CUPE NB leadership preparing to fight government austerity measures

FREDERICTON: The provincial leadership of the New Brunswick Division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) met this week to discuss the impact of the Government Strategic Review on public services.

“CUPE NB leadership is very concerned by the direction the government is taking.  The decision last week to scrap the legislative requirement to hold a referendum on a Harmonized Sales Tax  (HST) increase is a clear indication that the government is heading on the wrong path,” declared Daniel Légère, President of CUPE NB.

“New Brunswick has a revenue problem that could be fixed by restoring corporate tax rates, closing loopholes and increasing taxes on top incomes.  Increasing consumption taxes, like the HST will impact the low income families who are already financially struggling.”

“CUPE NB cannot stay still; there is too much at stake.  We will push back the government austerity measures. During our 2-day meeting, we put together the foundation of a strategic plan.  We need to push back the government austerity agenda, not only for our members but for all New Brunswickers.”

“Our communities can’t afford to lose more public services.”

“Instead of focusing on cuts, the government should put its energy on growing the economy, improving wages, jobs, incomes and public services for New Brunswickers”, concluded Légère.

 

NB really headed off the fiscal cliff?

MONCTON:  The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) New Brunswick is calling upon the Gallant Government not to repeat the same mistakes as previous governments have done about the deficit.

CUPE President Daniel Légère and CUPE Economist Toby Sanger at the press conference on NB financial situation

CUPE President Daniel Légère and CUPE Economist Toby Sanger at the press conference on NB financial situation

“Four years ago, the Alward government started their term in office with alarmist warnings prepared by Don Drummond that the province would soon run deficits of $2 billion a year”, explained Daniel Légère, President of CUPE NB.  “This was highly exaggerated based on faulty assumptions.  The budget could have been balanced without cuts to programs, largely by reversing regressive tax cuts.”

Last week, Finance Minister Roger Melanson announced that the deficit wouldn’t be as high as planned but is still planning to go ahead with major cuts to public services.

“Once again the New Brunswick government is exaggerating the province’s fiscal problems to impose austerity and spending cuts going along with those who alleged that NB will be “over the cliff” if it didn’t start to cut spending.  It’s absurd–but it’s just the type of scaremongering they use to force through cuts to public services and sales of public assets–because they know the public wouldn’t stand for it unless they were spooked.”

“It isn’t just socially and morally wrong to focus on cutting public spending while ten percent of the New Brunswick workers are unemployed, it’s also economically and fiscally damaging,” explained Toby Sanger, CUPE Senior Economist.

“To repeat the same mistakes of their predecessors and continue with these policies is, at best, ignorant or stupid.  At worst, it’s a deliberate attempt to keep unemployment high, suppress wages and harm New Brunswick’s economy for the benefit of a select few”, added Sanger.

“Austerity has failed: in New Brunswick and around the world. If Greece and Spain are Europe’s cautionary examples for the absolute failure of deep austerity policies, New Brunswick is the poster child for the failure of austerity policies in Canada”, said Sanger.

“Instead of following CUPE’s advice to responsibly restore revenues, the Alward government cut program spending in its first budget by 1.7%.  This led to a sharp slowdown and then decline in the New Brunswick economy–so much so that it had the worst economic record of all provinces from 2010 to 2014.  It is also the only province that had significantly higher unemployment rates in 2014 than in 2009 and 2010 during the financial crisis and recession”, explained Sanger.

“Austerity doesn’t work: we’ve seen that time and time again. What do they expect this time?  What’s the definition of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result?”

“The province’s structural program review asks the wrong questions when it asks what the province should stop doing.  Instead it should ask what other things it can do to benefit the people of New Brunswick in the most effective way, increase revenues and grow the economy”, stated Légère.

The province could eliminate its deficit if it restored corporate tax rates, closed loopholes and increased taxes on top incomes.  In total, a few of these measures could generate an extra $400 million annually, which would be more than enough to eliminate the deficit and run a surplus–or to have additional funding to invest in public services.

New Brunswick’s revenues as a share of the economy are close to the lowest they’ve been for a quarter century.  If they were increased by just 1.5 percentage points to what their 25-year average had been, the province’s revenues would be $500 million higher–once again more than enough to eliminate its deficit and to invest in additional public services.

“The province should focus on growing the economy, improving wages, jobs, incomes and public services for New Brunswickers, and not on cutting public services to eliminate the deficit”, concluded Légère.

Deficit Deja Voo Doo

CUPE 1190’s BAD ROADS HOTLINE IS BACK

Fredericton: The Union representing highway workers, CUPE Local 1190, is re-launching its campaign “Bad Roads Hot Line” for the winter.

Daniel Légère, CUPE NB President;  Andy Hardy, CUPE 1190 president; Joey Kelly, CUPE 1190  Sec.Treas; Brian Watson, CUPE 1253 president .

Daniel Légère, CUPE NB President; Andy Hardy, CUPE 1190 president; Joey Kelly, CUPE 1190 Sec.Treas; Brian Watson, CUPE 1253 president .

“We were hoping to shut down the toll-free number but the information we received from the department officials concerning the Winter Maintenance Program clearly indicates that the new Liberal Government do not intend to allocate more resources to the program” said Andy Hardy, President of CUPE Local 1190.

“According to the schedule we received from the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, we will have less plow operators on the roads this winter.  They will be reduced by 3.  If you take into account last year’s reduction, this season we will have 73 fewer snowplow operators on the roads.”

“Last winter, our members who looked after plowing and maintaining the roads have confronted some harsh winter weather. It’s not officially winter yet and already we have been hit with some major storms.”

“With fewer operators and plows and with equipment breaking down, once again the citizens of this province, especially the ones living in the rural areas, will not get the proper service. Many times last winter, the citizens of this province had to wait to get their roads and streets plowed.”

“When we launched the Bad Roads Hotline – 1-888-874-7198 – our goal was to give New Brunswickers a chance to voice their concerns about slippery roads and poor salting and sanding. We received more than 1,200 calls on our Hotline from concerned New Brunswickers across the province.”

“It wasn’t enough to convince the former government to reverse the cuts he made to the Winter Maintenance Program. Unfortunately so far, the new Liberal Government seems to be following the same path. This is why we are re-launching our Bad Roads

Campaign,” concluded Hardy.

CUPE NB Annual Convention

NBconvention

 

The CUPE NB Convention call letter and credential form will be mailed out mid January 2015.

Resolutions for the 2015 Convention must be submitted to the CUPE NB Secretary Treasurer no later than January 15, 2015 with no exceptions made.

 

 

Resolutions Requests 2015

CUPE Local 76 back to work on Monday

Campbellton:  A month after being locked out by the City of Campbellton, CUPE Local 76 members, the city’s outside workers, will be back on the job on Monday.

The Local reached a tentative agreement late yesterday afternoon after three days of mediation. The members accepted the offer last evening.

“This was a very difficult round of bargaining.  We are very disappointed with the way our employer behaved”, said George Parker, President of CUPE Local 76.

“At the end of the day, we were able to keep our Defined Benefit Pension Plan and we pushed back on contracting out. We now have a minimum of 25 members guaranteed under our collective agreement.  As well, for the length of this contract, no current employees can be laid off or have their hours of work reduced due to contracting out the work of the bargaining unit”, added Parker.

“The membership was overwhelmed by the support they received from the citizens of Campbellton.  Every day during this lockout, people showed up on the pickets lines with coffee, sweets, food and money.”

“We can’t thank enough the CUPE members for the financial support they gave us.  CUPE members that we have never met before showed up on the picket lines and walked with us.  We could not have imagined such a show of solidarity,” concluded Parker.

Campbellton Municipal Workers Locked Out

Campbellton city workers - cols bleusCampbellton– CUPE Local 76 members who work for the City of Campbellton are on the picket lines this morning after being locked out by the municipal council.

“It is unfortunate the City council chose confrontation over negotiation,” said George Parker, president of CUPE Local 76.

“Last week, in a last ditch effort to reach a collective agreement, the Union requested the intervention of a mediator. The City sent a third party to the table with the mandate to get even more concession from its workers,” says Parker.

“The next day, the city contracted out the snow removal services.”

“When Mayor Bruce MacIntosh said talking about the lockout ‘they had very little choice’ — well they had the choice to sit down and negotiate with its workers, not try to bully their way through negotiation. Since we began this process, the city never altered its course.”

Only once in our history, we were unable to provide the service to the residents of Campbellton. We were locked out by the city more than 30 years ago!”

CUPE Local 76 represents 43 employees who work mainly in the water department, waste water, streets, recreation, workshop, inventory, fire department and police dispatch.

The collective agreement expired on December 31, 2013.

 

CUPE Local 76 Asking for Mediation

Campbellton: The union representing the City of Campbellton outside workers, CUPE Local 76, is asking the Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour to appoint a mediator in order to reach a collective agreement with its employer.

“Instead of threatening to lock us out and contracting out our jobs, we believe the City should return to the bargaining table to try to reach a collective agreement,” said George Parker, President of CUPE Local 76.

“We requested the appointment of a mediator last Friday and we hope the City will come back to the table instead of moving forward with a possible lock-out and contracting out of snow removal.”

“While we were in bargaining, in mid-September, the Employer published an invitation to tender for the snow removal. Ten days ago, the Mayor gave our union an ultimatum: accept the latest offer or snow removal will be contracted out for, not one, but three years and there could be a lock-out.”

“Our members were simply appalled by our Employer’s statement. It shows a total lack of respect for its employees. Why would the City pay a private contractor thousands of dollars for snow removal this winter when snow removal has always been done by city employees? We have all the equipment and the manpower.  Where is the saving there?”

Parker says, “It seems that the City’s rational for contracting out snow removal is that the service would be maintained if the outside workers go on strike. Our members have never been on strike and our intention is to not do so.  We have made that clear many times. Only once in our history, we were unable to provide the service to the residents of Campbellton.  We were locked-out by the city it was more than 30 years ago!”

The stumbling blocks at the bargaining table are wages, retirement allowance and job security. CUPE Local 76 has been without a collective agreement since December 2013.

Fredericton’s outside workers vote in favor of a strike

Fredericton – Members of CUPE Local 508, the outside workers with the City of Fredericton gave their Union Executive, this evening, a strong strike mandate.
CUPE National Representative Ralph McBride says, “Based on the strong mandate we received from the membership we are asking the City to return to the bargaining table.”

McBride says, while the strike mandate they received is strong, no strike date has been set. Outstanding issues include wages and the Benefit Spending Allowance.

“In the 60 years history of this Local, the members have never been on strike. Bargaining is never easy but in the past, we have always been able to reach an agreement at the table,” explained Kevin Smallwood, CUPE 508’s President.

CUPE local 508 has been without a collective bargaining since December 2013. Outside workers in the city are responsible for services such as water and sewage, water treatment, pollution control centre, roads and streets maintenance and cleaning, mechanics, traffic and parks and trees.

Ask the Candidates

CUPE NB asked the Leaders of the political parties questions on various issues such as Free Collective Bargaining and Pay Equity.
Click here to download their answers

Ask the Candidates

You can also download the latest edition of The Signal

CUPE NB pays tribute to the memory of William Dwight Mallock

All members of the Canadian Union of Public Employee in New Brunswick and Canada would like to express their condolences to the family and friends of Mr. William Dwight Mallock of Seal Cove in Grand Manan Island, NB, who passed away while performing his duties as a Paramedic on Saturday August 16, 2014 at the Grand Manan Airport. William D. Mallock had been a paramedic with Ambulance New Brunswick for the last twenty years and a member of CUPE NB Local 4848.

http://www.ells.ca/obituaries/90707#.U_ExlWmZlM8.gmail