Wage increases for ECE’s welcome, but most relief will go to for-profit centres – CUPE Nova Scotia


The union representing most unionized child care workers in Nova Scotia is welcoming the province’s new wages for ECE’s, but says most of the wage relief will actually go to the owners of private centres.

CUPE Child Care Co-ordinator Naomi Stewart says, “There is definitely some good news here for ECE’s and the sector, but primarily for the lowest paid employees who tend to be in the for-profit centres.

The union says some of the good news includes:

  • A recognition that the Early Childhood Educators are professionals
  • Increased training requirements, so that by 2021 all ECE’s will have to have much higher levels of training
  • An emphasis on quality education in the early years
  • Ongoing consultation with stakeholders

“What is disappointing,” says Stewart, “is that many of the ECE’s in the unionized centres – all of which are non-profit centres – will not benefit nearly as much from the wage increases. New hires will benefit, but the longest serving, most experienced ECE’s will not.”

CUPE Nova Scotia President Nan McFadgen says, “Any new money going to ECE’s is a good thing and something we’ve been fighting for for decades. But with this new wage model, the McNeil government seems to have let the private operators – who’ve been paying the lowest wages and who put us in this predicament in the first place – off the hook.

“They’ve tied provincial grants to base wage rates, which is good, but they’ve done nothing to move us toward a universal, public child care system which is what needs to happen to fix the ongoing problems with the sector,” says McFadgen.

CUPE says approximately 60% of the child care centres in Nova Scotia are privately-owned and run for profit.  CUPE represents ECE’s in six centres in Halifax and in Bridgewater.

CUPE NS President elected as VP at Large for NSFL

CUPE NS President Nan McFadgen has been elected as Vice President at Large for the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour (NSFL). She is also now the Regional Vice President on CUPE’s National Executive Board (NEB).

At the same NSFL Executive Board meeting in Port Hawkesbury today, Hugh Gillis (NSGEU) was elected the new Fed treasurer and Jason MacLean (NSGEU) the new First VP.



Sharon Hubley wins TIR’s Carrick Award

CUPE Local 1867 Executive member Sharon Hubley has been awarded the 2015 Carrick Award, which is given to a Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (TIR) employee for their diversity work.

In giving Sister Hubley the award, Minister Geoff MacLellan said, “This award is presented to you in recognition of your dedication and hard work in the area of Diversity. Your efforts in this area are a great support to making TIR a workplace of choice for all. Thank you for your commitments and continued efforts.”

Hubley, who is also the Chair of the CUPE NS Women’s Committee, recently took part in a CUPE-sponsored trip to Bangladesh, where she saw firsthand the abysmal working conditions that lead to one of the worst industrial tragedies ever, the 2012 fire in Dahka that killed 117 workers and injured more than 200 others.

She shared her experience with a presentation to delegates of the 2016 convention in Yarmouth.

(Sharon Hubley, pictured in the centre below, with members of NS Women’s Committee)


Important Message for Fort McMurray municipal workers

cupe AB

CUPE Alberta has asked us to post the following message, which is intended for municipal workers from Fort Mac who may currently be home in Nova Scotia:

Following the devastation of the Fort McMurray fires, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo sent out an ‘Intent to Return to Work’ form to be filled out by all employees with a mandatory form return date of May 27.  These workers are represented by CUPE Local 1505.

CUPE Alberta President Marle Roberts has asked that we send you the following link to our website CUPE.ca, with a request that it be re-posted on your own division website.


CUPE successful in organizing early intervention employees across Nova Scotia

childcareCUPE Nova Scotia is welcoming employees who work in early intervention services across the province into the union.

CUPE Early Childhood Education Co-ordinator Naomi Stewart says, “We are very pleased to hear from the Labour Board today that our efforts to organize about 80 employees who work in the new provincial board have been a success.”

These employees will join the existing CUPE Local which had been in place at the Progress Centre in Halifax, Local 5054.

Early intervention programs in Nova Scotia deliver services for young children who are diagnosed with, or are at risk of, developmental delay. As a result of the province’s recent review, a new board was created – Nova Scotia Early Childhood Development Intervention Services.

Says Stewart, “We are very pleased that these employees have chosen to join CUPE and we look forward to working on their behalf to develop a sound working relationship with their employer and their funder, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

CUPE Nova Scotia President Nan McFadgen says, “We are certainly encouraged that Minister Karen Casey provided funding in October, 2015 to help address low wages for early interventionists.

“This is welcome news for these highly-qualified and hard-working employees. Clearly, they felt they needed a union to help them pursue more equitable wages and working conditions,” says McFadgen.

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