Government-Union Wage-Freeze Talks are a Trap

By admin, October 30, 2010 12:54 pm

CUPE Quarterly (Local 3906), Volume I, Issue 2
http://www.cupe3906.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/CUPE-Quarte…

By Ajamu Nangwaya
Chair – External, CUPE 3907

As a trade union member who works in the broader public
sector and would be affected by the proposed wage-freeze,
I have been strongly opposed to labour unions meeting
with the McGuinty Liberals. The only logical purpose behind
these government-initiated meetings is to strike deals with labour bureaucrats at the table in exchange for agreeing to wage-cuts for unionized members.

There is a collective bargaining process through which the working class attempts to extract wages and benefits for the contribution that it makes to the creation of wealth in this society. Why would labour leaders even agree to negotiate with the McGuinty Liberals when the strategic objective of the state is the delivery to the bosses
of the worker’s material interests on the proverbial silver platter?

Were these labour leaders spooked by the implication the Supreme Court’s BC Health Services decision which rejected British Columbia’s unilateral removal of clauses in the collective agreement of public sector workers, and stipulated that governments should negotiate in good faith with the elected representatives of the workers? Is it possible that some of these leaders are still rattled
by public reaction to the recent strikes in the cities of Windsor and Toronto and at York University?

The working-class and labour bureaucrats cannot face the employer with fear in their eyes and minds. As workers, we need to take a broad look at the general attack by the government and private sector actors on all of us who sell our labour, have no real control over the organizing of worklife and little say in the distribution of the fruit of, or profit from, collective labour.

Therefore, we should take the $4.6 billion tax-cut, the attack on the special diet allowance and the postponement of the $4 billion Metrolinx investment in transportation infrastructure as assaults on the working-class of this province. If the labour movement had mobilized its material resources and members when these attacks were advanced in the March 2010 budget, it would have greater credibility with the public that its refusal to take a wage-freeze is
about all workers earning a livable wage.

Organized labour must educate, mobilize and organize its members through a power and democracy from below strategy so as to effectively resist the McGuinty Liberals’ attempt to shaft the workers of this province.

SOURCE: http://linchpin.ca/English/Government-Union-Wage-Freeze-Talks-are-Trap

No strides for racialized women

By admin, October 29, 2010 9:08 am

Re: Women storm city council, Oct. 27

I am very perplexed when commentators write about the underrepresentation of women at Toronto’s city hall, but leave the race of these councillors out of the political equation. Over the life of the last city council, the 10 women councillors were 100 per cent white. With the newly elected women councillors, white women are now just over 92 per cent of the total.

We are living in a city where racialized women are close to 25 per cent of the population. A lone racialized woman on city council is a shameful reality in this city that loves to lionize its multicultural and racially diverse character. Therefore, when we celebrate women storming the new city council, we should be clear that we are really talking about white women making political advance.

It seemed so easy to see situations where white men are the people who dominate a political space. But we need to be equally perspective in naming exclusion that is based on: race; race and gender; or race, gender and sexual orientation. I hope progressives will not see Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam’s election as the ultimate equal opportunity jackpot for equity.

If you believe that women are “calmer,” “collegial,” “look at things from different angles,” and are consensus builders, just ask racialized women or other non-dominant women who must deal with white women or other women who exercise power over them.

It is also about power and creating monolithic myths about gendered leadership styles does not serve the cause of justice.

Ajamu Nangwaya, Toronto

The Privileging of Whiteness in Today’s Union

By admin, October 26, 2010 11:08 am

Current Members of the National Executive Board

The National Executive Board makes decisions on behalf of CUPE members in between conventions. Its members are elected by CUPE members at CUPE’s biennial national conventions. This section contains summaries of the board’s meetings, and decisions taken.

Paul Moist, National President

Paul Moist, CUPE National President

Jun 22, 2009 03:32 PM Paul Moist was elected national president on October 29, 2003, at CUPE’s bi-annual national convention in Quebec City.

Claude Généreux, National Secretary-Treasurer

Claude Généreux, CUPE’s National Secretary-Treasurer

Oct 20, 2009 07:36 PM Claude Généreux first was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the Canadian Union of Public Employees in the fall of 2001.

Daniel Légère

Daniel Légère, Regional Vice-President, New Brunswick

Jun 29, 2005 11:49 AM

General Vice-President
Daniel Légère has been a union activist ever since he was first hired as a correctional officer in St. Hilaire, N.B. in 1980. While still on probation, he became a shop steward and fought an unjustified reprimand. His involvement has taken many forms in CUPE and in the community ever since.

Lucie Levasseur

Lucie Levasseur, Regional Vice-President, Quebec

Nov 2, 2007 11:37 AM

General Vice-President
Lucie Levasseur comes to CUPE’s National Executive Board from Québec’s post-secondary education sector.

Fred Hahn

fredhahn[1].gif

Dec 14, 2009 03:59 PM

General Vice-President, Ontario

Fred Hahn has been an active member of CUPE since 1991. A social worker raised in rural Ontario, Fred chose to use his degree from the University of Toronto advocating for children with intellectual disabilities with Community Living Toronto.

Tom Graham

Tom Graham, Regional Vice-President, Saskatchewan

Oct 1, 2008 12:54 PM

General Vice-President, Saskatchewan

Tom Graham first became involved in CUPE in 1979, when he was hired by the City of Saskatoon Sign and Paint shop. He was elected president of CUPE Saskatchewan in 1998.

Barry O’Neill

Barry O’Neill, General Vice-PresidentJan 16, 2004 10:46 AM

General Vice-President
Barry was elected to the national executive board in 1998, first as a regional vice president.

Wayne Lucas

Wayne Lucas, Regional Vice-President, Newfoundland and Labrador

Aug 24, 2009 03:24 PM

Regional Vice-President, Newfoundland and Labrador

Lucas has been a CUPE member for over 30 years, having started his career as a school board worker in 1978. He has served as the president of CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador for the past 19 years.

Danny Cavanagh

Danny Cavanagh, Regional Vice-President, Nova Scotia

Apr 29, 2005 03:22 PM

Regional Vice-President, Nova Scotia
Danny Cavanagh was first elected as president of CUPE Nova Scotia on April 27th, 2005 at the annual convention in Sydney. He is also president of his local, CUPE 734 the outside workers for the Town of Truro.

Sandy Harding

Sandy Harding, Regional Vice-President, New Brunswick

Jun 10, 2008 03:17 PM

Regional Vice-President, New Brunswick

Milo Murray

Milo Murray, Regional Vice-President, Prince Edward Island

Nov 2, 2007 11:30 AM

Regional Vice-President, Prince Edward Island

Charles Fleury

Charles Fleury, Regional Vice-President, Québec

Nov 3, 2003 11:36 AM

Regional Vice-President, Québec

Charles Fleury is the Secretary-General of CUPE Local 1500, Employees of Hydro-Quebec, and has been regional vice-president since 2005. A Hydro-Quebec employee since 1982, he worked at James Bay until 1991, and is now a transmission installer in the Laurentians.

Nathalie Stringer

Nathalie Stringer, Regional Vice-President for Quebec

May 15, 2008 10:58 AM

Regional Vice-President for Quebec
Nathalie Stringer is president of CUPE’s Air Transat component, with bases in Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver.

Michael Hurley

Michael Hurley, Regional Vice-President, Ontario

Dec 18, 2001 11:40 AM

Regional Vice-President, Ontario

Candace Rennick

Candace Rennick, Regional Vice-President, Ontario

Jan 16, 2004 02:19 PM

Regional Vice-President, Ontario
Candace Rennick, a health care worker, is in her third term on the National Executive Board. She was first elected as regional vice-president (RVP) at 23, filling a vacancy for Ontario on the NEB.

Henri Giroux

Nov 20, 2009 02:12 PM

Regional Vice-President, Northern Ontario
Henri Giroux has been president of his local, an Cassellholme Home in North Bay, for 26 years. He has been president of the North Bay CUPE council for the past 10 years, and president of the North Bay and District Labour Council for the past 3 years.

Mike Davidson

See full size image

Nov 20, 2009 02:14 PM

Regional Vice-President, Manitoba
Mike Davidson has been a CUPE member for 30 years, starting out as a park worker at the city of Winnipeg in 1979. He is vice-president for CUPE Manitoba, and president of CUPE Local 500, representing 5000 workers at the City of Winnipeg.

Judy Henley

See full size image

Nov 20, 2009 02:16 PM

Regional Vice-President, Saskatchewan
Sister Judy Henley has been a CUPE member since 1982. She is a Health Care worker; through the years working in health care she held different positions. She is the Secretary-Treasurer of Local 4980 and is currently in her eighth year as Secretary-Treasurer of CUPE Saskatchewan.

Dennis Mol

Dennis Mol became Regional Vice-President for Alberta when he was elected president of CUPE Alberta in March 2009.

Jun 11, 2009 08:28 AM

Regional Vice-President, Alberta
Dennis Mol became Regional Vice-President for Alberta when he was elected president of CUPE Alberta in March 2009.

Mark Hancock

Mark Hancock, Regional Vice-President, British Columbia

Aug 11, 2005 12:31 PM

Regional Vice-President, British Columbia
Mark Hancock was appointed August 2, 2005 to replace Colleen Jordan as the Regional Vice President for BC after Colleen Jordan stepped down.

Ken Robinson

BC Regional Vice-President Ken Robinson

Dec 17, 2008 03:17 PM

Regional Vice-President, British Columbia
Ken Robinson is a diet technician at Kelowna General Hospital and has been an HEU member for 20 years. He has held a number of positions on the union’s provincial executive in the past decade, most recently as first vice-president, and is the chairperson of the Kelowna Amalgamated local.

Affirmative Action Seats on the NEB

Yolanda McClean

Yolanda McClean, Diversity Vice-President

Nov 2, 2007 11:46 AM

Diversity Vice-President (Racialized Members)

Brian Barron

Brian Barron, Diversity Vice-President

Nov 2, 2007 11:48 AM

Diversity Vice-President (Aboriginal Members)

Brian Barron is Status First Nations CUPE member. He has been a City of Winnipeg employee for 29 years, working in the Public Works Department in field operations and as a foreman.

CUPE’s National Committees and

Working Groups

National Advisory Committee on Pensions

Pensions1906

National Health Care Issues Committee

Health Care 1843

National Global Justice Committee

Global Justice1858

Persons with Disabilities National Working Group

Disabilities1872

National Young Workers Committee

Young Workers1890

National Child Care Working Group

Child1899

National Environment Committee

Environnement1866

National Health and Safety Committee

Health and safety1951

National Literacy Working Group

Literacy 1956

National Pink Triangle Committee

Pink Triangle1913

National Contracting Out and Privatization Co-ordinating Committee

Privitization1933

National Women’s Committee

Women1881

National Rainbow Committee

Rainbow1940

National Rainbow Committee

Rainbow1940

National Aboriginal Council

Aboriginal1838

National Trustees

CUPE national trustees at work on May 12, 2010 in Ottawa. Left to right: Mark Goodwin (ON), Ronald Dagenais (QC), Colin Pawson (BC).
Syndics_mai2010

2009 – 2011 Appointments

STATISTICAL INFORMATION CUPE NATIONAL COMMITTEES

Total # of Applicants = 476

Total # of members Appointed = 186 Total # of Re-appointments = 108 Total # of new Appointments = 78
Female

258

111

56

45

Male

215

75

42

33

Transgendered

3

1

1

0

Aboriginal Worker

41

21

14

7

Worker of Colour

91

20

13

7

Worker with Disability

68

20

11

9

Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual Worker

43

19

14

5

Youth Worker

22

11

6

5

National Political Action Committee

Political Action1925

Labour needs change in perspective

By admin, October 17, 2010 7:55 pm
Published On Sun Oct 17 2010

Re: Unions, the left failed during this recession, Oct. 9

As a trade union member and a researcher on the Canadian labour movement, I couldn’t agree more with Thomas Walkom’s analysis.

The monumental failure of the labour movement in making ideological, material or political gains has much to do with the fact that the leadership of organized labour has thoroughly bought the bill of goods that capitalism is the only option for the working-class in Canada.

The only difference of opinion that that the labour bureaucrats have with the captains of industry and commerce is whether the Hobbesian or Anglo-American version of capitalism, where life is “nasty, brutish and short” or the benign one found in Nordic countries such as Sweden, Norway and Denmark is the preferred way of exploiting labour. Rank-and-file trade union members are not in favour of choosing between the lesser of two evils.

Further, one of the ideological shackles on the minds of labour leaders is the fact that they have bought into the idea that Canada is a largely middle-class society. Yet, they are in the contradictory position of representing the working-class. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired of hearing the top labour leaders and social democratic politicians arguing about their objective mission being that of protecting the declining middle-class.

Why should union members express working-class solidarity with each other when they are being told that the desired social destination is the middle-class? This state of affairs is no more evident than in the labour education courses that are carried out in most unions.

These courses do not build workers’ understanding of capitalism as an economic system that is incompatible with their quest to exercise control over work and the product of their labour.

We have class interests that are distinct from the economic and political elites and our ultimate aim should be to control the wealth of this country in order to create the New Jerusalem.

Ajamu Nangwaya, Toronto

Link to Walkom’s column: http://www.thestar.com/article/872878

Farm workers, “dis is not slavery/ just poverty / speaking to democracy”

By admin, October 15, 2010 2:14 am

http://linchpin.ca/content/Work-workplace/Farm-workers-%E2%80%9Cdis-not-slavery-just-poverty-speaking-democracy%E2%80%9D

Participants in the Pilgrimage to Freedom march, organized by Justicia for Migrant Workers

Participants take part in the Pilgrimage to Freedom march, organized by Justicia for Migrant Workers

By Ajamu Nangwaya

i am a H2 worka
pickin apple inna florida
i am a H2 worka
hopin dat tings will be betta
suh don’t tek mi fi granted and pass mi
like is only cane and apple yu si
don’t tek it fi joke and run mi
den sen to mi govament fi more a wi
dis is not slavery
just poverty
talking to democracy

- Excerpt from the poem H2 Worka by Mutabaruka

Mutabaruka, the renowned Jamaican dub poet, accurately captures the lament and pain of migrant farm workers who labour in Ontario and the rest of Canada. These offshore workers come from Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Mexico, Thailand, the Philippines and other Third World areas.

Over the Thanksgiving long weekend in Canada, we enjoyed the bountiful harvest from the farms in this country and the United States in the company of friends and relatives. We probably shared stories of success, challenges and plans for the future.

But did we reflect on the people who made that food possible? No, I am not referring to those mythic and stoic farmers of Canadian legends. I am hinting at the migrant farm workers whose sweat, tears, lives and broken and injured bodies went into producing the cheap food that we all enjoy in the great North that is supposedly fair, strong and free.

I am also referring to the over 25,000 migrant workers in the Seasonal Agricultural Workers’ Program (SAWP) from Mexico and the Caribbean who spend up to eight months per year on farms across Canada. Migrant workers from Thailand, Philippines, Guatemala and Honduras are also finding themselves on these same farms and fields through the Temporary Foreign Workers Program for Occupations Requiring Lower Levels of Formal Training (TFWP), which is even more exploitive. These off-shore workers contribute to the valuable, but exploited work that makes possible the $10 billion in annual income from the farm sector in Ontario.

When Mutabaruka rhymed: “don’t tek it fi joke and run mi / den sen to mi govament fi more a wi”, he is speaking about a sad and disgraceful reality in Canada. When migrant agricultural workers complain about their condition of work, they may be sent home at their own expense and without an appeal process to contest their expulsion.

Many Third World governments are in cahoots with this system of exploitation. They are dependent on the foreign exchange earned from these migrant workers and the SAWP and TFWP are sources of relief for the unemployment pressure at home. These governments have no interest in vigorously protecting their citizens because strong advocacy could force the Canadian state to go to other countries or regions with surplus labour.

The farmers in Canada know that there are hundreds of thousands of people in the Caribbean, Mexico and Asia who are willing to do farm labour in Canada. Under plantation slavery in the Americas, the enslavers treated their horses and other materials much better than the enslaved Africans.

The plantation masters did so, because they had a cheap and ready source of labour in Africa. It is not an accident that Mutabaruka protested against seeing migrant workers as mere cane and apple. They are not seen as people, but creatures that help the profit margins of the farm’s operation.

It is not a stretch to see similarities between the systems of slavery and indentureship that were used against enslaved African and indentured South Asian labour in the Caribbean, respectively. The fear of poverty as a constant companion has replaced the whip. It is not the workers who mostly benefit from their backbreaking labour. They are transported across borders to toil in unsafe working conditions, with the connivance of legal authorities or governmental systems.

No wonder Mutabaruka had to admonish the farmers and governments that “dis is not slavery” and the workers are really poor working-class people “hopin dat tings will be betta.”

On the score of “talking to democracy” by resisting migrant workers, I was truly inspired and encouraged by the Justicia for Migrant Workers organized Pilgrimage to Freedom march on October 10th from Leamington (Tomato Capital of Canada), Ontario to city of Windsor, across from Detroit. This march was a 50-kilometre trek.

About 100 migrant workers and their allies carried out this historic march so as to highlight issues such as workers paying in mandatory schemes such as Unemployment Insurance from which they do not get any benefits, exposure to pesticides and farm equipment without adequate training, migrant workers working many years in Canada without the possibility of achieving permanent residency rights, workers being sent home after experiencing serious long-term illness on the job, or not having the right to form or join a union.

We may recall that on September 10, 2010, two Jamaican migrant farm workers, Ralston White, 36, and Paul Roach, 44 died from exposure to gas from an apple cider vat that they were fixing. As Canadians, we need to stand in solidarity with migrant workers and not let governments and private interests exploit them in the name of a cheap food policy and the financial bottom-line.

On the question of marching in solidarity with the migrant workers, it was politically embarrassing to see so few trade union members and trade union organizations as well as members of the various Marxist and anarchist “sects” from Southern Ontario. In my judgment, organized labour and these erstwhile revolutionaries do not like labour initiatives that they cannot colonize and control. I really hope that wasn’t the case in the Pilgrimage to Freedom march.

It is not enough to sing Solidarity Forever or shove revolutionary newspapers or publications in the face of members of the racialized, working-class. The missing in action stunt of these class warriors was worthy of a “Class Solidarity Raspberry Award”. It’s a very deserving and well earned citation given that we’re dealing with issues pertaining to the most exploited section of the working-class in Canada.

Ajamu Nangwaya is a trade union and community activist, a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto, and a member of Common Cause – an anarchist organization with branches across Ontario. To get further information or provide support to Justicia (Justice) for Migrant Workers, please visit http://justicia4migrantworkers.org

RALLY FOR G20 ACCOUNTABILITY, UOFT COMMUNITY DEMANDS “COPS OFF CAMPUS”!

By admin, October 14, 2010 10:14 am
What: Rally against the Toronto Association of Police and Private Security (TAPPS) “G20 De-Briefing”
Why: To demand accountability and justice for all those arrested during the G20, and to keep ‘Cops off Campus!’
Where: Rally begins at Graduate Students’ Union, 16 Bancroft Avenue, and will end at the University of Toronto Faculty Club, 45 Willcocks Street.
When: 10:30am, Wednesday, October 20th

*** PLEASE WEAR PINK OR BLACK CLOTHES IF YOU PLAN TO ATTEND ***
This is a call to friends and allies to rally on the University of Toronto campus at 10:30am on Wednesday, October 20th, to  send a clear message to the Toronto Association of Police and Private Security (TAPPS) that their “G20 De-Briefing” is not welcome on our campus. Students, faculty, staff and community members are calling for accountability and justice for all those arrested during the G20 Summit in Toronto – the largest instance of mass arbitrary detention in Canadian history – and are demanding that TAPPS and private security firms be kept off campus!

What is TAPPS? Why should I protest it?
TAPPS is an organization created in the mid-1990s to provide greater coordination between the Toronto police and private security companies. The influence of private security companies has increased drastically in recent years, from their expanding role in major conflicts (think of Blackwater in Afghanistan and Iraq) to their steady encroachment on public spaces. Some of the private security companies active in war-zones, such as G4S and Securitas, are also active on our streets and campuses.

With the increasing trend towards privatizing and contracting-out public services, the realm of policing has come to depend on ‘public private partnerships’ or the full-out privatization of policing services – fueling a multi-billion dollar ’security industry’ that relies on fear to sustain profits. The outcome is simple and dangerous: the public has minimal or no oversight and control over the activities of organizations that allegedly protect us.

During the G20 Summit, TAPPS revealed the dangers posed when policing forces and private security companies collaborate: massive and unaccountable repression of civil rights. According to ‘Security Management’ magazine: “Four months before the G20, TAPPS helped bring organizations—including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Toronto Police, NYPD Shield and other specialized units—together to develop plans and share intelligence on known terrorist and extremist threats, including the Black and Pink Bloc anarchists. The information gathered was then fed into the TAPPS secure portal (www.tapps.org) to build an intelligence database that police and private security could draw from during the summit weekend. TAPPS members could discuss the intelligence on message boards within the secure Web site…Security and police professionals now hope to build on the lessons learned [from the G20] and realize an even greater collaboration between police and security in the future.”


What is happening on campus on Oct 20 and why should I care?
On Wednesday, October 20th, TAPPS is holding a ‘G20 Debriefing’ training seminar on the UofT campus. This session is co-hosted by the University of Toronto Campus Community Police Service and Reilly Security (one of the companies that holds a security contract with the UofT administration). In this closed session, speakers will assess police and private security cooperation during “Canada’s largest domestic security operation” and examine “challenges and provide perspective from many of the key players involved from both police and private security circles.”
In short, similar rounds of repression are being planned on our campus, behind closed doors.

The UofT community is already familiar with the consequences of ‘police and private security’ cooperation. During the G20 Summit, 75 people from Quebec, who were staying as guests at the GSU Gym, were arrested as a result of a tip provided by a Reilly Security guard working on campus. The security guard noted the presence of ‘black-clad individuals’ getting off a bus and immediately contacted the UofT ‘Incident Command Center’ and TAPPS to secure their arrest. The 75 people arrested have since been cleared of all charges, underscoring the arbitrary nature of these arrests. These arrests are part of a broader trend at UofT in which campus activists and their community allies have experienced increased harassment at the hands of private security guards and campus police.


What kind of campus are we asking for?

We are calling on the University of Toronto Administration and the provincial government to honour the University’s Purpose to commit to “vigilant protection of individual human rights,” including the “human right to radical, critical teaching and research.” We call on university administrators to respect the campus as a protected space to “raise deeply disturbing questions and provocative challenges to the cherished beliefs of society at large and of the university itself.” We reject and will actively oppose all administrative sanction of an oppressive security agenda that undermines these commitments.

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