CUPE reaches deal with Adsum House that gives staff the CCPA ‘living wage’ for Halifax

The union representing employees at Adsum House, a women’s shelter in Halifax, says a new contract reached with the employer provides some immediate improvements for staff.

CUPE National Representative Todd MacPherson says, “A really positive part of this process is that management wanted its workers to have a living wage in Halifax that was actually developed by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA-NS).”

Other highlights of the deal include:

  • Increases in the hourly wage in the first year ranging from 8.9% for most classifications to 18.5% for the classification of Household Co-ordinator
  • A five-year contract with all the other years having a 1% increase in each year
  • Increase in the holiday article with the inclusion of Heritage Day
  • Inclusion of common-law partner and same sex spouse in the bereavement leave
  • Improvements to the job posting language
  • The ability for an employee to leave the workplace because of a traumatic event with no loss of pay

Say “No” to Private Health Care in Nova Scotia!

Premier Stephen McNeil wants to privatize health care in Nova Scotia. This will cost us more and we will get less. We cannot afford this. Add your voice to tell the Nova Scotia Liberals “Public Health, not private wealth!”

We are not pleased with the news that the Nova Scotia Health Care Authority has approached privately-owned Scotia Surgery to see if they can possibly carry our more operations in the coming months during the seven year replacement of aging components at the VG Hospital.

We can’t believe that after the recent million dollar decision of the McNeil Government not to privatize the motor vehicles, land and joint stock registries, that it would even consider allowing the private sector anywhere near our health care system.

There is overwhelming evidence that there is no risk for the private partner who sucks every dollar they can from taxpayers for health care services that operate as public‐private‐partnerships (P3s) which are really private for‐profit “care”. This is, and will be, an erosion of our universal health care system where profit becomes the focus of the service instead of health care.

Follow this link to SIGN THE PETITION

2016 provincial budget raises more questions than answers

The province’s largest child care union says today’s provincial budget raises more questions than answers, especially for the child care sector.

CUPE Nova Scotia President Dianne Frittenburg says, “What we were promised from the premier and the minister of education were real wage increases for Early Childhood Educators (ECE’s).  Instead, we were given no real details in the budget, only that there will be wage grants.

“This is something we already have in the sector. A grant is not a permanent wage increase and these have traditionally been controlled by employers.  We want this new money going directly to ECE’s in Nova Scotia, who are the lowest paid in the country,” says Frittenburg.

Frittenburg says, “The budget allocation of $6.6 million is for subsidies for parents, inclusion programs and wages.  It’s not all going to wages.  While it’s a welcome increase, it is not a lot of money when you compare it to, say, the new Yarmouth ferry which will get over $10 million this year alone.”

Frittenburg says, “This budget also basically confirms what CUPE has been saying for the last two years that there have been no savings realized from the mergers of the health care authorities, or DHA’s.  Instead, we’ve had labour relations turmoil and upheaval from Bill 1 and other government actions.”

Says Frittenburg, “A year ago the finance minister told us all that the sky was supposedly falling. Now the $243M deficit – which we had been saying all along was actually quite a modest deficit – has suddenly disappeared and the government is predicting four years of surplus.

“They could have at least been honest with Nova Scotians and admitted that these savings came off the backs of public sector workers’ wages and a huge, legislated concession on their long service awards,” she says.

School closures in Cape Breton devastating for employees, students and families

The decision by the Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board (CBVRSB) to close 17 schools over the next five years – 10 of them this September – is devastating news for employees, students and families.

CUPE Local 5050 President Glenn MacPhee says, “This represents almost 30% of the total number of schools in the CBVRSB.  To say that this is horrible news for everyone involved, would not be overstating things.

“Some of our members have been working in these schools for their entire working lives. Their futures now look very uncertain.  As school board workers, we know that schools are the heart and soul of a community.  This kind of loss cannot be measured in dollars and cents,” says MacPhee.

CUPE Nova Scotia President Dianne Frittenburg says, “Sadly, it speaks to the state of the economy in rural Nova Scotia and the out-migration of our young people.  Cape Breton deserves to have the same level of services as other parts of the province. These school closures are like the canary in the coal mine.

“Education Minister Karen Casey needs to explain how this kind of disruption in students’ lives, with increased class sizes, much longer bus travel times and more, is going to maintain quality education for children in Cape Breton.

“Funding levels in her department must be re-examined if we truly want equal access to education for children across our province,” says Frittenburg.

Local 5050 dance troupe

The Perils of P3’s

A few months ago (Dec. 2015), CUPE Nova Scotia ran a series of newspaper ads across the province warning Nova Scotians about the perils of P3s (so-called public private partnerships).

The ads alerted people to the fact that Stephen McNeil’s Liberal government is seriously considering several new P3s.

See the ads here:

CUPE-P3_HfxHerald_12-19Dec NoInfoBox

This week we learned that the provincial government is looking at the P3 model to replace the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax.  See that news story here:

No federal money coming for Victoria General Hospital replacement

This despite a report to the premier from one of his own Deputy Ministers (Peter Vaughan) which warned against the dramatically higher costs for taxpayers, created by P3’s.

CUPE NS submission to Review of Regulated Child Care

Here is a copy of CUPE Nova Scotia’s submission to the province’s Review of Regulated Child Care.

CUPE NS Submission – Review of Regulated Child Care May 5, 2015

The review has now been completed and Minister Karen Casey says she is accepting all of its recommendations, including long overdue increases to the wages of Early Childhood Educators (ECE’s).

The review findings and recommendations can be found at novascotia.ca/education.

CUPE NS welcomes findings of child care review

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The union representing most unionized child care workers in Nova Scotia is welcoming the findings of a long-awaited review by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development aimed at improving child care services in the province.

CUPE Nova Scotia President Dianne Frittenburg says, “We are particularly pleased to see Minister Karen Casey committing to improve the wages of early childhood educators (ECE’s), since Nova Scotia’s are among the lowest paid in the country.

“Chronically high staff turnover and low staffing levels in this sector are a direct result of inferior wages and working conditions.  As a province, we have to stop burying our heads in the sand on this problem, and CUPE is encouraged to see this key recommendation in the review,” says Frittenburg.

CUPE Child Care Co-ordinator Naomi Stewart says, “We are very pleased that the concerns of the Nova Scotia Child Care Association (NSCCA) with regard to development of the workforce have had a positive impact on these recommendations.

“CUPE has been a strong supporter of the NSCCA’s ‘Worthy Wage’ campaign and we look forward to hearing from Minister Casey about how these improvements will be implemented,” says Stewart.

Stewart says, “A recommendation to update the subsidy program does not take us in the right direction. Recent experience has shown us that subsidizing private operators isn’t working. Even PEI has left that model behind.

“The review acknowledges that investments in child care both pay for themselves and act as an important stimulus to the economy, which is exactly what a 2011 report commissioned by CUPE from Robert Fairholm explained in detail,” she says.

CUPE represents ECE’s in six centres in Halifax and in Bridgewater.