Speak out today for public libraries

Late last year, the Government of Saskatchewan conducted a secretive library review. They held a series of meetings with employer groups, but library workers and the public were not included in the process.

The Government of Saskatchewan has finally decided to let the public have a say. They are accepting public comments on the future of our provincial libraries until January 24.

The survey covers eight themes, as identified by the review panel: Funding Structure and Predictability, Provincial Public Library Strategic Plan, One Card, One Province, Communication with Provincial Library, Governance Training, Indigenization, Value of Public Libraries and Legislation.

While the report outlines several important areas, there are important issues that the government did not include in its report. It is important that we raise our voice now to ensure that the government’s library review reflects the issues facing front line workers.

We would like to ask our members and supporters to include statements on the following issues:

  • Develop library specific OH&S strategies for workers;
  • End precarious work and create stable full time jobs;
  • Amend legislation to create elected, publicly accountable library boards;
  • The government should investigate how the closure of STC has impacted libraries and compensate libraries for any extra shipping and delivery costs incurred;
  • Let the government know how important stable, long term provincial funding is for libraries.

You can complete the survey here: https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/public-consultations/report-of-saskatchewan-public-libraries-engagement-survey

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Palliser Regional Library workers of CUPE Local 9-01 have accepted a new three-year contract that addresses longstanding issues of pay equity, seniority and workplace safety

Members of CUPE Local 9-01 have strongly approved a new three-year contract. At a ratification meeting this week, members voted 85% to approve the new deal. Although management decided to use a labour relations consultant, the negotiation process was described as respectful.

The new contract will see all classifications receive a 40 cent per hour raise in each of the three years (2018, 2019 and 2020). In agreeing to the pay increases, both sides felt that any wage increases should be based on an hourly rate.

“Many of our members are working for very low wages,” says Stacey Landin, President of Local 9-01. “If we fought for a wage increase based on percentage, many of our members would not have received much of an increase at all. This new contract ensures that over the next three years, every one of our members will see more money for their families.”

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School Board Trustee raises are an insult to front line education workers, says CUPE Saskatchewan EWSC Chairperson

The decision by Regina and Saskatoon Public Board Trustees to give themselves hefty raises, while at the same time presiding over budget cuts to education, is completely unacceptable, according to the Chairperson of the CUPE Saskatchewan Education Workers Steering Committee (EWSC).

“The timing of the raises couldn’t be worse”, says Jackie Christianson, Chairperson of the CUPE SK EWSC. “We have watched tens of millions of dollars cut from our classrooms at a time when thousands of new students have entered the system. For them to vote so easily on a big pay raise while at the same time freezing teachers’ and support workers’ wages and asking them to wait two years for a tiny raise shows a lack of respect.”

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CUPE Saskatchewan survey shows that a clear majority of residents believe the Saskatchewan Party Government is failing to address climate change

A recent survey conducted for CUPE Saskatchewan has revealed that 85.1% of residents across the province believe the Moe Government should increase investments in green energy. Only 9.8% of Saskatchewan residents are opposed to more green energy in the province.

The surprising results were just a small part of an annual poll conducted for CUPE Saskatchewan and is part of their ongoing efforts to consult with workers and the public. It also comes at a time when Premier Moe has joined other conservative governments in federal court to aggressively oppose the federal government’s plan to address the issue.

The survey is also timely because a recent report from The Saskatchewan Environmental Society strongly criticized the Moe Government for not taking important action to reduce carbon emissions. This survey shows that most people in this province want action as well.

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CUPE concerned provincial library review taking place without consultation

Last year, the provincial government originally announced its plan to cut nearly $5 million in funding to libraries across Saskatchewan, a decision that was later reversed after much public pressure and read-in protests that were held in front of MLA offices across the province. After the funding cuts were restored, the provincial government announced it would hold a review of library funding led by Canora-Pelly MLA Terry Dennis.

CUPE is deeply concerned to learn that this provincial library review is reportedly occurring in the absence of any consultation with the public, library workers and the unions that represent library workers.

In correspondence issued to Library Boards across Saskatchewan, CUPE is urging for consultation with library workers. After all, library workers are on the frontline and understand the day-to-day needs of their patrons, their workplaces and the impact of implementing changes to library structures, governance and systems.

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Unprecedented move by U of S will see workers lose the right to determine the terms of their own pensions

Yesterday, hundreds of members of CUPE 1975 joined together with friends and supporters at the University of Saskatchewan’s University Bowl to tell members of the Executive Board to keep their “Paws off our Pensions”.

The rally comes after a recent arbitration ruling in the university’s favour, which the U of S has insisted gives them the right to make unilateral changes. Unless they are able to negotiate the terms of their pensions, this will be the first time that CUPE 1975 members will HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO SAY on the amounts and guidelines of their life-long retirement savings.

The “Rally at the Bowl” event began at the University Bowl and included speeches by CUPE Saskatchewan President Tom Graham, and former CUPE National President Paul Moist. The event concluded with members of CUPE 1975 peacefully delivering hundreds of “Paws off our Pensions” postcards, which were signed by concerned members of the public, to a meeting of the U of S Board of Governors.

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Deal reached in Legal Aid mediation

Through a mediated process and with the assistance of retired Justice William Vancise, Q.C., Saskatchewan Legal Aid and CUPE Local 1949 have reached an agreement about issues in the Saskatoon Area Office.

CUPE Local 1949 filed an unfair labour practice claim with the Labour Relations Board after Legal Aid management moved to contract out duty counsel work to the private bar and to lay off several Legal Aid employees. Upon the resolution of this matter, the union is withdrawing its unfair labour practice.

The agreement, which was signed on November 22, 2018, resolves the claim by bringing some duty counsel and support work back in-house and creating mechanisms for reviewing issues.

“This agreement is a positive move for Legal Aid Saskatchewan and will increase staffing levels at the Saskatoon office, says Wanda Towstego, co-president of CUPE Local 1949. “We look forward to providing services to our clients and appreciate the recognition that a staff based system works best.”

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Petition: University of Regina Food Service Workers Deserve Respect!

University of Regina food service workers in the Chartwells bargaining unit of CUPE Local 5791 are being confronted with harmful management decisions that erode their livelihoods and working conditions. These include: the reduction of working hours, staff cuts, layoff notices sent to all workers over the November class break, lack of attention to health and safety in the workplace, and the presence of managers doing work of the bargaining unit.

Chartwells is part of Compass, a multi-billion-dollar multinational corporation. Tell Chartwells to address the issues above and help to restore morale in the workplace by providing satisfactory hours of work and improved working conditions.

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CUPE Saskatchewan delivers solidarity to postal workers

CUPE members and staff delivered solidarity to the strike lines of postal workers in Regina today by donating one thousand dollars and joining the picket line to show support. Members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers have been on rotating strikes since October 22, 2018. Rotating strike locations in Saskatchewan were announced in Moose Jaw, Saskatoon and Weyburn locals earlier this week, and today in Regina.

“CUPE members across Saskatchewan are with you in the fight for fairness,” said Judy Henley, Secretary-Treasurer of CUPE Saskatchewan. “We urge Canada Post to return to the bargaining table and meaningfully address the needs of postal workers for improved job security, working conditions, service expansion and equality,” said Henley.

CUPW has been negotiating collective agreements with Canada Post for almost a year for the Urban Postal Operations and Rural and Suburban Mail Carriers (RSMC) bargaining units.

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