Contracted snow clearing costs ten times more than in house: CUPE

snow CALGARY – The President of the union representing most Alberta municipal workers reacted to news that Calgary taxpayers paid ten times more for snow clearing on bike paths than they would if the work had been done by city employees.

Reports indicate that clearing the snow using a private contractor cost $726.14 per centimeter of snowfall. Snow clearing done by Calgary City staff cost $72.65 per centimeter.

“This is just another example, in a long list of examples, where public services are offered more affordably than private, contracted out services,” said CUPE Alberta President Marle Roberts.

“Governments are all too eager to give work away on the theory that it will be cheaper, when time after time, it’s actually more expensive.”

Roberts called upon the City of Calgary to abandon the use of contractors for snow removal.

“It’s clear we get better service at a better price from the proud and dedicated employees of the City of Calgary.”


High River employees get early Christmas gift – a union

sunriseHIGH RIVER – Sixty-nine health Care Aides and Licensed Practical Nurses working for Sunrise Village nursing home have voted to become members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

The employees voted 93% in favour of joining CUPE in their second attempt this year to form a union.

CUPE Alberta President Marle Roberts said, “The members came to CUPE because of complaints about unfair treatment in their workplace”.

“With over 600,000 members across Canada, CUPE can offer these workers the best resources around to settle their issues and bring them better working conditions and wages,” said Roberts.


Christmas message from CUPE Alberta

On behaChristmaslf of CUPE Alberta, I’d like to wish you and your family a happy and safe Christmas and holiday season.

For me, Christmas is about family and friends.  It’s about spending special time together and recharging for the year ahead.

But Christmas is also a time to reflect upon the fortune to have what we have, and to think about those who have less.  CUPE is committed to making sure everyone has what they need to lead a happy, healthy and productive life to its fullest potential.  Christmas is a time to reflect on what we can do to help those who don’t have steady employment, benefits and the other things we sometimes take for granted.

So please enjoy the season, and happiest of New Years to us all!

Marle Roberts, President
CUPE Alberta


National Day of Remembrance (White Ribbon Day)

ribbonOn December 6th 1989, a gunman entered the École Polytechnique in Montreal, separated men and women and shot nine women, killing six.  It’s been known as the Montreal Massacre ever since.  In 1991, Member of Parliament Dawn Black introduced a private members bill to the House of Commons proclaiming December 6th as a national day of remembrance.  The bill was passed with the support of all parties.

We remember December 6th because violence against women continues in Canada today.  While most acts of violence are not as spectacular as the Montreal Massacre, they are alarmingly common.

  • Half of all women in Canada have experienced at least on incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16.
  • On average, one woman is killed every six days in Canada by her intimate partner.
  • On any given day in Canada, over 3,300 women are forced to sleep at shelters to escape domestic violence.
  • There are over 40,000 arrests each year in Canada for domestic violence, 12% of all violent crime in Canada.  Since only 22% of such cases are reported, the actual number of violent domestic incidents is surely much higher.
  • As of 2010, there were 582 cases of missing or murdered aboriginal women in Canada – a situation that has caused both Amnesty International and the United Nations to call upon our government to take action.
  • More than 1 in 10 Canadian women have reported being stalked in a way that made them fear for their lives.

We must never stop working to end the violence against women that is endemic in our communities.  CUPE Alberta will support all efforts to make Canada a safer place for all sisters.

World AIDS Day

banner.WorldAIDSDay.111911December 1st is World AIDS day – one of eight global public health campaigns observed by the World Health Organization.

Although much has been done to curb the spread of AIDS, an estimated 35.3 million people still live with HIV.  And while improved treatments allow many to live with the disease, AIDS still kills 2 million people per year, 13% of whom are children.

Since 2012, the theme of World AIDS day has been “Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero deaths from AIDS-related illness. Zero discrimination.”  Progress is being made.  In 2011, 2.5 million people were infected with AIDS/HIV, 700,000 fewer than 10 years previously.

Eight million people in low and middle income nations now have access to treatment, up from just 400,000 in 2003.

‘Getting to Zero’ will take investment in public health care, education, and a significant investment in under developed countries.  With effort and political will, we can get to zero sooner rather than later.

November 20th – Transgender Day of Remembrance

trans-day_web_eNovember 20th is the Transgender Day of Remembrance. It is observed around the world in memory of the transgender and transsexual persons who face violence, abuse and discrimination.

In a 2011 report from EAGLE Canada, trans students reported the highest rates of harassment among Canadian school aged children. Seventy four percent reported verbal harassment, 49% reported sexual harassment, and 37% reported physical harassment.

According to a 2012 report from Ontario, 43% of Trans people have attempted suicide at least once in their lives.

Trans people are particularly vulnerable to harassment, exclusion and extreme violence on a daily basis, on and off the job.

It is our job as a union to stand up for all human rights and for dignity and security for all people. The struggle for respect for Trans people is part of that effort.

Marle Roberts

Kristi Nelson’s story

KristieMy name is Kristi Nelson and I am the 2009 recipient of the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators (CAMA) award for a Workplace Learner. I have worked for the City of Grande Prairie for the past 16 years, and on my learning journey, they have supported me the entire way.

I was a teenage mother at age 16 and was told by one of my instructors in grade 10 that “my kind did not belong in her classroom”. I dropped out of high school right then and decided I was going to work to support my soon to be new addition to my life, my daughter Mykayla. I realized soon after that my lack of education was not allowing me to do the things I wanted to, career wise. Determined to prove to that instructor that “my kind” did belong, I decided to return to upgrading at my local college. I worked extremely hard and I ended up graduating at the same time that my high school class graduated in 1996 – after being out of school for almost a year.

I was working at the City as a summer student, and continued to attend college as a Bachelor of Arts student until 1999, while I was pregnant with my second child, my son Keiran. I returned to work at the City when he was 6 months old. At the time, I was not a full time employee and I did not want to lose my position. The City of Grande Prairie was a great organization, and could help me achieve the things I wanted to achieve by getting on full time with them. I worked for the Parks Department until 2002, and then was awarded a full-time position in the Fleet Department as a parts pick-up and delivery person.

In 2006, I went to school to become a certified red sealed journeyman parts woman. I graduated from parts school in 2009. I continued to work in that trade until 2010. Then I decided that my passion was health and safety in the workplace. I worked in Human Resources with the City of Grande Prairie as a Health and Safety Coordinator.

I am currently at the University of Alberta taking online, in class and weekend courses to complete the Occupational Health and Safety Certificate program. I am working as a Community Enhancement Facilitator with Crime Prevention at the City of Grande Prairie.

My learning journey is far from over, as I am a believer that “knowledge is power” – Nelson Mandella, and I will be sure to continue learning for life.