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“Toronto South is a costly boondoggle." — OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas

Nova Scotia's Finance Minister suggested a very heavy-handed approach to negotiations during a meeting with the province's public sector unions. 

Halifax (21 Aug. 2015) — Nova Scotia’s Finance Minister, Randy Delorey, took a hard line during a September 18 meeting with the province's public sector unions. Delorey met with the union leaders to deliver the province’s demands for collective bargaining as it starts the process of negotiations with Nova Scotia’s teacher, nurse and public service unions.
Joan Jessome, President of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU/NUPGE) spoke with the media after the meeting and her interview can be seen above.
Unfair bargaining?
The unions, representing more than 50,000 government and broader public sector employees, reported after the meeting that the province wants all future collective agreements to be at least five years in length and that there is no new money to invest in their workforce.
Delorey, the unions report, stated that any wage increases won will come out of other compensation costs set out in the collective agreement.
Threat of legislation?
There was also some indication that if an agreement wasn’t reached, legislation imposing a deal will be introduced. 
Last year the provinces health care unions were engaged in a lengthy dispute with the government over essential services legislation and an attempt to force mergers.
NUPGE
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE
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“We know home care clients and their families place a great deal of value on the work we do, so it’s a relief that a tentative deal was reached,” said Michelle Gawronsky, President of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE)
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Winnipeg (21 Aug. 2015) — After two years at the bargaining table, the Community Support Bargaining Committee has reached a tentative agreement with the committee representing employers.
Relief for clients and families
“We know home care clients and their families place a great deal of value on the work we do, so it’s a relief that a tentative deal was reached,” said Michelle Gawronsky, President of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE).
Lengthy round of negotiations
“This has been a long road for members of the community support bargaining committee. We’re pleased we are now able to bring this offer to the members for a vote.”
Details of the agreement will not be shared until the 4800 members of the Component have had an opportunity to review them. The bargaining committee will meet shortly to schedule ratification votes for members across the province. 
NUPGE
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE
NUPGE Components: 

Occupational Groups: 

HSABC is holding a solutions-oriented Summit on Violence in the Workplace for its RPN members as a way to address the growing problem of violence in health care settings.

Instead of making the transition of lab services in Medicine Hat smooth and professional, Alberta Health Services has chosen to ask "already stressed and busy workers to jump through hoops — and then apply for the jobs they already do", says Mike Parker, HSAA.

 

Mike Parker, Vice-President HSAA/NUPGE

After years of warning the Saskatchewan government about problems in its correctional facilities, SGEU is surprised the Minister is still claiming she is unaware of any concerns.

“I am glad that young women like me and other women are protected and represented by unions.”
Ottawa (18 Aug. 2015) — The two young women who are the most recent winners of NUPGE’s Why Unions Matter contest are painfully aware that, in life, the cards are stacked against them.
For Madison Hill, an 18-year-old from the Six Nations Reserve in southern Ontario, systemic discrimination can come in a variety of flavours: age, gender, ethnicity. But as she points out in her prize-winning poem, Why Unions Matter to Me, unions help people stand together against all those systemic injustices.
'I choose Union'
“I choose Union,” writes Hill, who works at Selkirk Provincial Park and is a member of OPSEU/NUPGE. “Where / I have equal opportunity / I have a summer job to return to. / I am treated fairly / I am safe in the workplace.”
It’s a similar situation for Raegan Zdunick, who is about to start her first year in the Agriculture and Bioresources program at the University of Saskatchewan. Like all women, Raegan faces stubbornly systemic sexism at almost every turn: women continue to be paid less, receive fewer benefits, and get fewer promotions.
Unions help all women protect themselves
But like Hill, Zdunick understands that, thanks to unions, the situation is improving and will continue to improve until true equality is achieved. “As I enter into my university career and pursue a professional career,” she writes in her essay Unions and Women, “I am glad that young women like me and other women are protected and represented by unions.”
Congratulations to both Hill and Zdunick. The Why Unions Matter contest is still accepting entries for further monthly prizes. Please email your entry to whyunionsmatter@nupge.ca.
More information: 
Why Unions Matter contest
NUPGE
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE
NUPGE Components: 

The Committee has called on Canada to take immediate, coordinated action on the murders and disappearance of Aboriginal women and girls. 

Ottawa (17 Aug. 2015) — The United Nations Human Rights Committee recently issued its Concluding Observations after reviewing Canada’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  The Committee has called on Canada to take immediate, coordinated action on the murders and disappearance of Aboriginal women and girls.  It calls upon Canada to conduct a national public inquiry into this issue.
Other international bodies call for a public inquiry
The UN Human Rights Committee’s recommendations follow those of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discriminations against Women (CEDAW), which issued its report in March 2015 on the murders and disappearances of Aboriginal women and girls. 
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) also released a report in January 2015 with the same recommendations.  It also highlighted how Canadian governments need to meet their international human rights obligations to respond to violence against Aboriginal women and girls.  
The Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) and the Native Women’s Association of Canada requested these investigations that led to the three reports. 
"Governments must act together to address this human rights crisis"
“The Human Rights Committee has now added its voice to the many international human rights experts that are calling on Canada to establish a national public inquiry into the violence.  Governments must act together to address this human rights crisis,” stated Shelagh Day, a spokesperson for the Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA).
Numerous outstanding human rights issues in Canada
The UN Human Rights Committee’s Concluding Observations also addressed many other outstanding human rights issues in Canada.  These included the gender pay gap, violence against women, Canada’s failed relationship with Aboriginal Peoples, the silencing of civil society, and Bill C-51. 
More information: 
Concluding Observations
FAFIA
NWAC
NUPGE
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

OPSEU member activists show their support for World Breastfeeding Week at an event in Sault Ste. Marie.

Sault Ste. Marie (10 Aug 2015) — The presidents of two OPSEU/NUPGE locals in Sault Ste Marie took part in an event yesterday marking World Breastfeeding Week. 
Although it technically took place from August 1 to 7, World Breastfeeding Week was marked in Sault Ste. Marie during an event yesterday. OPSEU/NUPGE Local 607 President Shauna Weston and OPSEU/NUPGE Local 602 President Carole Gregoric each took their children to the event celebrating World Breastfeeding Week.
Mother-Friendly Workplace Initiative
The World Breastfeeding Week 2015 theme was working women and breastfeeding and was meant to revisit the 1993 WBW campaign on the Mother-Friendly Workplace Initiative.
Much has been achieved in 22 years of global action supporting women in combining breastfeeding and work, particularly the adoption of the revised ILO Convention 183 on Maternity Protection with much stronger maternity entitlements, and more actions by countries on improving national laws and practices.
More information: 
World Breastfeeding Week 
NUPGE
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE
 
NUPGE Components: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

"If we marshal our considerable resources and energy, I believe we can stop the proposed bill before it becomes law." — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President OPSEU.

Toronto (20 July 2015) — A proposal to change labour law rules when competing unions find themselves facing merger votes violates worker rights and undermines democracy in the workplace, says the President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE).
Workers lose right to choose own union
“If Bill 109, as currently drafted, passes into law then a worker will lose the right to determine which union he or she chooses to represent them,” said Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “That is fundamentally unjust, and it ignores the principle of workplace democracy.”
The proposed change to the Public Sector Labour Relations Transition Act (PSLRTA) would affect only those unions which represent employees working in the public sector.
Need for concerted effort to fight off changes
Bill 109 represents such a sweeping change to the way organized labour conducts its democratic processes that Thomas urged all unions in Ontario to join together to force changes to the draft legislation.
“One union acting alone is unlikely to change the direction the Liberals want to go with this,” he said. “But if we marshal our considerable resources and energy, I believe we can stop the proposed bill before it becomes law.”
Changes to how mergers take place
Merger votes occur when two or more unions represent employees working for a single employer. The employer can make an application to the Ontario Labour Relations Board to have the employees decide which of the competing unions should represent them.
Under the proposed bill, no merger vote would be required if one of the unions already represents more than 60 per cent of the workforce.
Thomas said the proposed change doesn’t take into account the fact that while one union may be able to sign up a majority of workers through an organizing drive, it doesn’t mean that same union enjoys either a superior collective agreement or is better able to enforce the contract.
“In a merger vote, workers should be entitled to judge each union on their own merits,” said the OPSEU President. “Bill 109 rewards one union for having signed up the most members compared to the other union. It doesn’t allow for members to decide for themselves which is the stronger union with respect to negotiating, or enforcing, a good collective agreement. The proposed legislation snatches away that entitlement.”
NUPGE
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE
NUPGE Components: 

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