Local 1975 votes in favour of job action over pension issues at the University of Saskatchewan

CUPE 1975 members have voted in favour of job action in a vote held on September 27th and 28th.

The main sticking point in negotiations is the pension plan. The university is refusing to talk pensions at the bargaining table and is threatening to make unilateral cuts to the pension plan. The local is looking to negotiate language into their collective agreement to protect their right to continue bargaining all pension changes at the bargaining table.

“Changes to the plan have historically been bargained at a collective bargaining table. The university now wants to back away from this historical practice,” said Craig Hannah, president of CUPE Local 1975. “The union simply wants to ensure that our collective agreement is clear that changes to the pension plan need to be negotiated at the bargaining table.”

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The Legal Aid Commission needs to respond to the cuts and meet with workers, says CUPE 1949

CUPE National President Mark Hancock and Saskatoon Tribal Chief Mark Arcand joined with members of CUPE 1949 today to speak out about the cuts to Legal Aid and the impact it is having on the community.

For years, Legal Aid has operated based on a staff model system. Under CEO Craig Goebel’s watch, Legal Aid has suffered mounting cuts.

“After years of chronic underfunding, and more intense and unsustainable workloads, we are at a breaking point. We love our jobs but more and more we are not being given the tools to do them well. Our staff has been cut back as Legal Aid files remain steady and, in some cases, processes more and more files each year,” said Meara Conway, Vice-President of CUPE Local 1949. “This decision to fire an already small team of committed Legal Aid workers and contract out thousands of files to private lawyers shows that CEO Goebel is out of touch with the needs of our clients. The in-house public staff model at Legal Aid Saskatchewan should be protected and expanded, not dismantled and privatized.”

A member of the union, former Legal Director of the Saskatoon Criminal Office and long-time advocate, Val Harvey has been threatened with a law-suit by Craig Goebel for speaking out against the cuts.

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CEO of Legal Aid Saskatchewan threatening CUPE member with defamation lawsuit

A member of CUPE Local 1949 has been threatened with a lawsuit in retaliation of her efforts to represent the six members who were laid off when Legal Aid Saskatchewan privatized the majority of duty counsel work in the Saskatoon office this summer.

In a letter provided by CEO Craig Goebel’s legal counsel, CUPE member Val Harvey was threatened with a defamation law suit.

“Instead of trying to rebuild trust with our members and addressing the lengthier remand rates that have resulted from his privatization scheme, Goebel is attempting to muzzle our members”, said Wanda Towstego, President of CUPE Local 1949. “The result of these threats may have a chilling effect on our membership who may hesitate to exercise their rights as a union member for fear of retaliation”

CUPE Local 1949, the union who represents all non-management staff at Legal Aid, recently conducted a membership wide vote of non-confidence against Mr. Goebel. The result was overwhelming, with 95 percent of members voting against the actions of Mr. Goebel and in favour of the non-confidence motion.

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CUPE raises concerns with the temporary closure of Grenfell Pioneer Home

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) has issued layoff notices to 33 workers at the Grenfell Pioneer home, many of whom are members of CUPE Local 5340. The Health Authority is relocating 20 residents of Grenfell Pioneer Home due to the serious nature of mould and asbestos found in the facility.

“There is a lot of uncertainty right now for our members and for the community of Grenfell,” said Sandra Seitz, president of CUPE Local 5430. “The future of the facility in Grenfell is up in the air, as is the job security of many members. This could have been avoided if the Saskatchewan government adequately maintained our health care facilities.”

The union has been told the future of the facility has not been decided. The Saskatchewan Health Authority stated that they hope the relocation will be temporary but are exploring options that could include continued remediation and maintenance at the existing Grenfell Pioneer Home or the construction of a new facility.

The Grenfell Pioneer Home is not the only long-term care facility in the province facing serious health and safety risks from mould. Close to 100 residents at Pioneer Village in Regina had to move due to serious mould issues.

“Our health care infrastructure around the province is aging, and our need for long-term care continues to increase. The Government of Saskatchewan needs to put a plan in place to deal with this issue before more facilities are shut down, and more seniors forced to move,” said Seitz.

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CUPE Local 1975 says “Paws off our pensions” to the U of S and files for impasse

University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, SK

After almost two years of bargaining, your Local 1975 bargaining committee has served written notice to the employer and the Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety that the union and the University of Saskatchewan have reached an impasse in the current round of negotiations.

The main sticking point in negotiations is the pension plan. The University is refusing to talk pensions at the bargaining table and is threatening to make unilateral cuts to the pension plan.

“CUPE 1975 and the University of Saskatchewan have a long history of engaging in serious and good faith bargaining over our pension plan. We see no reason that this practice should stop,” said Craig Hannah, president of CUPE Local 1975. “If the University has their way, workers will no longer have a voice when it comes to their retirement security.”

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CUPE 5512 is back to school and the bargaining table

As a new school year begins at Prairie South School Division, members of CUPE 5512 would like to welcome new and returning students to their first day of classes.

CUPE 5512 represents education support workers across the Prairie South School Division. The local is heading into bargaining with the Employer this fall.

“CUPE education workers are dedicated to supporting the learning of all Saskatchewan students throughout the school year, and we will continue to provide the best possible learning environments for our province’s future,” said Dale Smith, president of Local 5512. “We are looking forward to a constructive round of bargaining with the Prairie South School Division, and to reaching a fair and reasonable deal for our members.”

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CUPE Education Workers welcome students to new school year; hopes Sask Party will fully restore funding

As a new school year begins, the CUPE Saskatchewan Education Workers Steering Committee has a message for parents and children.

“On behalf of CUPE education support workers, I would like to welcome new and returning students to their first day of classes,” said Jackie Christianson, President of the Education Workers Steering Committee. “Our members, whether they are bus drivers or library technicians, maintenance staff or education assistants, are dedicated to providing a quality educational environment for all students.”

“It’s unfortunate that the Sask Party government doesn’t have the same dedication to education,” added Christianson.

The 2017-2018 provincial budget cut 54 million dollars from classrooms which resulted in layoffs, program closures and reduction in staffing hours across the province. The latest budget restores only a fraction of the missing funding. And with more students in our schools, support staff continue to do more with less.

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Labour Board Delivers Decision on Injunction Against Legal Aid Commission layoffs

This afternoon the Labour Relations Board decided against granting CUPE 1949’s request for an injunction to stop Legal Aid Saskatchewan from being able to unilaterally amalgamate offices and lay off staff.

“Today we learned we were unsuccessful in our application,” said Meara Conway, CUPE Local 1949 Grievance Chair. “The failure to get this injunction was disappointing news but we always knew that winning this injunction would be very challenging.”

“It’s important for our members and our clients to know this has no bearing on the Unfair Labour Practice hearing, which the Labour Review Board noted should proceed on an expedited basis,” Conway added.

Legal Aid Saskatchewan provides legal services for the most vulnerable people in the province. The 150 CUPE members in CUPE Local 1949, representing legal aid lawyers and administrative staff, are fighting to preserve the organization from contracting out and threats of privatization.

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Celebrate Labour Day on Monday, September 3, 2018

Labour Day is more than just a holiday – it is a day we take a moment to celebrate the many accomplishments of Canada’s labour movement and what workers have achieved by joining together in unions. Together, workers through their unions and collective bargaining have fought for many workplace rights, standards and benefits we take for granted today.

Celebrate Labour Day on September 3, 2018, with free picnics hosted by Saskatchewan’s unions.

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City of Weyburn Offer Inadequate, CUPE Local 90 Files for Impasse

(WEYBURN) CUPE Local 90 has served written notice to the City of Weyburn and the Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety that the Union and the City have reached an impasse in the current round of negotiations.

The City of Weyburn is seeking serious concessions, including changes to bereavement leave, changes to emergency and serious illness leave, changes to the grievance process, and changes to seniority and promotion rights.

“Our members work hard for the City of Weyburn. We deserve a fair and reasonable deal,” said Sherri Blackburn, President of CUPE Local 90. “The monetary offer they have outlined does not keep up with the costs of living and lags behind the wage increases that CUPE members employed by other municipalities will receive.”

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