CUPE members marched together with over 50 union activists in the Calgary Pride Parade on September 4th, 2016. The AFL and the CUPE Calgary District Council also had floats.
A 50/50 draw held during the 2016 CUPE Alberta Division Convention with all the proceeds going to the WIN House was very successful. CUPE National and the Alberta Federation of Labour both matched the funds raised.
Glynnis Lieb, CUPE Alberta Secretary-Treasurer, had the opportunity to visit the shelter this month and see the “shop” which they’d re-stocked with our donation.
Sister Tracie Eleniak sent this message:
“I cannot thank you enough for the monetary donation which we received. I had the privilege to restock our clothing room. I also was able to purchase runners also. Please thank National and Alberta Division and thank you!”
FORT MCMURRAY – The union representing front line Fort McMurray municipal workers is crying foul after Wood Buffalo municipal councillors voted today to reward non-unionized staff overtime during the spring fire evacuation.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees, Alberta Division is upset that management staff will be paid overtime for all time worked over 44 hours per week, while CUPE members had to work up to twelve hours per day at regular pay rates.
CUPE Alberta President Marle Roberts pointed out that the motion passed before council today says unionized employees must be paid according to their collective agreement, which has special provisions for emergency work. According to those provisions, regular overtime rules do not apply, and staff must work up to 12 hours per day at regular wages.
“Council rightly recognizes that municipal staff worked very hard during the fire and evacuation,” said Roberts. “But they are enforcing two sets of rules, one where managers get rewards, while the union staff don’t.”
CUPE bus drivers, who have a different contract, are not bound by the 12-hour rule – although the city tried to enforce it in the middle of the fire.
Roberts said even with the more punitive overtime rates, most CUPE members have not been paid overtime wages for work done in May and June.
“We’ve been repeatedly raising these issues with city managers and we’ve been shut down every time,” said Roberts. “We can’t get any issues resolved, and our members are furious.”
“This is just an additional slap in the face to people who moved heaven and earth during the fire to look after their community.”
Contact: Marle Roberts, President CUPE Alberta
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As is always the case in Alberta, fall is coming up faster and sooner than we’d like. But we do get one last taste of summer on the Labour Day weekend.
I expect you will take the weekend to have fun with family and friends, and not be too concerned with the issues of working people. That’s part of what Labour Day is about – a well-deserved rest. If you are interested, there are a number of labour day events taking place around the province. I encourage you to check out the one in your area.
But if you are reading this, I ask you to think about how far we’ve come in previous years, and what advances we as working people can make in the year ahead.
In the last year, Alberta’s farmworkers have won a long hard battle for the right to join a union, be protected by Employment Standards, and to be covered by Workers’ Compensation and health and safety legislation. This was a battle taken on by unions when almost no one else would speak up for these workers.
In the coming year, CUPE and other unions will work hard to get improvements to our labour laws, so it’s easier to join a union, so fewer workers are injured or killed on the job, and so that Workers’ Compensation better serves the workers it’s supposed to help.
We will also keep up the battle to have better control over our pension plans, so future governments will not be able to take our pensions away with the stroke of a pen.
We have a lot of work ahead of us. CUPE Alberta is ready for that challenge. I hope you will help us.
David Graham, Vice President (North) CUPE Alberta
It is with great sadness that we inform you that Sister Ruth Shymka passed away on August 22nd, 2016. Sister Ruth was the President of Local 2550, a member of the Alberta Education Employees Committee, a former CUPE Alberta Area VP Northeast, member of the CUPE AB Division Literacy Committee and CUPE National Literacy Committee.
Ruth’s funeral was held on Tuesday, August 30th at St. Jean Baptist Church in Morinville. Donations may be made to the Morinville Community Library’s Legacy Program.
We are sure you join us in expressing our deepest sorrow to the members of Sister Ruth’s family and her friends.
Ruth is pictured here receiving the 2016 Equal Opportunities Award at the CUPE Alberta Division Convention.
(from left to right, Ruth, Marle Roberts, Garry Lehmann)
In February of 2016, Health Canada issued an operating license to Expharma/Canadian Plasma Resources to open the first paid plasma donation clinic in Saskatoon. The company has also indicated that it has similar licenses pending in Manitoba, British Columbia, and here in Alberta. Like a bad smell, this bad idea is blowing west.
So, what can the people of Alberta do?
RED DEER – The 2016 CUPE Alberta Weeklong school took place at Red Deer College in late May early June.
Five workshops were offered, including two Steward Learning Series classes with sixteen different modules for members to choose from. In addition, members were offered workshops in Bargaining Solidarity, and new courses in Health & Safety and Human Rights.
The opening plenary included training from Tim Kessler on Postural Development and Sedentary Awareness.
Facilitators included National Representatives Aneen Albus, Rodger Oakley, Lisa McPherson, Jennifer Barnett, Stacy Durning, Jennifer Chretien, Gary Day (from Saskatchewan), Troy Winters (from National), and Stephanie Lustig (Temporary Representative) as well as member facilitators Rosanne Paziuk and Jay Millante.
Learning was at the top of the list, but as always at Weeklong School, fun happened. Members set up a poker table in the dorms which brought in a generous donation of $320.00 for the Red Deer College Student Food Bank. Also, nine people went golfing after class on Wednesday.
All week the class reps sold 50/50 tickets. The total raised from this was $1417.00 of which half was presented to the CUPE Alberta Fire Relief Fund.
At our Annual BBQ we were joined by the Alberta Regional Director Yvonne Fast and National Representative Graham Mahy. Prizes were provided by CUPE Locals 8, 41, 941, 3550 and CUPE Alberta Division.
See photos here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cupealberta/albums/72157667208945213
June 21st is National Aboriginal Day, a day to recognize the contribution, culture and struggles of our Aboriginal peoples. It was first enacted in 1996.
Just last year, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada reported details of the disturbing history of residential schools. For decades, up until the 1980s, Aboriginal children were forcibly removed from their homes and sent away to boarding schools where physical and sexual abuse were common. Children were denied their language, culture and family.
The death rate of residential school students was often double, triple, or even quadruple the death rate among children in the population at large. Parents were often not told details of their child’s death, or even where their children were buried.
It is, without question, one of the most shameful government policies in Canadian history, and one with repercussions on the lives of our Aboriginal peoples for generations to come. Unemployment, alcoholism, substance abuse, depression and suicide rates among Aboriginal communities are far higher than the Canadian population at large. The roots of many of these tragedies can be traced to residential schools and the impact of our treatment of Aboriginal people.
It will take far more than one day a year to reverse three centuries of damaging mistreatment.
The challenges our Aboriginal brothers and sisters face are complex, deep seated, and difficult to solve.
CUPE Alberta is committed to playing the long game. We will continue to stand in solidarity, to listen and act, and to work in partnership with First Nations to address these issues in a meaningful way.