CUPE represents over 5,000 municipal workers in 40 locals across Saskatchewan. Among these locals only the Town of Esterhazy is not protected by a collective agreement.
This weekend, Joe Richardson, president of CUPE 5428, joined the Municipal Employees’ Steering Committee (MESC) at the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association AGM to demand a fair deal for Esterhazy workers.
“Three years is too long to go without a collective agreement,” said Dylan Breland, Vice-president of CUPE Saskatchewan and a member of the MESC. “We are here today to urge the Town of Esterhazy to make bargaining a first collective agreement a priority. We also want to show the members in Esterhazy that Canada’s largest union has their back.”
CUPE Saskatchewan is calling on the City of Saskatoon to provide the SPCA with the funding needed to provide pound services for Saskatoon’s lost, abandoned, and homeless animals.
“The Saskatoon SPCA provides an important public health and safety service for the largest city in the province,” said Judy Henley, president of CUPE Saskatchewan. “The hard-working staff of the SPCA, represented by CUPE Local 3477, are dedicated to improving the quality of life for Saskatoon’s animals through education, adoption, and upholding animal welfare legislation.”
As Saskatoon continues to grow, so has the demand for pound services. But funding from the City of Saskatoon has not kept pace. The SPCA is only receiving 37 percent of the funds needed to operate the pound from the city.
“Without an immediate increase in funding from the City of Saskatoon, the SCPA has said they will no longer be able to provide pound services for the community,” added Henley. “This would have a devastating impact on CUPE members, but also the vital services the SPCA provides to the city.”
For the second year in a row, Saskatchewan libraries have received no funding increase in the provincial budget. With inflation on the rise, this means our libraries will struggle.
It means no budget for much needed health and safety measures for staff, and could impact public programming, branch operations and accessibility for patrons.
The funding freeze will have an even greater impact on the regional (rural) library systems, since provincial funding accounts for a larger share of their budgets compared to the municipal library systems. This freeze will have a significant impact on the ability to support accessible library services and infrastructure, including internet connectivity and the Single Integrated Library System (SILS).
If you are concerned about the future of Saskatchewan libraries, sign the pledge.
As CUPE research dives into the fine print of the 2022-23 provincial budget, it is clear that post-secondary education was given the short end of the stick.
While there was an increase in funding for capital projects, there was no investment in students and no help for skyrocketing tuition fees. If you combine all the budget lines (operating, supplementary, scholarship and capital), here is the annual increase to funding this year:
- U of R: 1.1% increase
- FNUC: 0%
- U of S: -0.3% decrease
With rising inflation, the cost of doing business is increasing. With no funding increase from the province, these costs will be passed on to students.
Budget 2022: Back on track? Not for universities and students.
The Sask. Party government has done little to address the struggles working people are facing, and opens the door for further cuts and privatization in health care, education, libraries, universities and the social service’s sector.
“This budget brings no relief for everyday people who are struggling to make ends meet. The year-over-year increase in Saskatchewan’s consumer price index was 4.7% for February, but wages in this province are not keeping up,” said Judy Henley, president of CUPE Saskatchewan. “We have the lowest minimum wage in the country, and too many workers – especially in our lowest paid sectors like community-based organizations – have gone years without a meaningful wage increase to keep up with the rising costs.”
The pandemic has shone a huge spotlight on the cracks in our public services. But despite the clear need for more investment, this budget still failed on several fronts. The education sector continues to face budget restraints with the annual increase failing to keep up with the rising costs of running a school division. Community-based organizations, such as childcare centres, group homes, and addiction treatment received paltry increases, and no commitment to multi-year funding.
“This budget completely misses the mark when it comes to investing in public services. What we see is inadequate funding for public services, while opening the door to further privatization in health care,” added Henley. “Our schools will still be overcrowded, our hospitals understaffed, and our community-based organizations with barely enough funding to keep the doors open. It is also concerning that Scott Moe has completely failed to recognize and address the ongoing staffing crisis in health care which is leading to burnout, rural health centre shutdowns, and service reductions.”
March 22 is World Water Day – a day to highlight the vital importance of water for human life and ecological health and, as such, the need to protect water resources from pollution, privatization, and commercialization. Access to safe, reliable water and wastewater services is a human right, and water utilities and resources that are publicly owned, operated, and managed are at the heart of healthy communities.
The International Day for the Elimination of Racism is a time to renew our resolve and our responsibility as fellow union members to confront racism and discrimination in all of its forms, wherever and whenever we encounter it. We all must ensure our workplaces, public services, and all levels of our union are safe, reflective of diversity, and meaningfully inclusive. Voices for Action Against Racism is the theme of this year’s global observance, encouraging people everywhere to mobilize against racial discrimination and injustice, and to ensure a safe and supportive environment for people to speak up.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown just how critical the care work and leadership provided on the frontlines of our public services by women have been for the safety and health of our communities. The pandemic has also created more inequality for women providing unpaid care and who face the majority of unpaid care responsibilities to support families and the broader community.
This year’s International Women’s Day theme is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow,” highlights the need for more action to tackle systemic gender inequality to build a better, more just future. We must not let governments and employers go back to the normal that continues to perpetuate gender inequality and marginalization, and which chronically under-values women. Instead, we must organize and take action for gender equality as a union dedicated to fighting at the bargaining table and through political action to improve the jobs, rights and the well-being of women and gender diverse people.
February is Indigenous Storytelling Month in Saskatchewan. During the winter months, the tradition of First Nations and Métis storytelling is fundamental to pass on knowledge from generation to generation, sharing culture, history, teachings, spirituality, and language.
February is Black History Month. This year’s 2022 theme, February and Forever: Celebrating Black History today and every day, is a call to recognize both the contributions and struggles of Black Canadians and communities. As union members, Black History Month is a time to renew our resolve to take meaningful action in our workplaces and communities to end systemic racism and address inequality. From the disproportionate and intensified inequalities experienced by racialized workers and communities during the ongoing pandemic, to ongoing activism denouncing the crisis of police brutality and over-policing, more remains to be done to end injustice, to challenge systemic racism, and to build equality.