A Community Comes Together To Protect Seniority

A Community Comes Together to Protect Seniority

The municipal workers of CUPE Local 1188, operating in the small university town of Sackville, New Brunswick, are still in awe by the level of community support they received in their recent victory to protect seniority rights.

At the bargaining table, Council and the Town’s new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) had remained steadfast: they demanded the union accept a contract which removed seniority as a consideration when a temporary, part-time or casual employee applied for a full-time position.

“The last labour conflict our local had was about thirty-five years ago, in the 1980s. The Council and CAO must have thought we were weak, ready to accept anything,” said Marcos Salib, CUPE’s servicing representative for the Local. “They wanted to use fear of a lockout/strike situation and our feeling of isolation to their advantage,” he added.

The disconcerting attack had initially shocked and reduced morale amongst members – a few were contemplating signing a two-tier contract. However, the “Seniority Matters” campaign and member education grew internal confidence: members’ fear developed into anger, then indignation turned into resolve.

CUPE NB along with the Regional Action Committees engaged other CUPE locals in the area and gradually reached beyond immediate supporters. Firefighters, bakery workers, nurses, retail workers and other Regional Labour Council partners mobilized in Sackville. Ordinary citizens started to ask more and more questions to the Towns’ councilors as awareness and support grew.

Within six months, from December 2016 to May 2017, the Local had escalated pressure through all the hoops of a campaign: lobbying, leaflets, petitions, strike education, radio ads, lawn signs, public rallies, town hall meetings & more.

“Council thought they could drive a wedge between members as they sweetened the deal to exclude the current workers from the seniority attack,” said Pam Hicks, Secretary of Local 1188.

In the end, the Council withdrew its ultimatum and has ratified a six-year contract with the Union. The deal provides for improved clothing and tool allowances, contains wage increases, wage adjustments for precarious workers – and most importantly – maintains all seniority rights.

“Sackville workers leave us with a great example of how we can successfully apply CUPE’s National Executive Board Bargaining Policy on fighting concessions and two-tier contract provisions to motivate and mobilize the workers,” said Daniel Légère, CUPE NB President. “Because of the new bargaining policy, there now is heightened awareness of the need to bring in the Division early in the process,” he added.

“Local 1188 members understand that they are part of a big movement. Being part of a union comes with many benefits, but also many responsibilities towards our fellow workers – including future workers. Together we build on past victories and make gains for those who will come after us,” concluded Légère.

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Seniority matters! Fairness for Sackville municipal employees

Seniority allows for positions to be filled by the most senior worker qualified to obtain a position. It does not stop the Employer from choosing who they want as employees.

The town of Sackville wants to remove this longstanding clause to loyal part-time and temporary future employees hired by them.

Unions maintain fairness, equality and equal opportunity for all members after hiring!

CUPE NB Convention 2017

CUPE New Brunswick’s 54th  Annual Convention will be held at the Fredericton Inn, Fredericton, N.B. on April 19-22, 2017.

Wednesday, April 19
10:00 a.m. New Delegate workshop
10:00 a.m. Registration begins
1:00 p.m. Convention session
9:00 p.m. Social event

Thursday, April 20
8:30 a.m. Registration
9:00 a.m. Convention session
9:00 p.m. Social event

Friday, April 21
8:30 a.m. Registration
9:00 a.m. Convention session
9:00 p.m. Dance

Saturday, April 22
8:30 a.m. Registration
9:00 a.m. Convention session

Representation

From local unions paying per capita on 100 members or less – two (2) delegates and one (1) additional delegate for each additional 100 members or portion thereof.

From District Councils or Provincial Councils of Unions, or Provincial Occupational Groups, the basis of representation shall be one (1) delegate per Provincial Council or group.  Representation from District Councils or Provincial Councils of Unions or Provincial Occupational Groups must hold.

Registration

You can register your delegates by mail, e-mail  or click here to register online. Register prior to March 20th, 2017 to help us in our planning and to allow sufficient materials to be prepared and sent to delegates in advance.

Fees

The registration fee is $100.00 for each delegate or alternate delegate attending. If registering by mail, enclose your cheque with the delegate registration forms. If registering by internet, please mail payment to Secretary-treasurer Minerva Porelle as registration fees must be paid at the time of registration. Please make cheques payable to “CUPE New Brunswick”.

Observer’s registration –  See information and form with links at the bottom of this page.

Resolutions and Constitutional Amendments

All resolutions to be considered at the convention must be submitted prior to January 19th, 2017 according to Constitution and By-Laws Article 4.7. All resolutions must be signed by the presiding officer and secretary of the affiliate. Emergency resolutions dealing with matters that have arisen less than ninety (90) days prior to the opening of the convention may be considered only with the consent of a two-thirds majority vote of the Convention,

Accommodations

A block of rooms has been reserved until March 22nd at the Fredericton Inn starting at a rate of $99.00. Please indicate that you are with CUPE NB (group CUPNB16M) when making reservations.

Phone: (506) 455-1430 or 1-800-561-8777
Fax: (506) 458-5448
On line: http://frederictoninn.nb.ca/

Convention Assistance

Local Unions having less than twenty-five (25) members may make application to the CUPE New Brunswick Executive Committee for financial assistance with transportation to assist in sending a delegate to convention. The CUPE New Brunswick Executive is empowered to authorize payment.

Mail registrations to:

CUPE NB Secretary Treasurer
Minerva Porelle
11 McKnight Road
Valley Road, NB E3L 4V4
E-mail: nbcnhu@xplornet.ca

Locals in Arrears

CUPE New Brunswick requirement: To be entitled to representation at the Convention, a local union shall have its per capita to CUPE NB paid up to and including the month of December, 2015.

CUPE National requirement: Article 6.7 of the CUPE National Constitution stipulates that any organization in arrears for two or more months to CUPE National will not be allowed representation to conventions at any level of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. This means locals must be paid to CUPE National up to and including the month of January, 2016.

Privatization in Healthcare: Expect Superbugs and Reheated Food

FREDERICTON: Both Vitalité and Horizon Health Networks are about to sign a 10-year deal to privatize management and operation of hospital food service, environmental services and patient transportation.

“We were informed that 280 full-time equivalent positions will be affected in the decision to sell off publicly run services to Sodexo, a French multinational corporation,” said Norma Robinson, President of New Brunswick Council of Hospitals Unions, CUPE Local 1252.

CUPE 1252 is very concerned by Sodexo’s grim track record: in other provinces and in the USA, they have been highly criticized, sued for overcharging governments and even kicked out of universities, jails, schools, and other institutions where they operated.

“It’s outrageous because we are already running a barebones operation. To save money and turn a profit, this company will inevitably cut corners. This will mean more hospital-borne infections and “superbugs”.  This government is putting sick people, seniors and our most vulnerable citizens’ health at risk,” said Robinson.

Less healthcare cleaning and infection control staff frequently results in more cases of Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE), C. difficile and other infections caused by bacteria and viruses encountered in healthcare facilities.

In past meetings with the previous Health Minister, CUPE 1252 had been reassured that no privatization of these services would happen – because there were no solid guarantees to find savings without loss in quality and services.

“The health of patients and workers should matter: by keeping these services in-house, we can avoid costly and dangerous problems,” said Robinson.

“Despite past cuts, the Union did its best to make sure hospitals were meeting their cleanliness targets. Front-line workers and their supervisors were meeting on a regular basis to raise cleanliness standards in facilities,” said Robinson.

CUPE 1252 is also concerned that more frozen food systems will be implemented: “Is this the food New Brunswickers deserve when they are sick and dying in a hospital bed?” asked Robinson.

Keep Rural Stores Open: NB Liquor Union

Fredericton – The union representing NB Liquor workers, CUPE Local 963, asks the government to stop the planned closures of NB Liquor stores in Lamèque, Petit-Rocher and Cap-Pelé.

“Replacing profitable stores and handing over the work to the private sector through screen-shot-2016-12-21-at-3-21-25-pmagency stores is an attack on rural New Brunswick. The Petit-Rocher store alone has made over 1 million dollars in profit last year, yet NB Liquor’s CEO wants to go forward with closures. It’s deplorable,” said Jamie Agnew, President of CUPE Local 963.

“Agency stores are not going out of their way to promote and build-up our local brewers or distillers who are fighting for shelf space with alcohol conglomerates” said Agnew.

“Removing the stores will not only hurt regions during tourist season, it will mean a reduced product selection throughout the year,” said Agnew.

 Agnew states that the regional MLAs need to be involved in the decision: “Good paying jobs with benefits should not be replaced by precarious jobs,” he added.

 This week, CUPE has sent letters requesting a meeting to discuss the issue with Cathy Rogers, the Minister responsible for NB Liquor.

CUPE Local 963 represents over 500 liquor store and warehouse workers across New Brunswick.