Laundry closure in nursing homes: another blow to rural New Brunswick

Fredericton ( February 25, 2013):The government’s decision to close laundry facilities in 16 nursing homes in the province is another blow to rural communities in this province.
“Most of the nursing homes affected by this decision are in the northern part of the province.  A region already greatly affected by a poor economy”, said Wayne Brown, President of the New Brunswick Council of Nursing Homes Unions (NBCNHU).

“This decision was taken without any consultation with the Union representing those nursing home employees.  Even though the government assures us that the 28 employees working in those laundries will be transferred in other departments of the nursing homes and that no jobs will be lost, we believe that at least 60 employees will be affected. This decision will have a negative effect in the homes.  The Union will be filing grievances to prevent the reduction of hours”, explained Brown.

“We were called to a meeting this morning and informed that the government decided to close the laundries in order to save $600,000 a year.  We were even more surprised to learn that this decision is coming from a government committee which is looking at finding efficiencies.”

“For years, the government has been telling us that it could not interfere with the nursing homes’ administration; that they were at arm-length. Suddenly, the government can decide by the stroke of a pen to eliminate 16 laundry facilities.”

“If the government was seriously looking to find efficiencies in the nursing homes, they should have consulted with CUPE.  For years, we have been telling the government that millions could be saved in making nursing homes a public service; by regionalizing the administration of the homes, centralizing payroll, purchasing pharmaceutical supplies provincially and doing the same for insurance.”

“This decision also means that the laundry will be trucked to other facilities, increasing the carbon footprint,” concluded Brown.

Here is the list of the nursing homes affected by this decision:
Fundy Nursing Home
Jordan Lifecare Centre
Passamaquoddy Lodge
Kennebec Manor
Kings Way Centre
Rocmaura Nursing Home
Manoir Edith B. Pinet
Résidences Inkerman
Résidences Lucien Saindon
Résidences Monsignor Chiasson
Villa des Jardins
Foyer Notre Dame de St. Leonard
Foyer Ste Elizabeth
Manoir de Grand-Sault
Foyer St.-Joseph de St-Basile
Villa Saint-Joseph

CUPE calls for CPP expansion at NB pension summit

Fredericton (February 14, 2013): The future of pension plans is on the agenda at the National Summit on Pension Reform on February 19-20 in Fredericton. Paul Moist, the National President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, is one of the speakers, and has a clear message for Premier David Alward and the other attendees: It is time to expand the Canada Pension Plan(CPP).

“Retirement insecurity is a growing national crisis.  More than six in 10 Canadian workers are without a workplace pension plan,” said Moist. A gradual and modest expansion of the CPP is the best way to ensure that happens.”

Many workplace pension plans are experiencing funding challenges, suffering from recession losses and historically low interest rates.

“I commend the province of New Brunswick for hosting this needed discussion on the future of workplace pension plans,” added Moist.  “CUPE is committed to working with employers and governments to meet challenges facing workplace pensions in a fair and reasonable way.”

Moist will also speak about the challenges of using the reforms implemented by New Brunswick as a template for the rest of Canada. “The New Brunswick solution, while arguably appropriate for New Brunswick, is not and will not be “trend-setters” for the rest of Canada.”

Moist will participate in a panel on February 20 at 10:45 a.m. on National Pension issues along with Leo De Bever, CEO of AIMCo, Tom Smee the Senior Vice-President at RBC and Tom Reid from Sun Life Financial.

 

 

CUPE promises real fight against anti-worker legislation

144x352Bargeng-0-0[1]Ottawa (February 6, 2013): At its first national bargaining conference the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) promised to fight against attacks on workers from any level of government, including any attempts to bring in legislation attacking the collective political power of workers.

“Collective bargaining is the most critical function we perform for our membership. We stand ready to fight to defend our right to engage in collective bargaining, and will not back down from any government that seeks to remove our free collective bargaining rights,” said CUPE National President Paul Moist. “We cannot and will not let Stephen Harper silence our voice and we will not accept any form of right to work legislation.”

The timing of this conference comes with mounting attacks on workers’ rights, including Bill 115 in Ontario. Harper government’s first two years of majority government saw the removal of free collective bargaining rights for Canada Post, Air Canada, and CP Rail workers. This was followed by Bill C-377 which placed onerous financial reporting standards on trade unions. Next up will be some form of legislation aimed at silencing workers’ dissent which will severely limit collective action and skew the balance of labour relations in favour of management.

“You do not make gains only at the bargaining table. Labour also needs to get involved in the political arena to change anti-union governments and that is exactly what CUPE members will continue to do at the municipal, provincial and federal levels,” said CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer, Charles Fleury.

“We have the financial resources necessary to continue the fight to protect our collective agreements and public services. We also have the means to participate in electoral battles and we will use them whenever necessary to help elect governments that share our values,” added Fleury.

CUPE’s National Bargaining Conference brought together over 1,000 CUPE members to stand together against attacks on workers. Conference highlights included speakers from the U.S. and Europe presenting on the assault on both basic trade union rights and public services in the aftermath of the global recession.

“Austerity agendas make bargaining tough. But we will continue the fight not just for bargaining rights for ourselves, but for all workers, along with our goal for social justice for all citizens,” concluded Moist

New Brunswick MPs must take their responsibilities

FREDERICTON (February 1, 2013):A Coalition of regional community-base committees is challenging New Brunswick conservative MPs to organize public meetings to explain the EI reform to the thousands of New Brunswickers affected by the latest cuts.

“Federal Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, Diane Finley and the New Brunswick conservative MPs are pretending that “these changes are in the best interest of workers, employers and our communities”. Today, we are asking them to explain to New Brunswickers how they will benefit from those changes,” said Patrick Colford from the Miramichi regional Committee.

“New Brunswick MPs have been in the media accusing the regional committees fighting against these EI cuts of giving false information and fear mongering. Today, we are asking them to take their responsibilities and to organize their own public meetings throughout the province.  We are also asking the federal government to publish a public document which would explain, in clear language, what will be the impacts of these changes on workers and their communities,” said Colford.

The Coalition of regional committees is asking the Federal Government to sit down with labour and employers, those who are funding the EI Program, to discuss changes that will really benefit workers, businesses and our communities.

“It is astounding that such sweeping changes were made, through an Omnibus Budget Bill (C-38) without any consultations,” added Pauline Richard from the Kent North regional Committee.

“It is obvious that the Federal Government and our federal MPs are out of touch with our reality. The reality of New Brunswick job market is that the province lost 7,600 full-time and part-time jobs since 2008. The reality of the job market is that between January 2012 and October 2012, there was a monthly average of 35,720 unemployed workers in the province. In the same period, there was a monthly average of 3,830 job vacancies. In order words, for each 1,000 unemployed worker, there were around 10 jobs available. The situation is worse in the winter months. The reality of the job market is that part of our economy is rural and work is seasonal. The real problem is the lack of available jobs and not workers,” added Richard.

“This EI Reform will not only hurt New Brunswick workers and their families but will also have a negative impact on the province’s finances.  According to the Department of Finance, a 10% reduction in EI beneficiaries would result in a loss of 800 jobs by 2016 and a $100 million to the province.”

“These cuts will have a profound and lasting negative impact on workers, their communities and the province,” concluded Pauline Richard.

There are active committees in the following regions:

  • Acadian Peninsula
  • Kent South
  • Kent North
  • Fredericton
  • Miramichi
  • Edmundston
  • St. Stephen
  • Sussex
  • Campbellton
  • Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe
  • Bathurst
  • Saint John

Here are some of the major cuts that have been implemented:

  • Reducing salary by up to 30% of former salary which will result in lower wage and lower future EI revenue.
  • Cutting the Five Weeks Extension Benefits Pilot Project which will result in workers receiving no income for a period of time in Spring commonly referred to as the Black Hole.
  • Modifying the Best 14 Weeks Pilot Project which will reduce EI revenue, especially in the Edmundston-Charlotte area.
  • Implementing a new Working while on Claim Pilot Project (ends August 1, 2015) that will penalize workers who can only get one or two days of work when on EI.
  • Eliminating completely the EI Appeal Board of Referee.

 

CUPE launches new Disability Rights Awarness Campaign

poster-500-en[1]FREDERICTON ( November 29, 2012):Canada’s largest union is launching their new disability rights awareness campaign on December 3. The Canadian Union of Public Employees’ national campaign is “A Solidarity of Abilities”, championed by the union’s Persons with Disabilities National Working Group. December 3rd is the International Day for Persons with Disabilities, established by the United Nations to create awareness, understanding and action for the legal and social rights of persons with disabilities.

“What is the one equality-seeking group anyone could be a member of tomorrow?  Persons with disabilities”, says Stephen Drost, the New Brunswick representative on the National Working Group. “I am very pleased to be the New Brunswick spokesperson for this new campaign. “A Solidarity of Abilities” showcases our members with disabilities who are vital in our workplaces and in our communities. We also want to develop partnerships with community groups that advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities. Stay tuned for exciting initiatives in New Brunswick ! ”

“Workers need to know that they have the legal right to have their disability accommodated in the workplace.  It’s a matter of human rights and social justice”, affirms CUPE NB president Daniel Légère.  “Persons with disabilities make great contributions in the workplace. We must do all we can to ensure they can access employment. Our Division executive and the rank and file members on our Equality Committee are pleased to support this important campaign.”

The six-month campaign will raise awareness of disability issues and provide tools to help ensure the rights of workers with disabilities are understood and upheld.

Union asking NB Liquor to reconsider stores closure

FREDERICTON( Septeber 26, 2012 ) :The Union representing NB Liquor employees, CUPE Local 963, is asking the New Brunswick Liquor Corporation to reconsider the closure of two corporate liquor stores scheduled for the New Year.

“We have been informed yesterday that the Corporation will be closing the stores in St. George and Bristol because the repairs on the buildings would be too costly and the rent space would not be a viable option because of the asking price,” said Martha Thompson, President of CUPE Local 963.

“This decision is another blow to the economy of these communities. In total, six full-time and permanent part-time jobs will be lost in the communities. Those employees will be offered the opportunity to transfer to another corporate store. That option will also be available for the casual employees but their working hours will be affected,” explained Thompson.

“These communities are not only losing good paying jobs, they are losing tax revenues as well. We believe this decision is part of the government scheme to privatize NB Liquor. Instead of facing the public backlash, the government is privatizing the Crown Corporation piece by piece.”

“Expanding the number of privately owned and operated agency stores isn’t the best option for New Brunswickers. The agency stores that will replace those two corporate stores will have a limited selection of product and the customer service will be practically non-existent. It seems that rural New Brunswickers don’t deserve the same level of services and selection from NB Liquor than the ones living in larger centres,” concluded Thompson.

CUPE represents over 500 liquor store and warehouse employees across New Brunswick.

 

Correctional officers concerned about the new Southeast Regional Centre in Shediac

Moncton: The Union representing the correctional officers in New Brunswick, CUPE Local 1251 feels it has been kept out of the loop concerning the Southeast Regional Centre in Shediac which will open soon.

“Because this new jail is an open concept, we are concerned about how the inmates are going to be assessed when they first arrive at the facility.  We still don’t know what process will be followed by the administration but we believe that every inmate should be held in admission until his case go through a classification meeting”, said Everett Godfrey, President of CUPE 1251, the provincial institutional unions.

“This procedure could avoid problems on the units.  A classification meeting is where a multi-disciplinary team assesses the inmate and decides in which unit he should be sent”, explained Godfrey.

“Another concern of the correction officers is the ratio of officers/offenders. We believe that the ratio officer/inmates is too low. In the new jail, the ratio is one officer for 30 inmates and in some other correctional facilities in the province, the ratio is one officer for 20 inmates. For the first few weeks, extra personnel should be allocated on the units to allow everybody to settle in as well as extra floaters in case of an emergency”, added Godfrey.

“This open concept is a new way to interact in a jail setting.  Most correctional officers are used to the old setting where the interaction with inmates is done in a controlled environment.  In this jail, the inmates and the correctional officers will be side-by-side all day long; it’s a direct supervision setting.  Everybody will need time to adjust to this new environment”, concluded Godfrey.

CUPE Local 1252 pleased with new pension plan for its members

May 31, 2012:  The New Brunswick Council of Hospital Unions – CUPE Local 1252- sees the new pension plan announced today by the New Brunswick Government as a very positive outcome for its members.

“Our pension plan has been underfunded for a number of years and was in need of more funding or a new structure.  We have been trying for many years to solve our funding issues.  All proposals put forward by the union in the past to solve this issue had not been acted upon by the parties.  Without any changes, our members may have been facing benefit reductions”, explained the President of the New Brunswick Council of Hospital Unions, CUPE Local 1252, Norma Robinson.

“The new pension plan contains many features adopted by the Dutch, who are considered to have one of the strongest pension systems in the world.”

“During our discussions with the Pension Task Force, we put forward the Dutch pension plan as a model that could be adapted to New Brunswick.  The Task Force recognized the value of our suggestion and worked with all unions (public and private sectors) and the government to bring forward a new pension plan model that would be affordable and sustainable in the long term.”

“This is the best solution we could achieve for our members and retirees.  The new plan guarantees the benefits of the retirees and ensures that the money will be there when active members decide to retire.  All changes are on a go-forward basis and will be incremental.”

“The new plan model remains a Defined Benefit Plan but the major difference in the new plan is the shared risk.

The New Brunswick Council of Hospital Unions, CUPE Local 1252, represents more than 11,000 front line workers in the health care sector.

Saint John voters reject corporate control of drinking water

The poll, conducted by Continuum Research for the Canadian Union of Public Employees, found that 62 percent of Saint John voters oppose a private, for-profit corporation delivering the city’s drinking water treatment services. That feeling is held intensely, with 45 percent of voters strongly opposed.

The results come as voters prepare to cast their ballots in the May 14 municipal election. The city is considering entering into a public-private partnership (P3) that would hand unprecedented control of the city’s drinking water services to a private corporation.

Support for the P3 is very weak, with only 23 percent of voters in favour – just nine percent strongly.

“This sends a clear message to all the candidates. Water is essential to life, and is too precious to trust to a corporation motivated by profit,” said CUPE New Brunswick President Daniel Légère. “Saint John’s drinking water system needs to be expanded and upgraded, but voters want this vital service to stay in public hands.”

The poll found 38 percent of voters are less likely to choose candidates who favour the P3. Only 15 percent of respondents are more likely to support a candidate who is in favour of the P3. Residents who are most likely to vote in the upcoming election are also more likely to strongly oppose the P3.

“It’s time to shine a spotlight on this crucial issue. All candidates in the election must tell Saint John voters where they stand. Experience from around the world shows that when corporations deliver water services for profit, citizens pay the price. Costs rise, accountability drops and quality can be threatened,” said Légère.

“The Federal Conservative Government is pushing P3s on municipalities like Saint John, through its agency PPP Canada. Our local representatives should stand up for public water. Together, we can solve Saint John’s drinking water needs without handing away control of our water for decades to come,” concluded Légère.

These findings are based on 1,200 interviews conducted with Saint John votersbetween April 17 and 30, 2012. The results are accurate to within +/-2.8 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. All work undertaken by Continuum Research is conducted in accordance with the standards and guidelines of good practice established by the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association (MRIA), the professional association of the public opinion research community in Canada.

Survey Questions

  1. Among all of the issues facing the City of Saint John, how important is the upgrading of the City’s drinking water treatment and delivery service? Is it…?

 

01 – A critical problem that requires immediate action………………………. 29%

02 – A significant problem that needs to be dealt with soon………………. 37%

03 – Just one of many problems government should address, or……… 26%

04 – Not really a problem………………………………………………………………………. 6%

99 – DK/NA………………………………………………………………………………………….. 2%

 

  1. There has been some discussion about transferring responsibility for city drinking water treatment services to a private, for-profit corporation. Do you support or oppose this initiative? Would that be strongly or somewhat?

 

01 – Strongly support…………………………………………………………………………… 9%

02 – Somewhat support…………………………………………………………………….. 14%

03 – Somewhat oppose……………………………………………………………………… 21%

04 – Strongly oppose…………………………………………………………………………. 45%

99 – DK/NA………………………………………………………………………………………… 15%

 

  1. If a candidate for municipal office were to support the use of a private corporation to provide drinking water treatment and delivery services in Saint John, would you be more likely to vote for this candidate, less likely to vote for this candidate, or does it make no difference how you would vote?

 

01 – More likely to support…………………………………………………………………. 15%

02 – Less likely to support………………………………………………………………….. 38%

03 – Makes no difference…………………………………………………………………… 42%

99 – DK/NA………………………………………………………………………………………….. 5%

Boycott! Fredericton airport directors

he owners of these establishments sit on the Fredericton Airport Board of Directors and need to be sent a clear message to go back to the table and negotiate a fair collective agreement with these workers.

Due to the on-going strike of our PSAC Brothers and Sisters at the Fredericton Airport, we are asking all CUPE members to boycott the businesses noted below.

The owners of these establishments sit on the Fredericton Airport Board of Directors and need to be sent a clear message to go back to the table and negotiate a fair collective agreement with these workers.

The following establishments are being boycotted until a tentative agreement is reached:

Hilltop Restaurant
1043 Prospect Street
Fredericton, NB

Quizno’s
580 King Street
Fredericton, NB

Quizno’s
277 Main Street
Fredericton, NB

Anderson Insurance
255 Restigouche Road
Oromocto, NB

Pawsative Rewards
253 Restigouche Road
Oromocto, NB

Fredericton International Airport Authority
2570 Route 102 Hwy,
Lincoln, NB