City of Moose Jaw moves forward with controversial plan to remove supervisors from their union

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Local 9_2016_photo

Moose Jaw — The City of Moose Jaw has filed an application with the Labour Relations Board to remove 18 members of Local 9 from the bargaining unit. It is one of the first employers in the province to aggressively seek to use new provisions under The Saskatchewan Employee Act (SEA), which came into effect earlier this year and allows employers to try to remove workers with supervisory duties from the bargaining unit.

“Their announcement is creating a lot of stress and uncertainty for our members,” said Stacey Landin, president of the local. “People are worried about job security, about their benefits and wages, and what the future holds.”

The impacted positions range from accountants to recreation staff to water and waste water staff.

This move by the city comes in the middle of a very tense round of conciliation. The local has a strong strike mandate from its membership, and the city is seeking serious concessions.

“Attempting to strip 18 members of their right to belong to the union of their choosing in the middle of the conciliation process is not a recipe for healthy labour relations,” Landin said. “We are doing our best to come to a fair and reasonable deal, and the city keeps treating us with a lack of respect.”

Local 9 believes that removing supervisors from the bargaining unit is completely unnecessary. Many major employers in the province have already signed irrevocable agreements to keep the status quo arrangement, including the Ministry of Health, SAHO, and the Government of Saskatchewan.

In the coming weeks, CUPE will challenge the employer’s application to the Labour Relations Board, arguing amongst other things that removing employees from the bargaining unit of their choosing is unconstitutional. CUPE will also explore organizing another bargaining unit. Both processes will create more administrative work for city administration and add significant costs to the city’s budget.

CUPE Local 9 represents staff at the City of Moose Jaw, Moose Jaw Public Library, Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery, Palliser Regional Library, and the City of Moose Jaw Police Services civilian support staff.

 

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Celebrate health and safety activists in your local with this certificate

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Health and safety activists put in a lot of effort to make sure their colleagues go home safe at the end of a shift. Though often it goes unrecognized, this work is at the core of any strong local union.

As part of the Year of Health and Safety, CUPE has created certificates to celebrate the work of these activists. Locals can fill out the information in this online form and submit for printing. A certificate will be mailed to you, and you can present the certificate at a local event.

yearhs_certificate_eng

CUPE 4254 launches post card campaign against education cuts

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Ed Funding
Warman — CUPE Local 4254 has launched a public awareness campaign about the impacts that significant cuts to Prairie Spirit School Division will have on the quality of education and services for our children.

Prairie Spirit School Division is facing a $3 million budget shortfall, which will result in the layoff of at least 60 full time equivalent educational associates.

“These cuts mean less support in the classroom for students who are struggling. With less support for vulnerable students, all students feel the consequences,” said Grace Wudrick, president of CUPE Local 4254. “Children in Saskatchewan deserve better from their government.”

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Gay-Straight Alliances in High Schools: Panel Discussion

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GSAs in High Schools Poster
As a result of the horrific mass shooting and unimaginable hate crime that took place in Orlando just a few days ago, LGBTQ+ communities and allies are more than ever taking the issue of creating safe spaces and continuing education efforts very seriously.

The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour is partnering with the UR Pride Centre and YWCA Regina to host a panel discussion during Regina Pride about GSAs in High Schools.

This panel event is on why Gender & Sexuality Alliances / Gay Straight Alliances are needed in high schools and how our community can drive change.

Saskatchewan has no legislation about ensuring a GSA will be established when requested by a student, and the Education Minister has to-date resisted making it law.

Please attend this event to hear about why we need GSAs in high schools, hear directly from students about what their GSA means to them, and then learn what we can do going forward to support GSAs and Queer and Trans* youth.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016
7:00PM
Cathedral Village Neighbourhood Centre
2900 13th Avenue, Regina

Click attending on Facebook, and share the link with friends: https://www.facebook.com/events/635245163296112/

Download the poster here.

National Aboriginal Day BBQ!

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AbDay BBQ PosterCUPE Saskatchewan and the CUPE Saskatchewan Aboriginal Council will be hosting a free BBQ in honour of National Aboriginal Day on June 21. All are welcome for free hamburgers and hotdogs!

Date: Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Time: 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM
Location: Dewdney Pool Park (Dewdney Ave)
West side of 1400 Block Athol Street
REGINA, Treaty 4 Territory

Download the poster HERE and help spread the word!

CUPE Local 4195 takes action at Sask. Rivers School Board Meeting

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4195 Web Story Photo (June 7, 2016)

Members and supporters of CUPE Local 4195 attended the latest Sask. Rivers Board of Education meeting to raise awareness of the impacts of their decision to lay off support staff and hire them back at reduced hours.

“This decision means that our students will lose over 8,000 hours of direct support from educational assistants. This decision means that the libraries in our schools will have two weeks less of staffing. The total impact on staffing levels will be over 11,000 lost hours for many support classifications, including social workers, office administration, language assistants, cooks, and educational assistants. This reduction will be felt in the classroom, and that is unacceptable,” said John Kunard, president of CUPE Local 4195.

You can read more about the issue here.

 

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Saskatchewan CUPE members donate over $24,000 for Fort McMurray disaster relief

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Firefighter putting out flames in forrest near Fort McMurray, Alberta

Firefighter putting out flames in forest near Fort McMurray, Alberta

CUPE Saskatchewan, the CUPE Health Care Council, and individual locals and members across Saskatchewan have collectively donated more than $24,000 to the CUPE National Disaster Relief Fund – Wildfires in Northern Alberta.

In addition to donations from CUPE Saskatchewan and the Health Care Council, we would like to recognize the following Saskatchewan locals and delegates for their generous contributions:

Local 3730: $250.00
Local 3761: $1,000.00
Local 4828: $100.00
Local 4980: $2,109.00
Local 4777: $500.00
Delegates at the 2016 CUPE Health Care Council conference: $1,464.00
+Local 5999 donation of: $500.00

With the Division and Health Care Council matching donations at the recent Health Care Council conference in Yorkton, total donations amount to more than $24,000.

Among the approximately 90,000 displaced residents of Fort McMurray were thousands of CUPE members and their families. They work in elementary and secondary schools, municipalities, recreation programs, at the airport and in social service organizations.

“We saw the devastation from northern fires firsthand in Saskatchewan last year, with 10,000 people evacuated in the north,” says CUPE Saskatchewan President Tom Graham. “It’s important for communities to come together and reach out to ensure everyone’s needs are met.”

Donations to the CUPE National Disaster Relief Fund go directly to the affected communities. CUPE locals and members in Saskatchewan are encouraged to donate  up until May 31, 2016. Within Saskatchewan, donations can be sent c/o of the CUPE Saskatchewan Division:

CUPE Saskatchewan
3725 E Eastgate Drive
Regina, SK
S4Z 1A5

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Take the PATHS Intimate Partner Violence and the Workplace Survey

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PATHS

Saskatchewan has the unfortunate distinction of having the highest per capita rate of intimate partner violence, sexual assault and intimate partner homicide among the Canadian provinces.

It’s time for a culture shift. Will you be part of the change?

If you are a worker in Saskatchewan, please take part in this survey. It will take about 15 minutes to complete.

Survey Link: http://bit.ly/1q2e7pb

If you are a Saskatchewan union, employer or professional association, please forward this survey to your members, workers and networks.

If you have questions about the survey or would like to become involved in this project, please contact PATHS (The Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan): paths@sasktel.net or 306-522-3515.

Join the Social Media Storm for Education Funding on May 25!

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Social Media Storm Square Photo (May 20, 2016)Investing in the education of our children is one of the most important things our government can do.

In Saskatchewan, there are growing concerns about what the approximately $260 million provincial budget deficit will mean for school boards across the province.

Though the premier has said education will see a “modest” increase, many school boards are being told to budget for the worst case scenario.

Many school divisions are already feeling a budget pinch.  Many school boards are dealing with increased enrollment and more complex student needs. Even a modest increase will not be enough for some school divisions to meet the need for frontline support staff.

And when education support staff get cut, it’s our children who suffer.

We need to stand together now to ensure that education in this province is properly funded.

Please join us on May 25 for a “Social Media Storm for Education” and share your message for the government on Facebook and Twitter.

Read the backgrounder to understand how budget shortfalls are already resulting in layoffs and extra fees for parents.

Some sample messages include:

You can skip the dishes, but you can’t skip the classroom. Let’s support frontline staff. #skpoli #budget2016 #supportsasked

Cuts to frontline education support workers hurt our kids. Let’s invest in education. #skpoli #budget2016 #supportsasked

26 layoffs at Prairie South, 60 EAs lost in Prairie Spirit. What other cuts are coming to education? #skpoli #budget2016 #supportsasked

Our schools work because support staff do. Let’s invest in education. #skpoli #budget2016 #supportsasked

CUPE Saskatchewan, Health Care Council, and Local 3761 to donate $11,000 to Fort McMurray disaster relief fund

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Firefighter putting out flames in forrest near Fort McMurray, Alberta

Firefighter putting out flames in forest near Fort McMurray, Alberta

The devastation caused by the Fort McMurray wildfire has stunned people across Canada, with the entire city of Fort McMurray evacuated and thousands of homes and buildings destroyed. Among the approximately 90,000 displaced residents were thousands of CUPE members and their families. They work in elementary and secondary schools, municipalities, recreation programs, at the airport and in social service organizations.

In solidarity with our sisters and brothers in northern Alberta, and with all people affected by the historic fire, CUPE Saskatchewan, the CUPE Saskatchewan Health Care Council of Unions and CUPE Local 3761 will be donating $11,000 to the CUPE National Disaster Relief Fund – Wildfires in Northern Alberta.

“We saw the devastation from northern fires firsthand in Saskatchewan last year, with 10,000 people evacuated in the north,” says CUPE Saskatchewan President Tom Graham. “It’s important for communities to come together and reach out to ensure everyone’s needs are met.”

Donations to the CUPE National Disaster Relief Fund go directly to the affected communities. CUPE locals and members in Saskatchewan are encouraged to donate. Within Saskatchewan, donations can be sent c/o of the CUPE Saskatchewan Division before May 31 2016: 

CUPE Saskatchewan
3725 E Eastgate Drive
Regina, SK
S4Z 1A5

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Celebrating National Nursing Week

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LPN poster 2016This week is National Nursing Week. It is an important time to recognize the tremendous work CUPE members do every day to deliver high quality patient care as part of the nursing team.

This year it is very important that we take a moment to reflect on the role of Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) because some of concerns that are being floated in the media about LPNs working outside of their scope of practice.

LPNs are skilled nurses who have been trained and accredited to providing a wide range of medical assessments and procedures. They are valuable members of the health care team, but unfortunately, their role is often misunderstood.

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Wear Purple May 6: No One Asks For It!

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Women's CommitteeNo one asks for it! On Friday, May 6th 2016, join others in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Canada!

Sexual violence is far more common than some people think. One in three women in Canada will experience some form of sexual assault in their lifetime. Despite the prevalence and impact of this crime, sexual assaults have notoriously low reporting and low conviction rates; more than 90% of victims do not report their experiences to the police.

2016 CUPE Canoe Trip – Back to Batoche

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2016 CUPE Canoe Trip Poster
The CUPE Saskatchewan canoe trip coincides with the Back to Batoche celebrations of the Métis Nation in Saskatchewan.

During this annual voyage, participants navigate the waters of the South Saskatchewan River by canoe beginning at Clarkboro Ferry crossing (formerly Warman Ferry crossing) and arriving at the historic Métis community of Batoche – learning about Aboriginal culture, history, and traditions along the way.

NO CANOE EXPERIENCE NECESSARY!

EARLY REGISTRATION DEADLINE: June 17, 2016

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Government of Saskatchewan denies career assistance to laid off Valley View Centre workers during tough round of bargaining

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In the wake of a bargaining impasse, the Government of Saskatchewan announced a new round of sweeping layoff notices this week to CUPE Local 600 members working at Valley View Centre.

The Government of Saskatchewan served notice to terminate the employment of 36 employees in several different classifications, including nursing, dietary, housekeeping, and scheduling staff. In total, 24 permanent full time, nine permanent part time, and three term employees were served with layoff notices. Since the announcement of the closure of Valley View Centre, a total of 80 positions have been eliminated. Only one term out-of-scope position has been eliminated during this time.

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CUPE Lends Support to INAC Encampment

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CUPE CNM

INAC Protest Camp at 1827 Albert Street, Regina

Regina – Protesters camped outside the offices of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) in Regina got some material support from the labour movement on Wednesday afternoon when a large festival tent was set up on site by CUPE Saskatchewan.

The tent was a response to a request from the union’s own Aboriginal Council. The protesters have been camped outside INAC’s regional offices since April 18 in conjunction with occupations of INAC offices across Canada in response to the crises of youth suicides in Attawapiskat and the terrible conditions in many First Nations communities across Canada.

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CUPE Saskatchewan Marks the Day of Mourning for Workers Killed or Injured on the Job

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Photo: Flickr/iwishmynamewasmarsha

Photo: Flickr/iwishmynamewasmarsha

Across Saskatchewan and Canada today people will light candles, don ribbons and remember colleagues, friends and family who have been killed because of workplace-related hazards and incidents. A list of Day of Mourning events today in Saskatchewan can be found HERE. CUPE Saskatchewan will be laying wreaths in ceremonies in Saskatoon, Regina, Moose Jaw, and Yorkton.

Last week CUPE Saskatchewan held its annual Occupational Health and Safety Conference and members are encouraged to look at CUPE’s new Health and Safety Learning Series.

We can’t bring back those who have died, but we are working hard to make workplaces safer today. That’s why Canadian unions including CUPE are calling for a national ban on asbestos, a known killer that causes disease, suffering and death — all of it preventable.

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Prairie South School Division lays off 25 staff; CUPE worried about impact on students

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desksMoose Jaw — CUPE Local 5512 is saddened and disappointed by Prairie South School District’s decision to lay off 25 school assistants working at nine schools in Moose Jaw.

“Our members care passionately about the work they do and the children they watch over. The loss of these jobs is so devastating because of how much heart our members put into their jobs,” said Trish Mula, president of CUPE Local 5512. “This decision is about Prairie South’s financial situation, but it is the students who are going to end up paying the price.”

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CUPE Saskatchewan celebrates Earth Day

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earth_1Today is Earth Day. We can all do our part. This could be the time to start greening your workplace with ideas like energy conservation, car pooling, recycling, or reducing waste. CUPE has produced a fact sheet if you want to set up an environment committee in your workplace.

CUPE also wants to encourage and promote existing green practices in our locals’ workplaces. You may submit your local for our 2016 Earth Day contest. Deadline is May 6.

Workers at MacKenzie Art Gallery vote 100 per cent in favour of a strike

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media_release_april_12_photoWorkers at the MacKenzie Art Gallery, members of Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 5791, have voted 100 per cent in favour of a strike mandate.

“The employer brought forward a large regressive proposal package to the table, which is lowering staff morale and causing stress for the members,” said Jamie Mellor, president of Local 5791.

“Historically, CUPE Local 5791 has been very reasonable at the bargaining table and has been considerate of the MacKenzie’s financial challenges. We continue to be reasonable in this round, but the employer’s approach is making progress difficult,” added Mellor.  “It is disappointing to see this behaviour after so many years of amicable labour relations and negotiations.”

The employer has hired an outside consultant and has proposed many concessions to the collective agreement.  These concessions include eliminating severance pay while at the same time issuing lay-off notices to two employees and suggesting that there may be more lay-offs.  Other proposals include eliminating employees’ ability to manage their work within flexible hours that meet their personal needs as well as the gallery’s needs. In addition, the MacKenzie Art Gallery is attempting to remove five full-time positions with supervisory duties from the bargaining unit and is seeking to reduce vacation entitlements for employees hired after April 1, 2016.

“Employees of the MacKenzie Art Gallery have always worked as a dedicated team, producing high quality arts programming for the public.  This work often requires employees to be flexible and generous with their time in order to meet deadlines and to address unanticipated events,” said Marie Olinik, a CUPE Local 5791 MacKenzie Art Gallery bargaining unit member.  “Hours of work has been a particularly contentious issue at this round of bargaining.  It’s our view that the employer’s proposals would actually harm gallery operations and increase costs.”

“We will continue to attempt to reach a negotiated agreement, but the management at the Mackenzie Art Gallery needs to know that our members have strong concerns with the concessions it is trying to push,” said Mellor.

Members of CUPE Local 5791 have been without a contract since March 31, 2015.

CUPE Saskatchewan investigates party platforms on tuition fees ahead of election day

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Student-Loan-Deb

In March, delegates at CUPE Saskatchewan’s 51st Annual Convention passed a resolution calling for the CUPE Division to write a letter to each of Saskatchewan’s major political parties to investigate their policies on post-secondary tuition in advance of the April 4th election.

For context, Saskatchewan has the second-highest tuition fees in Canada after Ontario. Tuition in Saskatchewan has risen a whopping 34 per cent since the Saskatchewan Party formed government, despite the resource boom experienced during this same period.

We sent letters to the Green Party, Liberal Party, New Democratic Party, Saskatchewan Party, and Progressive Conservative Party and asked the following three questions in each letter:

If elected to government will your party:

  1. Immediately freeze tuition fees for post-secondary education?
  2. Increase funding for post-secondary education?
  3. Immediately begin work to create a system of universality for post-secondary education, toward a goal of zero tuition fees?

Given the slim resources of the opposition parties and the frantic workload of election campaigning, it is perhaps not surprising that we have yet to receive replies to our letters. We also did not get a response from the governing Saskatchewan Party.

Reviewing the party platforms, we find that the Green Party pledges to eliminate tuition fees entirely, the New Democratic Party pledges to make post-secondary education more affordable through a number of initiatives while increasing post-secondary funding, and the Liberal platform promises more stable funding and lower interest rates on loans. The Progressive Conservative Party appears to have no education policy at all, based on the platform on their website.

The resolution passed by CUPE Saskatchewan members in March states that education is a right, that access should not depend on one’s finances, and that the Saskatchewan Party government has underfunded post-secondary education while dramatically driving up tuition fees for Saskatchewan students.

Students and workers of all ages in Saskatchewan deserve much better.

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CUPE joins opposition to government plans for private, user-pay CT scans

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CT scanner
The Canadian Union of Public Employees, representing 30,000 workers in Saskatchewan, stands with the Canadian Health Coalition, Canadian Doctors for Medicare, and the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses in opposing the Saskatchewan Party’s recently announced plans to expand privatization of diagnostic imaging from MRIs to CT scans.

“We know that Saskatchewan people – like all Canadians – cherish public health care as one of the great social advances of the 20th century. Yet the current Saskatchewan government appears determined to incrementally dismantle our public health care system and replace it with a for-profit, two-tier system,” says CUPE Saskatchewan President Tom Graham.

Last year, a legal opinion commissioned by CUPE found that the Saskatchewan government’s legislation ushering in private, for-profit MRI clinics violates the Canada Health Act. Federal Minister of Health Jane Philpott is currently reviewing the legislation to assess its compliance with the Act.

The Saskatchewan Party government claims that privatization is the answer for reducing wait times, but this contradicts evidence and expert opinion while striking at the foundational principle of Medicare: equal access to health care based on need rather than private wealth.

As has been shown with private, user-pay MRI clinics in other Canadian provinces, private CT scan services will:

  • Permit queue-jumping
  • Increase existing inequities in the current system
  • Poach workers from the public sector
  • Fail to reduce public wait times
  • Increase public health costs

The reason for these outcomes is that private user-pay clinics and services primarily exist to maximize profits for their investors. Profit inserts misaligned incentives into health care, corroding the entire sector while actually driving up public costs.

“Where there are limitations within our existing capacity, the answer is simply to increase that capacity within the public system,” says Graham. “There is no evidence to suggest that these privatization schemes improve health care delivery or reduce costs – and there’s really a lot of evidence showing the opposite.”

“These privatization initiatives in health care are driven by ideology and not best practices or the public good,” says Gordon Campbell, President of the CUPE Health Care Council, which represents 13,600 Saskatchewan health care workers. “Investing in public health care is the simple, proven solution.”

As Saskatchewan voters head to the polls for the April 4th provincial election, the Saskatchewan Party’s escalating privatization schemes cast serious doubt on the government’s commitment to universal public health care.

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Saskatoon Public Library workers launch campaign to keep supervisors part of the union

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Supervisors2

CUPE Local 2669 President Dolores Douglass speaks to reporters at a press conference at The Stand in Saskatoon.

The Saskatoon Public Library is attempting to remove 28 employees with supervisory duties from CUPE Local 2669. It is one of the first employers in the province to aggressively seek to use new provisions under The Saskatchewan Employment Act (SEA), which comes into effect in exactly one month.

The employer has met with members with supervisory duties to inform them they are seeking their removal from the bargaining unit. To this date no details about rationale or details about how this will impact workers have been released.

“Their announcement is creating a lot of stress and uncertainty for our members,” said Dolores Douglas, president of the local. “People are worried about job security, about their benefits and wages and what the future holds.”

Unions and employers have until April 29, 2016 to sign a status quo agreement called an irrevocable election. After that date, and any time in the future, employers may apply to the Labour Relations Board for an order removing supervisors from the bargaining units and unions of their choice of which they have chosen to be a part. Many major employers in the province have already signed irrevocable agreements, including the Ministry of Health, SAHO, and the Government of Saskatchewan.

“This decision is baffling. There is no credible rationale for moving forward with this,” added Douglas. “The library struggles with funding and resourcing as it is – Why is a publicly funded, civic employer wasting time and resources to weaken the bargaining unit and undermine job security?”

“Working people have the right to belong to the union of their choosing. CUPE will fight any employer who moves forward with attempting to exclude supervisory members with every tool in our tool box – including legal avenues,” said Tom Graham, president of CUPE Saskatchewan. “We are in the midst of an election. Any government that wants the support of unionized workers should consider the outcome of our recent charter challenge and immediately repeal the Sask. Party’s regressive labour legislation.”

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VOTING MATTERS!

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vote check
On April 4th, there is a provincial election. Who gets elected matters.

The next provincial government will make important decisions about funding for education, health care, community-based organizations, and social services. They will decide on the future of our public services and Crown Corporations. They will decide if the province puts working families first – or prioritizes out-of-province corporations.

You deserve a say on these issues.

 

 

Public services and jobs

  • In Saskatchewan we believe everyone should have access to services they need, no matter where they live or how much they earn.
  • That is why we created strong Public Services and Crown Corporations that serve everyone while providing safer, higher-paying union jobs. But the Sask Party government is selling off parts of our Crown Corporations and dismantling our public services.
  • Schools, hospitals and roads are being privatized under the costly P3 model. The P3 Regina bypass has a whopping $1.9-billion price tag!
  • Private ownership and control transfers public resources into private profits
  • 300 CUPE health care laundry workers across Saskatchewan lost their jobs last year when the government privatized hospital laundry services and handed the contract to an Alberta company. Correctional food services have also been handed over to a private corporation that also pays workers less and cuts corners. Our profitable liquor stores could be next. They’re allowing private MRI clinics, so people can pay extra to jump the queue. And now CT scans are set to be privatized, too.
  • We deserve strong public services that are accessible to everyone. We need to invest in health care to reduce wait times and develop a world-class seniors’ care system. We need to build more schools and ensure adequate supports in the classroom. We need elected representatives who will protect our Crowns and public services – so they are still here for our children and grandchildren.

Your rights as a worker

  • The Sask Party government has shown that they are not a friend to working people. They have overhauled labour laws to take away workers’ rights through the Saskatchewan Employment Act (2014) and the Public Service Essential Services Act (2008).
  • In 2008, the Public Service Essential Services Act put unjust limits on which public sector workers could go on strike, fundamentally undermining the ability to bargain fair collective agreements. It was such bad legislation that the Supreme Court of Canada struck it down for violating workers’ Charter right to freedom of association.

The economy and your paycheque

  • After a decade-long resource boom, why are so many people struggling to make ends meet today? Costs are rising, services are being cut, and wages are not keeping pace.
  • Utilities, tuition fees, seniors’ care, healthcare supplies – the list of rising costs goes on and on. In the last three years Sask Power rates alone have gone up more than 15 per cent.
  • Chronic underfunding of public services means that front line workers get less. When the government is wasting millions on out-of-province consultants, it becomes harder for workers to secure fair settlements. The Sask Party has more than doubled spending on consultants to over $120 million a year.
  • We need elected representatives who will put the needs of working families first – and fight for everyone, not just bosses and private corporations.

Please pledge to vote for a candidate who listens by clicking HERE.

Information on how and where to vote at Elections Saskatchewan.

Fighting in the struggle for Indigenous water rights and justice

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aboriginal-waterThe United Nations has declared that water and sanitation are human rights. Yet many Indigenous communities are deprived of their human right to water. Communities lack adequate sanitation, sewage treatment and drinking water services. And many communities face health and economic problems because of industrial exploitation.

CUPE works in solidarity with aboriginal organizations, environmental groups and workers to defend human rights, defend the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, strengthen the union movement, and resist privatization and cutbacks.

Two-thirds of all First Nation communities in Canada have been under at least one drinking water advisory at some time in the last decade. According to Health Canada there are currently 131 Drinking Water Advisories in effect in 87 First Nation communities across Canada, excluding British Columbia.

With the Assembly of First Nations and the Water Solidarity Network, CUPE will hold the federal government accountable to its promise of ending boil water advisories in Indigenous communities within five years. 

Read more at CUPE’s national website 

All Candidates debate on Crowns and public services coming to a town near you!

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Web Candidates ImageThe next provincial government will make important decisions about funding for health care, education, community based organizations, and social services. It will decide on the future of our Crown corporations and public services.

If you care about these issues, come and learn where the parties stand at a special All Candidates Debate on Public Services and Crowns. Project Community and the Own it! campaign are hosting an all candidates debate on public services and Crowns. Each party has been invited to attend this non-partisan debate.

Moose Jaw: March 21, 2016 at 7 p.m. Moose Jaw Legion, 268 High St. W.

Regina: March 22, 2016 at 7 p.m. Regina Italian Club, 2148 Connaught St. Facebook event page here! Invite friends!

The Battlefords: March 23, 2016 at 7 p.m.Dekker Centre, 623 Carlton Trail, North Battleford

Prince Albert: March 24, 2016 at 7 p.m., 125 – 12th St. E.  John M. Cuelenaere Library. Facebook event page here! Invite friends!

Saskatoon: March 28, 2016 at 7 p.m., Le Relais Hall, 103 308 4th Ave. N. Facebook event page here! Invite friends!

Saskatchewan people are concerned about the future of our public services and Crown corporations.  So come ask a question, and see where the politicians stand.

Each forum will begin at 7 p.m. and will last one and a half hours. Candidates will have the opportunity to give a brief introduction before heading into the question period.  We will have three to four prepared questions and then will accept written questions from the audience.  We will have a non-partisan community or media moderator for each event.

CUPE Saskatchewan celebrates International Women’s Day

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international-womens-day
Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day. Across the country, CUPE is holding events to honour the accomplishments of women and renew our commitment to gender equality. CUPE Saskatchewan encourages members to take time during this week (and every week) to learn about issues that affect women. CUPE Saskatchewan will be celebrating the day on March 9 on the first day of our 51st Annual Convention with a special video presentation.

Here are some additional resources and campaigns that offer research, lobby demands and ways to get involved:

CUPE Health Care Council launches radio campaign on seniors’ care

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Photo: cbc.ca

Photo: cbc.ca

The issue of seniors’ care continues to be at the top of mind for many Saskatchewan citizens.  In response to this concern, the CUPE Health Care Council has launched a radio ad calling for a minimum standard of care.

“Our members are doing the best they can with limited time,” said Gordon Campbell, CUPE Health Care Council president.  “But with the current staffing levels, our members barely have time to take care of residents’ basic needs and have no time to support their emotional and social needs.”

Many CUPE members working in long term care facilities report that staff is not replaced when on sick leave or other short term leave.

“This adds to workload and impacts their ability to deliver quality care.  The government should abandon its directive to health regions to save money by not replacing staff.  This policy is making the situation worse,” added Campbell.

CUPE is recommending the government implement a minimum care standard to ensure adequate staffing levels to meet the needs of residents.

You can listen to the ad here:

CUPE is the largest health care union in Saskatchewan, representing over 13,600 members in the health sector. Many of CUPE’s members work in long-term care facilities and in-home care.

/cope491

CUPE calls on Sask government to ban private blood plasma clinics

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tainted blood

Photo: Holness Law Group

Regina – The Canadian Union of Public Employees Saskatchewan is asking the Wall government to halt plans to proceed with the privatization of the province’s blood donor system.

For-profit blood plasma clinics operated by the company Canadian Plasma Resources (CPR) were first introduced in Ontario but soon banned after strong opposition mounted by blood advocates. CPR is now in the process of setting up private plasma clinics in Saskatchewan.

In a letter sent to provincial health minister Dustin Duncan, CUPE Saskatchewan President Tom Graham stresses that Canada’s 17-million-dollar federal inquiry into the tainted blood scandal, in which more than 30,000 Canadians were infected with HIV and hepatitis C, found that the paid-donor system was a key factor in Canada’s worst-ever preventable public health disaster.

More than a billion dollars in compensation has been paid out to the families affected by the blood scandal.
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CUPE library workers in Saskatoon insist on safer working conditions despite funding cuts

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dolores_21

“You start to see things with different eyes and you begin to recognize potential harms that
you have never noticed – situations you may have walked by hundreds of times.” That’s how CUPE health and safety activist Dolores Douglas describes attending health and safety training for the first time, 13 years ago. The course was an eye-opener about the hazards present in her workplace.

Read the full story on the CUPE National website.

Statement on La Loche Tragedy

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Photo: Fran Trudeau/Flickr

Photo: Fran Trudeau/Flickr

CUPE Saskatchewan and our members that work in schools across the province wish to express our deepest regrets for the tragedy that occurred in La Loche last week. Our condolences to the students and staff at the school and to the whole community of La Loche and the surrounding Dene Nations. Most importantly, our sympathy goes to the families and friends of the victims.

It is difficult to know when tragedy will strike. We can only support each other and work to address the root causes of such terrible events. As a society we must do more to support young people and to ensure that everyone has access to the services and resources they need.

Jackie Christianson, Chairperson of the Education Workers Steering Committee
Tom Graham, President, CUPE Saskatchewan

CUPE Saskatchewan urges health minister to support a new Health Accord

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Regina – CUPE Saskatchewan President Tom Graham is urging the province’s health minister, Dustin Duncan, to support a new Health Accord at this week’s meeting of health ministers in Vancouver.
Graham wrote Minister Duncan on behalf of CUPE’s 30,000 members in Saskatchewan to inform the minister that CUPE is encouraged by the new federal government’s commitment to negotiate a new accord.
Says Graham, “Our hope is that strengthening and expanding our public Medicare system will be a priority for the ministers who are meeting this week, as part of a newly negotiated public Health Accord.”

CUPE is encouraging all ministers of health to support a new Health Accord that includes the following elements:

  • Stable and adequate funding from the federal government, with annual increases established at a minimum 6%;
  • A national continuing care program that extends the principles of the Canada Health Act to long term care, home and community care and establishes minimum staffing and phasing out of for-profit delivery in this sector;
  • A national universal Pharmacare program that provides coverage to all Canadians through a national formulary, evidence-based evaluation of prescribing and protection from trade deals.

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LPN voted “Best Nurse” in Regina

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Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Brianne Cannon.

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Brianne Cannon.

CUPE LPN Brianne Cannon was recently voted “Best Nurse” in Prairie Dog’s annual best of Regina contest.

Cannon is in her 13th year of nursing and has worked in a variety of capacities in the health sector. She has gained experience in surgical nursing and palliative care, but upon the birth of her eldest son, decided to move into the mother-baby unit. She was one of the first LPNs to work in neonatal care in Canada, as part of a special Calgary based pilot project.

“What motivates me at work is to make everyone feel accepted and that they belong there. I believe everyone, no matter their background, deserves respect. Whether you are a high-ranking CEO or a person struggling with addictions – you should receive the same care,” said Cannon. “That’s how I treat my patients; like my friends, like my family.”

The biggest challenge at work is seeing people receiving unequal treatment. “I really think that the reason I was nominated is that I treat everyone with the utmost respect. Respect is a choice. Maybe I don’t agree with what a patient is doing, but it’s not my place. I don’t live their life.”

Cannon’s favourite part of the job is working with newborn babies.

“It’s a pretty big honour to be with someone when they need you. You start as a stranger, and people put their trust in you as a health care provider.”

Having worked in palliative, surgery, and mother-baby care, Cannon reflects that it is a huge honour to be with people in their vulnerable lifetime moments.

“To be with patients and their families at their bedside, to be with people who are scared and sick, to be with new parents is just an honour. I am humbled to be there for people in these moments.”

Cannon says that the one thing she would improve about the workplace is the ability for her to utilize all of her skills and work to full scope.

“I’ve worked in a lot of different environments, and I’ve always had to prove myself. I would love it if everyone understood that there’s a place for everyone.

“LPNs sometimes aren’t respected for the education, skills, and knowledge that we have. But as health care providers, as a team, we are much stronger together than divided, and the patients will benefit from us working more as a team.”

So, what’s it like for Cannon to win “Best Nurse” in Regina?

“I’m just super humbled and grateful; it’s a bit of a shock. It’s wonderful to get recognition when you feel like you try to do your best every day that you walk in.”

Gordon Campbell, President of the CUPE Health Care Council, adds, “On behalf of the Health Care Council, we congratulate Brianne on her recognition as Best Nurse and thank her for the pioneering contributions she has made as an LPN.”

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How to volunteer for English tutoring programs for refugees in Saskatchewan

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Photo: Front Porch Stapleton

Photo: Front Porch Stapleton

As part of our initiatives to welcome and support the arrival of Syrian refugees to the province, CUPE Saskatchewan is inviting CUPE members and Saskatchewan residents to take up the call for English tutors in the four cities in which newcomers are being resettled: Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Regina, and Saskatoon.

The Syrian refugee crisis is the largest refugee crisis since World War Two and this is a unique opportunity for our diverse members and all Saskatchewan residents to make connections and to make a difference in our communities. The following table lists the principal organizations and contact information for tutoring initiatives for Syrian refugees in Saskatchewan.

English Tutoring Opportunities for Refugees Across Saskatchewan

MOOSE JAW
Organization Moose Jaw Newcomer Welcome Centre
Website http://mjnwc.ca/volunteer/sign-up
Email Address mjmcgateway@mjmcinc.ca
Phone 306.692.6892
PRINCE ALBERT
Organization Prince Albert Literacy Network
Website http://www.princealbertliteracy.ca/contact-tlc.html
Email Address tlc.paln@sasktel.net
Phone 306.922.6852
REGINA
Organization Regina Public Library
Website http://www.reginalibrary.ca/literacy/volunteertutors.html
Email Form http://www.reginalibrary.ca/literacy/tutor_training.php
Phone 306.777.6009
SASKATOON
Organization Global Gathering Place
Website http://globalgatheringplace.com/welcome/
Email Address volunteer@globalgatheringplace.com
Phone 306.665.0268

Occupational Health and Safety Conference 2016

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OHS CON 2016 PosterBACK TO THE BASICS

April 21 – 22, 2016
Delta Bessborough Hotel
Saskatoon

EARLY REGISTRATION: Before March 21, 2016 // AFFILIATE: $125; NON AFFILIATE: $150

LATE REGISTRATION: After March 21, 2016 // AFFILIATE: $150; NON AFFILIATE: $175

 

 

HOW DO I ATTEND? 

1. Contact your CUPE local to approve sponsorship of your registration;

2. Download and complete the conference registration form and submit to the CUPE Saskatchewan office;

3. Book your accommodation if required.

WORKSHOPS

Identifying and Documenting Hazards
Learn techniques for body mapping, surveys, and inspections to identify hazards in the workplace, as well to develop methods for dealing with the hazards. Participants will have an opportunity to perform an inspection and develop recommendations around their findings.

Basics of Incident Investigations
Learn how to identify root causes of workplace incidents, injuries, and diseases, common routes of entry of toxic substances, and their role in the investigation process. We will review relevant sections of the OHS act. The participants will conduct in a mock incident investigation to allow them to practice their interviewing, data collection, and documentation skills.

Preventing Mental Injuries in the Workplace
New forms of work, job insecurity, work intensification, high demands, violence, and a resulting poor work-life balance are resulting in psychosocial and mental health problems in CUPE workplaces. This module will focus on the workplace as the cause of mental health issues, and not the individual. Participants will discuss strategies and actions that will actually help make workplaces psychologically healthier and safer.

PLUS: Intro to Asbestos and Howard’s Law and Intro to The Worker’s Advocate

Solidarity with striking UFCW workers at the Best Western Seven Oaks hotel in Regina

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UFCW 1400CUPE Saskatchewan supports members of UFCW Local 1400 who are on strike at the Best Western Seven Oaks Inn in Regina. We encourage CUPE members and all people passing through Regina to withdraw business from the Seven Oaks Inn for the duration of the strike.

For a list of alternate unionized hotels in the Regina area, please visit this page on the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour website.

We also encourage everyone who can to participate in the solidarity picket this Wednesday, January 6 at 5 PM. There will be coffee provided by the Regina and District Labour Council. The Facebook event page for this important solidarity action is here.

Location: Best Western Seven Oaks Inn, 777 Albert St, Regina, Saskatchewan

Time: 5 PM – 6 PM (or later), Wednesday, January 6

What: Solidarity Picket with striking UFCW 1400 members

CUPE Saskatchewan waves Bill C-377 out the door

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bill-c-377REGINA – CUPE Saskatchewan, representing 30,000 workers in the province, applauds the federal government for their decision to waive the onerous and additional reporting requirements for labour organizations under Bill C-377.

The Minister of National Revenue made the announcement yesterday that they would be waiving the requirement for labour organizations to submit detailed financial reports and information on political activities, as well as non-labour related activities.

The bill is scheduled to come into force December 30th, 2015 and the minister has indicated that that this move signals the government’s intent on repealing Bill C-377 altogether.

The ministry notes in a press release that legislation requiring unions to make financial information available to their members is already in place.

“We applaud the moves taken today by the government against this arbitrary bill that in all likeliness was a violation of the constitution and our charter rights,” said Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan.

“We are pleased to see the federal government make moves that will honour their election promise to repeal the bill.”

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Contact: Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan, 306.757.1009

Union Asks Federal Minister of Health to Review Wall Government’s MRI Legislation

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REGINA – The Canadian Union of Public Employees Saskatchewan has sent a letter to the federal Minister of Health, the Honourable Jane Philpott, requesting a review of the Wall government’s Bill 179, permitting private user-pay MRI facilities.

The letter to Minister Philpott follows on the heels of news that the Saskatchewan Medical Association, which represents over 90 per cent of Saskatchewan physicians, expressed strong opposition to the legislation at an October 28 meeting with Saskatchewan’s Minister of Health Dustin Duncan.The letter to Ottawa from CUPE Saskatchewan President Tom Graham states: “It is our understanding that [this] legislation violates the Canada Health Act both by allowing fees to be charged for medically necessary procedures and by undermining the fundamental principal of universal access to health care.”

On October 29, the union held a press conference with Regina family doctor Sally Mahood and legal expert Steven Shrybman, in whose legal opinion Bill 179 violates the Canada Health Act.

The Saskatchewan Medical Association, representing “the collective view of the medical profession in Saskatchewan,” has called the legislation “hasty,” noting that private user-pay MRI clinics do not appear to reduce wait times or improve patient care in provinces where they exist. The association’s briefing concludes with a call for a “strong publicly funded health care system where access to medical care is based on need and not the ability to pay.”

Graham’s letter to the federal minister requests that she review the provincial legislation to see if it violates the Canada Health Act and that if it does that she instruct the Government of Saskatchewan to comply with the Act. “In his Ministerial Mandate Letter to the new Minister of Health, Prime Minister Trudeau has expressed a commitment to protecting and renewing Canada’s public health care system. Our respectful request is in keeping with this mandate,” comments Graham.

Annual Convention 2016

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CONVENTION CALL FINAL_Nov 20_2016-1Delegates representing CUPE locals from across the province will gather in Saskatoon from March 9 – 11, 2016 for the CUPE Saskatchewan Annual Convention. The theme for this year’s convention is Building Community Power. During the three-day convention, delegates will set the direction for the year ahead, elect members to leadership positions, approve financial statements, learn about the work being done by our union and discuss the issues facing CUPE members and the public services we provide.

This year marks the 51st Annual Convention of CUPE Saskatchewan since its establishment in 1963. For over 50 years, CUPE Saskatchewan has united CUPE locals in our province to help build the power of workers and local communities, to defend the public services that serve all people in Saskatchewan, and to fight for social justice.

Join us as we renew our commitment to Building Community Power!

When: March 9 – 11, 2016
Where: Radisson Hotel, Saskatoon

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Mobilizing to support women and confront domestic violence

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During the holiday season, it’s important to remember that even small gifts can make a big difference in our communities. CUPE Saskatchewan’s Women’s Committee is encouraging CUPE locals and members to consider making a donation to a women’s shelter to support those in our community escaping domestic violence. See also the link to CUPE National’s new guide to domestic violence in the workplace at the end of this post.

CUPE Saskatchewan is also pleased to announce we will be joining the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour and PATHS, the Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan, to mobilize and lobby on the issue of systemic intimate partner violence in the new year.

The following is a complete list of women’s shelters by area for donations:

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Sask Party Squanders Boom, Slashes University Funding

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Photo: University of Saskatchewan

While the University of Saskatchewan says that jobs will not be lost due to provincial cuts to education announced this week, the Canadian Union of Public Employees is concerned about the decision to drop $7.9 million for capital spending on crucial work such as maintenance.

The union is disappointed in the Brad Wall government for failing to adequately plan for Saskatchewan’s future.

“When you are forcing cuts on the educational institutions that train the next generation, and slashing spending on maintenance and research, it is safe to say that Brad Wall is looking for short-term fixes to long-term issues,” said Tom Graham, President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Saskatchewan.

The union is concerned that the provincial government is downloading the cost of poor planning onto post-secondary institutions which then pass along cuts to workers and students.

“In an election year, the Sask Party refuses to acknowledge that they mismanaged the boom and are now slashing where they can,” said Graham. “The Sask Party is running election ads saying the opposition would take the province backwards, but it’s the current government that is starting to look reminiscent of decades past, when the Devine Conservatives drove Saskatchewan bankrupt.”

At the University of Saskatchewan, CUPE represents nearly 2,300 workers in maintenance, administration, and sessional instruction, among other areas. At the University of Regina, the union represents nearly 1,200 workers.

Attend CUPE Saskatchewan’s Winter School 2016

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Sask
All interested CUPE Saskatchewan union activists are encouraged to register to attend the CUPE Saskatchewan Winter School February 1 – 4, 2016 at the Temple Gardens Hotel and Spa in Moose Jaw. Courses offered include: Introduction to Pensions, Steward Learning Series, Using Our Power at Election Time, and Unionism on Turtle Island.

Three scholarships are available for CUPE members to attend:

1. Glen Makahonuk Scholarship
2. Two Scholarships
– One for Equity-Seeking Groups
– One for Young Worker Group

The scholarship application deadline is Tuesday, January 5, 2016. The deadline for registration and payment is Thursday, January 7, 2016.

For more information, download the brochure and registration form (includes scholarship application forms): CUPE Saskatchewan Winter School 2016 Brochure and Registration (PDF)

CUPE launches new TV ad

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This week, CUPE launched an ad criticizing the Saskatchewan government’s privatization agenda.

In 2009, Brad Wall said he would never allow someone “to use a bulging wallet to jump the queue.” Now his government is doing exactly that.

“We having growing concerns about the scale of privatization and what it will mean for families across this province,” said Gordon Campbell, president of the CUPE Health Care Council. “CUPE is committed to public delivery of health care in the province, but clearly the government has a different idea of what is best for the people of Saskatchewan as it continues to privatize cost-efficient and well-paying jobs in the province.”

The ad is running on TV stations and websites throughout the province.

Historic petition demonstrates there is no mandate to privatize

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CUPE Saskatchewan President Tom Graham and Executive Assistant Andrew Loewen deliver Own It! petitions to the Legislature.

CUPE Saskatchewan President Tom Graham and Executive Assistant Andrew Loewen deliver Own It! petitions to the Legislature.

REGINA – 19,346 Saskatchewan voters have signed an online and physical petition

saying no to privatization. Today the Own It! campaign and the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL) delivered 17,247 physical petition signatures to the Legislature, calling on the Sask Party government to stop its risky and costly privatization agenda.

“The Sask Party government has outright sold a number of crown corporations, weakened our utility crowns, and has privatized bypasses, hospital laundry services, correctional food services, MRIs, and is even building privatized schools and a privatized prison,” said SFL President Larry Hubich. “The broad support for this petition demonstrates that there is no appetite in Saskatchewan for privatization,” he added.

This petition is one of the largest in Saskatchewan’s history, and shows that Saskatchewan voters are looking for investment into their crowns and public services, not a sell-off to out-of-province corporations.

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Saskatchewan CUPE activist Pearl Blommaert wins national Health and Safety Award

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PearlBlommaertFor more than 25 years, Sister Pearl Blommaert, CUPE National’s 2015 Health and Safety award winner, has worked tirelessly to improve health and safety standards for workers in Saskatchewan and across Canada.

In the early 1990s, Blommaert was instrumental in forcing her employer, and then the entire province of Saskatchewan, to adopt violence prevention policies and legislation. This was a first in Canadian Health and Safety Law: since then, all provinces except one have adopted similar legislation.

“It is with recognition for the tremendous support of my local and CUPE members in Saskatchewan that I accept this award,” said Blommaert, president of CUPE 4980. “I want to thank CUPE National’s Health and Safety committee and staff – who taught me that violence is not part of my job and for helping us improve health and safety regulations in Saskatchewan.”

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CUPE Saskatchewan congratulates CUPE National President-Elect Mark Hancock

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HancockCUPE Saskatchewan congratulates Mark Hancock, who was elected national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees on Wednesday, November 4 at CUPE’s 27th biennial national convention in Vancouver. Brother Hancock has been the President of CUPE BC since 2013. CUPE Saskatchewan also thanks Hancock’s challenger CUPE Ontario president Fred Hahn for his dedication. Outgoing president Paul Moist served as president for 12 years before announcing his retirement in early October. CUPE Saskatchewan celebrates Brother Moist’s many achievements and years of service as national president.

Legal Opinion clear that Bill 179 violates the Canada Health Act

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Steven Shrybman and Dr. Sally Mahood address the media at press conference in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Legal expert Steven Shrybman and Dr. Sally Mahood address the media at a press conference in Regina, Saskatchewan. October 29, 2015.

A legal opinion commissioned by CUPE Saskatchewan shows that Bill 179, the Private MRI Facilities Licensing Act, is in violation of the Canada Health Act.

Bill 179 permits private MRI clinics to charge patients out-of-pocket user fees for MRI services, which will allow patients to jump the queue for diagnosis and treatment. In 2008, Premier Brad Wall told reporters that offering MRI services for a fee “seems to be outside the Canada Health Act” and was an area where the government did not want to tread.

“By creating two-tiered medical care, Bill 179 offends the criteria established by the Canada Health Act,” said Steven Shrybman, a lawyer with Goldblatt Partners LLP. “While privately funded MRIs are permitted in some provinces, in our opinion, the practice is unlawful under the Canada Health Act and fundamentally at odds with the most essential feature of Medicare, which is care according to need, not one’s ability to pay.”

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Own it! project gives Saskatchewan people chance to say YES to public services

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Own_It_Graphic

Sign the petition!

Is the privatization of Saskatchewan’s vital public services really happening?

You bet it is. It is real and it is taking place quietly all across our province — in our hospitals, schools, long term care facilities, and so much more.

Own it! Saskatchewan belongs to everyone is a new project that will give citizens a voice in a province-wide discussion about the future of public services and Crowns.

Saskatchewan’s public services belong to everyone. Let’s keep them strong!

Sign the Petition at OwnYourSask.ca and download and print the petition to get as many people as you can to say YES to keeping and strengthening our public services and Crown corporations.

Working together – we can make a difference!

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