For immediate release September 30, 2015
EDMONTON – Edmonton Women’s Shelter Ltd. and CUPE Local 3341 are pleased to announce the ratification of a new agreement that provides employees of an Alberta women’s shelter with their first pension plan.
The deal covers some 45 workers at all three facilities operated by Edmonton Women’s Shelter Ltd., also known as WIN House. The employees include crisis intervention workers, outreach workers, housekeepers, child support staff and administrative staff.
“A pension plan gives our employees further job security,” says Tess Gordey, Executive Director of WIN House. “We understand gender-equity issues women face in the workforce and have always strived to seek and secure monetary resources necessary for promoting equity in our sector. Success in this direction assists us in recruitment and retention of skilled workers and brings stability to our workplace. Ultimately, women and children fleeing family violence will benefit through increased expertise, best practices and leadership. It’s a win-win for WIN.”
The pension plan –a Multi-Sector Pension Plan (MSPP) – is a unique plan that CUPE and the Service Employees International Union innovated nearly 15 years ago to address the lack of retirement benefits in largely female-dominated workplaces.
It has taken CUPE Local 3341 nine years to champion the merits of a multi-sector plan pension for the shelter employees it represents.
Pension plans are rare in the non-profit sector and this is especially true for sheltering organizations,” says Marle Roberts, President CUPE Alberta. “The multi-sector pension plan makes this possible, creating an all around victory. Pensions allow people to retire with dignity. These are typically under-paid workers who do the job out of a calling to help others because they care,” said Roberts. “CUPE has and will continue to advocate for retirement security for “all” by continuing to negotiate workplace pensions and supporting expansion of the CPP.”
For more information, please contact Paula Arab at 403-889-9128
Greetings Sisters and Brothers,
I am pleased to share with you CUPE Alberta’s pre-budget submissions for the historic 2015 provincial budget, the first to be brought down by the new NDP government.
In the few short months that Premier Rachel Notley and the NDP have been in power, they have already brought forward substantial and progressive legislation. We commend them for moving so quickly to enact real change that brings more fairness in Alberta’s highly regressive taxation system, increases the minimum wage and reduces user fees for public services. We applaud these and other swift changes that show the NDP government understands and values the importance of dignity in all workplaces.
Still, there is much more to be done during these difficult economic times. CUPE Alberta’s position is that the government can deal with its deficit while still having room to increase investment in quality public services. Specifically, our budget recommendations include:
- Implementing major initiatives from the NDP platform, including a greater public investment in child care and increasing supports to the Family and Community Support Services. This is also a good time to call a commission to look at how to phase-out coal-generated electricity while investing more in green energy. CUPE specifically recommends the commission include the principle of Just Transition, to make sure workers and communities dependent on these legacy industries are treated properly.
- Create jobs by investing in government services, infrastructure, child care and public education.
- Adopt buy-local policies for procurement around infrastructure development and maintenance, and adopt an Alberta First policy for purchase of government supplies and food.
- Invest in infrastructure renewal across towns and cities in the province suffering from years of deferred maintenance under previous governments.
- Renew the province’s rural broadband strategy, audit the current Public-Private Partnership infrastructure programs and engage in a comprehensive review of tax expenditures and loopholes.
Please read our full submissions and recommendations below.
Labour Day is usually a time for CUPE Alberta members to enjoy one last blast of summer before school starts, and before we dig in for another prairie winter.
It’s also a time when I reflect on the battles won by working people and look ahead to what battles are coming.
For the first time in generations, Alberta workers don’t have a government actively working against them. Instead, the provincial election of May 5th brought us a government promising an increased minimum wage, better labour laws for farm workers, and a tax system that doesn’t put all the work on the backs of lower and middle income earners.
I admit this new reality is taking some getting used to! But we have to remain vigilant in fighting for the things that matter: better wages and working conditions, strong public services, equality for all people, and an environment that allows us to reach our full potential as individuals and as a province. Even with a friendly government, there are strong forces in our province working over time against positive change.
So have a happy and safe Labour Day weekend, because our fights have not ended. They just got a whole lot more interesting.
Marle Roberts, President
MR/pk cope 491
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…
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
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 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.
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.