Sherry Hillier speaking at an event

Cooperation with unions necessary for government and employers during rollout of vaccine mandate

creynolds COVID-19 Announcements, News Release, Occupational Health & Safety

CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador is calling on the provincial government and employers to consult with unions – ahead of and throughout – the rollout of the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for public sector workers announced today. 

“Cooperation between the province and unions, and cooperation between employers and unions, will be necessary as the vaccine mandate is carried out,” says CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador President Sherry Hillier.

CUPE will be monitoring the situation closely and we’ll be addressing employers’ actions on a case-by-case basis.

“We have an obligation to all our members, including those who are not vaccinated,” says Hillier. “Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for employees who cannot be vaccinated for medical or religious reasons.”

“We’ve asked our locals to contact employers to let them know that the union expects to be consulted ahead rolling out any vaccine related policies.” CUPE NL represents 6,300 members working in schools, hospitals, nursing homes, community services, NL Housing, home support, transition homes, universities and colleges, and other public sector workplaces.

“Since the beginning, we have been encouraging our members to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” says Hillier, “and we have heard from many of our locals that there has been an increase in members getting vaccinated over the past two weeks,” says Hillier.

“CUPE has always placed a priority on our members’ health and safety. Our members have the right to be safe at work, and people have the right to receive public services in a safe environment,” says Hillier.

 

Web banner. Several small photos of CUPE members at work and with their families

On September 28, vote for good jobs, respectful workplaces and public services

creynolds Uncategorized

In the lead up to municipal elections on September 28, a new radio ad from the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) is playing on VOCM and K-ROCK stations in the Grand Falls-Windsor region.

Have a listen!


Unions help ensure safety and equality – and give workers a voice in the workplace.

Municipal employees and unions often work “with” employers to build a better community.

But in some cases, town councillors bring “their own political agenda” to the table, and can divide communities.

We need a council that listens, that’s respectful, and that wants to work “together”.

On September 28, vote for respectful workplaces, defending public services, and keeping good jobs in the community.

A message from the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

Web banner. Collage of 17 small photos of CUPE members at work and with their families.

CUPE 1349 collage of photos of members at work and with families

An open letter to the people of Grand Falls-Windsor

creynolds Collective Bargaining

On September 28th, you will be asked to make a decision that will shape the future of our beloved community and set a foundation for future generations in our home town.

We have been through tough situations before and each time we have come out stronger. We can do that again.

A milestone in the town’s history was reached in 1991, when two communities became one and Grand Falls-Windsor was created. It was a divisive issue at the time, but we were able to overcome it. Trust and respect helped create relationships, where strangers became neighbours, and unity created new friendships.

The pulp and paper industry was the foundation on which our community was built. It was a pillar that created many employment opportunities. When it closed its doors, many were concerned that it would lead to an economic downturn. Despite the uncertainty, our community banded together and helped move the town forward.

More recently, all of us have been dealing with a global pandemic that brought many aspects of our lives to a standstill. Despite the stress and challenges, workers (including our members) remained on the frontlines, serving residents and the community. We had to find new ways to connect and support each other. Thankfully, life is slowly returning to normal.

We have maintained that we will not bargain in public and will not do that now. We have chosen to speak to you, the community, at this time because we cannot remain silent when the labour dispute moves into personal attacks on the integrity of our members – who are your sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, daughters, sons, parents, grandparents, community leaders, coaches, teammates and friends.

We are proud of our town. However, we are not proud of how some members of the town council have chosen to use this very difficult time as an opportunity to promote themselves and diminish others. They have been putting out intentionally deceptive social media posts aimed at turning residents against us, pitting the public against unions, and neighbours against neighbours.

We believe a deal that is fair to both workers and the town can be reached without shredding the collective agreement that those who came before us negotiated in good faith.

Let us not forget that we were locked out by the current mayor and town councillors.

The next town council will be elected in less than three weeks, and they will need to be able to work with us to resolve this labour dispute. They will also need to work hard to repair the damage that has been done to the spirit of our beautiful community.

We need a council that listens, that is respectful, that wants to work together with town employees, and that will unite our community. We believe that there are candidates who can do that.

The advance polls will open on September 18th and Election day is September 28th.

Regardless of your opinion, we need you to vote.

In solidarity,
CUPE Local 1349

CUPE 1349 collage of photos of members at work and with families

 

 

 

 

 

Web banner. Images: CUPE NL logo and 5 photos of workers wearing work clothes, representing emergency services, health care, municipal, and education sectors. Text: Fighting for a province where all workers have a decent wage, a safe workplace and quality public services. nl.cupe.ca

Reject the Premier’s reset now, or lose control of our public services 

creynolds Article

The following sponsored article appeared in Saltwire newspapers across the province on Saturday, September 4, including The Telegram and the West Coast Wire. 


We are essential

Public services in Newfoundland and Labrador, and the workers who provide them, are indispensable. It’s impossible to imagine how we would have survived the last two years without them — and I never want to find out. The work they do is critical to keep our economy going, and to our health and safety.

As Labour Day approaches, we are taking the time to reflect and to say thank you to CUPE members, our union friends, our allies in civil society, and to all frontline workers. We salute you.

Since the pandemic began, we’ve developed an even deeper understanding of the value and importance of the services that CUPE members provide.

This includes our health care workers who keep our hospitals clean and cared for our seniors, as well as the municipal workers who keep our taps running and our water and roads safe. It includes our transition home workers who’ve helped people in their greatest time of need, and the bus drivers, secretaries and custodians who’ve made schools a clean, safe environment. It also includes so many others.

We reject the Premier’s so-called “reset” and will fight proposed cuts to the public sector and vital public services.

We will reject any plan that the provincial government puts forward that does not place quality, accessible health care over profits.

We will continue to push for long term care facilities to be taken out of the hands of private corporations and placed under public control, with secure funding and a minimum 4.1 hours of direct care per resident, per day enshrined in legislation.

We pledge to continue to defend workers’ rights and good jobs with better wages that provide security for workers and their families, now and into retirement.

CUPE NL will continue to fight for safer workplaces, paid sick days, access to personal protective equipment, as well as accessible childcare and senior care. All these things are necessary for a healthy economy.

We will be there to fight for housing, for a stronger social safety net and for income supports available to all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. We want to live in a society where no one is left behind.

On behalf of our 6,300 CUPE members across the province, we wish you a safe and happy Labour Day.

Sherry Hillier
President, CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador


Web banner. Images: CUPE NL logo and 5 photos of workers wearing work clothes, representing emergency services, health care, municipal, and education sectors. Text: Fighting for a province where all workers have a decent wage, a safe workplace and quality public services. nl.cupe.ca

Web banner. Text: Labour Day message. Images: listen icon, CUPE NL logo and 5 photos of workers wearing work clothes, representing emergency services, health care, municipal, and education sectors.

Labour Day radio message

creynolds Article

Listen to our Labour Day radio message! Playing until September 6 on stations across the province.

Web banner. Images: CUPE NL logo and 5 photos of workers wearing work clothes, representing emergency services, health care, municipal, and education sectors. Text: Fighting for a province where all workers have a decent wage, a safe workplace and quality public services. nl.cupe.ca

Labour Day is the time to celebrate the dedicated workforce in our province.

I’m Sherry Hillier, president of CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador.

Protecting jobs, public services, and ensuring workers are a part of the plan for economic recovery is of the utmost importance to CUPE.

Although we face many challenges in these uncertain times, CUPE members have shown commitment to the residents of Newfoundland and Labrador.

On behalf of the 6,300 members in Newfoundland and Labrador, have a happy and safe Labour Day weekend.

Photo: CUPE National President Mark Hancock speaking at a podium to large crowd

CUPE National president to join locked-out municipal workers at events in Grand Falls-Windsor on Thursday, Aug. 19

creynolds News Release

Photo: CUPE National President Mark Hancock speaking at a podium to large crowdCUPE National President Mark Hancock will be in Grand Falls-Windsor on Thursday, August 19, to support locked-out municipal workers who are members of CUPE Local 1349.

Media and the public are invited to attend a lunchtime “Solidarity Rally” hosted by the members of CUPE 1349, as well as a “Family and Friends’ Evening” beginning at 4:30 p.m.

AUGUST 19

12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Solidarity Rally at Town Hall, 7 High Street, Grand Falls-Windsor.
To be followed by community BBQ.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/wEgSLMTnkog1pt936.
4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Family and Friends’ Evening, 8 High Street, with music and entertainment for all ages.

Speakers and special guests:

  • Mark Hancock, CUPE National president
  • Sherry Hillier, CUPE NL president
  • Tammie Greening, CUPE 1349 president
  • Arlene Sedlickas, NL Federation of Labour secretary-treasurer
  • Yvette Coffey, RNUNL president
  • Jerry Earle, NAPE president
  • Trevor King, NAPE secretary-treasurer
  • Alison Coffin, NL NDP leader
  • Scott Simms, member of parliament for Coast of Bays-Central-Notre Dame

Everyone is encouraged to come out and show support for the employees who deliver the vital public services that town residents depend on!

CUPE 1349 members carry flags at march in front of town hall in Grand Falls-Windsor

Show up or shut up, says union to Town of Grand Falls-Windsor CAO

creynolds Collective Bargaining, News Release

CUPE 1349 members carry flags at march in front of town hall in Grand Falls-WindsorThe Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 1349, representing municipal workers employed by the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor, is calling on Town Council to instruct Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Darren Finn not to disguise his role in the bargaining process and to participate in negotiations in-person.

“A collective agreement is a tool that benefits both employees and employers. It encourages both sides to come together to try to find solutions to labour problems. If an agreement cannot be reached, a collective agreement gives both sides the means to resolve issues with the assistance of a neutral third-party, such as an arbitrator or the Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Relations Board,” explains Tammie Greening, president of CUPE 1349.

“The Town of Grand Falls-Windsor is trying to remove clauses in the collective agreement. They want to call them ‘policies’ without including them in the collective agreement, a legally binding document. This change would make it hard, if not impossible, for the union to request the assistance of the Labour Board or an arbitrator if both sides are unable to find a solution,” says Greening. “The employer would be able to impose their decisions without accountability or transparency, and with no regard for employees or the workplace. Moving clauses out would make the contract worthless.”

“A collective agreement benefits town residents as well because they can count on it to ensure that employee relations are well managed and that issues are dealt with in a timely and efficient manner. For almost thirty years, the collective agreement between the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor and employees has served both sides well,” says Greening.

CUPE National representative Ed White adds, “We now have many labour issues that have gone years without a resolution and a CAO who wants to operate outside labour law. This negatively impacts the relationship between the employer and employees, and the quality of jobs and work.”

“Since the hiring of CAO Darren Finn, the union has observed that the employer’s style of management has changed drastically, and not for the good. In this round of bargaining, the Mayor and Town Council are hiding behind unnecessary layers of bureaucracy. Are they trying to protect themselves from taking responsibility for the decisions that are made?” asks White.

“If the Mayor wants firsthand information, so he can share accurate information with residents, he should be at the bargaining table himself. If the Town Council truly has confidence in the abilities of Mr. Finn – who they pay to manage the town – they should instruct him to conduct negotiations in-person,” says White.

“So far, CAO Darren Finn’s actions have taken place behind the scenes and have impeded negotiations. If he wants to make bargaining decisions, he should be physically present at the bargaining table. He should show up or shut up,” states White.

Web banner. Text: CUPE 1349 Myth busters. Image: skyline of town buildings.

Myths Busters: Bargaining between CUPE 1349 and the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor

creynolds Collective Bargaining

Municipal employees at the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor have been locked out by their employer since July 14, 2021.

Prior to the forced work stoppage, members of CUPE Local 1349 unanimously rejected the Town’s final offer, and 99 per cent of members voted for job action. The Town’s final offer was aimed at stripping hard-won protections and rights from the collective agreement.

CUPE is committed to safe, harmonious working conditions, and will not accept concessions.

MYTHS AND FACTS


MYTH: The impasse is about money.

FACT: While the issue of wages is on the table, it is not the factor leading to this impasse. Employees are looking to maintain their collective bargaining rights and their medical plan, and they want to be treated with respect by their employer.


MYTH:The Union is unwilling to work with the Town on the health benefits plan.

FACT: We don’t have any concern with the Town going to market to seek savings on the benefits plan, provided the current level of benefits is maintained. We are not opposed to participating on a committee regarding the benefits, but we aren’t prepared to have the Town make arbitrary decisions regarding the plan.


MYTH: The Town says it pays the full cost of the benefits plan and that the union does not contribute.

FACT: In a previous round of bargaining the employees agreed to give up a significant wage increase so that money could be funnelled into the benefits plan. By giving up their raise, the employees have contributed to the plan for many years. Seasonal employees pay 100 percent of their own benefits while they are off and this is not something we are trying to change.


MYTH: The president and bargaining committee are misleading their members and the members have no idea why they are out.

FACT: Members were presented with a copy of the agreed items and the town’s final offer for review and vote. The fact that we had 100% rejection speaks volumes to the effect this new contract would have on our workplace.


MYTH: The union will be responsible for an increase in taxpayer dollars.

FACT: Over the last number of years the unionized workforce has decreased by two positions which has led to a savings of taxpayer dollars. During this same period, management has increased by four positions leading to an increased burden on the taxpayer.


MYTH: The Union is trying to control how the Town hires employees and manages jobs.

FACT: The Union wants to protect provisions in the contract that prevent contracting out of the public services we all depend on. We are trying to protect new hires, casuals and seasonal workers from unfair practices. And we are asking the Town to complete the job evaluation process that it started, using tools that assess jobs in an unbiased, consistent manner.


MYTH: The Town says the Union wants to restrict managerial rights.

FACT: Our collective agreement does not interfere with managerial rights with regards to job descriptions or job postings, etc. It contains the same rights as many other agreements between Towns and their employees. The Town wants to remove a dispute mechanism that allows the Union to challenge managerial decisions that could lead to an unfair work environment. These dispute mechanisms have worked in our contract for over 30 years.


MYTH: The mayor says our collective agreement is among the best in the province.

FACT: True, our collective agreement is as good as many other agreements in the province. That is not wrong. All workers deserve fair wages and benefits and a safe and harmonious workplace. If we agree to the concessions the Town is asking for, that would be a step backwards for all workers covered under our collective agreement.

CUPE flag

No privatization of laundry at Western Health says CUPE

gmcneil News Release

The union representing laundry workers at Western Memorial Regional Hospital says government should honour the commitment it made to maintain unionized services at the new acute care hospital in Corner Brook. The Canadian Union of Public Employees represents approximately 60 laundry workers at the hospital who are concerned about losing their jobs if laundry for the new hospital is put out to tender.

CUPE National Representative Donna Ryan says the union does not care where the laundry facility is located, but that the union jobs be maintained. “The existing buildings could be renovated to provide space for services that have been squeezed out of the new plan, like laundry and physiotherapy for example,” says Ryan. “The important thing is that we don’t turn good jobs with benefits into low wage jobs with no benefits by turning laundry services over to the private sector. The community cannot afford another economic hit.”

In addition, Ryan says, for-profit laundry services would cost more and deliver less. “The taxpayer always ends up paying more when profit is involved in public services,” she says.

CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador President Sherry Hillier says taxpayers deserve more transparency around the whole RFP process. “We hope that when the report is received on September 30th the contents will be made public,” she says.

“Dwight Ball promised when the new facility was announced that the laundry services classifications would be maintained,” Hillier continues. “We are hoping Premier Furey will honour the commitment of his predecessor.”