CUPE NB 55th Annual Convention – Labour Minister LePage to address delegates

Fredericton – Tuesday, over 330 public employees and elected union leaders from all sectors will convene to Fredericton for CUPE NB’s 55th Annual Convention, titled  “Bargaining Forward in Solidarity”.

The Convention’s theme reiterates last month’s “Breaking The Mandate – Bargaining Forward” conference, which highlighted the importance of coordinated bargaining in order to increase worker’s wages in our province.

Multiple guest and speakers are expected at this Convention, including:

  • Mark Hancock, CUPE National President;
  • Charles Fleury,  CUPE National Secretary Treasurer;
  • Jennifer McKenzie, NB NDP leader;
  • New Brunswick’s Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister, Gilles LePage.

“Workers across the province have an important role to play in the success of our beautiful province. They keep our hospitals, schools and stores running – and this, in turn, helps grow the economy, strengthen education and improve health care,” said Gilles LePage, Minister of Postsecondary Education, Training and Labour for the Government of New Brunswick.

CUPE NB notes that this is the first time since Richard Hatfield was Premier that a Labour Minister will speak at an annual convention.

“This is a welcome change,” says Daniel Légère, CUPE NB President. “Our Minister will have a chance to meet our members, who come from so many sectors. I am sure they will remind him of how their wages do help our communities and our economy grow,” said Légère.

CUPE NB’s four day convention is expected to bring in over $420,000.00 in direct revenues to the Fredericton community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Submission: Domestic Violence Leave

Everyone deserves to work in a safer environment, free from violence, and to be supported when incidents happen.

The Government of New Brunswick is currently seeking input regarding potential leave provisions for persons subjected to domestic, intimate partner or sexual violence. These provisions would require amendments to NB’s Employment Standards Act, allowing every worker in NB to access them.

CUPE NB has submitted the following recommendations:

  • 10 days of paid leave, followed by 17 weeks of unpaid leave
  • Employers’ right to request proof or verification should be limited
  • There should be a requirement to maintain the confidentiality of survivors taking leave

Submissions are accepted until April 20th, 2018, and can be sent to: labour-travail@gnb.ca.

Find our submission in its entirety below:

Home Care Workers Protest the Canadian Red Cross

Saint John – On March 29th, over 200 workers and supporters rallied at the Canadian Red Cross provincial headquarters in Saint John, New Brunswick. CUPE Local 4598, which represents 136 Canadian Red Cross home support workers in NB, are denouncing their employer’s immobility at the bargaining table.

On April 1st, just after the Easter weekend, the home care employees begin a ninth year without a collective agreement.

“The employer needs to bring real wage increases to the table. If they can’t do that, after nine years, they should admit it to the public,” saidThérèse Duguay, President of the Local 4598.

Duguay has been working for the Red Cross for over 15 years, but only makes $13.65 per hour.

“The Canadian Red Cross has annual operating revenues of over 300 million dollars, yet they can’t find a way to lift their own workers out of poverty?” asked Duguay.

“As stated in Ontario’s “Sunshine List”, Red Cross’s CEO, Conrad Sauvé, made $332,000 this year. Meanwhile, seniors and vulnerable people depend on us, and we can’t make ends meet. No guaranteed hours and a low pay hurts us and our families. It means high worker turnover and dissatisfaction – that hurts everyone,” she added.

“The whole sector of home care in our province is a sad mess. The province needs to step up to make things right for seniors and workers,”said Daniel Légère, President of CUPE NB.  “That why we have started the “Who Cares?” campaign for community care workers, because this government needs to intervene immediately for workers and clients,” added Légère.

At the rally, Daniel Légère reiterated his challenge to all political parties to include fully publicly managed community care services in NB in their electoral platform.

Public and Private Sector Pay: Why Workers Need to “Break the Mandate”

On Monday, March 19th, the Daily Gleaner published an editorial misrepresenting the position of CUPE members and attacking the right of public sector unions to exist.

Why is the Daily Gleaner so opposed to the betterment of the working conditions in this province? Painting ordinary CUPE members – our plow operators, licensed practical nurses, educational assistants, municipal workers, nursing-home caregivers that are delivering essential services – as “fat cats” is as false as it is ridiculous.

As president of the CUPE NB Division, I must correct the numerous inaccuracies written by your editor.

At last week’s Breaking the Mandate Conference, CUPE has not called for “mass strikes”, “bumping up pay hikes to two per cent per year” nor did we call for members to “take advantage of the government through labour stoppages”.

We did, however, call for better wages for all, and that includes public sector workers.

In general, the Canadian economy has been growing strongly, but wages haven’t. The failure of wages to rise more strongly is not a mystery. The richest one percent are the ones reaping all the benefits from this growth, are paying less taxes while ordinary workers are left out with declining purchasing power. Public sector wage freezes, cuts and austerity have reduced overall wage growth. Wage settlements for public sector workers have increased by less than private sector workers for seven of the last eight years, and by less than inflation for five of the last eight years.

The reason is simple: the cost of living is rising at an increasingly rapid pace, and public-sector pay grew at a historically slow pace due to Liberals’ and Conservatives’ wage restraint mandates. This has had direct economic repercussions: it bogged down our provincial recovery from the “Great Recession” of 2008 at the very moment where it needed stimulus, not austerity.

This slow pace is clear when you adjust wages to inflation, for real dollar figures. In the last 10 years, many CUPE members have made little progress:

  • Nursing home resident attendants’ wages have only increased by an average of 1.2% per year, since 2008.
  • Licensed practical nurses’ wages only grew 0.8% per year since 2008.
  • School bus drivers’ wages have actually decreased by 0.9% since 2008.

Meanwhile, income (calculated on an hourly basis) of the top 100 highest-paid CEOs in Canada, has shot up 300% just over the last year. The average worker, public or private, is not benefiting from the economic recovery. That’s why for the many, the words “economic recovery” rings hollow. As the middle class is shrinking, the upper class is making record profits.

Contrary to the Daily Gleaner editor, CUPE NB believes public AND private sector wages should increase. Inciting one group of workers to push to lower the pay of the other is counterproductive and it’s an old divide and conquer technique that unions have fought against since their beginnings.

As the gap between rich and poor keeps growing, public and private unions are as – if not more – important than ever since the 1970s. People want to participate in determining their wages and working conditions, they want fairness in their workplace. This necessarily means more workplace democracy, which comes mainly through negotiated collective agreements or the creation of workers’ co-ops.

In closing, I want to remind the Daily Gleaner’s editor of a few facts: The right to strike, as well as the right of public sector unions to exist, have been enshrined in our nation’s constitutional fabric and has been reaffirmed countless times by the Canadian Supreme Court. Union Rights are Human Rights.

Daniel Légère is the President of the New Brunswick Division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

Breaking the Mandate in New Brunswick

This Thursday and Friday, close to 300 public employees and elected union leaders from all sectors have met at a bargaining conference called “Breaking the Mandate – Bargaining Forward”.

The aim of the conference was clear : CUPE locals will coordinate their bargaining efforts and prepare for mass action to obtain better wages.

“For years, provincial government has tried to hold a mandate of wage restraint that has set our members back. We are hosting this conference to align our forces to fight for wages at the bargaining tables. It has become the number one priority for most, because overall, workers’ pay has not followed cost of living increases for the last 10 years,” said Daniel Légère, President of CUPE NB.

Previous negations with public sector unions have been marked two consecutive wage restraint mandates, meaning weak or no wage increases: 0% and 1% were the norm.

“When you look at inflation adjusted wages, most public sector workers have an equal or weaker purchasing power from what they had 10 years ago,” said Légère. “Our members are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet. Living from paycheck to paycheck is not sustainable,” said Légère.

In addition to low wages, many sectors are also affected by staffing cuts, which have led to increased workloads for remaining staff.

“The recent West Virginia teachers strike in the United States shows us all that winning big requires drastic actions. This is why we had this this conference. The conference is just the start. Mass membership meetings, membership education, mobilization and more is to be expected this year,” said Légère.

When we stand united and mobilized, CUPE members have the strength to break the mandate!

 

 

 

Should New Brunswick Do What Ontario Did?

Since the economic recession of 2008, there has been a shift in workplaces across all sectors in Canada. We are seeing an increase in precarious work, with more part-time and casual workers than ever, and stagnant wages despite rising economic gains, even in New Brunswick[1].

Precarious work generally describes unstable work conditions and limited rights and protections in the workplace due to a rise in temporary, part-time, contracted or subcontracted work[2]. It is difficult to have a full picture of precarious work in Canada because of the nature of precarious work. However, the rise in part-time and temporary work in specific sectors suggests the rise of unstable work for many New Brunswickers. A new report by Chartered Professional Accountants Canada highlights a sharp rise in part-time and temporary work in educational services, information, culture and recreation, and accommodation and food services. The report observes that workers in these last two sectors make 12% and 30% less average dollars per hour than other Canadians[3]. There is also mention that younger Canadians, particularly women, and older Canadians are most affected by precarious work, and that education levels don’t protect you from unstable work. The CPA Chief Economist points out:

Among young Canadians, men and women of nearly all education levels have experienced a sizeable increase in the likelihood of part-time employment (…) [this supports] the notion that young people are obtaining higher education, but finding it increasingly difficult to find full-time work after graduation. (p. 11)

In New Brunswick, since 2008, there has been an increase in workers who could not find full-time work who looked for full-time work in the last month[4]. In 2016, New Brunswick communities also made up three out of the 10 economic regions with the lowest average hourly wages in Canada[5]. It is telling that over the last 10 years, in New Brunswick, there has been an increase in the proportion of minimum wage workers who are full-time employees, older workers, workers with job tenure over five years and workers with post-secondary education[6]. This means that New Brunswickers entering the workforce are faced with precarious work, and that there is no upward mobility for those who have always faced precarious work.

The rates of unionization are also falling in Canada, from 37.6% in 1981 to 28.8% in 2014, with a sharper decrease among men and young workers[7]. This indicates that less people have access to stable jobs that provide decent wages, good benefits, respectful working conditions and access to rights protection and advocacy. In 2016, in New Brunswick, 94% of workers earning minimum wage were not unionized[8].

New Brunswick labour laws have been sporadically updated throughout recent years. There has been an added statutory holiday on the third Sunday in February every year, the forthcoming introduction of a first contract arbitration legislation and the review of employment standards for young workers. However, the shifting labour and economic landscape and the aging of New Brunswick’s population creates an environment in which a complete review and reform of the laws that govern working people in New Brunswick is needed. Such an exercise was undertaken in 2015 in the province of Ontario, with the Changing Workplaces Review. This process was lead by special advisors C. Michael Mitchell, an experienced labour and employment lawyer, and The Honourable John C. Murray, a neutral, full-time arbitrator and mediator. The advisors reviewed the Employment Standards Act, 2000 and the Labour Relations Act, 1995 and produced a report. The report, containing 173 recommendations, led to the tabling and passing of Bill 148: Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, which greatly increased workers rights under these laws. The new bill raised the minimum wage to $15/hour, increased the amount of critical illness and parental leave, added a domestic violence leave, added rights for independent contractors, changed scheduling provisions to give more stability for workers, and makes it easier for workers to unionize.

New Brunswick workers deserve these improvements as much as Ontario workers do. It is high time that we undertake a review of New Brunswick’s Employment Standards Act, Industrial Relations Act, Public Service Labour Relations Act and the Civil Service Act. Such a review should be undertaken by independent, third party experts in labour law, chosen by a panel made up of equal parts employee and employer representatives, to ensure the rights of workers are upheld and enhanced and not clawed back. This thorough review process would be a great way to start tackling precarious work in our province.

Read other recommendations to improve New Brunswick in “Building a more equal society: a progressive election platform for New Brunswick in 2018“.


Gabrielle Ross-Marquette is a CUPE Research Representative for the Maritimes Regional Office.

 

[1] Statistics Canada (2017). Unionization rates falling, http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/11-630-x/11-630-x2015005-eng.htm.

[2] Government of New Brunswick (2017). New Brunswick Minimum Wage Factsheet, Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, https://www.nbjobs.ca/sites/default/files/pdf/newbrunswickminimumwagefactsheet1.pdf.

[1] Government of New Brunswick (June 2017). RBC revises New Brunswick’s GDP growth projection upward, http://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/news/news_release.2017.06.0862.html.

[2] International Labour Organization (2011). ACTRAV Symposium on Precarious Work, http://www.ilo.org/actrav/events/WCMS_153972/lang–en/index.htm.

[3] Chartered Professional Accountants Canada (2018). Navigating Precarious Employment in Canada: Who is Really at Risk?, http://bit.ly/2D2dRSN.

[4] Statistics Canada (2018). CANSIM Table 282-0013, http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a34?lang=eng&mode=tableSummary&id=2820013&stByVal=2&p1=-1&p2=9.

[5] Statistics Canada (2017). The 10 economic regions with the lowest average full-time hourly wage, https://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/170615/t004a-eng.htm.

[6] Government of New Brunswick (2017). New Brunswick Minimum Wage Factsheet, Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, https://www.nbjobs.ca/sites/default/files/pdf/newbrunswickminimumwagefactsheet1.pdf.

[7] Statistics Canada (2017). Unionization rates falling, http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/11-630-x/11-630-x2015005-eng.htm.

[8] Government of New Brunswick (2017). New Brunswick Minimum Wage Factsheet, Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, https://www.nbjobs.ca/sites/default/files/pdf/newbrunswickminimumwagefactsheet1.pdf.

Black History Month in NB


Black History Month Events in NB: Check out the event calendar of PRUDE – Pride of Race, Unity and Dignity through Education https://www.prudeinc.org/black-history-month


Every February, CUPE celebrates Black History Month (also known as African Heritage month) when we pause to reflect on the efforts of the many union activists and community organizers of African descent who lead the fight for inclusive communities and workplaces.

This fight happens every day, as CUPE members bargain for more inclusive and equity-based language in our collective agreements, challenge racism in our governments, workplaces, schools and our communities, and contribute to on-the-ground organizing and mobilizing.

We are grateful to all those who are working to build a non-racist world in our unions, workplaces and communities. Canadian society has seen a lot of progress over the decades, but the realities of differential treatment towards African Canadians continue.

At the global level, the United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent is educating people on the history of enslavement, discrimination, bigotry and criminalization. We can all learn from this history as we deal with systemic barriers that continue to confront Black people. The UN General Assembly has proclaimed 2015-2024 the International Decade for People of African Descent to promote and protect their human rights.

At our 2017 National Convention, CUPE delegates passed a Strategic Directions document that commits our union to fight racism and hatred in all its forms and to empower our members to speak and act against discrimination. Delegates also adopted a resolution to pressure governments to eliminate racial profiling, and to publicly oppose any legislation that promotes and supports it. Racial profiling is an invasion of privacy and a form of discrimination, which violates Canadian human rights law.

As a labour union, we are committed to negotiating and enforcing collective agreements that do not tolerate discrimination. We continue to fight against racial harassment in the workplace and work with our allies to pressure governments to adopt employment equity legislation.

CUPE encourages members to celebrate Black History Month and to keep fighting anti-Black racism in their locals, workplaces, schools and communities. Here are some ideas:

Learn

Act

  • Celebrate and promote black history month within your local
  • Lobby your government for the implementation of legislation that addresses anti-Black racism in your region, including employment equity legislation.
  • Support community organizations and movements such as Black Lives Matter and other community organizations that fight against systemic racism and violence.
  • Visit blacklivesmatter.ca or follow #BlackLivesMatter on Twitter.

Bargain

  • Bargain employment equity language into your collective agreement to help ensure that your workplace represents the diversity of your community.

Stay tuned for CUPE’s new ‘bargaining employment equity’ guide, which will be part of our bargaining equality resource collection.

 

https://mynewbrunswick.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/spray-e1481251487938.jpg


Interested in learning more about Black History in our province ? A good starting point could be this short book written by W.A. Spray in 1972, titled The Blacks of New Brunswick. This book is available in all provincial libraries.

 

Statement by the Canadian Council of the Canadian Labour Congress

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The 55 unions represented on the Canadian Council of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) recognize without exception that when one of our affiliates is attacked, our movement is attacked.
Therefore, the CLC condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the decision and actions of the Unifor leadership to disaffiliate from the CLC and raid the members of UNITE HERE! Local 75 in the Greater Toronto Area. Raiding a union is a deplorable act that is irreconcilable with the principles of solidarity on which our movement was founded. The actions of Unifor are made worse when they defend their raiding activities with nationalist justifications and wholesale attacks on international unions.
Our Congress is made up of national, international and provincial unions from both the private and public sectors. The solidarity between these unions is where our movement derives its strength and integrity. The contribution to building our movement and defending workers’ rights and human rights in Canada by our international affiliates cannot be discounted, disrespected, or dishonoured. The CLC will continue to value and defend all of our members from attacks on their unions regardless of whether they are provincial, national, or international.
It is this solidarity that has led to the enhancement of labour laws, expansion of the Canada Pension Plan, the comprehensive ban on asbestos, the creation of a Just Transition task force, the increase of the minimum wage in a number of jurisdictions, and the gains on leave for survivors of domestic violence, to name only a few.
The unions of the Canadian Labour Congress pledge to:
  • ” Work together to protect our members from raids and organize the unorganized;
  • ” Defend our members and their international unions from baseless attacks; and
  • ” Recommit our efforts to the political action necessary to improve the lives of all workers.

The Canadian Labour Congress represents over 3 million workers and brings together Canada’s national, international, and provincial unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 107 district labour councils, whose members work in virtually all sectors of the Canadian economy, in all occupations, in all parts of Canada.

Signed by,
Hassan Yussuff
President
Canadian Labour Congress (CLC)

Marie Clarke Walker
Secretary-Treasurer
Canadian Labour Congress (CLC)

Donald Lafleur
Executive Vice-President
Canadian Labour Congress (CLC)

Larry Rousseau
Executive Vice-President
Canadian Labour Congress
(CLC)

Captain Dan Adamus
President
Canada Board
Air Line Pilots Association
International-Canada Board Office (ALPA)

Robert Ashton
President
International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada (ILWU)

Brian Baker
National Executive Director
Directors Guild of Canada (DGC)

Robyn Benson
National President
Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC)

Harvey Bischof
President
Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF)

David Black
National President
Canadian Office and Professional Employees’ Union (COPE)

Daniel Boyer
President
Quebec Federation of Labour (QFL)

Larry Brown
National President
National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE)

Anita Bryan
United Steelworkers (USW)

Chris Buckley
President
Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL)

Jessica Burnie
V-P Representing Workers with Disabilities

Danny Cavanagh
President
Nova Scotia Federation of Labour (NSFL)

Patrick Colford
President
New Brunswick Federation of Labour (NBFL)

Anouk Collet
United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW)

Bill Daniels
International Vice-President
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)

Debi Daviau
President and CEO
The Professional Institute of Public Service of Canada (PIPSC)

Sharon DeSousa
Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC)

David Doyle
International Canadian Vice-President
Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers International Union (GMP)

Danielle Dubuc
V-P Representing Workers of Colour

Jody Dukart
International Auditor/Teller
United Mine Workers of America (UMW)

Vince Engel
International Vice-President, Western Canada
International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers (IAHFIAW)

James Given
President
Seafarers’ International Union of Canada (SIU)

Sam Hammond
President
Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO)

Mark Hancock
National President
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

Glen Hansman
President
British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF)

Lorraine Hewlett
President
Northern Territories Federation of Labour (NTFL)

Len Hope
President
Congress of Union Retirees of Canada (CURC)

Larry Hubich
President
Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL)

Milt Isaacs
Chief Executive Officer
Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA)

James Jackson
Director of Canadian Affairs
Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association (SMWIA)

Patricia Knight
Teamsters Canada

Darrell LaBoucan
8th General Vice-President
International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers (IABSORIW)

Irene Lanzinger
President
British Columbia Federation of Labour (BCFL)

François Laporte
President
Teamsters Canada

Fred LeBlanc
13th District Vice-President
International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF)

Justin Lemphers
President
Yukon Federation of Labour (YFL)

John Lewis
International Vice-President and Director of Canadian Affairs
International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, its Territories and Canada (IATSE)

Suzanne MacNeil
V-P Representing Atlantic Region Labour Councils

George MacPherson
President
Shipyard General Workers’ Federation of British Columbia (SGWBC)

Joseph Maloney
International Vice-President Eastern Canada
International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers (IBB)

Joseph S. Mancinelli
International Vice-President and Regional Manager
Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA)

Anthony Marco
V-P Representing Ontario Region Labour Councils

Brenda McAuley
National President
Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association (CPAA)

Gil McGowan
President
Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL)

Paul Meinema
National President
United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW)

Steve Morrison
International Vice-President and Director of Canadian Affairs
United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada (UA)

Patrick Murphy
Vice-President
International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA)

Kenneth G. Neumann
National Director
United Steelworkers (USW)

Martin O’Hanlon
President
Communications Workers of America, Canada (CWA/SCA Canada)

Casey Oraa
V-P Representing LGBTQ2SI

Yves Ouellet
Director General
FTQ-Construction

Mike Palecek
National President
Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW)

Stan Pickthall
General Vice-President
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM&AW)

Ron Piercey
International Vice-President
Bakery, Confectionery and Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM)

Danielle Pohl
V-P Representing Pacific Region Labour Councils

Bill Pollock
President
International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW Local 251)

Carl Pursey
President
Prince Edward Island Federation of Labour (PEIFL)

Lionel Railton
Canadian Regional Director
International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE)

Kevin Rebeck
President
Manitoba Federation of Labour (MFL)

Candace Rennick
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

Dany Richard
President
Association of Canadian Financial Officers (ACFO)

Ian Robb
Canadian Director
UNITE HERE!

Carmen Rogers-Jones
V-P Representing Young Workers)

Ronald Rousseau
V-P Representing Aboriginal Workers

Jason Rowe
Canadian Vice-President
United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBCJA)

Mary Shortall
President
Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour (NLFL)

Linda Silas
President
Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU)

Stephanie Smith
National Union of Public and General Employees/ British Columbia Government and Service Employees’ Union (NUPGE/BCGEU)

Basia Sokal
V-P Representing Prairie Region Labour Councils

David Sparrow
National President
Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA)

Ainsworth Spence
V-P Representing Workers of Colour

Sharleen Stewart
International Canadian Vice-President
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

Liz Stuart
President
Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA)

Paul Thorp
President
Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU)

Scott Travers
President
International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE

Terri Van Steinburg
President
National Union of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (NUCAUT)

Ann Waller
Labourers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA)

Alan Willaert
Vice-President from Canada
Canadian Federation of Musicians (AFM/CFM)

Pauline Worsfold
Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU)

_____

OFFICIAL LETTER – PDF : Council-Statement-2018-02-05-EN

Home support care in NB – The Province must intervene

Tracadie –  CUPE Local 4598, which represents 136 Canadian Red Cross Home support workers in New Brunswick, criticizes their Employer’s inaction when it comes to negotiations.

“On March 31, 2018, it will have been nine years since our collective agreement expired”, says Local 4598 President Thérèse Duguay. Despite the employees’ best efforts, the Red Cross still refuses to negotiate a new contract.

CUPE also criticizes the disintegration of home support services on the following issues:

  • The availability of services and the hours for each client.
  • Retention, salary ($13.65 per hour) and failure to recruit.
  • The inacceptable delays in services.
  • The travel policy of 12 ¢ per hour of driving.

“On top of not having guaranteed hours of work, we really earn less than 11$/hr because we have to pay for our own transportation when visiting our clients.  Is the Red Cross asking us to subsidize them?” asks Thérèse Duguay.

“I have never seen an employer do that, to have so little respect towards its employees and its clientele. The Red Cross is one of the worst employers in NB.  The government must intervene immediately to force the Employer to start negotiations,” says Robert LeMoignan, CUPE representative.

The service agreement between the Province and the Red Cross was supposed to guarantee a reasonable level of home care services that would be accountable, efficient and transparent. The last eight years show how this agreement has failed.

“Their work organization is dysfunctional and demonstrates a certain complacency in its management of services, and clients and workers are the one paying the price for this.  Grants and subsidies given by the government don’t trickle down to the front-line workers.” says Robert LeMoignan.

“The solution is to make home care services a public service. Public services respect their duties of being accountable, negotiate reasonably and to deliver results.  It’s time to make home care services a public service for the good of the clients and workers”, says Duguay.

At the press conference, Daniel Légère, CUPE NB President, challenged the current government to immediately raise the salary of community care workers to $15 an hour. He also challenged all political parties to include fully publicly managed community care services in NB in their electoral platform.

CUPE Local 4598 represents 136 Canadian Red Cross home support workers.  They work in Grand-Falls, Edmundston, Campbellton, Bathurst, Tracadie, Miramichi in Richibucto areas.

 

2018-2019 Provincial Budget: CUPE NB is Pleased

Fredericton – This week, New Brunswick’s Finance Minister Cathy Rogers tabled her $9.6 billion budget, which contained much needed investments in healthcare, education and community care.

“This is not an austerity budget, it is a normal electoral year budget. Minister Rogers said, “you have to spend money to make money”, and I agree. Our sluggish provincial economy needs to be stimulated, and the best way to do so is through investments in key public-sector services like childcare, education and health,” said Daniel Légère, President of CUPE NB.

The Health Department budget was increased by 3.7 per cent to $2.75 billion. Spending for Education and Early Childhood Development stands at $1.26 billion — up 6.1 per cent. A notable increase was made in community care services, with $12 million invested in special care home employees and home support workers’ wages.

“This $12 million should all go to raise front line wages in home care and community care services. The women working in this sector deserve much more, but this is encouraging. I challenge the government to immediately raise the wages of all workers in community care at $15 an hour,” said Légère.

“And for those care workers driving to meet their clients, it’s time they received mileage compensation that follows the government travel policy. The current “12 cents an hour of travel” in home care is simply not enough,” added Légère.

“As Health and Education Departments have seen their budgets go up beyond inflation, I hope workers will obtain increases in wages. Real wage increases are a priority, because most workers’ pay has not followed cost of living increases of the last 10 years,” concluded Légère.