Municipal workers at the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor were shocked and disappointed to find out on Facebook last night that the employer has imposed a lock out.
CUPE National Representative Nicole Dunphy says the 90+ members of CUPE Local 1349 were hoping the employer would be calling them back to the table. “Instead, we saw managers and supervisors loading Town vehicles and equipment into trucks and trailers last night,” she says. “They did not even have the courtesy to inform the union before making the announcement on Facebook. That shows a complete lack of respect for the employees and for the town.” Union members unanimously rejected the Town’s final offer last week and had asked to return to negotiations.
CUPE 1349 President Tammie Greening says while info pickets will go up, the union will do its best not to disrupt community activities. “We will try not to affect weekly children’s programs,” she says. “We have a good rapport with our community groups, and we hope they won’t be asked to take on any of our work. However, if the Town or anyone else performs work that belongs to our bargaining unit you can expect to see picket lines at that site.”
Greening says the members respect the relationships they have with most of the supervisors, but Council’s actions have put a strain on those relationships. “Supervisors are caught in the middle,” she says. “We hope that when we return to work after this forced stoppage, we will be able to resume our good relationships.”
Greening says she is also concerned the employer might try to use student workers as pawns. “We have worked side-by-side with students for years as they perform some of our bargaining unit work,” she says. “The Town should not involve them in this dispute, but rather offer their labour to volunteer groups in the community.
“We are very sorry and apologize to residents and businesses that this couldn’t be resolved at the bargaining table. But we have not given up hope that the employer will sit down with us and resume negotiations.” Greening says. “The ball is in their court.”
Municipal employees at the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor unanimously rejected the employer’s final offer last evening and voted 99 per cent in favour of job action. The workers, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 1349, have been without a contract since December 31, 2020.
Local 1349 President Tammie Greening says the 90 percent turnout for the vote shows how committed the members are to protecting the rights and benefits the employer is trying to gut from the contract. “Some of the concessions the employer is asking for, such as complete control of the medical plan and stripping our rights out of the contract, border on dictatorship,” says Greening.
“The mayor’s comments in the media are causing division in our town,” she adds, “but the members are solidly together and ready to hit the streets if we have to.”
CUPE National Representative Ed White says what the workers really want at the end of the day is a new collective agreement. “We want the town to come back to the table and negotiate an agreement that is fair and respectful to everyone,” he says.
CUPE Local 1349 represents approximately 100 Town employees who work in recreation services, fire dispatch, administration, taxation and finance, road maintenance, water and sewage, municipal enforcement, and engineering and planning.
A rally of support for the workers is planned for 12:15pm today at the Grand Falls-Windsor Farmers Market on High Street.
St. John’s – In a move that some may consider to be blackmail, the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor is using municipal workers’ health as a bargaining chip, say representatives of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). “It’s distasteful and it demonstrates the contempt that the mayor and managers in this town have for municipal workers,” says CUPE Representative Ed White.
CUPE 1349 received a letter yesterday from their employer, which proposes that the Town will allow the union to pay, in full, monthly premiums for group health insurance for unionized employees – if the union agrees that members who work as fire dispatchers continue to work during a lockout or strike.
Paying all health premiums for members during a lockout or strike is standard practice for CUPE.
“Our response is ‘no’ and here’s why. The Town has volunteer firefighters who can be sent out to the scene of a fire. Even those volunteers who are members of our union have said they will continue to fight fires during a lockout or strike,” says White. “Dispatchers, however, are not deemed ‘essential’.”
“Under no circumstances should an employer threaten workers and their families with loss of health benefits. No other municipality in Newfoundland and Labrador, that we know of, has ever stooped this low,” says White.
Municipal workers at the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor, members of CUPE 1349, launched a radio ad campaign this week in an effort to reach a tentative agreement with their employer, and to avoid a disruption to services.
Radio Ad #1
The clock is counting down to a lockout or strike on June 30. We’re doing everything we can to avoid a work stoppage – but we need a partner that respects collective bargaining to reach a deal.
Please call the mayor, councillors, and Town management. Tell them to bargain a fair contract with workers and avoid a work stoppage.
Radio ad #2
We’re focused on achieving a fair contract for our members and the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor. We wish the Mayor and Council were too.
Town staff have experience in labour negotiations, yet they’re paying to contract out their own work. They need to stop trying to strip away provisions already in our contract.
We will not bargain backward.
Grand Falls-Windsor is a great place to live and do business – and for 51 years we’ve been proud to deliver many of the quality public services that make life better for everyone.
We take care of fire dispatch, water and sewage, roads, and recreation facilities like the Joe Byrne Stadium, Windsor Stadium, and the Splash Pad.
Please tell the mayor and council to respect our right to collective bargaining – instead of demanding concessions.
CUPE 1349 – Perfectly United!
Municipal workers, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 2019 have reached a four-year contract with their employer, the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL.
Both the union and the employer have ratified the agreement and a signing ceremony took place on Tuesday, June 1. The collective agreement covers the period of January 1, 2019, to December 31, 2022, and includes modest wage increases and other improvements.
“This is a concession-free agreement and we’re happy with the outcome,” says Merv Linstead, president of CUPE 2019. “I’d like to thank our bargaining committee for their hard work and our members for their solidarity and support. This agreement is good for our members and for the community we’re proud to serve.”
CUPE 2019 represents 54 municipal workers who provide public services to approximately 7,500 residents in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and the Lower Lake Melville area. The workers include firefighters, arena workers, roads and parks workers, water and wastewater workers, municipal landfill workers, municipal officers, clerical and technical staff.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Newfoundland and Labrador Division says the provincial budget, presented today by Premier Andrew Fury and Minister of Finance Siobhan Coady, is based on misleading calculations that inflate the provincial debt to justify privatization and shedding public services.
“The Liberal government is motivated by their desire to cater to private interests, privatize public services, and destroy the public sector – not what’s in the best interests of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians,” says CUPE NL President Sherry Hillier.
“Unfortunately, the Premier and Minister of Finance have decided to take Dame Greene at her word, and they are also inflating the debt,” Hillier says, “even though Dame Greene’s privatization track record and her seats on the board of private companies show where her loyalties lie.”
“We shouldn’t just take her word for it. We should question everything. They should be reporting accurate information,” states Hillier. We need investment if we are going to improve our economic situation. What Minister Coady presented today is not that.”
“The Premier needs to think carefully about accepting the fiscal framework provided by the Premier’s Economic Recovery Team (PERT),” says Hillier. “They’ve used accounting measures that do not make sense for public financing, measures that international institutions and rating agencies disagree with.”
“The net debt is actually around $17 billion, 30 per cent of what Dame Greene says it is. That can be managed responsibly over a few years. Just ask the experts. Look at Statistics Canada’s analysis (sources below) of Newfoundland and Labrador’s debt, look at Finances of the Nation’s analysis of the debt,” says Hillier. “The experts agree with us, not with Dame Greene.”
“If Premier Fury moves ahead with the recommendations in the PERT report, our economy will suffer tremendously.”
The authors of the PERT report are lying to the public.
NL’s structural deficit is an issue, but it’s an issue that can be addressed over the course of the next 10 years through modest annual revenue growth. The PERT has used unconventional accounting practices and non-standard measures to create public panic and justify radical measures that will leave Newfoundlanders and Labradorians with virtually no public infrastructure or services.
Dame Greene’s approach has been debunked by 20 years of research. The spending cuts, privatization, and centralization measures she suggests are gratuitous and unnecessary. Instead of growing our revenues to support the services we need, she suggests shrinking services or eliminating them altogether. That’s like amputating your leg to heal a sprained ankle.
The PERT report attacks working people and public services. if the report’s recommendations are accepted, our public health care, education, and social programs will be decimated. Over the six-year period, savings found in Dame Greene’s plan will be less than $500 million, while their proposed cuts are more than $3.5 billion. To deal with the deficit, we need a strong economy and confidence, not panic and austerity.
Here are some of the recommendations (cuts) coming from the report.
Crush public sector unions
The report is a blatant attack on public service workers – it suggests legislating our contracts, forcing wage freezes and eliminating our defined benefit pension plan.
Destroy public health care
The PERT report recommends cutting health care operational spending by 25% over six years and reducing the four regional health authorities down to one provincial health authority. These cuts will shutter hospitals and clinics across the province and encourage privatization of health care services like blood work and diagnostic testing.
Eliminate school boards into one superboard (and super chaos)
The report suggests dissolving all school districts and boards into a single “superboard”, paving the way for contracting out and privatization of education support services.
Sell off public assets
The report recommends handing over crown corporations to the private sector and selling revenue-generating publicly owned interests including NL Liquor Corporation, Marble Mountain Ski Resort, Bull Arm Fabrication Site, oil and gas, and Churchill River resources with Muskrat Falls and Gull Island.
Slash post-secondary education funding
The report recommends a 30% cut to Memorial University and suggests taking away democratic oversight over tuition fee increases. Tuition fees could triple overnight, programs with low enrolment could be cut, and staff made redundant. A suggested 5% cut to the College of the North Atlantic ($66 million over six years) would force some campuses to close.
Slash funding of public service operations
- 2% cut to NL Housing and NL Legal aid
- 5% cut to core government services
- 20% cut to operating grants to government
THE TIME IS NOW
CUPE locals must mobilize their members now! We cannot wait to see if PERT report recommendations become reality – we must pressure Premier Fury to reject the report entirely.
Start by making sure all members are signed up to receive updates. Use the short form on our website to subscribe at nl.cupe.ca.
Then get your members to put their boots on the ground! Tell Premier Fury and your MHAs that we will defend our fairly negotiated contracts and our way of life, especially our small communities in Newfoundland and Labrador!
We want to see and hear CUPE members joining together in solidarity from coast to coast. Start a photo protest on-line, stage a (safe) protest at your MHA’s office, write letters to the editor, and call the premier.
The CUPE NL Division is fighting back with you and has joined forces with all other public sector unions and community groups, through the NL Federation of Labour, to mobilize thousands of union members and community stakeholders! We are all in this together.
A virtual “All President’s Meeting” will take place on May 25. Details will be sent to local presidents soon.
A printable PDF version of this update can downloaded and shared with CUPE locals and members.Download
Bargaining between the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor and municipal employees represented by the CUPE 1349 have reached an impasse. The union has informed the employer that they will not be responding to the latest proposal package. A consultant from Halifax, hired by the Town to conduct bargaining on their behalf, will be filing an application for conciliation with the provincial department of labour.
CUPE 1349 President Tammie Greening says, “We’ve been at this since October and, up to this point, there hasn’t been any discussion on monetary items, it has mostly been language related.”
“Most of the proposals from the employer are concessionary in nature,” says CUPE National Representative Ed White. “We have a ‘no concession’ policy set out by our national union and we will continue to defend the provisions that were fairly negotiated in previous rounds of bargaining.”
“As a resident of Grand Falls-Windsor and as a worker, I’m greatly concerned about the direction Council has taken in this round of bargaining,” says Greening. “We will be meeting with our members Thursday evening to bring them up to date.”
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 1349 represents approximately 100 members employed by the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor. They work in recreation services, fire dispatch, administration, taxation and finance, road maintenance, water and sewage, municipal enforcement, and engineering and planning.
CUPE is proud of the licensed practical nurses and personal care attendants we represent in hospitals, long-term care homes, and the community.
It gives us peace of mind to know that you are looking after our loved ones – especially when we can’t be by their side.
You are exceptional people. You give essential care.
National Nursing Week is May 10 to 16 this year. The celebrations take place during the same week as Florence Nightingale’s birthday, on May 12, each year.
A digital ad will run on The Telegram newspaper website (Saltwire) across the province throughout the week. See the banner ad below.
Beginning May 8, a radio ad will run on 22 stations province-wide including VOCM, Big Land FM, HITS FM, K-ROCK and KIXX Country stations. Listen to the radio ad below.
Facebook profile photo frame
This frame is now available on Facebook. Add it to your profile pic!
Digital newspaper ad
Listen to the radio ad