• Indigenous Blanket ceremony


  • Safer Spaces Stronger Unions Training


  • CUPE Anti-Racism strategy 2021-2027


  • Presentation: “Fighting inflation without weakening workers”

Julie Posca, Institute for Socioeconomic Research and Information (IRIS)


  • Vigil: “Sisters in Spirit” Oct 4. Held at Parliament Hill honouring the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, two spirit, and gender-diverse people. CUPE members from across Canada joined the Families, and other community members in providing support to those who have lost a loved one and to raise awareness of the issue.


  • Panel: “CUPE members resist the threat of privatization”

Patrick Hallé                       CUPE 3247 Grievance Officer, Quebec

Sherry Hillier                      National General Vice-President, East region

Thi Vu                                   HEU Communications Officer, British Columbia


  • Presentation: “Fighting water and wastewater privatization in your local community”

Tamanna Kohi                   Wellington Water Watchers


  • Presentation: “The Light Rails fail: Ottawa LRT debacle and big problems with P3’s”

Joel Harden                        Member of Provincial Parliament, Ottawa-Centre


  • Workshop: “Using your power during Elections”

Danika Brisson                   Senior Officer, Union Education

Alejandro Pachon            Senior Officer, Political Action


Sector: Municipal



  • 170,000 members representing over 1100 municipal bargaining units across Canada
  • includes workers in water, roads, parks, planning, public health, childcare and more
  • one-third of local government staff work in casual, part-time or auxiliary jobs




  • Municipalities are replacing full-time jobs with part-time temporary jobs that lack access to benefits and pensions


  • Employers are using the retirement of the Baby-Boomers to reduce the workforce by leaving jobs unfilled or replace good jobs with precarious jobs


  • Services such as sanitation, snow removal, water, transportation, and parks maintenance are being contracted out and privatized. (ie. Moncton –Veolia [France] operates their drinking water system, with lots of reports of blue green algae problems and gaps in maintenance)


  • Federal Government still encouraging Public Private Partnerships (P3’s) for infrastructure projects via the Canada Infrastructure Bank and the new Canada Growth Fund. Very little funds have actually been spent on replacing the aging infrastructure.  Municipalities need direct low- cost funding which history has shown is the fastest and most cost efficient to build strong, safe, inclusive communities


  • Municipalities need a fair share of Provincial and Federal tax revenues to address infrastructure deficit, growing responsibilities and to pay for proper operations and maintenance


  • Department core reviews which typically can recommend unnecessary cuts to important services just to save a little money


  • Two-tiered contracts that benefit current employees but create imbalanced compensation packages for new workers which is unfair and damages worker solidarity


  • Municipal Pension Plans funding investments including the Canada Infrastructure bank that is providing capital towards the privatization of infrastructure jobs (P3’s- Light Rail in Montreal funded by Quebec Pension Plan funds)



Fighting Inflation without weakening workers – Julie Posca


Canadian Labour Overview


  • Historically low unemployment rate in Canada (5.4% in August-lowest in 40 years)


  • Job vacancies are up due to aging population and retirement


  • Wages have increased on average (5%) but not necessarily through bargaining. Many people are changing jobs and giving up benefits for an increase in pay


Root causes of Inflation


  • Temporary shutdown of workforce puts pressure on supply chain

-Manufacturing and Transportation costs increase


  • Weather events caused by climate change have damaged crops

-Price of fruit, vegetables, grains, and other foods rise


  • Speculation investment in Housing with very little to no regulation

-Results in the financialization of a basic necessity


  • War in Ukraine causing resources to be shuffled based on economic sanctions

-gas/energy costs Up 22% year over year with Russian crude and petroleum ban

-North American oil + gas companies taking advantage of supply/demand curve

-food resources grown in Ukraine cannot be exported globally


  • Rise in Corporate Profits (Record 18% in GDP in Q2 of 2022)

-increase in people purchasing their goods and services through large companies and corporations.  Prices of goods increase but their labour costs often remained the same or decreased based on health and safety protocols and simply not replacing the workers when restrictions lifted

-Bank profits increase as interest rates rise making them more profitable while

people struggle to pay off debts


Who Fights Inflation?


  • Financial/Corporate Sector/Government

-Bank of Canada tasked to contain inflation between 1-3%

-Raise of overnight (policy) rate has a trickle-down effect

-encourages households to spend less with higher rates


Results of Inflation


  • Loss of Buying Power

-Set income for retiree or welfare recipient (value of accumulated savings decreases)


  • Value of Personal Investments and Loans drop

-High cost to borrow diminishes profit margin


  • Rising rates can lead to job loss (lay-offs, hiring freeze)

-economic slowdown due to push back on investments


  • Interest rate increase creates revenue for the Financial sector


  • Government has lower revenue in the event of a recession

-wage freezes, no hiring, budget cuts


How to combat Inflation beyond a rate increase


  • In order to tolerate higher rates, salaries/wages need to keep pace (BARGAINING)
  • Rental, transit, energy, day-care price freeze/caps to increase buying power elsewhere
  • Windfall profits tax (Canada had during WW2 so that companies wouldn’t profit off war), Annual wealth tax (Spain and Italy have)
  • Government support for domestic agriculture
  • Invest in better public services- transit, healthcare, childcare
  • Density functionality of communities that have a positive effect on the environment
  • Housing units sheltered from speculation (social housing, co-ops, workforce housing)
  • Inflation adjustment benefits (like social assistance) -preserve living standards for all

President’s Report: Thanksgiving, October 2022

Sisters and Brothers, Friends, Partners:

I wanted to take a moment and thank you for the dedication and hard work that you continuously provide for our Local and for the work you do in our community.

Without your support and dedication to this Local we never would have been where we are right now.

We have consistently had quorums. We have new, active, and productive committees to make us better. Thank you to everyone who is working so hard on those great committees, you are so appreciated. I especially want to thank all the members who are newly involved and stepping up for committees. We couldn’t do all of this without you.

We are building stronger relationships with our employers so that they respect the work we do and treat us accordingly. We are strengthening our relationships with our members, and that is growing daily.

We have more Shop Stewards, and Rank and File members on our committees.

We have more grievances and solution-seeking meetings than ever before.

We have members seeking treatment.

We have a wonderful space to work-in and gather.

We are starting to get member information organized and updated.

We have our finances being overseen meticulously and we have complete transparency.

We have had Strategic Planning, training, conferences and have achieved an amazing bargaining results in the NVSD thus far, and will execute the same strategic focus on the upcoming municipal negotiations for our other units.

We have strengthened our relationships within our executive. We have a supported and worked alongside other reps, office staff and officers. We are seeking solutions and doing this together.

We are having members stay for entire meetings.

We have had to upgrade our ZOOM to allow more members the ability to attend.

We have a new website.

We have a new vision.

We have so many members calling, coming into the office, emailing, saying thank you and supporting each other.

We have had many interactions with Mayors, Counsellors, Trustees, visits to so many units from them inviting me to visit, participate and build stronger relations. This has also been valuable to meet and speak with so many members.

I am probably forgetting many things we can all be thankful for, but I wanted to name a few of the things we have accomplished over the last 9 months!  We have done so much!

I am grateful and honoured to be your President.

I am also thankful I’m still standing! 😬

I want to wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving.


Warm regards,


Yvette Mercier,

President, CUPE 389

URGENT: SHOP STEWARD training registration!

All CUPE 389 Stewards who have not taken Introduction to Stewarding are asked to attend training that has been arranged for you on Oct 19 and 20th at the CUPE National regional office in Burnaby.

You will receive a book off from your regular job and this training is mandatory if you wish to continue as a steward.

Due to COVID, we have not been able to hold training for the past two years. It takes a lot of logistics to organize this training and arrange for the book-offs with the Employers. Office staff have tried to reach several stewards and have received no reply.  Please contact the office as soon as possible if you have not already registered, and if you do not wish to take the training and therefore continue as a steward, we would love to have you stay on as a Communicator, but we need you to let us know so we can keep an accurate list. Unfortunately, if we have anyone not responding, your name will be taken off our list of Shop Stewards.

Thank you,

CUPE 389 Education Committee

150 Years of (Legal) Trade Unionism in Canada

This year, 2022, marks the 150th year anniversary of the Trade Union Act of Canada, when trade unions finally became legal, though trade union leaders would still be subject to arrest and persecution for many years after

by Dan Todd

While a commonly held mistaken view holds modern trade unionism to be a product of Marxism, the earliest modern trade unions predate Marx’s Communist Manifesto (1848) by almost a century, with the first recorded labour strike in the United States by the Philadelphia printers in 1786.

The origins of modern trade unions can be traced back to 18th century Britain, where the rapid expansion of industrial society then taking place drew masses of people, including women, children, peasants and immigrants, into cities. Britain had ended the practice of serfdom in 1574, but vast majority of people remained as tenant-farmers on estates owned by landed aristocracy. This transition was not merely one of relocation from rural to urban environs; rather, the nature of industrial work created a new class: “worker”.

A farmer worked the land, raised animals and grew crop, and either owned the land or paid rent, but ultimately sold a product and had control over his life and work. As industrial workers, however, the workers sold themselves as labour, and took directions from employers, giving up their freedom and self-agency in the service of a master. The critics of the new arrangement would call this “wage slavery,” and the greatest criticism in the U.S.A. came from the Republican party, which called this arrangement “Unchristian.” The term that persisted was a new form of human relations: employment. Unlike farmers, workers were completely dependent on their employers, without job security or a promise of an on-going relationship with their employers, lacking control over the work they performed or how it impacted their health and life. It is in this context, then, that modern trade unions emerged.

Whether it is workers’ rights, working conditions, human rights or social justice, laws get changed if people stand together in solidarity. But laws cannot get changed if one cannot even vote – so the expansion of the franchise was one of the first campaigns the Unions took on.

In April of 1872, unionized printers striking for a 9-hour day were arrested in Toronto and jailed. Their demand was a decrease in their work days to nine hours at a time when some workers were expected to work for as long as 12 hours. The printers paraded with union supporters to Queen’s Park where a crowd of 10,000 strong rallied on their side. The following day, employers, led by Liberal George Brown of the “Globe” Newspaper, had twenty-four strike leaders arrested and charged with criminal conspiracy. Capitalizing on the political folly of Brown’s actions, and the growing public outrage, Conservative Prime Minister Sir John A. MacDonald introduced and enacted the Trade Unions Act, effectively making union membership legal. He further undermined Brown by removing union members from “criminal conspiracy” for taking strike action. This won Macdonald the key support heading into a federal election.

In Ottawa, union members marched to the Prime Minister’s home in celebration of the move and paraded him through the streets by torch light. It is worth noting that as it gave workers the right to join a union, Macdonald’s government simultaneously passed another act that made picketing illegal. In the years following this “first”, unions came to realize that governments could take away rights as easily as they could be bestowed. Legal strikes, even the freedom to hold union meetings, were declared criminal acts as governments saw fit. Today, the right to belong to a union as well as the right to strike are protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as fundamental rights, following the Supreme Court of Canada’s Decisions in 2014.

Canada’s unions won these rights after years of struggle, political battles and even physical violence. The federal Conservative government of Sir John Sparrow Thompson implemented the first Labour Day as a national holiday in response to pressure from working people to celebrate a day acknowledging workers’ rights. However, working people still had a long way to go in gaining what most of us would consider fundamental rights – OHS, 8hr work-day, the Weekend, etc. Historian Joanna Dawson writes in an August 31, 2011 article in Canada’s History entitled “The First Labour Day”: “The workers still did not obtain their immediate goals of a shorter work week. In fact, many still lost their job. They did, however, discover how to regain the power they lost in the industrialized economy. Their strike proved that workers could gain the attention of their employers, the public, and most importantly, their political leaders, if they worked together. The “Nine-Hour Movement,” as it became known, spread to other Canadian cities and a shorter work week became the primary demand of union workers in the years following the Toronto strike.”

The 1872 workers’ parade in Toronto was a catalyst for similar parades in different cities across Canada that championed the rights and issues of workers. Unions marched in those parades identified by their colourful banners. By the time that 1894 rolled around, the Canadian government got the message that such official acknowledgement was needed and passed legislation on July 23, 1894 that made Labour Day a national holiday in September. According to the Elections Canada website, even the expansion of the right to vote to include non-property owning men (1897), and then women (1916), was a result of direct activism and work of the Canadian Trade Unions.

From the right to vote, to the recently expanded Canada Pensions Plan Act improvements, Canadian trade unions have made Canada better for everyone. Let us then mark the 150 year anniversary by showing gratitude for all we have achieved, on every side of the political divide, and regardless of what we do, and committing ourselves to an even better next 150 years for Canada, and for the world.

(Portions of Article were taken directly from: Canadian Labour Congress Website and from the Toronto Public Library Blog post titled “Remembering the First Labour Day in Toronto: September 3: Snapshots in History” by John P.)

Urgent: Hiring Custodians for the North Vancouver School District!

School District #44: North Vancouver has many positions available for Custodial staff at its many elementary and secondary schools! 

Most of the positions have casual hours leading to full-time employment for those who wish to become full-time, or, those who wish to retain the flexibility of working casual hours as a part-time job can benefit from additional income and flexibility!

The current pay is $23.93 + 14% in lieu of benefits, or $27.28/hr (2021 rate).  The new negotiated rate that will be implemented is $25.00/hr + 14% in lieu or $28.50/hr. 

If you or someone you know is looking for a good job with fair pay with flexibility or opportunity to become full-time in a short period, please apply!  The Building Service Worker certification is considered an asset, but IS NOT REQUIRED AT THIS TIME, and candidates will be provided with on-job orientation, though experience in similar work is an asset.