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.

 

Annual renewal of group insurance – All active employees

creynolds Uncategorized

This memorandum outlines the details of the annual renewal for your Group Insurance Program effective April 1, 2018. This renewal process occurs each year in April and is part of the contract agreement between Great West Life (GWL) and GNL. The carrier (GWL) looks at claims experience and market trends to project the requested increases for the plan. This memorandum is intended to highlight the most important aspects of the renewal changes.

Plan Surpluses

  • The Supplementary Health & Basic Life and Dental benefits are subject to refund accounting. This means that after claims are paid from premiums collected, any surplus funds are retained in the program.

Supplementary Health Insurance (Including travel insurance)

  • The supplementary health insurance premium is a blended premium of both health and travel insurance. Effective April 1st, the carrier requested a 9.88% increase in premiums to be applied to the health insurance portion. This year 50% of the proposed increase will be funded from the Health & Life surplus and the remaining will be funded from an increase in premiums. This will result in a reduction in the plan’s accumulated surplus and higher future premium increases to cover inflation/claims experience. The travel insurance represents a very small portion (3%) of the total supplementary health premium. There is no change in the travel portion of the premium for the April 1, 2018 renewal. The combined health and travel insurance premium increase is $0.87 bi-weekly for single coverage and $2.19 bi-weekly for family coverage.
  • Effective April 1, 2018, the new bi-weekly premiums for supplementary health insurance (including travel) will be increasing from $18.06 to $18.93 for single coverage and from $45.58 to $47.77 for family coverage. Optional Dental Insurance:
  • Currently, dental claims are reimbursed based on the 2016 Newfoundland and Labrador Dental Association Fee Guide. As of April 1, 2018 the dental plan will now reimburse expenses based on the 2017 Newfoundland and Labrador Dental Association Fee Guide thus resulting in higher claim reimbursements for participants. Based on the enhanced guide and claims experience there is a required rate increase of 3.68% for April 1, 2018. The dental plan refund account will cover 50% of the increase and dental premiums will increase by the other 50% or 1.84%. This will result in a reduction in the plan’s accumulated surplus and higher future premium increases to cover inflation/claims experience.
  • Effective April 1, 2018, the bi-weekly payroll deduction will increase by $0.28 for single coverage and $0.61 for family coverage. The new bi-weekly premiums for dental coverage will go from $15.15 to $15.43 for single coverage and from $33.36 to $33.97 for family coverage.

Optional Critical Illness (CI):

  • Effective April 1, 2018 the Critical Illness rate to plan members will increase by 10%.
  • As is the norm, the increase in bi-weekly deductions will depend on the employee’s age, gender and whether you have single or family coverage. An example would be a female age 40 with family coverage will go from $1.46 bi-weekly to $1.61 bi-weekly. Please see attached table.

Optional Long Term Disability (LTD):

  • Optional LTD premiums have been unchanged since inception with GWL in September 2015. Effective April 1, 2018, LTD rate to plan members will increase by 36%.
  • Bi-weekly deductions for LTD will depend on employee’s class (which is an employee’s actual age minus their pensionable years of service) and their annual salary. An example would be a 50 year old employee with 10 years of service and an annual salary of $60,000. Bi-weekly deductions for this employee would increase from $63.60 to $86.40. Other Group Insurance Benefits: All other benefit rates will remain unchanged for the 2018/2019 policy year including:
    • Basic Life Insurance
    • Dependent Life Insurance
    • Basic Accidental Death and Dismemberment benefit
    • Optional Participant Life Insurance benefit
    • Optional Spousal Life Insurance benefit
    • Optional Accidental Death and Dismemberment benefit

If you have any questions regarding these changes, please consult the website noted below or contact:

Email: groupinsurance@gov.nl.ca
Phone: 729-2310
Mail: HRS Service Centre and Corporate Service Delivery Basement, West Block, Confederation Building P.O. Box 8700
St. John’s, NL. A1B 4J6

Website: http://www.exec.gov.nl.ca/exec/hrs/working_with_us/employee_benefits.html

Annual renewal of group insurance program – All active employees with ortho

creynolds Article

This memorandum outlines the details of the annual renewal for your Group Insurance Program effective April 1, 2018. This renewal process occurs each year in April and is part of the contract agreement between Great West Life (GWL) and GNL. The carrier (GWL) looks at claims experience and market trends to project the requested increases for the plan. This memorandum is intended to highlight the most important aspects of the renewal changes.

Plan Surpluses

  • The Supplementary Health & Basic Life and Dental benefits are subject to refund accounting. This means that after claims are paid from premiums collected, any surplus funds are retained in the program.

Supplementary Health Insurance (Including travel insurance)

  • The supplementary health insurance premium is a blended premium of both health and travel insurance. Effective April 1st, the carrier requested a 9.88% increase in premiums to be applied to the health insurance portion. This year 50% of the proposed increase will be funded from the Health & Life surplus and the remaining will be funded from an increase in premiums. This will result in a reduction in the plan’s accumulated surplus and higher future premium increases to cover inflation/claims experience. The travel insurance represents a very small portion (3%) of the total supplementary health premium. There is no change in the travel portion of the premium for the April 1, 2018 renewal. The combined health and travel insurance premium increase is $0.87 bi-weekly for single coverage and $2.19 bi-weekly for family coverage.
  • Effective April 1, 2018, the new bi-weekly premiums for supplementary health insurance (including travel) will be increasing from $18.06 to $18.93 for single coverage and from $45.58 to $47.77 for family coverage. Optional Dental Insurance:
  • Currently, dental claims are reimbursed based on the 2016 Newfoundland and Labrador Dental Association Fee Guide. As of April 1, 2018 the dental plan will now reimburse expenses based on the 2017 Newfoundland and Labrador Dental Association Fee Guide thus resulting in higher claim reimbursements for participants. Based on the enhanced guide and claims experience there is a required rate increase of 3.68% for April 1, 2018. The dental plan refund account will cover 50% of the increase and dental premiums will increase by the other 50% or 1.84%. This will result in a reduction in the plan’s accumulated surplus and higher future premium increases to cover inflation/claims experience.
  • Effective April 1, 2018, the bi-weekly payroll deduction will increase by $0.28 for single coverage and $0.61 for family coverage. The new bi-weekly premiums for dental coverage will go from $15.15 to $15.43 for single coverage and from $33.36 to $33.97 for family coverage.

Optional Critical Illness (CI):

  • Effective April 1, 2018 the Critical Illness rate to plan members will increase by 10%.
  • As is the norm, the increase in bi-weekly deductions will depend on the employee’s age, gender and whether you have single or family coverage. An example would be a female age 40 with family coverage will go from $1.46 bi-weekly to $1.61 bi-weekly. Please see attached table.

Optional Long Term Disability (LTD):

  • Optional LTD premiums have been unchanged since inception with GWL in September 2015. Effective April 1, 2018, LTD rate to plan members will increase by 36%.
  • Bi-weekly deductions for LTD will depend on employee’s class (which is an employee’s actual age minus their pensionable years of service) and their annual salary. An example would be a 50 year old employee with 10 years of service and an annual salary of $60,000. Bi-weekly deductions for this employee would increase from $63.60 to $86.40. 
Other Group Insurance Benefits:
All other benefit rates will remain unchanged for the 2018/2019 policy year including:
    • Basic Life Insurance
    • Dependent Life Insurance
    • Basic Accidental Death and Dismemberment benefit
    • Optional Participant Life Insurance benefit
    • Optional Spousal Life Insurance benefit
    • Optional Accidental Death and Dismemberment benefit

If you have any questions regarding these changes, please consult the website noted below or contact:

Email: groupinsurance@gov.nl.ca
Phone: 729-2310
Mail: HRS Service Centre and Corporate Service Delivery Basement, West Block, Confederation Building P.O. Box 8700
St. John’s, NL. A1B 4J6

Website: http://www.exec.gov.nl.ca/exec/hrs/working_with_us/employee_benefits.html

Apply to sit on a Provincial Standing Committee

creynolds Article

Greetings:

The 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 at dlahey@nlpl.ca.

In solidarity,

Dawn Lahey

CUPE Submission to the Newfoundland and Labrador 2018 Pre-Budget Consultation

CUPE Submission to the Newfoundland and Labrador 2018 Pre-Budget Consultation

creynolds Economy, News Release, Report

CUPE NL supports the position taken by the Common Front NL in urging government to focus on protecting existing jobs in the public and private sectors and invest to stimulate economic growth in the short term.

The real crisis facing the province is not how to balance the books but how to stop rising unemployment. Yes, the deficit needs to be addressed but government’s own forecast is for a balanced budget by 2022.

RBC economists warn Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans face “grim job prospects”. “We see little to stem employment losses in the next two years as the provincial government slims down in efforts to eliminate its deficit, consumers cut back spending, and work on the giant Muskrat Falls project ends in 2019.”

The unemployment rate in Newfoundland Labrador is “officially” 14.5%, more than twice the Canadian average. The real rate – counting people who are involuntarily working part-time, waiting for jobs, or have given up looking – is more than 18%.

RECOMMENDATIONS

CUPE NL offers two recommendations to government:

1. Stimulate economic growth by investing to reduce inequality, and
2. Reduce expenditures and create efficiencies by cancelling the P3 deals

REDUCE INEQUALITY

Statistics Canada reports that the gap between the highest salaries and the lowest incomes in St. John’s is the highest of the Atlantic Canadian census metropolitan areas. (See Figure 1.) The top one percent take home nearly nine times more than the bottom 30 per cent, and nearly seven times more than the bottom 50 per cent. The next largest gap is in Gander, then Halifax, followed by Bay Roberts.

Figure 1. Income Inequality Atlantic Provinces Comparison

Figure 1. Income Inequality Atlantic Provinces Comparison

“We definitely should be concerned about it,” says economist Tony Fang who holds the Stephen Jarislowsky Chair in Cultural and Economic Transformation at Memorial University. The incomes of the bottom 30 per cent of people across Newfoundland Labrador are around $20,000 or less a year in a province with the highest cost of living in the Atlantic region.

Fang expects the income inequality in the province to keep growing, and that it will become “a significant social issue.”

There is mounting evidence of a causal relationship between inequality and poor health. Healthcare costs have been identified by the Government of Newfoundland

Labrador as one of the province’s significant costs. Government’s focus seems to be on finding ways to cut spending but CUPE suggests investing in public services instead.

A recent study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) concluded that focusing on the social determinants of health such as income and housing can help address the root causes of disease, poor health and premature death.

Spending on social services is an effective way to improve the overall health of the population. Those with the lowest incomes (and consequently the lowest life expectancies) would benefit the most in improved health.

One way to create efficiencies in public services is to increase investments in social services like income supports and housing that will, in turn, lower health care costs.

Inequality should not only be reduced to improve social outcomes, such as good health, but also to sustain long-term growth.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has increasingly focused on the impacts of income inequality. New OCED analysis concludes that reducing inequality boosts economic growth.

Econometric analysis by the OCED suggests that income inequality has a negative and statistically significant impact on subsequent growth. This work finds that countries where income inequality is decreasing grow faster than those with rising inequality.

The impact of inequality on growth stems from the gap between the bottom 40 percent with the rest of society, not just the poorest 10 percent. Anti-poverty programs will not be enough, says the OECD. Cash transfers and increasing access to public services, such as high-quality education, training and healthcare, are an essential social investment to create greater equality of opportunities in the long run.

To tackle inequality, the OECD suggests a focus on increasing women’s economic participation, promotion of employment and creation of good-quality jobs, investing in human capital through better skills and education policies, and, finally, redistribution through taxes and transfers.

These policies are especially important for rural communities who have borne the brunt of deindustrialization and declines in resource-extraction industries. Often public services like schools, hospitals, and long-term care facilities are the best jobs in small communities. By extension the job security and health and welfare benefits afforded to unionized employees at these public facilities, most often women, keep families and communities together and healthy. These public sector services and jobs also sustain private sector businesses.

Tax policy of recent governments has contributed to increased inequality.

Newfoundland Labrador’s personal income tax system has become less progressive since 2008 because of a series of tax cuts. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. Income Tax Cuts – Newfoundland Labrador

Figure 2. Income Tax Cuts – Newfoundland Labrador

The bulk of those income tax cuts went to the wealthy. Even with recent increases to personal income taxes, the rate for top incomes is still below the rates that were effective up until 2007.

Not only is Newfoundland Labrador’s top taxation rate lower than nearby provinces, and lower than it was up until 2007, Newfoundland Labrador’s top rate only begins to apply at a much higher income level than in most other provinces. (See Figure 3.)

Figure 3. Top Income Tax Rates – Atlantic Provinces

Figure 3. Top Income Tax Rates – Atlantic Provinces

Government can reduce inequality by making the income tax system a more progressive one.

Another way to reduce inequality is to raise the minimum wage. CUPE urges Newfoundland Labrador to follow the lead of Governments in Alberta, Ontario and B.C. and increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

A $15 minimum wage would significantly boost the income of low-wage workers as a group, reduce working poverty and make a dent in the large increase in income inequality. Although $15 an hour is not a living wage, it is a step in the right direction.

Increasing the minimum wage is also a stimulus to the local economy because low-income earners spend most of their income and chiefly in their community.

CANCEL THE P3 DEALS

Two recent events add to the evidence that P3s are an expensive and risky procurement model that governments and taxpayers should avoid. They should be of particular concern to this government which has announced the province’s first P3 projects, including a hospital and three long term care homes.

The first event is Ontario’s Auditor General Report released in December 2017 exposing further problems with P3s in that province. The Auditor General singled out P3 hospitals and maintenance contracts for particular attention. The Corner Brook P3 long term care home and hospital will include maintenance contracts.

The Auditor General identified five key problems with the maintenance of the 16 privatized P3 (“public private partnership”) hospitals in Ontario:

  1. Long-term ongoing disputes with privatized P3 contractors over the P3 agreements, including about what is covered by the P3 contract.
  2. Hospitals are required to pay higher than reasonable rates to the P3 contractor for maintenance work the contractor has deemed to be outside of the P3 contract. In other words, Ontario hospitals are being gouged by P3 contractors on maintenance work that is not covered in the original contract.
  3. Hospitals are experiencing funding shortfalls for their P3 maintenance agreements.
  • Four hospitals that the Auditor General spoke to have either requested additional funding from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) or informed the Auditor General that they had experienced a funding shortfall but had not made a request for additional funding from the Ministry. These hospitals advised the Auditor General that the total funding shortfall was $8.1 million in 2015/16.
  • The MOHLTC has provided some extra funds for the P3 hospitals to deal with these shortfalls, but, according to the hospitals the Auditor General spoke to, the additional funding provided by the Ministry does not cover the full amount of the shortfall. Management at the hospitals informed the Auditor General that they have been required to reduce funding in other areas within their existing budgets to make up these shortfalls.
  1. Two key benefits that hospitals expected from P3 maintenance agreements have not been realized. The two key benefits they hoped for were: [1] that the monthly P3 payments hospitals make would cover all maintenance within the scope of the P3 agreement; [2] and hospitals would transfer the risk of maintaining the hospital to the private-sector company. “However, all the hospitals we contacted informed us that, due to the way that private-sector companies have interpreted the Alternate Finance Procurement [P3] agreements, the hospitals are not realizing these benefits.”
  2. Hospitals informed the Auditor General that the P3 “escalating dispute resolution methods” are collectively time-consuming and ineffective at resolving disputes.

Here are examples of two disputes from the Auditor General’s Report:

  • In one of the hospitals interviewed, 30 out of 84 negative pressure rooms were not in use from May 2015—when the construction of the hospital was determined to be substantially complete—to July 2017, when the private-sector company finally acknowledged and started to address the deficiency. Making these rooms available is the responsibility of the P3 contractor under the maintenance portion of the agreement. According to the CEO of the hospital, this is a serious matter because negative pressure rooms are used for infection control. The hospital CEO further noted that, even after acknowledging the availability failure, the private-sector company was still very slow to respond to and resolve the failure, causing the hospital to suggest that it appeared that the penalties were not significant enough to incentivize faster resolution. To date, the hospital has withheld $139,000, which represents two months’ worth of penalties. As of July 2017, this situation remained largely unchanged.
  • In another hospital, the Personal Alarm System, which is a central monitoring system that is intended to ensure the health and safety of patients, staff and visitors, experienced repeated failures since January 2014; these persisted into 2017. Examples of the failures include false alarms, system slowdowns, security office camera problems, and door lock issues. The hospital and the private sector company are in dispute regarding the amount of penalty, in the form of deductions against payments to the private-sector company. The hospital has asserted that the amount of deductions allowed under the AFP agreement totals over $71.4 million over the three-year period, but the private-sector company has not recognized any failures. In addition, the hospital has incurred over $2.3 million in legal, consulting and other professional fees since January 2014 to deal with this issue.

Despite problems such as this, the Auditor General found that P3 companies with poor performance records were still winning contracts – one such company got in on a P3 deal worth $1.3 billion in 2016 and another worth $685 million in 2017. There seemed to be an absolute disconnect between the arm of government awarding the P3 contracts, Infrastructure Ontario, and the Ministries of government managing disputes with the private-sector companies during the maintenance phase of existing P3 projects. As a result, private-sector companies in the consortia that have performed poorly in maintaining buildings—in that they have had many failures and disputes with hospitals and other government entities—have been members of other consortia that have been awarded additional P3 contracts.

This Auditor General report deals with only one (small) aspect of the P3 deals – maintenance. Earlier AG reports have shown major problems with other aspects of the P3 model of procurement.

The second recent P3 development is the collapse of Carillion, a global promoter of public-private partnerships. Carillion sponsored and financed more than 60 P3s as well as holding contracts for facilities management services. In the UK alone, Carillion held contracts to provide food and cleaning services to schools, maintenance and facility management services to hospitals, services in prisons and military bases, among others.

Carillion is involved in 10 P3s across Canada, primarily in Ontario, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories. Two hospitals are still in development.

The Government of Newfoundland Labrador relied heavily on the Saskatchewan experience to design and promote its P3 procurement projects. With the Carillion bankruptcy, Saskatchewan may be left with unanticipated 30-year contract obligations for the construction and maintenance of the new North Battleford P3 hospital in which Carillion was a consortium partner. The North Battleford hospital has already been criticized for its costly maintenance contract which was higher than the maintenance budget for the entire former health region.

A second cautionary tale from the Carillion collapse is the role that large accountancy companies such as KPMG, EY, Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers play in the P3 business. In Britain, KPMG is under investigation by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) for potential breach of the ethical and technical standards for auditors as the House of Commons attempts to grapple with Carillion’s massive debts and pension deficits. There are calls for scrutiny of all of the accountancy firms who have become deeply embedded in the lucrative P3 promotion and revenue streams.

All the large accounting firms that advise governments on P3 proposals – KPMG, Deloitte, EY and PricewaterhouseCoopers – are sponsoring members of the Canadian Council for Public Private Partnerships, the leading lobbying organization for the P3 industry with an explicit mandate to promote and facilitate public-private partnerships.

The Government of Newfoundland Labrador has for all intents and purposes hired EY to manage its P3 contracts. The consultants and accounting firms that prepare the business cases and assessments for the P3 agencies generate considerable income from P3s. How is it possible for EY to provide an independent and impartial assessment of P3 proposals when its ties to the P3 industry run so deep?

CONCLUSION

Higher unemployment and growing inequality threaten the future of Newfoundland Labrador as do P3s which transfer huge costs and risks to future generations.

CUPE NL urges government to make these issues its budget priority.

Download a printable copy of the submission (with sources).

Member Update – November 29, 2017

creynolds Article, Collective Bargaining

Member Update – November 29, 2017The following update is for CUPE NL members and locals affected by the current round of provincial bargaining. Please print and share this update with your local members.

What is a concession?

Concession bargaining is a term used in negotiations in which the employer asks the union to give back previously gained improvements in pay and conditions.

The employer may also propose two-tier contracts with lower wages, benefits, and working conditions. This would see members who work side-by-side being paid different rates of pay, with access to different benefits, and even different pensions upon retirement. Two-tier provisions are considered a concession.

Accepting concessions is no guarantee you’ll ever get back what you’ve lost. If a union has a history of concession bargaining, the employer is that much more likely to ask.

It is important to remember that every item that is in our collective agreement is something that bargaining teams of the past have fought hard to get and to protect.

A wage freeze means real wage losses

Newfoundland and Labrador workers – including health care workers, school board workers, long-term care workers, library workers, transition home workers, NL Housing and others – have been waiting years for a decent pay increase. Better wages are necessary to get the economy growing.

For most workers, the collective bargaining process is the only tool at their disposal to control their wages, while the cost of living rises. Voting on their collective agreement is a means to protect their income. When a union member votes on a collective agreement, they’re not just protecting themselves – they’re protecting their family, their community, and the future for generations of workers.

When planning their own household budget, union members should plan for the four years of the current contract plus the two years it may take to negotiate the next contract.

In proposals presented to CUPE by the Province’s negotiators, the Ball Government has put forward a four-year wage freeze on public sector workers, for the period of April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2020. This means real wage losses projected as 11.1% (compounded; as the rising cost of living outpaces wage gains) in the four-year period of the contract we are currently negotiating.

This attack on public sector wages will do serious damage to the economy. Suppressing public sector wages will eventually drive down private sector wages. If the Province is serious about growing the economy, they should not attack wages or retirement income.

Labour compensation and household spending are responsible for well over half of our country’s national income and spending and for more than 60 per cent of our economic growth since 2009.

Households have maintained consumer spending by increasing their debt to record levels and leveraging equity in their homes as house prices have escalated. This has been affordable with low interest rates, but won’t be sustainable as interest rates rise and real estate prices plateau or decline.

Increase in the cost of living* – Newfoundland and Labrador

2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
2.7% 2.6% 2.9% 2.4% 2.4% 2.6%

If labour compensation and consumer spending don’t increase at a decent and sustainable pace, then our economy won’t grow at a decent pace either.

The chart below can be used to estimate how much you will lose if your wages remain the same during this four-year period, plus the two years it may take to negotiate the next collective agreement.

Annual Wages

Wage Losses

2016 2017 2018 2019
20000 520 540 580 480
30000 780 810 870 720
40000 1040 1080 1160 960
50000 1300 1350 1450 1200
60000 1560 1620 1740 1440
70000 1820 1890 2030 1680

*Source: The 2017 Economic Review – Fall Forecast, Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Finance

 

CUPE sets plan to fight concessions and two-tier bargaining

The National Executive Board is reaffirming CUPE’s commitment to fighting concessions and two-tier contract provisions, and defending the free collective bargaining rights of its members. At a meeting in December last year, the NEB approved a revised policy on collective bargaining that sets out a plan to ensure CUPE locals and members are fully prepared to fight back against attacks during bargaining.

“Workers did not join CUPE in order to move backwards, to lose wages or benefits, or lower their working conditions. They joined our union so they could move forward, with a better work life, more secure employment, and safe working conditions,” said Mark Hancock, national president of CUPE.  

“We have an obligation to our members to resist concessions, two-tier contract provisions, and precarious work. If a contract provision is not good enough for our current members, it is not good enough for the next generation of workers either.”

The revised policy outlines roles and responsibilities of all elected leaders and staff in fighting concessions, resisting two-tier contract proposals from employers, and defending the free collective bargaining rights of CUPE members.

Read the full NEB Policy on Collective Bargaining at https://cupe.ca/sites/cupe/files/gm/20170628/collective-bargaining-policy.pdf.

P3 promotion agencies ignore reports by auditor generals

Letter: Partnership is an empty buzzword

creynolds Own Your NL, Privatization

The following letter to the editor was published on Monday, November 5, 2017, in The Telegram.

The St. John’s Board of Trade offered nothing new in their Oct. 27 letter to the editor (“P3 model unduly criticized”) that hasn’t already been said by consultants and lobbyists that stand to profit from these misguided deals.

P3 promotion agencies ignore reports by auditor generals - print adWhen public-private partnerships (P3) promoters use buzzwords like “innovation” and “stability” while talking about P3s, it means they’ve drunk the Kool-Aid. Privatization can take many forms, and its promoters often use different terms to hide what they’re doing.

The term “partnership” can be misleading. Board of Trade chair Dorothy Keating said it herself. “The Canadian P3 market is attractive to investors.” Their goal is not to save taxpayers money. It’s profit.

P3s are long-term contracts that allow for-profit enterprises to finance, build, own, maintain and/or operate a public infrastructure asset and the services it provides. P3s are structured to guarantee the private sector profitable payments and/or user fees, while governments are left holding the risk.

P3s allow politicians to keep upfront costs off the books and let private companies arrange financing until the project is complete. Politicians get credit for delivering new infrastructure while passing future operating and maintenance costs off onto future politicians and taxpayers.

For example, the Corner Brook P3 hospital and long-term care facilities are “Define, build, finance, maintain” projects. That’s privatization.

The value for money that Keating mentioned is often calculated by using biased comparisons in case studies, cherry-picking data and ignoring reports by auditor generals.

High rates of return come at a price for future taxpayers. The P3 parade provides excellent returns for investors today because future generations will pay the price through massive and growing liability payments.

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians should take pride in the fact we’re the only province that hasn’t drunk the Kool-Aid – yet.

Wayne Lucas, president
CUPE NL

Update: After this letter was written, Premier Dwight Ball awarded a P3 contract to a consortium of private companies to design, build, finance and maintain a long-term care facility in Corner Brook (Friday, November 3, 2017). 

Delegates hold up voting cards at national convention 2017

Convention 2017 – Moving Forward Together

creynolds Article, Collective Bargaining

Delegates hold up voting cards at national convention 2017Dear Sisters, Brothers, and Friends:

We’d like to thank the 2,200 delegates who took the time out of their lives to attend our National Convention in Toronto last week. We know it’s not easy, and we appreciate your commitment to our union, and the honesty and civility with which you engaged in debates around our union’s priorities, policies and structure.

We accomplished a lot together, and we wanted to share some of the key decisions that were made.

Strike Pay

Delegates approved a resolution to begin pay for eligible members of striking locals on the first day of a strike, instead of the fifth, as is currently the case. This move will strengthen the position of locals who encounter obstinate and unreasonable demands from employers at the bargaining table. This change to strike pay is effective immediately.

Coupled with the union’s renewed bargaining policy, which rejects all attempts by employers to force concessions and two-tier proposals on workers, we now have a full set of tools to take on bargaining in a climate of aggressive austerity.

Strategic Directions

Delegates also adopted CUPE’s Strategic Directions, which establishes the union’s priorities for the next two years. The plan sets out how we will make gains in our workplaces and communities, fight racism and discrimination in all its forms, defend public services, and advocate for a better country and world.

Task Force on Governance

Delegates approved a resolution to create a Task Force on Governance which will review the structure of our union as laid out in the constitution. Our governance structure has not changed significantly since our inception as a union in 1963, despite the substantial growth and changes in our membership in the intervening 54 years, and this assessment is long overdue.

The task force will look at the current and historic composition of our leadership, the role and responsibility of the positions that make up the National Executive Board, and the structure of our chartered organizations as well as that of other labour organizations. The task force will make recommendations to the National Executive Board by March 2019, and the NEB will submit any constitutional amendments necessary to the 2019 National Convention.

Once again, we’d like to thank each and every delegate for their work.

In solidarity,

MARK HANCOCK
National President
CHARLES FLEURY
National Secretary-Treasurer