CUPE welcomes long-awaited pay equity legislation

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) welcomes Canada’s long-awaited first federal pay equity legislation. “This is a great achievement for the women’s movement in Canada and the allies who fought for decades to right this historical wrong,” said CUPE National President Mark Hancock. “There is room for improvement in this legislation, but we give credit to Minister Hajdu and look forward to working with her to make Bill C-86 even better.”

CUPE applauds the government for making good on its promise to introduce proactive pay equity legislation, and is pleased to see Bill C-86 calls for unions to be involved in the development and maintenance of pay equity plans for workers in federal jurisdictions.

But in order to be truly effective for workers, the government should amend the bill before it becomes law.

First, the legislation needs to ensure that workers’ rights to equality and fair compensation always take priority over the whims of employers. As it stands, the bill appears to give employers too much discretion.

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Time for a true national holiday to honour Indigenous peoples

On June 21, CUPE members across Canada will mark National Aboriginal Day, also known as National Indigenous Peoples Day, an annual opportunity to honour and celebrate the diverse cultures of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples.

Indigenous peoples will be celebrating in their communities, and graciously sharing their ceremonies, customs and heritage with others across the country. It is a day we can all stand in solidarity with Indigenous peoples striving to protect and strengthen their cultures, languages, and way of life.

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Preparing for a Doug Ford Conservative Government – a message for CUPE members and staff

Attention all staff, CUPE leaders and activists:

The election results on June 7, were not what we wanted and are very concerning for all CUPE members and the public services we provide. With only 40 percent of the vote, Doug Ford and the Conservative Party now have a majority government in Ontario.

The race between the Conservatives and the NDP was close until the end. We had members and staff working hard on campaigns all across the province. Thanks to your hard work we elected many new strong NDP MPPs. Three of them – Joel Harden, Rima Berns-McGown and Sara Singh – were our own CUPE Ontario members.  We also came so close in many other ridings.

We now have an official opposition that represents the needs of working people and our families. An opposition we can work with to protect our members from an agenda of job and service cuts.

We should all feel proud of our contributions in electing the most diverse caucus in the history of Queen’s Park. We can feel confident that they will be effective in fighting for our jobs and the services we provide.

That said, we need to get prepared for the challenges ahead. Doug Ford has promised to cut more than $10 billion a year from provincial revenue – money used to fund the services we provide. If he keeps this promise, we will see substantial cuts to our services and jobs, and serious concession bargaining. We need to be ready to fight back.

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Premier Designate Ford’s hiring freeze demonstrates a lack of understanding of the scope of government services

Yesterday’s announcement of a unilateral hiring freeze across all government services demonstrates Premier Designate Doug Ford’s lack of understanding of the overall scope of services the Ontario government provides, says CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn.

“Ford has not even been sworn in as Premier and he has made this sweeping decision without having had the time to actually understand the overall needs of each of the Ministries and the services they provide across Ontario,” says Hahn. “This has the potential of causing significant and perhaps unintended problems on the frontlines in our communities.”

“Rash decisions are not the way to improve the lives of working people and their families,” says Candace Rennick, Secretary-Treasurer of CUPE Ontario. “Once the new Premier officially takes office and becomes more familiar with the breadth of necessary jobs that will be effected, we hope he will adjust his decision.”

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May is Asian Heritage Month

Asian Heritage Month has been celebrated across Canada since the 1990s and was officially recognized by the federal government in May 2002. Every year at this time, CUPE celebrates the contributions that members of Asian communities have made to Canada.

We acknowledge and honour the activism of people of Asian descent in their fight for human rights and social justice. Their ongoing struggles against multiple forms of oppression have been instrumental in strengthening our labour movement and our communities.

Some of those struggles included resistance against the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Head Tax; the denial of the right to vote or to run for public office; the exploitation of Chinese railway workers; the internment of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War; and the Komagata Maru incident which led to challenges to the federal government’s racist “continuous journey regulation.” These struggles are historical, but anti-Asian racism is still present today.

For Asian Heritage Month, we encourage members to build on these past struggles and take action against discrimination and oppression today.

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