President’s Update for July 2016
Hi all – I hope the summer is going well and you are looking forward to August. In this update, you will find a snapshot of things in July, 2016. Please share this
with your locals, union membership, co-workers and friends, Ask them to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Ask your colleagues and others sign up to get these updates through our website. Click Here
Sister Rocky Beals is now our Vice-President Representative of Workers of Colour and Aboriginal Peoples.
At our recent Executive meeting, NSGEU President Jason MacLean was elected NSFL First Vice-President, leaving the position of Vice-President Representative of Workers of Colour and Aboriginal Peoples. Sister Beals was the Caucus Choice for alternate at our 2015 convention so she is now an Officer. Congratulations!
Do you know a retired member?
The Nova Scotia Federation of Union Retirees (NSFUR) is looking for new members, so if you are soon to be retired and want to help – join them. NSFUR is in the process of creating provincial area councils to provide retirees more opportunities to participate in campaigns in their regions. NSFUR provides a voice and a vehicle for retirees and membership is only $12 per year. Call our office for information 902.454.6735
The NSFL has a boycott on the Chronicle Herald. Please do not buy the paper or shop at businesses that continue to advertise in the paper or click on electronic links to the paper or its stories. Check out Local X-press – a news site created by the striking workers. Please support the workers and make a donation to the strikers today who have been out for more than six months.
Be watching as we begin to do more events and community meetings on the Fight for $15. Many Federations are now ramping up the fight – it is a winnable battle.
This is a graphic created in our office by the staff. It had almost 15,000 views and over 150 shares. The Liberals promised lower light bills and to break the NSP monopoly. Now we learn that power rates will increase. Click the link to read more on rate increases.
The story of Carcross Tagish First Nation in the Yukon
Sixteen people from the Carcross Tagish First Nation in Yukon were selected to build three tiny houses in the community. While in the Yukon we took a tour of Carcross and viewed the homes and a new community center being built by the 16 community members, giving them a chance to learn skills in carpentry, plumbing, wiring and drywalling.
The program is offered to members of the community with on the job and classroom
training. The entire projects are about teaching sub-trades and upgrading skills. The projects also support training to help the participants overcome their challenges in finding work.
Neilson Lepine, our tour guide told us that the decision to build tiny houses rather than regular homes was easy as they are trying to reduce the own-end cost for citizens so they can have the ability to maintain a unit efficiently with the offering of homes with low energy costs.
The project is in conjunction with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and will help with finding ways to improve the labour shortages in the territory by creating local opportunities. The project will also provide much-needed
housing to the First Nation community and create more skilled tradespeople to build more homes.
By-election called in Halifax Needham
Please share with your members and ask them to help donate to the campaign for Lisa Roberts, our wonderful NDP candidate in Halifax Needham. The by-election announced by Premier McNeil is slated for August 30. Together we must hold on to the NDP legacy in Needham. We are hoping that your union members will get involved so we can retain the seat and send the Liberals a clear message.
Lisa is an outstanding candidate. She is a former journalist, has a Masters Degree in Development Economics from Dalhousie, is a committed community organizer and most recently was Executive Director of Veith House. Lisa has helped develop the North End Community Circle (NECC), a project that connects hundreds of residents and dozens of non-profits and established the NECC community garden adjacent to Fort Needham Park. She is also a co-founder of Future Roots, a social enterprise that recruits, trains and supervises North End youth who work for their older neighbours and North End businesses. The McNeil Liberals have reduced funding for nursing homes, undermined the work of non-profit agencies with cutbacks in provincial funding, and stepped back from their commitment to move forward on affordable housing with the Bloomfield project. With the by-election on August 30,
the people of North End Halifax will have a chance to pass judgement on the McNeil record and embrace a positive, progressive agenda for the NDP. You need to donate personally to campaigns as unions or corporate donations are not allowed. The campaign also needs people to help on the ground as volunteers, a few hours, a few days or a few weeks all helps.
Liberal Government choice of exempting of athletes from Minimum Wage and other labour protections in wrong
Changing laws on a whim is a very slippery slope when those changes remove the basic right to minimum wage from employees of for-profit athletic teams who are athletes. This opens the doors for other corporations to seek the same kind of exemptions from having to pay their workers minimum wage or other statutory benefits which are in place to ensure Nova Scotian workers are paid fairly and treated fairly. It is really disappointing that in 2016 we have a Liberal government in Nova Scotia pushing through amendments that completely eliminate basic rights and the freedoms from workers. Exempting our athletes from basic employee rights like vacation and holiday pay, minimum wage, defined hours of work and protections around the termination of employment set a new low in basic
employment rights in our province that is unacceptable to the labour movement. The role of government is to protect the rights of all employees in the province, including those who employed as athletes by for-profit teams which are often owned by some of Nova Scotia’s richest people.
I was pleased to be part of the first Pride parade in Truro. Above from left to right: Cheek Totton (CUPW), myself, Toni McAffee (CUPW,), NSGEU President Jason McLean and NSFL Secretary-Treasurer Hugh Gillis.
Pride in Truro was a fantastic event with some 70 organizations and over 700 people registered. I am hoping we can up our game at pride events next year. Many unions participated in the Truro and Halifax Pride events and many are heading to the Sydney Pride Parade on August 6.
We wrote all NS MPs urging their support for fair bargaining with postal workers
I am writing to you all today with my concerns on Canada Post and making a request to all of you as our MPs in Nova Scotia. I would request that the federal government intervene and tell Canada Post to return to the bargaining table and not lock out its workers. We all know the bargaining process works and the employer in this case must make it work, they must bargain fairly, based on facts not fiction.
It’s not acceptable for Canada Post management to be speaking about public services in a negative way. They should be directed to speak about public services in a positive way, because public services are good for the economy, they build the economy, they provide good middle class jobs with pensions and
benefits. Most importantly, Canada Post is profitable, not in a downward spiral, so it’s time to stop the negative spin.
The NS Liberals are OK with the new job for Marilla Stephenson and how she got her shiny new $106,000-a-year job.
The NDP’s Gary Burrill has some questions about Marilla Stephenson’s new job. He is asking Stephen McNeil to provide evidence that appropriate policies were followed.
Let us know about your upcoming events and we can share them here.
Click on the pictures and logo to learn more about the
The button below is a link that will describe what a better CPP will mean based on wages made today and based on a lifetime of work. Thanks to our members in NS for making this happen. It just shows that when we work together we can win and it’s because union members got behind the campaign and did the on the ground work. Thanks to you all for this win. Check it out click on the button.
Cape Breton Pride
August 5th to 14th
Mental Health in the Workplace (Halifax) September 25th to the 29th a week long educational.
CLC Human Rights Conference
Oct 20th to 23rd
National Young Workers’ Summit
Oct 23 to 25, 2016.
NSGEU Events Calendar
CUPE Events Calendar
Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union Events
This in-house graphic had almost 5000 views and over 25 shares. It highlights the fact that the government can easily hand out money to the banks, but does little to help those most in need or small business.
Click on the picture of Micheal Sampson below. “I think that while the province of Nova Scotia provides a housing allowance to single parents of $570 a month, that we shouldn’t have any of our ministers sleeping in $600 beds.”
– Gary Burrill
Red tape bullshit
The Atlantic Federations of Labour are concerned that provincial governments in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia are moving ahead with red tape reduction specifically for the business community who have lobbied governments for change. We are concerned as well that Newfoundland and Labrador will join the process at some point. The Nova Scotia Office of Regulatory Affairs and Service Effectiveness released its first annual report on June 30, 2016 just prior to the long weekend in which they highlight a number of issues that are of concern to the labour movement in our regions.
No to Toll Highways
We cannot go down the road of toll highways. Toll highways are just another tax on people, and we already pay for highways. The residents of Nova Scotia deserve to have good highways, highways that are publicly owned and operated.
At the end of the day, this isn’t a question of road safety, it’s a question on accountability for tax dollars and getting the best value for those dollars. Government can borrow money to build infrastructure. We built this country by doing just that, we built the railway, the Trans-Canada highway and other public infrastructure.
Click the on pics below for the news story in the Whitehorse Daily Star.
At our sessions in Whitehorse we also met with union leaders and other groups such as the Canadian Health Coalition. Pictured above is a huge rally the Canadian Health Coalition put on. We marched and rallied in front of the building where the premiers were meeting.
I also attended a breakfast meeting of the Canadian Federation of Nurses’ Unions (CFNU). Eight premiers attended this breakfast meeting and we heard from speakers on the need for a national Phamacare program. I and many other leaders believe that if we continue to keep pushing for a national Pharmacare program we will win this just like our win on CPP.
It is really great that all of the premiers indicated they would aim to have this on the table when they meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in October.
We learned while at the CFNU breakfast that a targeted-funding approach to a national Pharmacare program would save Nova Scotia $300 million. Bulk buying as part of the Pharmacare program would save a lot of money for all provinces, in the billions and it would also regulate how much people have to pay. We heard from a speaker from Australia, where government has a list of certain drugs it will pay for. The only way to get on that list is to have competitive prices. That means those big pharma companies will not be able to charge whatever they choose to charge. They wouldn’t be able to get that drug on the list unless they were cost-competitive. This is a winnable campaign and we must ramp it up.
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