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OMECC mobilizing to tackle P3s

From fighting P3s to achieving a fair deal for cities, members of CUPE Ontario’s municipal sectoral conference committee and assigned CUPE national staff are putting the final touches on conference workshops and presentations to delegates.

CUPE Ontario president Sid Ryan encouraged the committee to consider applying a P3 campaign strategy developed by CUPE Ontario as a sector-wide model to tackle municipal P3 projects.

The strategy was used recently to fight a proposed P3 sports field/complex in Welland. A key feature of the coming conference slated for March 26-29 at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto will be a delegate-driven, campaign-building workshop using the CUPE Ontario P3 fight-back model and expanding it for use in communities across the province.

Delegates at last November’s CUPE National convention approved an ambitious, well-resourced anti-privatization campaign–$5 million has been allocated over two years—and Ontario municipal locals must take a leadership role in combating P3s, contracting out and other forms of privatization, said Ryan.

Municipal strike ends in Kawartha Lake

CUPE 855 members voted to accept a revised offer from the City of Kawartha Lakes, ending a 46-day old strike. Over 430 municipal workers went on strike on February 4 over issues of contracting out, age discrimination and management’s lack of respect for workers and public services.

“We want to thank everyone for their support during this strike,” said Lyn Edwards, CUPE 855 president. “Our members are eager to return to work and serve our community. We remain committed to do what it takes to fight contracting out of public services in our community.”

CUPE Ontario promises P3 fight in Welland

If the city wants to enter a public-private partnership to build a new soccer facility off Woodlawn Road it will have a fight on its hands from CUPE Ontario and CUPE Local 1115, which represents the city’s 74 inside workers in Welland. 

P3s cost taxpayers more than if the municipality built it itself.

Generally, private companies cannot borrow money on the market at the same low interest rates as governments.

That’s because unlike governments, who have taxation powers, companies cannot compel anyone to provide them revenue.

One or two per cent on millions of dollars over a couple of decades adds up, that leads to higher financing costs.

Private partners often negotiate the right to operate the facilities, and look to make a profit. That means users pay higher fees in privately run facilities than in public ones.

Windsor, Kingston, Oshawa, and Niagara have rejected P3 complexes.

Paramedics Campaign: Retiring at 60

CUPE Ontario has mounted a campaign to end the discrimination at OMERS against paramedics.

Unlike Police and Fire, (even with the Public Safety Occupation designation) paramedics are not allowed to retire at 60 years of age with a full pension.

The campaign is supported by SEIU, OPSEU, CAW and CUPE Ontario.

This campaign centers on lobbying Mayors and councilors and will travel the province. CUPE Ontario’s president has presented to paramedics in Oshawa and Kitchener.

Community Social Services Campaign

Every day, thousands of people in Toronto depend on community social services. Yet a decade of under-funding and under-resourcing has left these agencies unable to meet costs—for basic necessities like heat, capital expenses and decent wages and benefits for their skilled and caring front-line workers.

CUPE Ontario and its Social Service Workers Coordinating Committee have played a large role in developing a joint employer-labour coalition to address the underfunding of community social service agencies and call on the provincial government to reinvest in the sector.

On June 5th, the coalition launched the Community Social Services Campaign at Queen’s Park. Called “Joining hands that build our communities” community social service agencies and labour groups from across the city will come together to showcase the vital contribution of their work.

CUPE Ontario Anti-Violence Campaign

It’s never been in anyone’s job description that violence is a part of the job.

Yet today, one in five violent acts occur at work, according to a study by Stats Canada.

Increasingly, those who work with the public, like members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Ontario are at greater risk.

Workplace violence isn’t just about physical assault. It is any incident in which a worker is abused, threatened, injured or assaulted as part of their employment.  

Local Health Integration Networks

The McGuinty government must listen to the legitimate concerns of community health care advocates and take responsibility for funding gaps affecting local health service levels while the health system undergoes restructuring.

The campaign focuses on community advocacy as the Ontario Liberal government moves on radical health system changes under Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) that many anticipate will affect local health service levels.

Long Term Care – Bill 140

Liberal MPPs received a Valentine’s message from CUPE Ontario—”Act on your 3.5 hours of care promise”

Ontario MPPs across the province got the message loud and clear on Valentine’s Day that CUPE members are committed to improving the standards of care for vulnerable people in long-term care facilities.

CUPE Ontario and other unions halt home care competitive bidding

The McGuinty government has announced that it is halting the competitive bidding process for home care contracts across the province.

This is a major outstanding victory.  The government has backed down after years of campaigning by CUPE Ontario and its members that competitive bidding is a disastrous policy. The ramifications of this move are extremely significant for other initiatives like LHINs. It sets a precedent for further policy shifts that would move the McGuinty government off the notion of making a market out of the health care system.

CUPE Ontario School Board Provincial Common Issue Negotiations

School board members endorse provincial negotiations process

More than 400 CUPE school board sector members attending a sector-wide emergency meeting in Toronto on January 21, unanimously endorsed participation in a provincial common issues negotiations process.