Help push back B.C.'s antidemocratic legislation. Fight Bill 18!
Vancouver (28 Nov. 2011) - The B.C. Government and Service Employees Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) is mounting a fight against the provincial Liberal government' attempt to block union activists from seeking leadership positions within college, institute and university Board of Governors.
Bill 18 - the Advanced Education Statutes Amendment Act - which has been introduced to the B.C. legislature with no consultation or notification, contains anti-democratic changes to the College and Institute Act that would:
•Ban union activists involved in collective bargaining or dispute resolution activities from being elected as staff representatives on college, institute and university Boards of Governors;
•Prohibit elected board members from serving as board chair; and
•Give government-appointed board members unprecedented powers to remove elected staff members from the board with a 2/3 majority vote.
The proposed amendments are not only undemocratic, but likely contravene union members' constitutional rights to freedom of association.
Conflict of interest legislation already provides clear guidelines of conduct for members of public bodies. Union activists are no more potentially in conflict than regular unionized employees, who are both equally affected by Board decisions.
You can help convince the B.C. government to drop this ill-conceived legislation. Send an e-mail here to Naomi Yamamoto, the Minister of Advanced Education, and NDP Opposition critic Michelle Mungall, telling the government to pull this legislation.
Download PDF file of SAMPLE EMAIL TEXT for College/Institute staff, College/Institute union activists, and general BCGEU/NUPGE members.
Send a copy to your own MLA (link to BC Legislature contact page)
Download a PDF copy of Bill 18 (College & Institute Act changes start on Page 8)
Access online copy of current College & Institutes Act
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 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.ca, Tues Nov 29 2011
All six unions whose members sought recertification under Gov. Scott Walker's controversial new collective bargaining law won those elections by wide margins, state officials reported Wednesday.
The voting demonstrates that the union members remain strong and united, Dian Palmer, president of SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin said in a statement.
"Nurses and health care professionals understand that a collective voice is not just about wages and benefits — this is about quality care for all Wisconsinites," Palmer said. "Scott Walker has united the labor movement. As a union we will move forward, and as a union we will succeed."
Under the new state law that removed most public employee collective bargaining rights, bargaining units need to win the backing of 51 percent of their bargaining unit members in order to have limited ability to bargain for cost-of-living wage increases.
The election result "means that we will be issuing a demand to begin bargaining," said Nancy Wettersten, vice president of Wisconsin State Attorney's Association. "It is very gratifying to the leadership of the union to have such a strong show of support and confidence."
Peter Davis, general counsel for the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission, reported these results:
• The 261-member bargaining unit for the Wisconsin State Attorney's Association voted 217-6 for the union.
• The 1,033-member Service Employees International Union Healthcare Wisconsin won 658-23.
• The Association of State Prosecutors voted 289-7 for certification. It had 368 eligible members.
• The State Professional Education and Information Council voted 523-12 out of 655 members.
• Wisconsin State Building Trades Negotiating Committee voted 320-11 out of 434 members.
• The state Professional Employees in Research, Statistics and Analysis unit voted 42-0 for the union. There were 57 eligible voters.
The voting took place via telephone over the last two weeks.
The vast majority of state employee union members chose not to seek certification, saying the rules were unfair, the cost too high, and the payoff too small, since a certified union would be able to bargain only for limited wage increases, not benefits or working conditions.
Voting for teachers unions begins later this month. Municipal unions vote early next year.
Wisconsin State Journal, Wed Nov 16 2011
From a midnight pajama party in a Madison bar to a rally in front of Gov. Scott Walker's (R) Wauwatosa home, thousands of Wisconsin volunteers kicked off the official signature gathering period to put Walker's recall before the voters next year. Recall forces now have 60 days to gather some 540,000 signatures.
At the pajama party, where participants were set for action at this morning's official 12:01 a.m. start of the signature gathering clock, Erik Kirkstein, a spokesman for United Wisconsin, told The Badger Herald:
The people of Wisconsin have been waiting for this for months. This is the culmination of citizens all across the state, and we can't wait to recognize them and start [the recall] off on the right track.
The broad recall coalition, which includes the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, brings together the same citizen energy that fueled working families' win in Ohio last week. By an overwhelming 61 percent margin, voters overturned Gov. John Kasich's S.B. 5, which eliminated the collective bargaining rights of public employees.
Anger over Walker's elimination of the rights of nurses, teachers and other public workers to bargain for a middle-class life was the driving force behind this summer's successful recalls of two of Walker's key backers in the state Senate. Now, says Wisconsin State AFL-CIO President Phil Neuenfeldt:
Working families in Ohio went to the polls and voted to support Ohio's public employees and their right to collectively bargain. Unlike Ohio, Wisconsin workers do not have the opportunity to put a referendum on the ballot. Thankfully, we have the right to recall. [The] win in Ohio has energized and excited Wisconsin workers to recall Gov. Walker and put a stop to his attack on working families.
Along with Walker's attack on workers, Wisconsin voters also are upset at Walker's drastic budget cuts and lack of job creation, says Wisconsin State AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Stephanie Bloomingdale.
In order for Wisconsin to have a strong middle class, we need to change direction. Over 65,000 Wisconsinites, half of them children, are being kicked off Medicaid; 40 percent of our children's classrooms are increasing in size; working families are being made scapegoats for budget situations they didn't create and family-supporting jobs are not being created at the rate Wisconsinites expect. This is not the Wisconsin way and the citizens of the state have taken it upon themselves to change course.
AFL-CIO Now Blog, Tues Nov 15 2011
Issue: In an attempt at union-busting, Sobeys has tabled an offer to members of UFCW 401 at the store in Forest Lawn in Calgary that does not include a return-to-work agreement for striking workers. The workers have declined to vote on the offer, so the strike continues.
Action Requested: Join the rally to support the workers at the store at 5105 – 17 Avenue SE, Calgary.
When: 4:00 p.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday, November 16th.
On Saturday November 12, 2011, UFCW local 401 members at Forest Lawn Sobeys declined to vote on the company's latest offer because it did not include a return-to-work agreement for striking members. This is a radical step in collective bargaining. The absence of such an agreement sends a strong message that the company is not interested in bargaining, it is only interested in union busting. Not having a return-to-work agreement leaves the door open for the employer to try to punish workers for exercising their right to strike. The Sobeys family is one of Canada's richest, with skyrocketing net worth into the billions of dollars. Canadian Business magazine ranked them in 25th spot on its Rich 100 list in Canada, with a net worth of $2.26 billion, with their wealth growing rapidly in the last two years. Meanwhile, they have been pushing for concessions from employees at a Sobeys store in Calgary.
AFL's Position: The AFL is asking union members to support the striking workers by joining them on the picket line whenever possible (the picket line runs every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.) and by attending the rally on November 16th. We are asking retail customers to avoid shopping at all Sobeys outlets until they sign a new collective agreement that respects workers.
Action: Join the rally from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, November 16th, at the Sobeys outlet store at 5105 17th Avenue. S.E., Calgary.
Anyone who has been monitoring the events in Wisconsin since Gov. Scott Walker and his cronies took over knows that corruption with this crew runs far and deep. Now that the official recall campaign launches Tuesday, the potential for more misdeeds is greater then ever.
The latest scheme is apparently to burn and shred recall petitions and to mislead Wisconsinites about the recall process.
The blog PolitiScoop first reported about the plans, linking back to Facebook posts that detailed them. They include having conservatives pose as recall supporters and gather signatures, only to later destroy the petition. They also include telling Wisconsinites that they may only sign one recall petition, despite the fact that Wisconsin law allows otherwise.
Destroying or defacing an official recall petitions would violate state law. It's a class I felony, punishable by a fine of $10,000 and up to three-and-a-half years in jail. But Walker's supporters are apparently not only totally ignorant of the consequences, they are brazen in their plan to break the law. Just take a look at these screenshots bragging about their plans.
Gov. Scott Walker and his supporters continue playing dirty politics at the expense of constituents. With stakes only getting higher, we can expect the tricks and all-out lawbreaking to escalate. But if there is one thing that can keep the faith for those of us who believe in democracy and the rule of law it is that the movement that started in Madison has not stopped, and it will not stop until these clowns are gone.
care2.com, Mon Nov 14 2011
Occupy Calgary smoker slapped with $500 fine for littering: ‘We’re getting new tickets every minute,’ fellow protester complains
out in Olympic Plaza has landed one Occupy Calgary protester a $500 fine.
While stamping out a cigarette on Saturday morning, James Bullock was approached by two police officers and reprimanded.
"I think this is complete bull----," Bullock said. "The government needs to take this and shove it up their a-- and have a nice day.
"I can't afford this, man," he continued. "I only get $1,180 a month. You think I can afford a $500 ticket when I need to pay rent, my groceries and medical bills?"
Earlier this week, the city said it would eventually ticket, warn and then confiscate Occupy Calgary's gear, which has been set up in Olympic Plaza for more than three weeks.
However, mayor Naheed Nenshi has offered no timeline for the eviction. Meanwhile, occupiers claim they're being fined for petty infractions more frequently.
Protester Christopher Beggs feels the group is being unfairly targeted.
"We're getting new tickets every minute," said Beggs, who claims he was fined $50 for playing music in a park space. "Especially since they realized they're not going to be able to evict us under their normal avenues and channels."
"They just used the opportunity to take advantage of the bylaw," he said of the ticket. "It's discrimination."
Beggs said the group has been consulting lawyers daily and will be appealing the fines.
Bill Bruce, director of animal and bylaw services, said the city is continuing to enforce all normal bylaws, with the exception of the one that bars the protesters from camping in the park.
"This is exactly what we said (we'd do) and we've kept that up," he said.
Police and bylaw officers are continuing to monitor the situation.
City negotiators are still hoping for a peaceful and orderly solution, said Tom Sampson, the head of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency.
"We're on to dealing with the eighth person representing the squatting group at Olympic Plaza. There have been a few changeovers there," he said.
Protester Brent Talbot, who received a summon earlier in the week, estimated over 30 tickets have been given out over the last three days.
Despite the ticketing, Talbot said the group hasn't been deterred.
"It makes us stronger," he said. "It makes us more cohesive. It makes us more creative. It brings us together for more powerful conversations."
Meanwhile, Saturday also saw labour organizations join occupiers in a rally held outside City Hall.
Members of the Calgary & District Labour Council, Alberta Federation of Labour, and Teamsters Canada Rail Conference spoke to a group over 60 people.
CDLC president Alex Shevalier said the groups share common ground.
"(The) Occupy Calgary movement is very much a grassroots movement that sprang up to try to reduce some of the inequities in our society," Shevalier said.
"It started a conversation off in this country that really wasn't happening," he added. "We hope that conversation will continue."
Calgary Herald, Sat Nov 12 2011
Occupy Calgary got a boost from local labour leaders this weekend.
Dozens of union supporters and demonstrators joined the the Olympic Plaza group Saturday and rallied for labour solidarity outside Calgary's City Hall.
The Alberta Federation of Labour's Terry Inigo-Jones said joining the Occupy movement was a natural fit.
"They're fighting for some of the same issues that we've been fighting for for nearly 100 years, so we've issued statements of support for them," he said.
Inigo-Jones said that some key issues the two groups share are fair wages for workers and reliable funding for public services such as health care and education.
Anti-Occupy Calgary demonstrators gathered at Occupy Calgary's Labour Solidarity Rally on Saturday. The Chicken is wearing a Mayor Naheed Nenshi nametag that also says "Chicken Mayor." Meghan Grant/CBCAlexander Chevaler, the president of the Calgary and District Labour Council, said he was at the rally to highlight the overlap between the Occupy and labour movements.
Chevaler petitioned Calgary city council to allow Occupy Calgary to stay in Olympic Plaza.
"Our democratic institutions that are designed to protect us have failed to do so," he said.
Occupy Calgary protesters said they're ready to wait out winter at Olympic Plaza.
This week, the Occupy Edmonton group received a $7,500 donation from Occupy Wall Street for winterized tents.
Edmonton had its first snowfall of the year early Saturday morning, and demonstrators there vow they will wait out the winter.
cbc.ca, Sat Nov 12 2011
Unions from across the city and Occupy Calgary rallied Saturday afternoon in front of City Hall.
A number of Unions were in attendance:
-CUPE Local 40: support for striking school board workers
-CUPE 37: outside workers of Calgary
-Calgary and District Labour Council
-Teamsters Canada Rail Conference Division 355
-Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1374
-Alberta Federation of Labour
During the rally, Amanda West from the ATU Local 1374 said she is concerned with the lack of full-time jobs.
"The fact that there are so many more part time jobs now than there ever have been full-time jobs is scary," West says.
Bob Anderson from CUPE Local 40 says cuts to education must stop and students should be able to learn in a safe environment.
"I was in a classroom the other day where the air handling system was rattling so much it had to be shut off so you can communicate," Anderson says.
President of the Calgary and District Labour Council Alexander Shevalier says the labour movement and Occupy Calgary both believe institutions aren't working for Canadians.
For example, Shevalier says there's only 102 occupational health and safety inspectors for 140,000 employers in Alberta and employment insurance is a maze of vague law that makes the worker obligations difficult to understand.
A representative from Alberta Federation of Labour spoke during the rally and they feel Occupy Calgary has every right to camp out at Olympic Plaza.
Union leaders also thanked Occupy Calgary for all their hard work.
660News, Sat Nov 12 2011
South Korean woman Kim Jin-suk has touched ground for the first time since January to end her 309 day protest against Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction. She confined herself to the cramped conditions of a 35 metre tall crane in the southern port city of Busan, with no electricity or washing facilities.
South Korean Kim Jin-suk just before ending her successful 309 day 'living in a crane' protest.
The protest began when Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction announced it was cutting 400 jobs from its shipyard. Since then thousands of protesters have rallied and marched through Busan in a show support facing resistance from the authorities and often ending in many arrests.
Initially it was thought that an agreement would be reached gaining improved compensation for those that had been laid-off. However the protests continued as they valued jobs over compensation. Kim had said that she would not come down until the workers were reinstated.
After 309 days she has succeeded with the union finally approving a compromise with management whereby 94 laid-off workers would be rehired within the year. Workers were to be compensated with 20 million Won (£11,000) and the damage lawsuits previously filed against them were to be dropped.
Thousands of protesters have rallied and marched through Busan in a show support facing resistance from the authorities and often ending in many arrests.
"The agreement will take effect when activist Kim descends the crane," said a union leader. "Kim said she would come down if union members vote to accept the agreement."
Unfortunately following a medical check-up Kim Jin-suk is to be arrested on charges of obstructing business and trespassing although this will meet with fierce resistance from the laid off workers.
The protest had cost Hajin millions of pounds and the company revealed a net loss of 51.7 billion won (£31million) last year.
Vertikal.net,Thurs Nov 10 2011
CUPE offers to work with City, protesters, to allow Occupy protest: City workers' union urges cooperation, offers solutions
CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Nov. 10, 2011) - The Union representing Calgary outside workers including parks and recreation employees offered today to work with City management to ensure safety and cleanliness are maintained in Olympic Plaza without evicting the 'Occupy Calgary' protesters.
Kevin Galley, President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 37, released a document today expressing a cooperative and principled stance of City of Calgary outside workers and reads:
"Our members are open to working with parks management to ensure the Olympic Plaza site is safe, clean and well maintained during the occupation efforts. With the co-operation of the peaceful protestors, this can be done with minimal cost to the city. Claims of damage and the cost of cleanup reported in the media lack any credibility."
Galley explained that the hope for a fair and bright economic future supported by the Occupy Movement hits close to home for his union's members.
"We're appalled to see maintenance of public parks being contracted out. We're seeing Calgarians getting an unfair deal amidst abundant wealth that could help people and fund our public services. Politicians should listen to concerned citizens, not boot them out," he said.
Local 37's statement follows a message delivered on Wednesday, by the Alberta Federation of Labour to Calgary's Mayor and City Council in support of the rights of peaceful protesters to remain in Olympic Plaza.
Galley feels strongly that CUPE 37 workers can allow Occupy Calgary to protest while maintaining high standards Calgarians expect of city parks. "What we're saying is that those two goals do not contradict each other. We can work with everyone and get in there and do what we do best -- maintain safe and clean public spaces for all Calgarians."
Statement regarding Occupy Calgary Protesters in Olympic Park
Issued by CUPE 37
Calgary is a vibrant city. CUPE 37 members take great pride in contributing to our communities through ensuring Calgarians and visitors alike are able to enjoy safe, beautiful, and well-maintained city parks.
As municipal workers, we live and work in Calgary and have already witnessed privatization of the maintenance of our city's public parks. We share in Occupy Calgary's commitment to our city's future and the call for an end to economic unfairness that neglects the needs of working families and everyday Albertans.
CUPE 37 members believe in public services and economic equality. Therefore, we support Occupy Calgary's right to remain in Olympic Plaza, informed by the following:
1.CUPE 37 members are dismayed at contracting out and privatization of the maintenance of our public parks. We agree with Calgarians who demand strong public services for all.
2.Our members are open to working with parks management to ensure the Olympic Plaza site is safe, clean and well maintained during the occupation efforts. With the co-operation of the peaceful protestors, this can be done with minimal cost to the city. Claims of damage and the cost of cleanup reported in the media lack credibility.
3.Calgarians working to ensure that our province's wealth benefits the public, have legitimate and courageous goals. They are entitled to express their opinions freely. We support Occupy Calgary and hope for a fair and bright economic future for all Albertans. We feel it would be a disservice to silence them.
CUPE 37 - Serving the City of Calgary outside workers, the Town of Nanton, the Town of Vulcan, the Town of Canmore, the Canadian Rockies Regional School Division #12, EPCOR Canmore, the Town of Irricana & the Heritage Park Society.
Marketwire, Thurs Nov 10 2011