Thank you to CUPE health care workers from Minister of Health

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CUPE NL President Sherry Hillier received a personal phone call today from the Minister of Health and Community Services, the Honourable John Haggie, asking her to pass along his gratitude to health care workers for their dedication during the state of emergency.

“CUPE health care workers went above and beyond to make sure that people got the care they needed during and after this monster storm,” says President Hillier. “Some of our members worked more than 60 hours straight, and it is wonderful for them to be recognized by the Minister for their commitment to their work.

“I must say, I am very proud of all of our public sector workers who stepped up to make things better for Newfoundlanders under such challenging circumstances.”

CUPE National Officers express their appreciation for the workers of Newfoundland and Labrador

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Mark Hancock and Charles Fleury wish to send their solidarity as well as their immense thanks to all CUPE members and workers who continue to provide important services to their communities as the city of St. John’s enters its fifth day in a state of emergency. A massive winter blizzard dropped close to 80 centimetres of snow on Friday, burying vehicles and leaving thousands without power.

As the clean up from the storm continues, frontline services like snow removal and health care remain essential. On behalf of all of CUPE, thank you to the workers who have battled the adversity of this storm to continue to provide the essential services that keep their communities safe.

Happy Holidays from CUPE NL

Holiday greetings from CUPE Newfoundland Labrador

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On behalf of the members of CUPE Newfoundland Labrador, a Christmas greeting featuring CUPE NL President Sherry Hillier will play on radio stations across the province.

The 30-second spot will run on VOCM and OZFM stations until the end of December 2019. Also, a holiday greeting from CUPE NL can be seen on NTV.

Listen to the radio spot



Happy Holidays December

CUPE NL proud sponsor of the Santa Show on VOCM radio

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Once again, CUPE Newfoundland Labrador is the exclusive sponsor of Santa Call-in Program airing on all VOCM stations province-wide. Children have the opportunity to talk to Santa Claus from December 9 to 20.

The show runs every day after the 5:30 p.m. newscast. Click here to listen to VOCM radio: https://vocm.com.

If you know a child that would like to speak to Santa, please call 709-570-1155.

Children can call the “Santa line” to leave their telephone number and they’ll receive a call back from Santa who will ask them what they want for Christmas. Calls come from all over the province including Labrador, Central Newfoundland, West Coast, South Coast, and the Avalon Peninsula.

 

red flag

Grand Falls-Windsor municipal workers to hold information picket Wednesday, December 11

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Town of Grand Falls-Windsor in violation of contract with municipal workers

The union representing municipal workers employed by the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor says that the employer is acting in violation of their collective agreement and not being upfront with residents about operational changes to be implemented over the next two months. Representatives of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 1349 will hold an information picket on December 11, to voice their concerns and to make the public aware of the cuts to jobs and services.

red flagWHAT: Information picket at town hall

WHEN: Wednesday, December 11 at 12 p.m.

WHERE: 7 High Street, Grand Falls-Windsor

In a letter received from the town on November 29, the union found a number of ‘red flags’ that will affect unionized workers, violate the collective agreement, and impact services to residents.

“We have replied to the town’s CAO, asking for more details about the changes,” says CUPE national representative Ed White. “We also asked that the town reconsider how the changes will be implemented and to respect the contract with our members.”

A municipal enforcement officer is one of the positions that will be lost. However, this job cut is not a recommendation made in KPMG report. “Why is the town cutting a security position when the council has expressed the need for more police presence in the town due to an increase in crime and drugs?” asks White.

“Other red flags the union wants residents to be aware of include misinformation about job losses, wages, and vehicle maintenance costs. Also, the town intends to contract out services despite already having qualified, in-house staff to do the work,” says White.

The KPMG report was given to the town in August and was released to the public at the end of November. Town management presented the union with a letter on November 29, outlining the recommendation’s that will be implemented and informed workers that operational changes are expected to be implemented as early as January 2020.

Fixing conditions of work will improve care for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians living in long-term care facilities

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Fixing long-term care workers’ conditions of work will improve conditions of care for residents, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). “We would welcome the opportunity to
meet with Minister Haggie and to be part of a core staffing review. Hopefully, the review will include front-line workers, health policy and long-term care experts, and other stakeholders,” says CUPE Newfoundland Labrador President Sherry Hillier.

“If the provincial government is looking for ways to provide quality care, while reducing the cost of health care, one thing they must do is increase staffing levels. This will reduce the amount of workplace injuries, as well as the costs associated with time off and the use of
medical benefit plans,” says CUPE National Representative Donna Ryan.

“The current staffing shortage is creating an unsafe work environment. The risk to both staff and residents is unacceptable,” says Ryan.

CUPE is calling on the provincial government to:

  • Increase staffing at all publicly-funded long-term care facilities to reach a minimum staff-to-patient ratio for direct care of 4.1 hours per patient per day, provided for LPNs, PCAs and all members of the care team
  • Introduce financial support for LPN and PCA program students in the form of a bursary to cover the costs of tuition, books and living expenses, to be implemented in the 2020 academic year
  • Increase wages and benefits for long-term care employees in order to attract and retain staff

“Also, if we want to have more workers to care for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians living in long-term care; if we want more beds and shorter wait times – we must stop borrowing money at double or triple interest rates through public-private partnerships,” says Hillier. “We’re trapped in a cycle of paying off the debt created by past P3s and cutting public services, only to enter into even
more P3s. If we don’t end this cycle, we’ll never have all of the public services we need.”

CUPE bargaining team members meeting November 23-24 to strategize for upcoming negotiations with the province

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CUPE’s bargaining team will discuss contract proposals, member mobilization and the union’s “no concession policy” at a strategy session taking place in St. John’s on November 23 and 24, 2019. The union is preparing for bargaining with the province that will begin in the spring. Public sector contracts expire March 31, 2020.

Dozens of bargaining committee members will attend from 23 locals across the province, representing 3,800 members who work in health care, school boards, NL Housing, Government House, NL Public Libraries, and transition/group homes. In addition, union representatives from Memorial University and other sectors will also be present at the meeting this weekend.

CUPE NL President Sherry Hillier, as well as Lead Negotiator Ed White and Regional Director Jacquie Bramwell, toured the province in September, speaking with members from Labrador City to Burgeo, St. Anthony, Grand Falls-Windsor, Marystown and all points in between.

“We travelled 8,000 kilometres to 18 meetings, to hear from our members directly and what we heard from our members is that ‘we’re not taking one step back’,” says Hillier. “They are deeply disappointed with the last round of bargaining and the Ball government’s lack of respect for working class people in our province.”

“Our membership will be ready, with boots on the ground.”

Workers at Bay St. George Long Term Care to protest staffing shortages and extreme mandatory overtime

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Updated October 29, 2019

Stephenville Crossing, NL – Workers at the Bay St. George Long Term Care Centre in Stephenville Crossing will hold a demonstration on Thursday to voice their concerns about extreme mandatory overtime and the provincial government’s failure to address staffing shortages.

Both the union and employer have asked the province to increase training opportunities through the College of North Atlantic. However, the Stephenville facility was not included when the program for licensed practical nurses (LPN) began this fall.

“We have been making our case to representatives of government for more training programs for a long period of time,” says Donna Ryan, CUPE national representative. “The situation has become critical and our members need the government to step up.”

WHEN: Thursday, October 24, 2019, at 12 p.m.

WHERE: Bay St. George Long Term Care Centre, Old Cove Loop, Stephenville Crossing

SPEAKERS: CUPE 4935 President Theresa Gillam and CUPE NL President Sherry Hillier

As a result of staffing shortages, extreme mandatory overtime is being forced on staff. Staff have been unable to get time off and many are suffering stress and exhaustion from this situation that has been going on for almost two years.

“We are experiencing a shortage of LPN and PCA staff and this has seriously impacted both staff and residents,” says CUPE 4935 President Theresa Gillam. “We’re hearing that on every shift, someone is being mandated to work 16 and 20 hour shifts. On several occasions as many as six staff members were mandated to work overtime. Enough is enough.”

“Immediate action is needed by the health authority and provincial government to increase staffing levels to provide the care needed by our residents,” says CUPE NL President Sherry Hillier. “The risk to both staff and residents is unacceptable.”

News Coverage

Western Health says it’s ‘doing what it can’ to help long-term care employees

Western Health working to address LPN shortage in Stephenville Crossing

Caregivers protest mandated overtime at Bay St. George Long Term Care Centre

Long-term care workers protest in Stephenville Crossing

Bay St. George man speaks out against under-staffing at long-term care home

 

Keep laundry services in-house

Keep laundry services in-house: CUPE 879

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We recently learned that Eastern Health plans to move the bulk of laundry services from St. Patrick’s Mercy Home and Glenbrook Lodge. This move will result in a loss of quality control, as well as several good jobs.

This comes as a surprise since Eastern Health has repeatedly said that they have had no problems with the current service and efficiency of the work being done by the in-house staff. They give our members high praise on the work they do.

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Across the country, we have seen employers consolidate and contract-out laundry services from nursing homes and hospitals, where they claim that there will be no negative impact on the services provided. In our experience, as the largest union in Canada, this has not been true. Any loss of laundry services performed by in-house staff always has a negative impact.

Is it worth the human cost?

We have been informed that our nursing homes will lose approximately eight full-time positions. In-house laundry services have been part of these nursing homes for decades and it provides decent jobs to a traditionally female workforce.

Eliminating or reducing the salaries of eight staff from Eastern Health’s budget ledger may look good on paper, but the impact of the job loss will be huge to their families and the communities in which they pay taxes and spending what’s left of their hard-earned pay supporting local businesses.

Is it really worth the health and safety risk?

As far as cleaning services are concerned – it matters who does it.

The work done by our members who perform appropriate cleaning duties and work in infection control is crucial in efforts to control superbugs. These workers can put in extra loads as needed during an outbreak or wash items multiple times. They have also been able to find personal items in the laundry, such as hearing aids or teeth, that accidentally get mixed up with the bedding. All this may be lost with this reduction to our in-house laundry department. These facilities rely on our current laundry workers to deliver this quality service in order to provide top-quality resident care.

Instead, residents at St. Pat’s and Glenbrook will be dependent on laundry being trucked to another site and coming back in the same truck the soiled or infected laundry was delivered. Never mind the possible delays in delivery during winter months.

Localized cleaning performed by trained laundry workers is vital. In-house staff know the residents, when there is an outbreak of an infectious disease, and when a ward is shutdown. These workers know when and how to follow the additional steps required for laundry cleaning when there is an outbreak, making the nursing home healthier and safer for everyone.

Pandemic influenza; superbugs such as staphylococcus aureus), vancomycin-resistant enterococcus and methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus; cytotoxic drugs, needlestick injuries… those are just a few of the issues in-house staff will have knowledge of in real-time.

Workers in another facility will not be able to control or carry out the laundry practices needed as well as in-house staff can, when fighting infectious diseases and preventing further outbreaks.

Does Eastern Health have a new strategy in place to deal with moving and properly cleaning laundry from a nursing home experiencing an outbreak? The potential threat of a pandemic influenza outbreak demands that employers work with unions to ensure a comprehensive prevention strategy is in place, for the protection of residents and staff.

Many questions remain

Eastern Health has not addressed all our questions of transportation costs, pick-up and delivery schedules, impacts on workloads of remaining employees, health and safety impacts on remaining workers. The information they have provided is vague at best.

We are asking Eastern Health to provide us with a full value analysis, including safety assessment, before the make a final decision to remove these services from our nursing homes.

To continue to provide the healthiest and safest services for residents and staff, laundry must remain in-house at St. Patrick’s Mercy Home and Glenbrook Lodge.

A message from the members of CUPE Local 879

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