our future.”

Read more…