CUPE Nova Scotia to join Women’s March on Jan. 21

Women’s March on Washington-Halifax

Dear Sisters and Brothers:

CUPE Nova Scotia has advocated for women’s rights in all areas of society. We believe women should receive the same compensation as men, with full opportunity to advance in discrimination-free workplaces and communities. Women’s equality is at the heart of what we do.

CUPE Nova Scotia is pleased to support the Women’s March on Washington-Halifax on January 21, 2017, a non-violent, inclusive and intersectional protest to support the rights of all women from all races, religions, political affiliations, cis or transgender and all sexual orientations.

This event was sparked by Trump’s election in the United States. If it can happen there, it can happen here. We must be vigilant.

For more information, visit the event page on Facebook.

In Solidarity,

Nan McFadgen
President, CUPE Nova Scotia

About the March
The purpose of this *non-violent*, *inclusive* and *intersectional* protest is to take a stand for and support women’s rights — the rights of ALL women — with women from all races, all religious communities, all political affiliations, cis or transgender and all sexual orientations. Violence, whether from or against the right-wing, left-wing, centre or independents, is not welcome and will not be condoned or tolerated.

This event was sparked by Trump’s election to the White House and is a response to the hate-inciting, divisive, discriminatory attitudes, messages and actions that have emerged from the Trump campaign and have continued to be perpetuated by his supporters post-election, in his name. We will not allow our hard-won rights to be trampled on and we will not be stopped in our pursuit of intersectional, substantive equality!

What can you do to help the Halifax Typographical Union on January 23?

HTU Day of Protest January 23, 2017

Join the Day of Protest!

CUPE Nova Scotia is encouraging members to support the Halifax Typographical Union on Monday, January 23.

      • Join in an information picket
      • Wear black
      • Cancel your subscription
      • Cancel free weekly flyer delivery
      • Boycott Herald advertisers
      • Read Local Xpress

Local Xpress was started by the newsroom and news bureau staff. The news site lets HTU members keep doing journalism and provides readers with a high-quality alternate news source to the Herald, which is now written entirely by scab replacement workers.

The Chronicle Herald has kept its newsroom on strike for an entire year! Would you accept an hourly wage decrease of more than 10%, a drastic reduction in your pension benefit, or an increased work week?  If one employer gets away with busting a union others will follow.

For more information:

Facebook: Halifax Typographical Union
Twitter @HTU_Official and hashtag #endCHstrike
Website: htu-cwa.ca

Download a copy of the HTU Day of Protest poster for your local union or workplace

True story about the Chronicle Herald strike

NOT ABOUT MONEY: The Halifax Typographical Union offered the Chronicle Herald an across-the-board five per cent pay cut and an increased work week that would amount to more than a 10 per cent hourly wage cut. That was not good enough to satisfy the Herald’s demands for countless concessions.

ALL’S NOT FAIR: The union launched an unfair labour practice complaint against the Herald in mid-November. The Herald is accused of insisting that anyone can do work normally assigned only to union members and of constantly pitching proposals that are intended to be rejected. The complaint goes to a labour board hearing on Jan. 23.

NO NEWS IS BAD NEWS: Union members have pooled their experience and journalistic talents to create the Local Xpress, a full-service online news site. The Herald, despite boasts of producing a quality newspaper with replacement workers, provides significantly less provincial coverage while publishing stories that lack depth and are fraught with grammatical and factual errors. All aboard the Local Xpress.

BY THE NUMBERS: The company boasts that it directly employs 500 people and 1,000 additional contractors at the newspaper, the primary function of which is to gather and present news. Still, the company contends that it must divest itself of 29 of its 55 unionized reporters, photographers, editors and newsroom support staff to remain sustainable. The remaining 450 or so managers and non-union staff seem impervious to layoff.

PENSION ATTENTION: Before negotiations began, the company identified pension relief as its major demand. The union has complied, offering a move from the existing defined benefit plan to a targeted plan.

ONE FOR THE AGES: The Chronicle Herald intends to lay off or get rid of more than half (29 of 55) of its unionized newsroom employees. The majority of those targeted are over 50 and have worked for the company for over 15 years.

SIZE DOES MATTER: The company claims that advertising and subscription numbers have not suffered during the strike. However, the number of papers printed, the size of the daily paper and the number of ads have all fallen off significantly. Advertisers and readers are not getting what they pay for.

THE REAL DEAL: The company considers its contract offer to be one of the richest in the country. That’s a simple fabrication. Still, producing the largest newspaper in Atlantic Canada in the region’s largest city, the company should expect to compensate its newsroom and production staff accordingly.

JOB INSECURITY: The company says that it requires flexibility to remain sustainable in a rapidly changing industry. The company equates flexibility with the ability to hire, fire and promote with no regard for experience or ability.

MONEY MISMANAGEMENT: The Herald has spent about $1 million on legal fees and beefed-up but unnecessary security during the year-long strike. Yet, it continues to low-ball longtime and dedicated newsroom employees on proposed severance payouts.

News Release: Unions file labour practice complaint against NSHA, IWK

CUPE Atlantic Regional Office sign

The Health Care Bargaining Council today made a formal bargaining complaint with the Labour Board against the Nova Scotia Health Authority and the IWK.

Bargaining between the Nova Scotia Council of Health Care Unions and the NSHA and IWK has stalled because the employers are refusing to table proposals for three crucial benefits in the new collective agreement. The affected benefits are sick leave; health and life benefits plans; and pay plan maintenance (the process that evaluates whether people are properly paid for the work they do).

“The Employers are in breach of their duty under Section 35(1) of the Trade Union Act. By refusing to table their bargaining proposals, they are failing to make every reasonable effort to conclude a collective agreement,” states the complaint.

“This is a unique and challenging round of collective bargaining. The parties are in a new bargaining relationship that was imposed by legislation. They must draft a single collective agreement to replace five agreements containing terms that, in many instances, are distinctly different.”

The Council has informed the employers bargaining could continue once they tabled these proposals. However, the employers have refused since November to table their sick leave proposal or identify the benefits plan they intend to propose. The employers have said they will have a pay plan maintenance proposal soon.

The employers’ refusal to table those proposals has left bargaining at an impasse. In order to end the impasse and resume bargaining on the health care agreement, the Council has filed a complaint with the Labour Board. The complaint asks that the Board order the “Employers to prepare and table forthwith a comprehensive proposal for a collective agreement for the Health Care Bargaining Unit.”

We are awaiting a response to our filing from the employers.

The Health Care Council of Unions bargaining committee is made up of six members from NSGEU, three from CUPE and one from Unifor. The NSNU is also part of the Health Care Council.

CUPE 8920 Health Care Bargaining Update – January 19, 2017

CUPE 8920 logo

Dear Sisters and Brothers:

The Health Care Bargaining Council, which includes members of the CUPE 8920 bargaining committee, has made a formal bargaining complaint on Thursday, January 19, 2017, against your employer with the Labour Board.

Bargaining between the Nova Scotia Council of Health Care Unions and the NSHA and IWK has stalled because the Employers are refusing to tell the Unions what they are proposing for key aspects of the new collective agreements.

The Council of Unions’ bargaining committee is made up of three members, from CUPE, six from NSGEU, and one from Unifor. The Council has repeatedly asked for the NSHA and IWK to table their full proposals. The Employers have refused.

At issue are three key proposals: sick leave; health and life benefits plans; and pay plan maintenance (the process that evaluates whether people are properly paid for the work they do).

The Council has repeatedly informed the Employers that their refusal to table key proposals leaves the Council at an unfair disadvantage where it is being asked to bargain in the dark and leave critical cornerstone elements of our agreement to be negotiated after issues of key importance to the employer are dealt with. The Employers’ refusal to table those proposals has left bargaining at an impasse as the Council will not continue bargaining until the items are tabled.

In order to end the impasse and resume bargaining on the health care agreement, the Council of Unions has filed a complaint with the Labour Board. That complaint asks that the Board order the “Employers to prepare and table forthwith a comprehensive proposal for a collective agreement for the Health Care Bargaining Unit.”

SICK LEAVE

There are two sick leave plans currently in use across the NSHA and IWK.

The Council of Unions has proposed using the Short Term Illness Plan that is currently in place, in what was known as the former Capital District Health Authority, for most NSHA and IWK employees and it has proposed keeping the existing short term illness plan for Public Health Addictions and Continuing Care employees.

If successful, this proposal means CUPE 8920 members would move to the Short Term Illness plan, which would improve sick leave coverage for people who have illness or injury early in their working careers or recurring illnesses or injuries in a short period of time.

Although Short Term Illness pays at 75% or regular pay, depending on sick leave utilization, members can accrue “top up credits” that could provide for 100% paid sick leave in roughly half the time as CUPE members’ current plan.

The Employers are refusing to say what they will propose despite the fact bargaining has started.

GROUP HEALTH & LIFE

There are also three different group health and life plans in operation at the NSHA and IWK. The Council of Unions has proposed keeping the status quo and leaving people in their existing plans. The Employers have said they just want one plan and they want complete control of the plan including the ability to change it at their sole discretion. But the Employers are again refusing to say what that plan would be. These benefits plans cover everything from dental care and drug plans to retiree benefits.

JOINT JOB EVALUATION PROCESS

The Joint Job Evaluation process evaluates whether people are properly paid for the work they do. The Council has proposed the current job evaluation process already in place at the former Capital Health Authority, but with changes that will address delays that have stalled important re-evaluations in the past.

The Employers have not tabled a proposal, however they have recently said they will do so soon. If so, this issue would be resolved.

For further information on the bargaining process to date, as well as background on the formation of the Health Care bargaining council, please visit our website: countmein.cupe.ca.

If you have questions or concerns about the bargaining process, please contact a member of your CUPE 8920 bargaining committee:

• Bev Strachan – bevjmason@hotmail.com
• Cheryl Burbidge – clb@live.ca
• Dianne Frittenburg – fritt@bellaliant.net

CUPE Nova Scotia’s pre-budget submission

Nova Scotia Legislature Province House

CUPE recommends that it is time for government to turn its attention away from budget bottom lines and focus on growing the economy and generating good jobs that sustain families and communities.

Halifax, January 18, 2017 — Since its election in 2013, the government of Nova Scotia has made balancing the budget its top priority. Programs, services and public sector jobs have all been put on the chopping block in pursuit of this goal.

Is Nova Scotia in a fiscal crisis? The Finance Minister’s figures tell us it is not.

The fiscal update tabled in December 2016 by the Minister of Finance forecasts a surplus of $12.1 million for 2016-17. Government estimates that surpluses will continue to grow over the next four years, rising to $132.5 million by 2019.

What about Nova Scotia’s debt? As a percentage of overall economic activity, Nova Scotia’s debt load is slightly lower today than it was a decade ago. In fact, the proportion of Nova Scotia’s total spending on debt charges is dramatically less today than it was 15 years ago.

In short, Nova Scotia’s fiscal house is in order.

CUPE’s budget recommendations include:

• Investing in the caring economy: CUPE recommends that government should continue to invest in public long-term care facilities. Funding should be going to public, non-profit care that gets the best value for dollar and puts the patient at the centre of funding decisions, not profit. In addition, more financial resources should be invested to improve standards for staff to patient ratio and hours of care.

• Public early childhood education: Spending on early childhood education has a huge economic impact: for every $1 million that the Province spends on childcare, estimates are that we will see $2 million in GDP growth. CUPE recommends the government drive growth, not just by adding to the number of Early Childhood Educators who are employed, but by freeing up what is often a sizeable chunk of families’ disposable income.

• Public sector jobs support equality, especially for women: CUPE recommends that the more equitable public sector pay framework should be a model for the private sector and not the other way around. We urge Nova Scotia’s government to work towards that.

• Invest in schools in rural communities: CUPE recommends the Government of Nova Scotia address funding issues to protect local schools and good jobs in rural communities. The current model of funding to school boards by enrolment and by square footage needed for that enrolment is not serving student or community needs well. CUPE supports using school buildings in non-traditional ways as an alternative to school closure.

• Support a living wage: Recent calculations show that the living wage in Halifax is $19.17 an hour and, $17.30 an hour in Antigonish. CUPE recommends that the provincial government adopt a plan to increase the Nova Scotia minimum wage to a living wage over time with a medium-term target of achieving the $15.00 an hour by 2021. A higher minimum wage is good for Nova Scotian workers and will help generate economic growth.

Download a copy of our full submission and recommendations

 

CUPE NS Member Update – December 2016

Nan McFadgen, CUPE NS president

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

I will begin by thanking the Locals of CUPE NS for the opportunity to serve as your President. It’s been great getting out to meet our membership. Since convention we have welcomed two new Locals to CUPE NS, CUPE Local 4354 a home support local from Victoria County Cape Breton and CUPE Local 108 the Halifax Regional Municipal Outside workers. Together we are stronger.

CUPE NS in partnership with CUPE National has purchased a van to be used for political action and community outreach. It is our hope that Locals will use the van for community events and political action to raise the profile of CUPE and our public service in Nova Scotia. We were excited to enter the van into the Cape Breton, Truro pride parades, decorated in style and representing CUPE NS members! CUPE Local 5050 has had a “fill the van” food bank drive for the Men’s Shelter in Cape Breton. You will find on our website the information on how to book the van and the guidelines on it’s use.

CUPE NS has represented our membership at the EI Round table as well as the Electoral Reform Committee meetings recently held in Nova Scotia and hosted the federal government. We are also participating in the NS Workplace Safety Committee struck by government to address safety in our community emergency rooms, making your voice heard at every opportunity.

Advocating for public services, supports our members and our communities. CUPE NS has funded a campaign that has focused on our member activists training them to meet with municipal and provincial governments. Sharing with them how public services benefit society by providing a superior service in a cost effective way. We will provide a detailed update on this campaign at convention.

CUPE NS for the first time was the major sponsor of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities (UNSM), providing an opportunity to have our message about public service be heard by the three hundred and fifty members of municipal governments across the country.

As I am sure you are aware our seniors and those who care for them have been impacted by cuts to Nursing Home budgets. CUPE NS is actively participating with the Long Term Care Coordinating Committee in lobbying this government to roll back the cuts.

I am happy to report that the Home Support Sector has met and began the process to have a formal Sector structure, exciting times ahead for this group of activists.

This fall the Atlantic Region (Que, NB, NL, PEI & NS) held a Women Against Austerity Conference, hosted by CUPE NB, a wonderful turnout by CUPE NS Locals and an opportunity to learn through a gendered lens, issues around budgets and government decision making processes and the impact they have on women in particular.

In this role as CUPE NS President I represent this region on the National Executive Board and in that capacity I have attended the National Executive Board meetings as well as the Sector Council Conference and the Hospital Employees Union Conference.

As you are aware, this government has ramped up its fight against union members. CUPE Nova Scotia was present at the legislature when they called the house back to impose a collective agreement on the NS Teachers Union. We are committed to standing up against this government any time they attack the rights of any union member.

I want to extend to you an invitation to reach out to me should you want CUPE NS to attend your Local meeting or if you just want to talk about your vision for CUPE NS.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for your support and wish you safe and happy of holidays with those you love.

In solidarity,

Nan McFadgen
CUPE NS President
Twitter: @NanMcFadgen

CUPE NS launches radio ads defending public services and the workers who provide them

If Stephen McNeil doesn't spruce up his act – we'll all be pining for public services.

CUPE Nova Scotia launched two radio ads today, defending public service workers under attack by the McNeil Government, and the public services that all Nova Scotians depend on.

It’s getting even harder to live and raise a family here in Nova Scotia. With so few decent jobs with living wages, and deteriorating public services, the McNeil Government is making things worse for everyone.

Stephen McNeil is too focused on his own agenda to solve the problems that matter to us. He keeps putting the interests of corporations ahead of families, and cutting and privatizing the services we rely on.

We don’t have to settle.

We can have a government that will face problems head on and fix the things that matter to us and our families. That includes strengthening the public services we count on and respecting the workers who deliver them, instead of picking fights with unions.

We can choose a Nova Scotia where we all have the chance for a better life – and where our kids can build their future here at home.

Listen to the ad “Writing New Year’s resolutions”


Listen to the ad “Santa dictates a reply to Stephen McNeil’s letter to him”.


The ads will run from December 9 to 25, on radio stations across the province.

  Radio Station
Amherst 100.7 FM CKDH
Bridgewater 98.1 FM
  100.7 FM
Halifax 100.1 FM
  101.9 FM
  92.9 JACK FM
  89.9 FM The Wave
  101.3 FM Virgin Radio
  95.7 FM News
Kentville 97.7 FM AVR
  94.9 FM Magic
  89.3 FM K-Rock
New Glasgow 94.1 FM East Coast
Pictou 97.9 FM Classic Rock
Sydney 103.5 FM The Eagle
  101.9 FM The Giant
  94.9 FM Cape
  98.3 FM Max
Truro 99.5 FM Cat Country
Yarmouth 95.5 FM Y95