“CUPE members from across Saskatchewan stand in solidarity with UFCW 1400 Moose Jaw Co-op workers in the fight against two-tier wages and pay inequality,” said Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan. “We are all impacted when employers force concessions at the bargaining table instead of bargaining forward for fairness.”
In 2017, workers and residents of Colombia’s principal Pacific port of Buenaventura launched a three-week civic strike that forced the Colombian government to negotiate solutions to the city’s social and human rights crisis. This historic moment and action highlights the many challenges to economic and social justice that remain in Colombia, a country with among the highest poverty and inequality rates in Latin America. While the Colombian government signed peace agreements in the autumn of 2017, violence connected to large landowners and corporate economic interests remain active throughout the country, and privatization, land grabs and massive dislocation of the rural population continue to be commonplace.
Take the opportunity to meet the Buenaventura, Colombian Strike Committee, in a reception hosted by the CUPE Saskatchewan Global Justice Committee.
- When: Thursday, October 25, 2018, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
- Where: Copper Kettle, 1953 Scarth Street, Regina, SK
When: Thursday, October 25, 2018 at Noon
Where: Rally at the legislature, Regina, SK
RSVP to get on the bus in Regina or request a ride from out of town at: www.WhereDidTheMoneyGo.org
“The Union was adamant throughout bargaining that they would not accept concessions, and we did not back down on that,” said Sherri Blackburn, President of CUPE Local 90. “It is unfortunate that it took until mediation for the Employer to realize that the Union was serious about not accepting the Employer’s concessions.”
(North Battleford) Glaslyn resident Denis Ouellette, President of CUPE Local 4797, has been awarded the CUPE Saskatchewan Education Workers’ Steering Committee activist award.
Ouellette works at the Northwest School Division as a caretaker. He has been a CUPE member for 12 years, and has served as a steward, a member of the executive, and as the president of his local.
Ouellette has participated in four rounds of bargaining and achieved gains for his members each time. He has spent countless hours traveling across the school division and on the phone informing his members and making sure they understood the issues and knew the bargaining committee was there for them.
Based in Swift Current, the SWCS is a non-profit, community-based organization that operates a safe shelter for women and children leaving abusive situations. SWCS also operates a confidential 24-hour help line for anyone needing support and provides outreach support counselling to help women, men and children who are at risk of abuse or need assistance with interpersonal issues.
“The workers at the SWCS provide an indispensable service for the entire southwest corner of Saskatchewan,” says Guy Marsden, CUPE National Organizer. “We are very pleased to welcome these members into our union.”
Marsden says the membership of the new Local, to be identified as CUPE Local 5398, will elect a bargaining committee and executive soon. Work will also begin on developing proposals for a first collective agreement.
Colin Byas, candidate for Secretary-Treasurer of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL), has received the endorsement of the Executive Board of CUPE Saskatchewan ahead of elections to be held at the upcoming SFL Convention in Regina on October 24 – 27, 2018, at Queensbury Convention Centre, Evraz Place.
“Colin’s years of experience in the labour movement, his commitment to community involvement, his experience as a union Treasurer and Trustee, and his understanding of labour law and collective agreements make him an ideal candidate for Secretary-Treasurer of the SFL,” said Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan.
Colin Byas began his involvement in the labour movement by organizing his workplace as a community housing worker to join a union in 1997. Since then, he has held several elected labour leadership positions including chief shop steward, chair of a bargaining committee, local union president, treasurer of a local union and sector, and a local union trustee. Byas is a proud member of CUPE Local 3761 and works as a staff member in the role of a union representative.
“Our members who work in group homes across the province take care of some of our most vulnerable citizens. Despite this important work, provincial funding has been stagnant, and most workers have gone for years without any pay increases,” said Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan. “This year, the Saskatchewan government finally provided a small funding increase, but group homes are still woefully underfunded.”
Both CUPE Local 3680 (representing workers at Yorkton’s Yail Harbor Inc.) and Local 4552 (representing workers at Deer Park Villa in Ituna) have ratified much needed wage increases.
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.”
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.