Member Update – August 9, 2017

Dear Sisters and Brothers:

As you may have heard, NSGEU met with the province this week in conciliation, in hopes of negotiating their collective agreement. That attempt appears to have failed. NSGEU will now file a request to move negotiations to interest arbitration.

We think this a clear indication that the McNeil Government is not interested in bargaining and will continue to force their agenda on unionized workers in the public sector (Bill 148) –  all of this despite having a projected surplus of $150 million.

We will continue to watch NSGEU’s civil service negotiations and support our locals as they continue to bargain. Your bargaining teams and staff are working hard to achieve agreements through fair collective bargaining.

Please share this update with your members and contact your assigned servicing staff if you have any questions.

In solidarity,

Carl Crouse
Acting Atlantic Regional Director

Early childhood educators say new pre-primary program is unrealistic and unsustainable

CUPE representatives are asking the McNeil Government to hit pause on the pre-primary program announced July 18 by Minister Zach Churchill, and begin consultations with parents and the people who do the work – early childhood educators (ECEs), directors of non-profit centres and other stakeholders.

“We’re asking the Premier and the Minister of Education to prevent another foreseeable failure,” says Margot Nickerson, an early childhood educator and president of CUPE 4745. “Serious mistakes, with serious consequences, are being made.”

“The announcement leaves many more questions than answers,” says CUPE Child Care Coordinator Naomi Stewart. “It’s hard to believe this program will succeed, when the Department cannot offer a basic analysis to show the availability of qualified ECEs in the province needed to fill these new positions.”

In 2016 the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development released a plan Affordable, Quality Child Care: A Great Place to Grow! that included action items and a “wage floor” increase for early childhood educators that rises with the level of training as a way to help with the recruitment and retention of ECE’s in the Child Care Centres within the province.

This sector has been plagued by high staff turnover and low staffing levels due to inferior wages and working conditions,” says CUPE Nova Scotia President Nan McFadgen. “The situation will only become worse, as ECEs with a degree leave child care centres to work in the new school board provided classrooms where, presumably, they’ll receive better wages, benefits and a pension – something many early childhood educators in the province don’t currently have.”

“The Minister is rushing this program through, without adequate planning. Solving one problem, in this way, will only create more problems,” says Nickerson.

CUPE represents early childhood educators in six centres in Halifax and in Bridgewater.

CUPE welcomes new members at Grand View Manor, Berwick

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) is pleased to welcome our newest members, the employees of Grand View Manor in Berwick, Nova Scotia. Votes were counted by the Nova Scotia Labour Board today and CUPE is happy to welcome this newly certified local.

“We are pleased to welcome the new members of CUPE Local 5183, Grand View Manor, and we will work hard to represent them,” says CUPE National Representative Grant Dart.

CUPE now represents just over 200 members at Grand View Manor, a long term care and community services facility. The new local at Grand View Manor represents members who work as licensed practical nurses, continuing care assistants and health care aides, as well as staff in dietary, payroll, scheduling, environmental services, laundry, housekeeping and maintenance. In addition to the new members at Grandview Manor, CUPE represents more than 3,200 long term care workers in communities across Nova Scotia.

“Thank you to all employees of Grand View Manor for their patience and dedication through this long process,” says Dart. “We look forward to working with this dedicated group of new CUPE members, as well as the employer, to reach a first collective agreement,” adds Dart.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is Canada’s largest union representing more than 640,000 members across Canada. In Nova Scotia, CUPE represents approximately 19,000 members working in the public sector, including health care facilities, personal care homes, school boards, municipal services, social services, child care centres, public utilities, libraries and family emergency services.

Newsletter – June 2017

Read CUPE Nova Scotia’s Quarterly Newsletter online or download and print copies for your local.

In this issue:

  • CUPE Solidarity with Striking HTU Members
  • Borrow the CUPE NS Van
  • Committee Election Results
  • Members raise funds for the CUPE Solidarity Fund and the Mi’kmaq Legal Support Network
  • Members Elected to NS Legislature
  • Delegates Vote on Resolutions
  • Election Results – CUPE NS Division Executive
  • Preventing Heat Stress
  • Health & Safety Award

Download the June 2017 newsletter

CUPE Nova Scotia Van Policy

Purpose:

  1. To fight back against anti-labour governments by having a stronger visible presence at community and political events such as Pride parades, festivals and Labour Day events.
  2. To raise the awareness of CUPE NS and promote and educate the public on the value of unions and labour within the province.

Considerations:

  1. CUPE NS is invested in raising the profile of the Division and unions in general.
  2. Access to a van branded with our union message will help the Division and our locals promote the value of unions and labour.
  3. CUPE NS and its locals will have a greater profile at rallies and protests.

Procedures:

  1. A copy of a valid drivers’ license for the assigned driver must be present each time the van is signed out and only the assigned driver will be permitted to drive the van.
  2. If the van is being used to transport 8 or more passengers, the driver must have a Class 4 license.
  3. The gas tank will be filled when picked up and must be filled upon return of the van.
  4. Any affiliated local is encouraged to use the van in their community for outreach e.g. participation in a parade etc.
  5. The van will be booked on a first come first served bases by completing the booking form and sending it to the designated executive member.
  6. The van will be in a clean condition upon picked up and must be returned in a clean condition.
  7. The local/person using the van will be responsible for pick up and returning the van to the location it was picked up from.
  8. All decorations applied to the van for the event must be removed before returning the van. No writing on the van is permitted even with washable markers as they will leave marks that cannot be removed.
  9. The van shall not be used for any personal use e.g. moving a child to university.

Accountability:

  1. CUPE NS will ensure that the van is appropriately insured and maintained.
  2. CUPE NS and its affiliated locals will provide pictures and information supporting their outreach activity when requested.

Approved by CUPE NS Executive
January 19, 2017

Download a copy of the Form to Request the CUPE NS Van.

Please complete this form and email it with a copy of the person driving the van driver’s license to:
Dianne Frittenburg
CUPE NS Vice-president
Email: dfritt@icloud.com

Nan McFadgen re-elected president of CUPE Nova Scotia

Nan McFadgen, president of CUPE Nova Scotia, was re-elected at the union’s 54th annual convention on May 31, 2017. More than 200 voting delegates from locals across the province attended the convention held May 28 to 31, at the Best Western Glengarry Hotel in Truro.

Other election results are as follows:

  • Dave Dort, recording secretary
  • Donna Vankroonenburg, three-year trustee
  • Chris Melanson, vice-president, Halifax
  • Marcy Vacon, vice-president, Yarmouth
  • Liz Paris, equity vice-president

The convention addressed several issues of concern to CUPE members, their families and communities in the province, including the provincial election, privatization threats, Bill 148 and other regressive pieces of legislation from the McNeil government.

CUPE Nova Scotia represents more than 19,000 working women and men employed throughout the public sector. We are proud to be part of Canada’s largest and fastest- growing union. CUPE represents workers in health care, education, municipalities, libraries, child care, universities, social services, public utilities, transportation, emergency services, and airlines.

CUPE members are service-providers, white-collar workers, technicians, labourers, skilled tradespeople, and professionals. More than two-thirds of CUPE members are women. About one-third of our members work part-time.

CUPE members elected to Nova Scotia Legislature

CUPE Nova Scotia congratulates former CUPE members Sue LeBlanc, MLA for Dartmouth North, and Tammy Martin, MLA for Cape Breton Centre, on their election to the Nova Scotia Legislature in the provincial election held May 30, 2017.

“It is thrilling to see two incredible women elected to represent Nova Scotians,” says Nan McFadgen, CUPE Nova Scotia president. “Having new progressive voices in the legislature is important for the future of the labour movement in the province. We know they’ll do a wonderful job.”

“We are also thrilled to have NDP leader Gary Burrill elected in Halifax Chebucto. He will fight to protect the things that matter most to workers and their families, like hospitals, schools, and publicly-delivered services,” says McFadgen.

Four other union members ran in the elections. Cheryl Burbidge, Ronald Crowther, Glenn Walton and Jim Laverie had excellent showings in the respective districts of Kings West, Northside Westmount, Halifax Citadel-Sable Island, and Yarmouth.

“We are concerned and disappointed by the outcome [Liberal majority] of the election. However, we are grateful for those who came out to vote and recognize there is much work to be done engaging Nova Scotians in our democracy,” says McFadgen. “Forty- three per cent is not representative of Nova Scotia.”

“We hope that newly elected MLAs will show greater respect for the collective bargaining process and the rights of workers to organize and belong to unions,” adds McFadgen. “There is much work to be done by the Liberal government to repair relations with public service workers and to settle collective agreements with all public sector unions.”

Convention Bulletin – Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Breakfast with the national officers

CUPE’s national leaders treated delegates to a hot buffet breakfast on Tuesday morning and provided some good speeches for dessert.

While delegates tucked into their eggs and such, National President Mark Hancock and National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury spoke about crucial issues facing workers – and the support that CUPE offers to help them rise to the challenge.

Hancock encouraged them to resist the pernicious trend of two-tier contracts. To fight this false division of contracts, Hancock said that member engagement was key.

“We don’t want our members getting information from the bosses – it’s way better if they hear it from us,” Hancock said.

Hancock underlined the importance of two key issues for CUPE – stopping precarious work and stopping violence in the workplace. Bargaining improvements – around working conditions, scheduling, wages, benefits and pensions – don’t have to be huge to make a real difference in peoples’ lives, Hancock said.

Hancock describe a recent Ontario conference he had attended where member after member described the kind of injuries they had suffered during their work as health care workers.

“Let’s get one thing clear: violence is not part of the job – any job,” Hancock said. He described the efforts also of education sector workers, who had document their own injuries they had suffered on the job. Employers continue to expect workers to just accept it, but they won’t.

“It’s time to turn the tide,” Hancock said. “If not CUPE then who will? I say we can take it on and improve the lives of our members.”

“Under the National Defence Fund, every local can apply for ‘cost shared’ campaigns that are split 50-50 with the national office,” Fleury explained.

“Locals running these kinds of campaigns must mobilize their members and work closely with their staff and communications representatives.”

If a strike is on the horizon, the national office will cover 100 percent of expenses to help prevent a work stoppage under the National Strike Fund,” Fleury said.

“If bargaining breaks down, or a strike or lock-out happens, the National Strike Fund is there to help you,” Fleury said.

Support includes strike pay, benefit contributions if the employer stops paying them, legal costs and more.

Fleury described recent changes to the National Strike Fund including shorter waiting periods for members to receive strike pay, better coverage for illness and improved accommodations for picket duty or other strike related activities.

Performance for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

In October 2016, Canada’s unions staged a unique and powerful performance with music by A Tribe Called Red, video, holograms and dance to honour Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women.

CUPE delegates watched the CLC video today, presented by Gloria Lepine, CUPE national diversity vice-president.

“That video really affects me. I have a daughter. It’s time for justice. It’s time for justice,” said Nan McFadgen, CUPE Nova Scotia president.

Watch the video

Committee election results

Human Rights Committee

Dwayne Tattrie
Donna McCarthy
Anthony Riley
Steve Stewart

Political Action Committee

Russell Ganaway
Mark Cunningham
Jacqui Giffen
Carmie Erickson

Women’s Committee

Michelle Banfield
Kelsie Croft
Nicole Barkhouse
KC MacPherson
Sharon Hubley

Playlist

Power in a Union
Billy Bragg

Union Song
Tom Morello

What’s Up
4 Non Blondes

Stand by Me
PlayingForChange.org

Redemption Song
Bob Marley

Have You Been to Jail for Justice
Anne Feeney

Running
Jully Black

Credentials Report

8 – CUPE NS Executive Board members
2 – CUPE National officers and staff
3 – CUPE National Executive Board members
3 – CUPE National staff
14 – CUPE staff
9 – Guest
0 – Observers
8 -Exhibitors
223 – Voting delegates
3 – Alternate delegates

Convention Bulletin – Monday, May 29, 2017

Fighting back against precarious work

CUPE National President Mark Hancock gave his opening remarks today. He focused on the need to oppose austerity, two-tier contracts and the growing concern of precarious work – work that is temporary, short term, part-time, casual and contract.

“We hear a lot about precarious work these days,” Hancock said. “It’s more than a buzz word. Everywhere I go I hear about the spread of precarious work and its impact on workers. It’s becoming the norm.”

“Across the country, governments have misplaced priorities. At the ground level, you know what that looks like – attacks on wages, benefits, pensions. Making full-time jobs into part time, short term, precarious.”

Hancock warned that the McNeil government’s privatization rampant agenda would only create more precarious work.

“The McNeil government is just not listening anymore,” Hancock said. “They are out of step with the needs of Nova Scotia families. We can do so much better than Stephen McNeil and the Liberals.”

He urged CUPE members to take action – at the bargaining table and at the polls. “Let’s organize better. Let’s get smarter and tougher at the bargaining tables. No matter what happens, it’s up to us to keep working.”

“Will you stand with me to fight against hate, division and austerity? Will you stand with me to build a better future for our members and for all Canadians?” Hancock asked. The 280 people in the room stood and cheered their agreement.

Credentials Report

8 – CUPE NS Executive Board members

2 – CUPE National officers and staff

3 – CUPE National Executive Board members

3 – CUPE National staff

14 – CUPE staff representatives

7 – Guest

0 – Observers

8 – Exhibitors

222 – Voting delegates

3 – Alternate delegates

Delegates debate resolutions

Delegated debated a range of issues and passed many resolutions on Monday, including support for public water, support for a higher provincial minimum wage and increased public awareness against domestic violence and intimate partner abuse, among other issues.

CUPE Nova Scotia’s Women’s Committee submitted the resolution on violence. Delegates told stories that underscored the urgency – and life or death nature – of the issue, and the need for our union to keep working to prevent violence and support its victims.

Delegates engaged in many thorough discussions today, including the need to increase the province’s minimum wage to $15/hour, a resolution submitted by CUPE Local 108. Delegates supported the call for the union to continue to participate in the Nova Scotia Needs a Raise Coalition.

Delegates supported resolutions on the merits of public water and water justice. CUPE Nova Scotia Global Justice Committee sponsored a resolution encouraging locals to organize to declare their municipalities “Blue Communities” and to fight the bottled water industry.

CUPE 227, meanwhile, brought forward the call to continue to campaign for water justice for indigenous communities, noting that 73 percent of Indigenous communities are at high or medium risk of waterborne contamination. Both resolutions passed.

Delegates also passed several constitutional amendments. They included a new requirement that Division budget updates take place at all table officer meetings; an expanded role for the VP Equity to support equity- seeking efforts beyond Anti-Racism; and a commitment to provide communications updates electronically.

Not one step back

Charles Fleury, CUPE National Secretary- Treasurer, encouraged members to fight back against the failed policy of using public-private partnerships (P3s) to build much-needed new infrastructure, schools and hospitals.

“That is not what our members and Nova Scotians deserve. Wherever things like these happen in Canada, we have to fight back,” Fleury said.

Fleury thanked the convention delegates for standing up for each other, for public services and for our communities. “When our members stand up in their workplaces and in their communities, nothing can stop them,” Fleury said.

“When CUPE members are fully engaged, when locals are fully prepared, we can fight back at the bargaining table. Because in CUPE, we bargain forward, not backward.”

“Our National Strike Fund is very healthy, with over ninety-five million dollars in the bank,” Fleury said. “This is dedicated money that can only be used for strike- related issues. We also made improvements to our Strike Fund regulations to help our members when they need us.”

In closing, Fleury encouraged locals to submit their Trustees’ Reports and he reminded delegates of the educational and training opportunities available to help union financial officers grow in their roles.

Health and Safety Award

Congratulations to Tracey Sullivan, member of CUPE Local 5047 – this year’s recipient of the CUPE Nova Scotia Occupational Health and Safety Award!

Check out all of the photos on Flickr.

Download a printable copy of the Monday bulletin.

Convention Bulletin – Sunday, May 28, 2017

Opening of the 54th Division Convention

The 54th annual convention of the Nova Scotia Division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees opened tonight, Sunday, May 28, 2017.

There were 205 people attending, including 174 voting delegates and three alternates, according to the Credentials Committee.

Mi’kmaq singer and drummer Jared Gloade opened the evening with the Mi’kmaq Honour Song (see call-out below for the translated words) and welcomed CUPE members to unceded Mi’kmaq territory.

No matter who we are, we are always respect each other as human beings. Always respect Mother Earth for what she provides. Always respect why Creator has put us here on earth.––Mi'kmaq honour song

Technical difficulties with the sound system gave delegates the opportunity to sing the national anthem in an impromptu choir; delegates sang it loud and proud.

Once seated, members shared the Equality Statement, Code of Conduct and were introduced to the CUPE Nova Scotia Executive Board, National Officers and members of CUPE’s National Executive Board. The Convention was officially called to order and members of committees gave their reports; all were adopted and official business ended. Members of equity-seeking groups held a caucus upon adjournment.

Credentials Report

8 – CUPE NS Executive Board members

3 – CUPE National officers and staff

3 – CUPE National Executive Board members

10 – CUPE staff

1 – Guest

0 – Observers

3 – Exhibitors

174 – Voting delegates

3 – Alternate delegates

New Delegates Orientation

A lively introduction to the purpose of convention, its procedures, traditions and possibilities.

Specific aspects of parliamentary procedure were explained, including the voting process, tiling the doors, pro and con mics and the act of “calling the question.”

Points of privilege, points of order and other ways to manage the conversation in the room were also discussed. Interpretive dances were mentioned frequently.

Don’t be frightened of the procedure – it’s to keep the conversation moving efficiently and respectfully. Get up and say your piece at the mic. First timers’ mic get a prize – and a round of applause. Be brave – this is all about solidarity and having a voice.

Ombudspersons are on hand to hear from you in case you experience any incident or behaviour that runs contrary to CUPE’s Equality Statement and Code of Conduct. The phone number is on the back of your badges.

Check out the tables set up in the hallway – you’ll find information about health and safety, education, as well as various committees including pensions, women’s and social justice. Find out what else CUPE is about!

Quote of the night

“We still have to keep the torch burning folks, so we can light the way for the youth of today. So, within CUPE I say, united we stand, divided we fall. So, let’s unite!” Liz Paris, VP Equity

Check out all of the photos on Flickr.

Download a printable copy of the Sunday bulletin.