Thousands rally for libraries at Drop Everything and Read events across Saskatchewan

CUPE members joined over 4,000 people in over 70 communities participating in “Drop Everything and Read” actions on April 7, 2017, to stand up against the devastating library cuts from the provincial government.

In the latest budget, Brad Wall and his Sask Party government cut 58 percent for regional libraries and completely eliminated funding for libraries in Regina and Saskatoon.

CUPE represents over 700 library workers across Saskatchewan and many have already been impacted by the funding shortfall. Members have been given pink slips at Parkland Regional Library, Palliser Regional Library and Southeast Regional Library. More cuts are coming at libraries across the province.

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Drop everything and read – A day of action for libraries: April 7, 2017

A “Read In” will be taking place at MLA offices across the province on Friday, April 7, 2017.  All residents of Saskatchewan who value their public library are encouraged to gather outside their MLA’s office and read a book. There are over 50 events happening across the province. Unless otherwise noted, all events are happening from 12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday.

The Saskatchewan Government has eliminated funding for public libraries in Regina and Saskatoon and has cut funding for regional libraries by $3.5 million. CUPE is concerned about the impact this will have on libraries across the province and for the municipalities that suddenly have to plan for the downloading of services.

CUPE represents over 700 library workers across the province of Saskatchewan and encourage members to attend an event near them.

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Cuts at Regina Public Schools will hurt most vulnerable children, says CUPE

REGINA: The Regina Public School Division is cutting important programs that will impact children’s quality of education, including programs that serve the most vulnerable and youngest children.

Discovery Preschool, Communication Preschool, and Socialization, Communication, and Education (SCEP) programs are all getting cut to try to address the $9.5 million shortfall the Regina Public School Division is facing. These programs help promote inclusion to vulnerable children age five and under and their families during the most formative years for language acquisition, communication, independence, and social skills.

“Cuts to these programs are targeting the most vulnerable children who need a head start in school. This is needed as it gives them the best opportunities to succeed when entering kindergarten. These cuts will widen the learning gap instead of creating a level playing field,” said Jackie Christianson, president of CUPE Local 3766, which represents support workers in Regina Public Schools.

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Parkland Regional Library moves forward with layoffs and service reductions

YORKTON: The Parkland Regional Library is reducing services and laying off eight people to deal with the 58 per cent budget reduction from the provincial budget. Seven CUPE members are among the workers facing a layoff.

“The Sask Party has put our regional libraries in an impossible situation. Facing a 58 per cent deficit with no warning means our communities lose out on the important programs and services our libraries provide,” said Alex Lenko, CUPE national staff representative. “Our members who work in the library system love their jobs and are proud of the important work they do to provide an amazing service to the people of Saskatchewan. CUPE will fight these cuts and stand up for our members’ jobs.”

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ADVISORY: Rally to Stop the Cuts and Stop Bill 40 at Saskatoon Cabinet Office on March 31, 2017

SASKATOON – Members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), joined by members of other public sector unions and concerned residents, will be gathering at the Saskatoon Cabinet Office to protest the multitude of deep cuts in the latest Sask Party provincial budget, and to demonstrate opposition to the proposed Bill 40, which would allow the provincial government to secretly sell off 49 percent of Crown Corporations.

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Downloading provincial debt on to municipalities wrong approach, says CUPE

REGINA: Municipalities are the latest group to face steep consequences from the provincial government’s austerity budget. Revenue sharing grants were cut by 5.1 per cent overall, but municipalities are also losing $38 million in grants in lieu of property taxes effective April 1, 2017.

The grants in lieu of property taxes are paid by Crown corporations SaskPower and SaskEnergy. SaskPower and SaskEnergy will continue to add a surcharge on residents’ utility bills even though the Crown corporations will no longer pay grants in lieu of taxes. Both cities of Saskatoon and Regina will lose $10.7 million. Mayor Charlie Clark said the amount is equal to what it costs to run all recreation centres in the city, and it would take a 5.7 per cent increase in the city’s property tax to replace this funding. Other cities are losing half of their provincial funding, such as the City of Yorkton which will see a 58 per cent cut in grants.

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Regina rallies in support of Saskatchewan Libraries

This past Saturday close to 200 people came out for a rally in support of Saskatchewan libraries in downtown Regina.

The latest Saskatchewan budget eliminated provincial funding for public libraries in Regina and Saskatoon and cut funding for regional libraries in half, or by $3.5 million.

Thousands of Saskatchewan residents have joined the campaign to support our libraries. Over 3,000 people joined a Facebook page in just two days, and hundreds have been writing letters and contacting their MLAs.

The next opportunity for action in on April 7 at noon where Support Saskatchewan Libraries is organizing a province-wide read in at MLA offices. Learn more here:

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Provincial budget cuts cause layoffs at Palliser Regional Library

MOOSE JAW: The Sask Party’s bloody budget has more casualties as Palliser Regional Library, which lost 58 per cent of its budget with no notice from the government, had to lay off six workers at the regional library headquarters.

“I am shocked and appalled that the Sask Party government is gutting our wonderful regional library system,” said Stacey Landin, president of CUPE Local 9, which represents the workers at Palliser Regional Library. “Libraries are integral to our society, and these cuts will have real life implications for the hundreds of thousands of people who use the services every year.”

The provincial budget cut a paltry $3.5 million from regional libraries, but the amount equates to over 50 per cent of funding for all regional libraries. The impact of the cuts will be felt in communities around the province.

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Government Must Respect Patients and Front Line Workers While Transitioning to One Provincial Health Authority

REGINA: Saskatchewan’s three health care provider unions, CUPE, SEIU-West and SGEU, have been working collaboratively to present a proposal to government that would mitigate the impacts on patient, client and resident care while government transitions to one provincial health authority. This proposal calls for a formal bargaining council structure to help stabilize labour relations and negotiate with the new authority.

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Provincial budget means big cuts and tough decisions for school divisions, says CUPE

REGINA: The provincial cuts to K-12 education are larger than expected, and CUPE education workers are worried about how the cuts will impact children in Saskatchewan.

The 2017-2018 Saskatchewan budget, released on March 22, cut operating funding to school divisions by 2.6 per cent on a school year basis. Twenty-seven out of 28 school divisions are facing cuts between 2.6 and 8 per cent. The total funding reduction for the K-12 sector is $54.2 million, which assumes a 3.5 per cent roll back of wages across the board. Wages are still subject to collective agreements, and any changes must be negotiated at the bargaining table.

“Budget cuts have real consequences for children. Our K-12 education system has already faced years of inadequate funding. Programs have been cut, schools are falling into disrepair, and some divisions have already had to lay off staff. And instead of properly investing in our children and their education, the provincial government has chosen to cut funding,” said Jackie Christianson, chair of the CUPE Saskatchewan Education Workers’ Steering Committee. “The largest cuts in the education budget are to frontline staff such as teachers and support workers! The ripple effect of this devastating budget will hurt many.”

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