Today is the day when workers around the world take to the streets to commemorate the historic struggle for an eight‑hour workday, and to voice their demands for decent work and a life of dignity and respect. CUPE recognizes International Workers’ Day, or May Day, in solidarity with millions of workers around the world. Continue reading
CUPE’S National Health and Safety Committee first proposed the creation of a national Day of Mourning 34 years ago.
That idea came to fruition in 1991 when the federal government passed legislation to establish April 28th as the Day of Mourning. It has grown internationally as the World Day for Safety and Health at Work and is recognized in more than 120 countries around the world.
When they envisioned the day, the members of the committee wanted to remember lives lost in the workplace. But there was a broader point. The day was also supposed to remind all workers that we need to fight for the living and inspire us to prevent further tragedies.
The most recent statistics show that over 900 workers died due to workplace-related incidents in 2017 in Canada. More than a quarter of a million workers were injured at work.
On each Day of Mourning, CUPE honours the members who died on the job. Over the past year, CUPE lost the following members:
- Judy Lavallee, Local 1550, Manitoba
- Wayne Harland, Local 500, Manitoba
- Tyson Titanich, Local 2515, Alberta
- Wayne Hornquist, Local 2093, British Columbia
- Lloyd Smith, Local 873, British Columbia
- Robert Boulet, Local 301, Quebec
- James Baragar, Local 1000, Ontario
- Diane Chicoine, Local 416, Ontario
Stopping workplace violence and harassment
One of the biggest ongoing threats to CUPE members continues to be workplace violence and harassment.
Too many CUPE members are assaulted at work. CUPE educational workers are assaulted by their students. Hospital and long-term care staff are assaulted by the patients they are trying to help. Front-line workers are threatened by people who can’t get the services they need. Others are bullied by ill-prepared supervisors.
More and more we hear about how workplaces are becoming toxic because they are starved of resources. In these situations, it is the most precarious and vulnerable workers who are most likely to be harassed. Employers and governments are not willing to properly fund services that can address violence. Government cut-backs and privatization of services are a big part of the reason that our members face increased violence and harassment at work. Although all workers are at risk, women and other equity-seeking workers are often at greater risk of experiencing violence and harassment.
Canada can – and must – lead by example to prevent violence and harassment in the workplace. We must challenge it when we see it.
This Day of Mourning, we are asking governments across the country to do more to prevent and stop workplace violence and harassment, including properly funding public services and programs for the most vulnerable of our society.
We are calling on employers to work with their unions and health and safety committees to:
- Develop policies and programs in cooperation with workplace health and safety committees;
- Offer training to prevent workplace violence, including harassment;
- Identify workplace hazards and develop an action plan for addressing them;
- Address domestic violence at work by conducting workplace risk assessments, offering training and safety planning, and ensuring supports are in place for workers experiencing domestic violence.
We want all workers to recognize the importance of safe and healthy workplaces, and to be confident that they can hold their employers accountable to provide that workplace.
This year, the Day of Mourning falls on a Saturday. We urge CUPE members to observe a moment of silence and lower flags to half-mast on Friday, April 27. Show your support by prominently displaying our poster at your workplace.
Together, we’ll mourn the dead and fight for those who continue to struggle with unsafe working conditions, poorly funded programs and power imbalances.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives MB released a report today The Collapse of P3 Giant Carillion and Its Implications.
The report, by University Economist Dr. John Loxley, explains the role Carillion has played in the UK’s longtime use of P3s and how the multi-national’s bankruptcy could reverberate around the world. Carillion was involved in many large P3 ventures meant to provide reliable service to schools, hospitals, prisions, and major public infrastructure projects. It had annual sales of Ca$9 billion, and employs 46,000 workers worldwide, including 6,500 in Canada. Continue reading
Charles Fleury | National Secretary-Treasurer
At the bargaining table, governments and employers across the country continue to ask for more and offer less in return.
To strengthen the power of our members during bargaining, delegates at the 2017 National Convention passed a resolution to have strike pay begin on the first day of a strike or lockout. Previously, strike pay of up to $300 a week began on the fifth day of a strike.
This change is now in effect. It adds strength to the bargaining position of locals when employers try to bargain unreasonable demands. From now on, bargaining strategies will take into account the fact that our members will have their strike pay in hand sooner. Continue reading
The economy has been growing strongly, but wages haven’t. The failure of wages to rise more strongly has puzzled economists and frustrated many workers. But conditions appear to be changing, with signs wages are trending up. Workers deserve higher wage increases and it’s time to demand more. Continue reading
As the summer comes to an unofficial close with its last long weekend, let us celebrate Labour Day by rededicating ourselves to our goal of improving working conditions for our members and all workers in Canada.
Many of us will be marching in Labour Day parades or participating in commemorative events over the long weekend, and as we celebrate the progress and gains we have made for workers over the years, we contemplate the struggles ahead to achieve true social justice and equality for all. Continue reading
The Canadian Union of Public Employers (CUPE) and its 650,000 members across Canada refuse to stay silent in the face of white supremacy, bigotry, and the racist violence it spurred this past weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. CUPE condemns these hateful acts, and stands in solidarity with those who courageously stood up against this violence and hatred. Continue reading