Wood Buffalo Housing lockout ends CUPE members vote to accept mediator’s recommendations

FORT MCMURRAY – Unionized employees of Wood Buffalo Housing voted last night to accept the recommendations of a mediator to end the five-month lock out at the public housing agency.

The lockout, which started May 10th, impacted all 46 CUPE members working for WBH. The dispute centered on the company’s desire to contract out services conducted by groundskeeping, housekeeping and maintenance employees.

CUPE Local 1505 President Judy Collier said she is satisfied with the results.

“After five months on the picket line, our members have fought and won an important battle,” said Collier.

“While we didn’t get everything we wanted, our actions made a difference and showed Wood Buffalo Housing that employees are not expendable.”

Collier said the mediator’s recommendations saved many of the jobs set to be contracted out, guarantees no further contracting out, and increases the severance package for those who are not protected.

Workers return to work Oct 23.

“In the days to come, the new normal starts at WBHD. Many of our members go back to doing what they love – helping residents and serving our community.”

“Lockouts and strikes are challenging, I could not be prouder of our members. They have shown strength, courage and determination against a hostile employer. They’ve stood up for themselves and earned the respect they deserve.”

 

Mediator makes recommendation to end Wood Buffalo Housing lockout

FORT MCMURRAY, AB – The union representing 46 locked out workers at Wood Buffalo Housing has confirmed that there is a potential settlement to end the almost five-month labour dispute.

Judy Collier, President of CUPE 1505 confirmed that parties had difficulties coming to a final agreement, but the union will present a mediator’s recommendation to members over the next few days and that members will be able to vote to accept or reject the recommendation.

“After five months on the picket line, taking the mediator’s recommendations to our members for a vote is our best option,” said Collier. “CUPE will support the members, whatever decision the members make.”

CUPE will not discuss the details of the mediator’s report until after it has been explained to members.

EDMONTON ELECTION TRAINING CAMP

Hosted by the Canadian Labour Congress:

When:  Saturday, September 14, 2019 – 11:30 am – 3:30 pm

Where: Hudson’s Pub on Whyte Ave (10307 – 82 Avenue NW) (Private Room Rented)

What:    Training on Federal Election Issues and a Social to Build Momentum

The event will have speakers and training in the morning with a “use what you’ve learned” canvass taking place after lunch.

Facebook link for more information: https://www.facebook.com/events/447264009214009/

This event is open to the public and is kid-friendly, and the venue is accessible for all abilities.  Parking is street parking.

Further Details about the Federal Election Training & Social in Alberta:

What does it take to move the needle and have our progressive values front of mind in our communities?

It takes showing up. It takes sharing ideas to drive our collective momentum. It takes building connections with each other to then feel emboldened to speak loud and proud about what YOU believe in.

Join the fun on September 14th, meet others that are fighting to keep our Edmonton-Strathcona riding orange and to expand that orange centre.

We’ve seen what Jason Kenney and the UCP is doing to the rights of working people, how he is trying to mess with our collective agreements and trying to take away the funding streams we rely on to have a vibrant labour movement in Alberta.

Let alone how he is regressing the gains we’ve made in women’s rights and LGBTQ2S+ protections.

We’ve had enough and having his buddy Andrew Scheer in office at the federal level will give them an immense amount of power to destroy and regress our rights.

Being active in this election is crucial so the right-wing extremist Premiers don’t have a federal leader that could open up our constitution to tear apart the protections that Canada is built on


Itinerary:

11:30 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.
Welcome and Greetings from the Canadian Labour Congress & Alberta’s Labour Leaders

11:50 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
Election Training | Know the Issues & Make a Difference

12:45 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Lunch (provided), Mingle & Build Momentum

1:45 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Meet our Alberta NDP Candidates for the Federal Election

2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Use Our New Knowledge and Canvass

CUPE disappointed in court decision

Government should honour signed contract because that’s what honourable people do – Gill

The President of CUPE Alberta is disappointed in today’s court ruling removing the injunction against Bill 9 – the Kenney Government legislation that rewrites collective agreements of many public sector workers.

President Rory Gill said Alberta union members have a right to expect their government to abide by signed contracts.

“When Jason Kenney tears up your contract, even on small matters, it means he doesn’t respect you,” said Gill. “You wouldn’t buy a toaster from someone who reneged on a deal, because that person has demonstrated they are not honourable.”

Gill said that while CUPE is not part of the court decision, there are some CUPE contracts that are affected by Bill 9.

“Alberta workers need to know that today’s decision is a minor legal setback, and every public sector union is committed to fighting for their interests,” said Gill. “A deal is a deal. That’s basic schoolyard stuff.”

What’s wrong with the word ‘public’?

CUPE suspects UCP has an agenda

CUPE Alberta President Rory Gill smells a rat.

“Taking the word ‘public’ out of the names of public-school districts makes no sense, and is of such little value I have to believe something else is at play.”

The leader of the 38,000 member union was reacting to the news Alberta Education Minister Adriana LaGrange issued a Ministerial order striking the word ‘public’ from all Alberta School Division names.

Gill believes it’s a subtle change aimed at getting Albertans ready for more private schools.

“The term public implies ‘open to anyone’ and ‘in the broad community interest’ and said there is great value in keeping the term in the names of Alberta school divisions.”

“Who could be against a word that implies inclusion and community benefit?” asked Gill. “Why would a government want divisions to spend tax dollars on rebranding?”

“The Kenney government has already sent strong signals it wants to increase the number of private, elite schools in the province, and this move is clearly a means to hide them among other schools in our communities.”

“Instead of taking the public out of public schools, let’s just be honest about the other schools and call them what they are – schools for the rich and privileged.”

 

Alberta spending report a recipe for suffering and hardship

Today’s report into spending by the Alberta government is “a recipe for hardship and suffering of everyone but the super-rich,” said CUPE Alberta President Rory Gill.

The McKinnon report, commissioned for the Kenney government makes radical recommendations to cut 20% to health spending, close some post-secondary schools, sharply reduce the size of the public sector, and sell off public assets.

“A growing province needs strong public services,” said Gill. “The Kenney government should reject this approach.”

Gill pointed to the $4.5 billion tax cut Kenney gave to profitable corporations as the real culprit for the government’s deficit.

“Jason Kenney is giving breaks to the super rich, while laying off middle class Albertans, closing hospital beds and over-crowding schools,” said Gill. “His priorities are all wrong.”

Gill said CUPE will resist radical cuts and warned that his members will not accept wage cuts, pointing out that courts have ruled as recently as last month that signed contracts cannot be legislated away.

The McKinnon report charts a path to a debt free government, but it doesn’t look at the fact we are the lowest taxed province in Canada by a mile.

“Under the previous government, we were three years away from a balanced budget without hurting patients, students, parents and working people,” said Gill. “If Kenney wasn’t so determined to help out millionaires, his government could adopt a better approach that helps all Albertans.”

CUPE is Canada’s largest union, representing 680,000 members nationwide, including almost 38,000 Albertans.

ALBERTA WORKERS STAND TOGETHER

The rain will not stop us.  Alberta’s workers are fighting for what’s right and against the UCP government’s attacks on workers’ rights, healthcare, education and other services we all rely on.

Alberta’s labour movement is united and we showed it again today at Edmonton’s Misericordia Community Hospital.