50th Annual CUPE NL Convention

tjohnston Convention 2024

CUPE NL invites all locals to join them at the Delta Hotel, St. John’s on May 5st-8rd, 2024 for their 50th annual convention.

Registration will be held on Sunday, May 5th at 4:00 p.m. at the Delta Hotel. Locals are requested to make their own reservations, but a block of rooms, named “CUPE,” will be held for delegates at a rate of $149.00 plus taxes per night.

To send delegates, locals must have their per capita to CUPE National and CUPE NL up to and including April 2024.

For more information, please see the full Convention Call available for download here.

Release: Provincial government must keep public services public in new 10-year education plan

tjohnston Education, News Release

CUPE Newfoundland & Labrador welcomes the provincial government’s announcement of a 10-year plan to modernize and improve the province’s education system.

“We look forward to working with the employer to develop a plan that will improve public education across the province that values our members working in this sector, and that will keep public education public,” said CUPE NL President Sherry Hillier.

“In the past four years, the Furey administration has continued to push public-private partnerships across the province. This government has tried to contract out much of our current public service work, targeting hospitals, housing, and even snow removal in our towns, and we don’t want that to affect our schools more than it already has. The children of Newfoundland and Labrador deserve an education system that prioritizes their learning, not profit.”

CUPE NL is prepared to fight for a high-quality, public education system for our members, and for the people of Newfoundland & Labrador. They will be holding town halls with members across the province to ensure that this plan incorporates the expert knowledge of those working in education and reflects the issues and concerns that are important to CUPE NL members.

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Higgins Insurance Offers CUPE NL Members a Discount

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A message from Higgins Insurance:

As a member of CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador, you can get a 15% or more discount on your home and auto insurance if you switch to Higgins Insurance. There has never been a better time to get a quote, because our 7th annual Sweepstakes is underway. Several people have already won a prize, and we have many more to give away! You could win an Atlantic Canada long weekend getaway, a grocery gift card, or an annual CAA membership (to help you save on gas!)

Entering is simple, just fill out our quick form and a broker will be in touch as your renewal dates approach with a quote!

Click here to Enter and Save

We have been proudly servicing members within Atlantic Canada for 30 years, and we want to thank you all for your trust and support.

Look forward to hearing from you. Good luck!

CUPE Atlantic Education Workshops

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If you are a member of a local executive these FREE workshops are for you! Register soon as there is significant demand for CUPE workshops.

Health and Safety—An Introduction

November 4–5, 2023

An introduction to the world of health and safety, this course explores basic concepts such as:
• identification of hazards;
• hierarchy of controls;
• the role of health and safety committees;
• basics on the right to refuse.

REGISTRATION LINK: https://cupe.ca/mrm-union-education/event/6831
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Oct 31, 2023
LOCATION: CUPE St. John’s Area Office

Introduction to CUPE (online)

November 18, 2023 9:00am-12:00pm (NL)

In this workshop you will:
• explore union values;
• learn about CUPE’s structure;
• find out how unions solve problems ;
• gain skills that will help you play a stronger role in your CUPE local.

REGISTRATION LINK: https://cupe.ca/mrm-union-education/event/6961
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Nov 15, 2023
LOCATION: Online

Financial Essentials

November 25-26, 2023

Whether you are a trustee or a member of the executive, learning about the basics of the local union’s finances is a priority. In this workshop, you will learn about your duties regarding the finances of the union, budgeting and how to be transparent and accountable to members.

REGISTRATION LINK: https://cupe.ca/mrm-union-education/event/6957
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Nov 17, 2023
LOCATION: Glynmill Inn, Corner Brook

Introduction to Stewarding

November 25-26, 2023

If you are a new steward and want to learn how to help CUPE members solve workplace problems, this introductory workshop is for you!

In this workshop, you will learn:
• investigating workplace problems;
• filing a grievance;
• meeting with management;
• dealing with workplace complaints.

REGISTRATION LINK: https://cupe.ca/mrm-union-education/event/6959
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Nov 17, 2023
LOCATION: Glynmill Inn, Corner Brook

Staff at The Gathering Place are newest members of the CUPE family

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Employees at The Gathering Place, a community health centre in St. John’s, have voted overwhelmingly yes to becoming members of CUPE. The 84 employees provide services, meals and an overnight shelter to people in the community who struggle with daily living.

Aaron Brickman, a CUPE organizer, says everything happened quickly, with voting taking place in June and July. “When the votes were finally tallied this week, it was a whopping 89 percent in favour of joining the union,” he says.

Jon Bennett leads the Guest Support team at the centre and is interim president of the new CUPE Local, 5478. He says the rapid growth of the organization in response to increasing needs was one reason the employees felt the need to form a union.

“The expansion of services has been happening so quickly that we haven’t had an opportunity to voice our concerns,” he says. “There is a lot of complexity to the work, and a lot of stress. The staff are feeling the need to have more protections and support.”

He says the rapidly rising cost of living makes the ability to sit down and bargain compensation even more important.

“Ultimately, a union creates stronger workplaces and more collaboration between staff and management,” he says. “We can build the future of the organization together. As front line staff, we have a lot to contribute, and we need a stronger voice in these conversations.”

The new CUPE members include the Guest Support team, kitchen staff who serve up three meals a day, social workers, administrative and maintenance staff, dental assistants, volunteer co-ordinators and boutique and guest empowerment staff. The evening staff assist with the overnight emergency shelter which is open 8 pm- 8 am daily.

Workers at NL Housing Corporation say “Let us do our jobs”

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Maintenance workers at Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation are incredulous that their work is being contracted out as a solution to the housing crisis, instead of filling job vacancies and paying overtime.

“Everybody knows that contracting out costs a lot more than doing the work in house,” says Jerry Butler, president of CUPE Local 1860, which represents approximately 210 employees at NLHC. “In fact, a joint study done years ago by CUPE and the Housing Corporation showed that contractors charge between 25-30 percent more to do the work.”

He also wants to know why the government has taken this long to address homelessness.

“There are housing units that have been vacant for years, while shelters are bursting at the seams, and waitlists grow longer,” he says. “Often these units only need a small repair, but they are left vacant so long they require intensive remedies.”

Butler says the Housing Corporation has been reducing staff through attrition and leaving positions vacant, and has been letting contractors remove the inventory maintenance workers need to do their jobs.

He is also concerned that contractors are being hired arbitrarily instead of by tender, and says they often have to go behind contractors and fix their work.

“Private contractors are not accountable to the tenants the way we are,” he says. “A contractor will tear down a ceiling in a unit that has had a leak and not come back for weeks, allowing mold to grow. Whereas we would remediate water damage immediately.”

Butler says the work could all be done in house if the Housing Corporation would fill the vacancies, and be willing to pay overtime. “Let our members do their jobs,” he says.

Library workers unlock the doors to a world of possibilities!

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“Libraries are one of the last places that you can spend hours and hours in and not be expected to buy anything.” —Stefany Royles, Library Technician

In Newfoundland and Labrador we are fortunate to have a provincial library system, with professional, cheerful staff ready to guide your reading, learning and doing journey! CUPE Local 2329 represents approximately 300 library workers at 94 public libraries, from St. John’s to Labrador City.

Our members are library assistants, library technicians, IT specialists and clerical staff.

We interviewed three of them to find out what their days are like and what they love best about working in a library.

Stacey Lucas, Julia Mayo and Stefany Royles are Library Technicians at A.C. Hunter Public Library in St. John’s.

Stacey Lucas

Library Technician Stacey Lucas says the library is an amazing public service.

“Why spend $40 on a hard cover book when you can get it at the library for free!” she asks. “We offer much more than just books — there is so much programming, from book clubs and knitting groups to trivia nights and money management workshops. And all at no cost.”

Stacey has spent the past 14 years working at the circulation desk at the A.C. Hunter Public Library in St. John’s.

She has a certificate in Library Studies from Memorial University, where she was studying for an Arts degree when she heard about the library program.

“I have always been an avid reader,” she says. “So when I heard about this program, I knew where my path in life lay.”

One of her favourite programs is the Home Reader Service, for patrons who can’t get to the library — people with disabilities or seniors in care homes, for instance. Stacey is one of two library technicians that service the St. John’s area, delivering materials such as books, large print books, audio books and DVDs to people in private homes or in care homes.

“There’s a big demand for this service in St. John’s,” she says, with about a hundred people using the service on a regular basis. The program has recently been extended to new parents too, who might be unable to get out of the house with the demands of a new baby. And if you live in Cornerbrook or Gander, the Home Reader Service is offered there as well.

As Acting President of Local 2329, Stacey knows how lucky she is to have a job that she loves to go to everyday. But she is also aware that libraries aren’t top of mind when it comes to government spending. She says what would make her job better is more funding for libraries—for materials and the buildings that house them.

BEST PART OF HER JOB: Interacting with patrons and helping them choose books to read or movies to watch. “The best thing is getting to meet the patrons and sometimes making new friends.”

Julia Mayo

“The library is free and fun and full of amazing people who know amazing things,” says Julia Mayo, Adult Program Co-ordinator at the A.C. Hunter Library in St. John’s. “And where else can you go and not be expected to buy something?”

She is thrilled that public libraries have become more program oriented, geared towards bringing people together.

“Programs bring in outside entities to educate and entertain,” she says, “and as much as possible, we try to make sure that they are free.” She says the library has formed partnerships with many outside sources in order to bring programming to their adult patrons.

A favourite partnership is with the St. John’s Storytelling Festival. Last month they hosted a storytelling circle at the library, called “Tea and Tales.”

Another series, “Let’s Try”, gives people an opportunity to try out a new activity, such as Bollywood dancing. “Well Now” brings in different specialists to talk about health and wellness. There are programs on financial and digital literacy, programs for seniors and star gazers and geocachers. Julia says they try to choose programs that are pertinent and current.

But because they library is underfunded, she says they rely mostly on free offerings. “Thankfully, a lot of cool people provide their talent for free!” she says. “I’m so lucky to get to work with amazing, passionate professionals. My job is awesome!”

She says if there were unlimited resources she would wish for a new building to house the library. “It’s the same age as me,” she laments.

BEST PART OF HER JOB: “I love meeting new people and helping them find the information they need.”

Stefany Royles

“I always knew I was going to work in a library or a museum,” says Stefany Royles. “Being in the community is where I feel at home. Working for the public library you are definitely in the community!”

Stefany says she was inspired to become a library technician by her aunt, who was also a librarian. She’s part of the outreach team at the A.C. Hunter Library, where she’s involved in some unique initiatives.

Like the Library on the Go van, which she affectionately calls “Not just your nan’s bookmobile.” The van delivers materials to neighbourhoods that might not be able to access the main libraries, like communities on the outskirts of the city.

“People can access more than just books,” she says “DVDs, board games, bird watching backpacks, book club kits and musical instruments are also available to borrow.” This partnership with the City of St. John’s was launched a little over a year ago and has been a great success, she says.

The Library on the Go also tags along with Food First NL’s Food on the Move program — a mobile, pop-up grocery store that delivers fresh produce and other goods to six community centres, including a stop at Memorial University. “Patrons can purchase high quality food at amazing prices, such as three bundles of produce for $5,” she says. “Plus they can access library books and services at the same time.”

NLPL Connect Pass is a brand new program that allows persons with a library card to access free admission to arts and culture venues across the province. Stefany says the NL Provincial Library is the first in Canada to implement this new software. She says there are 57 partners across NL that are offering free passes, from provincial parks and museums to festivals and even ski and hockey clubs.

“We’re a library of learning and doing,” she says. “This is about removing barriers and allowing people to learn about the culture and history of our province.”

In the first month of the program Stefany says they issued 1400 new library cards, as members of the public wanted in on this exciting offer.

Another part of Stefany’s job is managing the non-fiction books that come in by donation. If they aren’t needed at the library, they are offered for sale through the Friends of Library, which holds book sales twice a year. She says the “weeding” process they go through for taking books out of the system is a very thought out process that involves looking at a number of factors, including the overall condition of the book and whether or not the information is still relevant.

“We constantly have to curate our collection so that the information is correct, unbiased and uncensored,” she explains, “ and so that we have enough room for the new items continually coming in, because we are finite!”

Stefany says having a bigger library budget would make her job better, and also the province as a whole. “There have been no library budget increases in almost 15 years,” she says.

BEST PART OF HER JOB: The camaraderie with her work mates, and the outreach. “It’s very satisfying.”

October is Library Month—make sure to visit a library and while you’re there, don’t forget to thank a library worker!

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LPN Update: CUPE NL signs agreement with NL Government

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September 19, 2023

Attn: LPNs of CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador

Re: LPN Information Update

I would like to begin by thanking all the LPNs who took time out of their busy schedules to attend our information sessions last week. It was fantastic to see so many participants, and I hope we can continue this momentum going forward.

Last week, we promised to circulate an update as soon as we had confirmed numbers to share with you all. As of this morning, CUPE has officially signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Newfoundland and Labrador government that will address some of the wage concerns of LPNs and their impact on recruitment and retention in the process.

The agreement includes:

  • $2.48-$3.11/hour fixed adjustment (depending on classification) in addition to current Collective Agreement wage increases.
  • Up to a 5% increase for LPNs with 15-25 years of service in Newfoundland and Labrador as an LPN.

Further information about how this will break down between classifications will be provided during information sessions this week. If you have time, please consider attending on September 20th at 3:00 p.m. or September 21st at 7:30 p.m for more information. Registration is required.

Thank you for all your patience and support during this process. I hope to see you at the sessions this week!

In solidarity,

Sherry Hillier

 

:sm/cope 491

Radio Message: Thank you LPNs for all that you do!

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The work of LPNs is invaluable, and we wanted to share a small message in thanks. Listen below!

Transcript:

When the worst happens, and you go to the hospital…

When you need care in a long-term care home…

When your family needs an update or a shoulder to cry on…

Licenced Practical Nurses are there.

And as the strain on the health care system continues, Licenced Practical Nurses will continue to be there.

Help us say thank you to Licenced Practical Nurses. Visit nl.cupe.ca/thankyoulpns

A message by CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador.