SKS Child Care Centre

CUPE members support SKS Child Care Centre with $22,500 donation

creynolds News Release

Susan ShinerThis week, during the CUPE Newfoundland Labrador annual convention, members and locals came together to raise funds for the creation the SKS Child Care Centre to be built in St. John’s, NL. In all, $22,500 was raised to support Susan Shiner’s dream to create a healing space for children impacted by their experience of domestic violence.

The SKS Seed Fund, named for Susan Kathryn Shiner, was established to raise funds for the creation of a child care centre at Iris Kirby House. Susan spent her adult life working toward making the world a better place for women and children.

Shiner’s husband Rick Page explains, “In the last weeks of Susan’s life she called a group of friends together and asked that they work towards creating a dream of hers. A trauma-informed child care facility, attached to Iris Kirby House, so children will have the opportunity to heal.”

In addition to her work with Iris Kirby House, Shiner was a board member of the St. John’s Status of Women Council, a long-time CUPE member, and fierce defender of rights, both locally and nationally, for workers, women and children. Shiner was recognized with the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Arts Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Governor General’s Person’s Award, the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award and the YMCA Canadian Peace Medal.

CUPE NL President Sherry Hillier says, “It is an honour to have known Susan. She was a force of nature and a passionate, kind human being. CUPE is proud to help see her dream come true and we look forward to the opening day for this important centre.”

SKS Child Care Centre: 

Sherry Hilier

Sherry Hillier newly elected president of CUPE Newfoundland Labrador

creynolds News Release

Sherry HilierDelegates at the 44th annual division convention elected Sherry Hillier as the new president of CUPE Newfoundland Labrador, in St. John’s on Wednesday, May 2, 2018.

As a licensed practical nurse, Hillier has worked in long-term care for 24 years. She has been involved in her local since 1998 – as a shop steward, recording secretary, treasurer and president.

Hillier also currently serves as Regional Vice-President representing Newfoundland and Labrador on the CUPE National Executive Board.

On a provincial level, she has served as a member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Health Care Bargaining Committee since 2008, as recording secretary for the division from 2008 to 2016, and as secretary-treasurer for the division since 2016.  She is also the labour representative on the Newfoundland and Labrador NDP provincial executive.

She brings her experience and passion for health care issues to CUPE’s National Health Care Issues Committee, and is also an active member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Health Care Coalition, and serves as liaison to the CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador Equality Committee.

CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador proudly represents more than 6,000 working women and men 60 locals. The union represents workers in health care, education, public housing, provincial libraries, municipalities, university, child care, recycling, social services and much more.


Apply to be on a CUPE NL standing committee

creynolds Article

CommitteeThe current term for our Provincial Standing Committees ends at the 2018 CUPE Annual Convention. These Committees will be reconstituted after the Convention.

The committees are:

  •  Occupational Health & Safety Committee
  •  Contracting Out & Privatization Committee
  •  Pensions Committee
  •  Equality Committee
  •  Global Justice Committee

If you would like to serve on any of the Provincial Committees, please submit your name, Local Number and the Committee of choice, in writing, to Sister Dawn Lahey or Sister Theresa Gillam by the end of the Convention proceedings.

The names can be submitted, in writing, at the 2018 Convention or by email no later than May 2nd, 2018 to Sister Dawn Lahey (

Wayne Lucas

CUPE NL to hold 44rd annual convention April 30 to May 2 in St. John’s

creynolds News Release

The 44th annual CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador Convention gets underway at 9 a.m. Monday, April 30 at the Holiday Inn in St. John’s and runs through to Wednesday, May 2.

Wayne LucasThis will be the final convention for CUPE NL President Wayne Lucas, who will begin his retirement with the election of a new division president on Wednesday.

Lucas has been a CUPE member for 40 years, having started his career as a school board worker in 1978. He also served as general vice-president for the Atlantic Maritime Region from 1997 to 2001. He has served as the president of CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador for the past 26 years.


9:30 a.m.         Guest Speaker – Mark Hancock, CUPE National President

2:00 p.m.         Guest Speaker – Mary Shortall, NL Federation of Labour President


9:00 a.m.         Guest Speaker – Charles Fleury, CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer

11:00 a.m.       Guest Speaker – Gerry Rogers, Leader, NL New Democratic Party

1:30 p.m.         Guest Speaker – Alex Furlong, Regional Director, CLC Atlantic Region

2:00 p.m.         Guest Speaker – Daniel Légère, CUPE General Vice-President


9:30 a.m.         Election of Officers

April 28 - National Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on the job

Day of Mourning events – Newfoundland and Labrador

creynolds Article

April 28 - National Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on the jobNational Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on the job


St. John’s
Confederation Building, St. John’s
12 pm
St. John’s and District Labour Council

Grand Falls
Workers’ Memorial, Grand Falls
12 pm
Central Newfoundland Labour Council

Corner Brook
Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist
25 Main Street, Corner Brook
5 pm
Corner Brook and District Labour Council

Labrador City
United Steel Workers 5795 Hall
105 Hudson Drive, Labrador City
4 pm
Labrador West District Labour Council

Materials can be ordered at


CUPE makes submission to the Newfoundland and Labrador automobile insurance system review

creynolds News Release, Report

CUPE Newfoundland Labrador welcomes the opportunity to participate in Phase II of the comprehensive review of the province’s automobile insurance system that has been undertaken by the Public Utilities Board in Newfoundland and Labrador. The union has made a submission to the review.

“Premiums for automobile insurance in Newfoundland and Labrador are among the highest in the country,” says Wayne Lucas, CUPE NL president. “The provincial government requires drivers to purchase automobile insurance. Therefore, it must make sure that costs are reasonable and benefits are fair.”

A small number of companies have a stranglehold on the automobile insurance market in the province, leading to higher rates and reduced benefits. Long-established public automobile insurance companies in British Columbia, Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan offer good insurance products at lower premiums and generate capital to re-invest in their respective provinces.

“There are ample experiences in other jurisdictions to help create a ‘made-in-Newfoundland-Labrador’, full-service system that will meet the vehicle insurance needs of the people of our province,” says Lucas.

CUPE NL supports the development of a publicly owned, full service, non-profit automobile insurance system to deliver comprehensive, no-fault insurance to all licensed drivers in the province, including private passenger drivers, independent commercial owner-operators and fleet company drivers (such as trucking, courier, and taxi companies) at fair, non-discriminatory rates.


Photo by Shankar.S is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Osborne drops the ball in bargaining

creynolds Crossroads, News Release

St. John’s – Representatives of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Newfoundland and Labrador Division, say Minister of Finance Tom Osborne is attempting to recover after dropping the ball in negotiations, landing himself in disputes of his own making.

“The ‘spotlight’ that Minister Osborne referenced yesterday was created by the minister himself,” says Brian Farewell, CUPE national representative. “He negotiated a tentative agreement with another bargaining agent and afterward he reacted without thinking when faced with publicity from the business community.”

The minister then decided to go back to the other bargaining agent and request a “sidebar” letter, confirming the fact that the no-layoff clause would not carry over into any subsequent agreement.

“CUPE is not seeking changes to the no-layoff language. We have already agreed to the no-layoff language,” says Farewell. “In addition, we have given the minister a side-bar comfort letter concerning the no-layoff clause.”

The minister, in front of five CUPE bargaining committee agents, confirmed that CUPE’s letter relieved any concerns or anxieties he had concerning the no-layoff clause rolling over into subsequent agreements. He also candidly admitted that he didn’t expect CUPE to agree to the other side-bar letter.

“It is perplexing to CUPE that our sidebar letter is not acceptable. Mr. Osborne is either not understanding the issue or attempting to deceive the public. Neither scenario is acceptable,” says Farwell.

“We will not jeopardize all our efforts made in collective bargaining since we became a voice for workers in this province 55 years ago, says CUPE NL President Wayne Lucas. “Our priority is protecting our members. As it should be.”

CUPE Atlantic Annual Weeklong School 2018

creynolds Article, Workshop

May 6 to 11, 2018

The Atlantic Region’s 33rd Annual Weeklong School will take place at the Inverary Resort in Baddeck, Nova Scotia. The cost for this year’s weeklong school (including registration fee, accommodation and meals) is $900.00 per participant – double room occupancy; and $1,200.00 per person – single room occupancy.

As in previous years, there are scholarships available to members in both provinces and you are encouraged to apply as per the information contained in the brochure.

We encourage each local to make your selection as early as possible and return your registration form along with your post-dated cheque to avoid disappointment.

Once a maximum of 20-24 participants for each workshop have been registered, no further registrations will be accepted but you may choose to go on the wait list for that workshop or select an alternate workshop.

The deadline for registration and payment to be received at the Atlantic Regional Office is April 27, 2018. If payment is not received by April 27, 2018, those respective registrants will be removed, the registration list for each workshop finalized and those registrants on the waiting lists will be notified whether space is available.

When selecting participants for the school, please consider those who are prepared to take an active role in this learning experience and who will abide by the rules and guidelines for conduct and attendance.

Please consider members who:

  • actively participate in your Local
  • are willing to be active but could benefit from additional training
  • are willing to share this knowledge with the Local membership and Executive when he/she returns

Should there be any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at the Atlantic Regional Office (902) 455-4180.


Please post-date your registration cheques for May 12, 2018. Registration cheques are not processed until the weeklong school has concluded.

Make cheque payable to the Canadian Union of Public Employees and forward to the Registrar at the Atlantic Regional Office before the deadline of April 27, 2018 to:

Lynn McDougall
Union Development Representative
CUPE Atlantic Regional Office
271 Brownlow Avenue
Dartmouth, NS B3B 1W6

Refund Policy

Full refund up to April 27, 2018

No refund after April 27, 2018           


#1 – Mental Health in the Workplace: A union perspective

Officially, mental illness affects 1 in 5 people in Canada. But we know that it touches every one of us in different ways throughout our lives. What does this mean for us as workers and Union activists? How can we support members dealing with mental illness, and how can we hold employers to account, ensuring that our workplaces promote mental wellness? As union activists we have a particular interest in promoting positive workplace culture that supports people living with mental illness and promotes wellness for all of us.

This workshop is designed for participants to:

  • Gain a better understanding of mental health issues
  • Learn about stigma and how to challenge stereotypes about mental health
  • Explore the employer role: providing safe and supportive workplaces; and, reducing the risk of mental injury
  • Explore the Union’s role: educating the membership; and, accommodating workers with mental illness
  • Learn about supports and resources for people living with mental health issues
  • Build skills to support and educate one another to make our unions and our workplaces mentally healthy.

Requirement: Please bring any contact information for crisis and counselling services in your area.

#2 – Media Training

Are you a spokesperson for your local? Do you want to attract media attention, and increase public awareness to support local bargaining or an event? Please join us for our weeklong media training and message development workshop!

Participants will learn how can the media outreach can benefit your local in getting messages out. Each participant will receive “on-air” practice with feedback, as well as training and tips for writing messages and developing a media relations plan.

During the workshop, you will learn:

  • Basic principles of good communications and a media relations plan
  • Recognize the elements of great media messages
  • Create memorable stories, messages and sound bites
  • Understand the best practices of working with the media
  • Identify your target audience
  • Interview for print, radio, and television with confidence
  • Tips about remaining “on message” and how to answer the tough questions
  • Writing effective letters to the editor to submit to newspapers
  • Supporting your communications activities with social media

Who Should Attend?

This workshop is ideally suited for spokespersons for local unions, divisions or sector committees.


Participants must already be familiar with using their laptop and smartphone. They must also be active on personal Facebook and/or Twitter.

Please note: This workshop will not include an introduction to social media for beginners.

Requirement: Please bring all your devices including a laptop, tablet and/or smartphone.

#3 – Local Executive Training (LET)

The Local Executive Training series was developed to aid local executives toward functioning at their very best. This weeklong will include the following LET workshops:  Leadership Basics, Leading as a Team, Conflict-Ready Executives, Financial Essentials and, Strategic Planning.

We will:

  • Examine the roles and responsibilities of the elected officers and how they intersect/interact
  • Explore how we work in teams, and how to balance our leadership styles to engage each other, the membership and work effectively across diversity
  • Ask ourselves Who am I as a leader? Who are we as a local union? Who do we want to be?
  • Explore how you can use the power of your elected position to build power in the union, create space for more members to get involved
  • Explore the value of conflict for effective groups; how our beliefs about conflict shape how we respond; the kinds of conflict Local Executive struggle with most; and, productive ways to resolve conflict
  • Understand the essentials of Local Union finances, including the role of finances in strategic planning
  • Explore strategic planning tools as methods for problem-solving: from managing the relationship with the employer to communicating with members to expanding the Executive’s ability to build capacity and activism…it all starts with a plan! Explore how to set achievable and measurable goals for your Local Executive and your Local Union.

#4 – Bargaining

We will examine and experience bargaining from beginning to end. We will:

  • Review the bargaining process and the obligations of the Local Union Bargaining Team
  • Prepare the team and the membership for a round of bargaining
  • Go to the table and hopefully get a deal!
  • Conduct a Bargaining Post Mortem
  • Examine how strategic planning, including communication strategies, can assist a Bargaining Team in managing their own, and the memberships’ expectations

Click here to register.  

Download a copy of 2018 weeklong brochure, including registration information, course descriptions, agenda and scholarship application forms.

Member Update: Master Bargaining – April 5, 2018

creynolds Bargaining Update

On behalf of the CUPE NL staff and the seven bargaining committees, we would like to thank you for your patience and support as we continue our attempt to secure new collective agreements with this provincial government. We are now in excess of two years without new contracts. The exercise to date has been extremely frustrating for your committees who find themselves in a political forum dealing with Treasury Board and not with their employers.

There has been much media around our meetings with the Minister of Finance and his officials since we began Tier 2 bargaining in January of this year. CUPE has not been trying to “reinvent the wheel” at these meetings. We totally understand template bargaining in this province and fully recognize that many, if not most, of the major issues have already been settled at a previous bargaining table. More importantly, however, we accept our responsibility to bargain fair and reasonable collective agreements for our members without discrimination or jeopardizing the status of those contracts upon their conclusion.

There are three main issues that are preventing us from concluding new collective agreements. They are as follows:

  • The government is demanding that CUPE sign a “comfort” sidebar letter regarding the no-layoff article that has been previously agreed. This letter was supposedly required to provide the minister and his government assurance that this no-layoff commitment wouldn’t automatically carry forward into any future agreements.CUPE offered the following: “the parties agree that this document (no layoff letter) will not roll over into subsequent collective agreements …The government is demanding the following: “the parties agree that any provision in the collective agreements…do not automatically roll over into subsequent collective agreements…”The difference between these two versions is vast and CUPE cannot, and will not, sign a letter which has the potential to jeopardize the future status of our collective agreements. At contract year-end, we could find ourselves starting from scratch with every article in the agreement. Current agreement language that has been in our contract for years could be off the table. This isn’t a necessary or reasonable proposal from Treasury Board. The government wants a comfort letter – we offered them a comfort letter. They are not getting an automatic access to our collective agreements.
  • There are still a number of outstanding local issues which are extremely important to our members, some of which are non-monetary. For instance, five out of six of our Group and Transition Homes are not presently included in the Provident 10 pension plan or the provincial government benefit plan. There is no rational reason why this is the case. There are 21 unionized Group Homes under this provincial government – all of which are presently certified under the Public Service Collective Bargaining Act. Nineteen of them are in both plans, but only one out of our six are included. Most of these workers are female and it is very much an equity issue.Another outstanding issue concerns the Local 1860 Housing Corporation collective agreement. This collective agreement makes no reference to a group benefit plan – even though there is one in place. To date, we have been unable to get them to simply acknowledge such a plan. This situation flies in the face of all other CUPE public sector collective agreements. This is a non-monetary issue that needs to be rectified.
  • Lastly, we are currently in dispute with government over a new Letter of Understanding regarding the eligibility of retirees to access their benefits. New proposed language seems to restrict access unless you retire from “active employment”.  This terminology appears to prevent workers on Long Term Disability, Workers Compensation or unpaid sick leave, who retire directly from these plans, from receiving their benefits. This issue is still very much outstanding and needing clarification.

CUPE staff and committee members continue to hold conference calls on a regular basis and are anxious to return to the bargaining table. We will strive to reach new collective agreements, but we must remain committed to not accepting proposals or positions from government such as those noted above.

We will continue to update our members, to the fullest extent that we are able, throughout the process.  All updates, including this one, will be posted on our CUPE NL website and will be sent to all local officers for distribution. We greatly appreciate your solidarity and support.  It is essential for our committees to retain their resolve, energy and determination to take on the task before them.

Download a printable copy of this member update.

They pushed, they protested, they won: NL public libraries saved

creynolds News Release

CUPE Newfoundland Labrador is very pleased to hear Minister Kirby announce that all the province’s libraries will remain open, and suggest that new libraries may be coming.

Since government’s announcement in 2016, CUPE has been fighting to ensure that the libraries remain open, providing necessary library services to the citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Dawn Lahey, president of CUPE 2329, which represents workers in the provincial library system, says, “It’s such wonderful news. Our members have been working in a very difficult situation, wondering every day whether or not they will have a job tomorrow. It’s unfortunate that it took so long for the government to make it clear that they are committed to library services for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.”

CUPE would like to thank everyone in the province who fought alongside us in the struggle for libraries. Especially the New Democratic Party, local library boards, CUPE members, especially those in Local 2329, library patrons and the community in general.

“This would not have been possible without each and every individual who stood up for the kind of community we want to live in. A community which includes libraries, and the excellent services provided by members of CUPE Local 2329,” says Wayne Lucas, president of CUPE Newfoundland Labrador.

“I’m personally very pleased to hear the minister confirm that our library workers can rest easy, knowing their jobs are safe. I’d like to thank Minister Kirby for his work on this file,” says Lucas.