CUPE joins court challenge over violation of Charter rights by the Province of New Brunswick

Fredericton, NB – The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has served the province of New Brunswick with a Notice of Motion to intervene in a lawsuit launched by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) against the unilateral conversion of the province’s Public Service Pension Plan into a Shared Risk Pension Plan.

“The rights of CUPE members and many other public sector workers were violated when the government unilaterally imposed pension changes on workers, in violation of their right to free collective bargaining,” said Daniel Légère, president of CUPE NB.

CUPE Press Conference, Fredericton - June 2016

CUPE Press Conference, Fredericton – June 2016

In December of 2013, the Province adopted Bill 11 – An Act Respecting Pensions which converted the province’s pension plan – to which CUPE’s members belong – into a so-called ‘shared risk’ pension plan. Far from sharing risk, however, the effect of the conversion was to reduce benefits and shift substantial pension risk from the province to CUPE members and other public servants.

The conversion significantly reduced the benefits provided by the pension plan, significantly reduced the security of benefits and barred any collective agreement provisions that could improve members’ pension benefits in the future.

“These changes violated our members’ rights under section 2(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the “Charter”),” said Légère. “CUPE fully supports this court challenge and will intervene to defend our members’ rights.”

A Statement of Claim filed by PIPSC in February of this year alleges that the statutory imposition of the shared risk model, together with the denial of fundamental collective bargaining rights, substantially interfere with the guarantee of freedom of association protected by section 2(d) of the Charter. CUPE’s intervention will support the challenge on that basis.

CUPE has also sought full disclosure under the Province’s Right to Information and Protection of Privacy Act in accordance with the government’s promise of transparency and openness in regard to the conversion. However, notwithstanding findings in favour of disclosure by the Province’s Office of the Access to Information and Privacy Commissioner in a decision dated March 4, 2016, access to conversion relevant materials has so far been denied.

Notice to municipal workers (CUPE 1505) from Fort McMurray

On Monday May 23, 2016, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo sent out an intent to return to work form to be filled out by all employees with a mandatory form return date of May 27.

The contents of this form have in no way been endorsed by CUPE nor does CUPE condone the form’s intent. CUPE Local 1505 has been asking numerous questions about this form, but the employer is being very selective and evasive in answering these questions.

At this time CUPE is advising all members to refer to the re-entry guidelines put out by the Province and the RMWB specifically page 2  outlining those who should not be returning to the area prior to the hospital being re-opened. If you suffer from any physical or mental health issues that prevent you from returning to Fort McMurray or are currently undergoing treatment we encourage you to obtain a medical certificate from a physician.

Below is a link to a form, developed by CUPE, that you can fill out if you are unable to return to work immediately for any reason and requesting a meeting with Union representation to discuss options with the employer.

If you have any further questions or concerns please email president@cupe1505.ca.

Click here for the form

http://cupe.ca/notice-municipal-workers-cupe-1505-fort-mcmurray

CUPE Local 5217 and TransAqua Sign Their First Collective Agreement

RIVERVIEW – CUPE Local 5217 members working at the Greater Moncton Wastewater Commission signed their first Collective Agreement today with their employer, TransAqua.  

“There were delays in the bargaining process however, there has been significant improvement in labour relations since the hiring of the current General Manager,” said CUPE National Servicing Representative Kim McCaffrey.

bassin where the wasted water is being filtered

Certified in November 2014, CUPE 5217 had successfully campaigned to reverse the Commission’s decision to do a public-private partnership for the mandated 2020 secondary treatment plan. The new facility will be completely public run.

“I am quite proud of this agreement,” said Ralph Green, Local 5217 President. “By signing this first Collective Agreement, the workers will have better job security and the Commission fulfills one of its 2016 Strategic Goals,” said Green. 

“Our Local is proud to be an advocate for its members and for good public services and infrastructure for citizens in the Greater Moncton Area,” concluded Green.

Government sabotaging negotiations with school bus drivers, custodians and maintenance workers

Fredericton – Being a few days short from reaching a tentative agreement, it appears government decided to sabotage negotiations with CUPE Local 1253. The union had been at the table with the Department of Education for over one and half year when they unexpectedly demanded a pension plan review this week.school-bus

“Pensions were never mentioned at all in the whole negotiation process. Almost outstanding issues had been resolved. We were inches away from a deal,” said Brien Watson, President of Local 1253. “Now, out of the blue, Government says that we must talk about a complete overhaul of our pension plan,” he added.

“The current plan is performing very well, and even saw a 10% increase in funding levels,” said CUPE National Servicing Representative David Perkins. “There is no good reasons to review the plan at this moment,” he said.

“This is a clear case of bargaining in bad faith by the Government,” said Perkins.
The union will be filing an official complaint with the Labour board in the coming days.

“This has all the looks of a top-down decision taken on the political level, as if someone had decided to make sure the negotiations would go nowhere,” said Watson. “Like all workers, our members have a right to be treated with respect and good faith,” he concluded.

April 28, Day of Mourning: Mourn the dead, fight for the living

Fredericton – On April 28, the Day of Mourning, ceremonies will be held in New Brunswick to remember the workers killed or injured on the job.

Every April 28th, citizens across the country and around the globe gather to remember workers that were killed or injured at work. In Canada, on average, a worker dies every eight hours. In 2015, over 9,500 New Brunswickers were injured on the job while 14 people lost their lives as a result of a workplace injury or disease.

It was CUPE’s National Health and Safety Committee who in 1984, first proposed the idea of a day to remember workers injured or killed on the job. Soon after, CUPE at the national, provincial and local levels, along with the Canadian Labour Congress, began to recognize April 28th as the Day of Mourning.

“On this day each year we take the time to raise awareness about worker’s safety and encourage employers across the province to establish practices that ensure their workers return to their families at the end of each shift,” said Daniel Légère, CUPE NB president.

“We are inviting Citizens to take the time to remember workers killed or injured on the job on April 28th, by participating in the Day of Mourning Ceremony in their area. The ceremonies are organized by the New Brunswick Federation of Labour (NBFL) at the following locations: Bathurst, Fredericton, Moncton, Miramichi and Saint John.

28 April ceremonies:

  • Bathurst: Thursday, April 28 at 12 :00 p.m. (noon). Day of Mourning Monument near Sacred Heart Cathedral, Douglas Avenue. For more information, contact John Gagnon at (506) 545-0651.
  • Fredericton: Thursday, April 28 at 12 :00 p.m. (noon). Fredericton Fallen Fire Monument, south bank of Saint John River. For more information, contact Alex Bailey at (506) 999-7206.
  • Moncton: Thursday, April 28 at 12 :00 p.m. (noon). Cenotaph in Bore Park. For more information, contact Éric Albert, (506) 381-6918.
  • Saint John: Thursday, April 28 at 12 :00 p.m. (noon). Day of Mourning Monument, Frank & Ella Hatheway Center at Rockwood Park. For more information, contact George Vair at (506) 672-1412.
  • Miramichi: Thursday, April 28 at 6 :00 p.m. March from City Hall to the monument behind the Kin Center, 100 Newcastle Blvd. For more information, contact Sandra Colford at (506) 424-8178