CUPE Local 1356 Blog

Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 1356. We have three Collective Agreements as Local 1356, 1356-01, and 1356-02. The membership is comprised of the full-time and part-time workers of York University the Local website is at This Blog will include Local information and information garnered from sources other Universities, Colleges, Post Secondary/Tertiary Education and news sources supplying information.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Spadina Subway Extension Environmental Assessment Study

What’s New– Public Consultation – Phase One – February 10 and 13, 2005:

You’re invited to get involved and provide your comments on Phase One of the Environmental Assessment Study, including:

* Changes since the previously approved 1994 Environmental Assessment;
* Study area land use, transportation and environmental features;
* Alternative subway routes;
* Criteria that will be used to evaluate these routes.

Thursday 10 February 2005

Open House in Central Square 11:00 am to 2:00 pm
Registration required: Workshop with a Presentation in Founders Assembly Hall 4:30 pm to 7:00 pm

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Monday, January 24, 2005

Speed Reading Course

MEM Communication Services
This course is usually offered in the Fall and in the Spring. I would heartily recommend this course to one and all. I took this course many years ago and went from a speed of 300 wpm to ~25,000 wpm [a variety of factors will determine the increase in the speed achieved]. Not all participants will achieve the same increase. Everyone making an effort will achieve a dramatic increase.

The noted fee of $90.00 is a small and reasonable one.
The required textbook for the course is $55.00. It is also a workbook.
There are 6 sessions always on a Wednesday either at 2:30 pm or at 4:30 pm in 313 Student Centre, starting on 26 January 2005

Register at the first class [at this point] if room is available.

Thanks to the YFS for continuing to offer this course to the York University community.

Friday, January 21, 2005

York's Tunnel System

Recently the MacMedia had written about the tunnel system, but their article is not the MacMedia on-line site.

The University has two distinct tunnel systems. One is for pedestrian use and links a variety of buildings. The other is for utilities only.
Pedestrian Links
The following Tunnel-type links are all quite short, but useful [some have above ground links in tandem]:
HNES to Osgoode
CFT to Burton -rarely accessible
Curtis to Computer Science
Computer Science to Steacie
Steacie to Petrie
Petrie to Chemistry
Bethune College to Calumet College
Vanier to Stedman to Farquarson to BSB -currently closed
Schlich to Student Sevices - unheated parking area
Bethune to Stong -through food servery when open

Access to the oldest pedestrian tunnel has been restricted because of a concern of Health and Safety caused by the cleanliness, non-permitted uses, and the water that seeps onto the floor with algae growth.

Over the recent years the University has been building above-ground linkages between many locations. This still leaves a number of discontinuities. The main remaining surface issues are:
from Curtis to go west
From Central Square to the south
any access to Atkinson or TEL from the east or even north
Seneca to Student Services
Vanier to Yorklanes
any access to northern buildings of EOB/WOB/Tait McKenzie/Ice Arena/Stadium
Lumbers/Farquarson to any other building [at this time]
Fine Arts group is isolated from protected pedestrian link routes [this will substantially change with the new Accolade building.]

The Utility Tunnels

There have been increases in the difficulty of gaining access to the tunnel system with concrete block walls replacing the old walls in places of frequent inappropriate access. The pictures in both the MacMedia article and the Infiltration site are accurate images, although the locations are often not correctly identified. There are many discontinuous sections of tunnel, where access cannot be continued without the appropriate keys, or the only way to travel is to leave the tunnel and enter the building. The tunnel may continue from a not obvious service area in that building rendering contiguous access impossible.

Overall the safety of inappropriate access is very low without appropriate safety equipment and permissions. Should one become lost or disoriented the heat and intentional lack of lighting may be deadly, with no one knowing where to search or that a search is even required. A steam leak would be a quick killer indeed.

Campus Weather

York Weather Station
Lots of ways to find out the Campus weather are further available on York's weather site.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Collective Agreements now available on Website

Our three Agreements
Well we got all of our agreements on the site now.
They are in Adobe Acrobat format.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Blogs a Teaching Tool

Blogs a Teaching Tool at York University
" At York University, teaching practices that keep pace with technology are proving invaluable to students. "Having students create blogs is an excellent way to engage them in the theoretical concepts of a course," says York University professor Nadine Wettlaufer. "
as quoted from the linked Y File

Source for Collective Agreement Information

Links to a Large Source of Collective Agreements
as noted in the linked site:
Many labour unions, employer associations and individual employers post current collective agreements on their websites. The listing below links to websites with online collections of agreements, or points to the administrative offices to contact for further information or access to collections of agreements.

The most important resource for Canadian collective agreements is Negotech.
although Negotech is NOT free.

The Collection of the Ontario Ministry of Labour is noted as NOT being on-line, but it is an interesting location to look at the paper collection with some on fiche or other compact storage.

Bora Laskin Award for Outstanding Contribution

Nominations for its annual Bora Laskin Award
The University of Toronto, Centre for Industrial Relations is inviting
nominations for its annual Bora Laskin Award for Outstanding Contribution
to Labour Law. The Award has been established by the University of
Toronto to honour those who have made an outstanding contribution
to Canadian labour law. The award is named after the late Chief Justice
Bora Laskin (1912-1984), who before joining the Supreme Court of Canada,
was pre-eminent as a labour law scholar and labour arbitrator. The
recipients of the Bora Laskin Award include Professor Harry Arthurs
of Osgoode Hall Law School (2003) and Professor Pierre Vierge of Laval
University, Quebec (2004).

Nominees will be considered from all fields relating to labour law,
including, for example, academe, private practice, courts, tribunals
and arbitration. The Awards Committee will consider nominations received
on or before Friday, February 4. This year's award recipient will
be announced at a dinner, on the evening of Thursday, May 5, to be
held in conjunction with the Lancaster House Conference on Canadian
Labour Board Law, at the Sutton Place Hotel in Toronto on May 5 -
6, 2005. To submit a nomination, please fill out the following online

The 2005 Award Committee is comprised of:

Frank Reid, Director, Centre for Industrial Relations,
University of Toronto
Madam Justice Louise Otis, Quebec Court of Appeal
Kenneth Swan, President, Ontario Labour-Management Arbitrators' Association
Madam Justice Sheila Greckol, Alberta Court of Queen's Bench
Professor Brian Langille, University of Toronto Faculty of Law
Mr. Justice Warren Winkler, Ontario Superior Court of Justice
Thomas Kuttner, Vice-Chair, New Brunswick Labour and Employment Board
Stan Lanyon, Arbitrator/Mediator, B.C.

Courtesy of Lancaster House Publishing - publishers of labour law information

Impact of family background on access to postsecondary education

Study: Impact of family background on access to postsecondary education

Participation in postsecondary education, particularly university, is strongly influenced by the education level of parents and other family background characteristics, according to a new study.

The study, which used data from Statistics Canada's 1991 and 1995 School Leavers Surveys, found that family background, particularly levels of parent education, has both a direct and indirect influence on whether young people go on to college or university.

Parental education is strongly related to postsecondary participation, even after controlling for other factors, such as high school academic performance and behaviour.

More specifically, each additional year of parental education increases the likelihood of university attendance by as much as five percentage points. Roughly 40% of this effect is indirect, the rest direct.

Overall, a large proportion of the impact of family background occurs through indirect channels such as student's grades in primary school and high school, student's attitudes towards school and parents' opinion of the importance of high school. This suggests that the period of life before postsecondary financing and relating issues become important is crucial for postsecondary access.

Even before high school graduation, parental education affects postsecondary opportunities because there is a strong relationship between parent education and high school outcomes, such as grades.

However, students whose parents have higher levels of education are more likely to go on than others, even after these outcomes are taken into account, controlling, for example, for the grades of students.

In terms of family type, children from two-parent families are about 25% more likely to go on to higher schooling than those from single-mother families.

Living in a rural area during high school decreases the likelihood of postsecondary attendance, but the effects are statistically significant only in terms of university participation, not in terms of post-secondary access.

Academic performance in high school, as measured by an individual's grade average, has a strong positive influence in participating in both university education and other forms of postsecondary education.

The study also found that failing a grade even in elementary school is an additional predictor of participation in postsecondary education.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 3156 .

The research paper Who Goes? The Direct and Indirect Effects of Family Background on Access to Postsecondary Education (11F0019MIE2005237 , free) is now available online. From our home page select Studies, then under Browse periodical and series choose Free and for sale. Under Series select Analytical Studies Branch.

For further information or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Ross Finnie (613-951-3962), Business and Labour Market Analysis Division.

Thanks to the PSE [Post Secondary Education] mailing list and Teresa Healy.

Teresa Healy
Senior Research Officer
Canadian Union of Public Employees

Join the cupe-pse-chat mailing list

Monday, January 17, 2005

CUPE Local 1356/1356-01/1356-02

CUPE Local 1356/1356-01/1356-02

Well we have started a new website. It seems to be a tough slog to create it.
Keep an eye on it for its growth.

It will include links for our Collective agreements, government links, WSIB info, benefits info and ways to create a free email through . is the Website of the Year

A Duo of Winning Websites for 2004 is labour web site of the year by votes cast
CUPE has won Labourstart's annual competition for labour web site of the year. CUPE is the first union to win the honour for two years in a row since the contest began in 1997.

The other winner by a decision of an Expert Panel is Self Employed Women's Association in India.

Labourstart is a global union news and action web site that offers visitors a daily listing of news about unions and the labour movement.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

CUPE’s “pioneering activism” wins union Sexual Diversity award

Glendon Student Union to sue York University - Update

Excalibur Item
Did the Student Union [council] fail to follow the direction of an older Student Referendum on financing the Pro Tem newspaper?
This could now start to appear as a manner of controlling an independent press. Is that the intent or just the net result?

The Excalibur recently [within a couple of years] also created an independent funding and administration of itself to remove political influence.

From the outside view the university appears as if it was enforcing the will of the student decision to properly fund the newspaper.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Help build public child care
In their October 2004 throne speech, the federal Liberal government said “the time has come for a truly national system of early learning and child care."

But we will only get the system Canada’s children deserve if federal and provincial governments get the building blocks of the new system right from the start.

Public child care: act now to build it right... from the start

It's about time. After two decades of waiting, we're getting close to a cross-Canada child care system. The closer we get, the more important it is that we all speak up for the best possible care. In the next few weeks, Federal Social Development Minister Ken Dryden and his provincial and territorial counterparts will start building our new child care system. The decisions the ministers take could make or break the system. We need to make sure they build it right from the start. Please send your message today. It only takes a minute, and it will make a difference.

Glendon Student Union to sue York University

Toronto Star Item
The University's heavy hand again puts down another organization on campus? Or was there real financial impropriety?

In either case the University has a direct say in part of the operation of this student council as ordered by Ontario's Superior Court.

This use of the word 'Union' is not in the same usage as under the Labour Relations Act.

York University Students Fund Raising - Tsunami

Toronto Star Item
York Students have been selling blue-white ribbons for this campaign. Other universities seem to have almost co-ordinated the colours.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Student Union Busting Staff Union: a call for solidarity

The Link Article on the Suspension [also see at bottom of this posting]
Montreal - The Concordia Student Union (CSU) has recently imposed a
two-month suspension without pay on the President of its staff union (CUPE
Local 4512) for her union activities!

President Xydous remains suspended over this holiday season, supported
only by a nominal stipend provided by her union local. CUPE 4512 is now
widening its call for solidarity to individuals and groups from outside of
Concordia University who believe in hard won union rights and the freedom
to participate in union activities without fear of petty, and illegal,

In a letter sent to CUPE Local 4512 President Christina Xydous notifying
her of the suspension, the CSU specifically cites the convocation
announcing a press conference, respectively sent and held jointly by CUPE
Local 4512 and a group of dissident CSU councillors, as the grounds for
the disciplinary measure.

At CUPE Local 4512's December 1st Special Meeting the members unanimously
approved the following statement:

"The CUPE 4512 membership (CSU staff) vigorously condemns the recent
heavy-handed and completely unjustified disciplinary measure imposed on
CUPE 4512 President Christina Xydous by the Concordia Student Union.

"On November 19th, Ms. Xydous was notified that she was suspended
without pay for two months. In the notice, signed by CSU President Brent
Farrington, it is clear that it is Ms. Xydous' recent actions as CUPE 4512
President criticizing the CSU's many violations of the collective
agreement that is the CSU's motivating factor for imposing this
disciplinary measure. Adding insult to injury, Ms. Xydous received the
notice on the first day of a planned post-operative 1-week sick leave.
Thus, the CSU refuses to even remunerate her during her convalescence.

"Ms. Xydous is clearly being punished for vocally defending all of
our interests as CSU staff and members of CUPE 4512. She was not
disciplined for anything she did as an employee.

"We wholeheartedly support our President and we pledge to undertake a
public campaign denouncing this blatant example of union-busting as well
as advocating for her immediate reinstatement with full back pay and a
written apology to be published in the campus media."

You can show your solidarity with CUPE Local 4512 President Christina
Xydous by writing a letter to the editor of Concordia University's largest campus newspaper, The Link


CUPE local 4512 is a very small local with a very small budget. We can
only afford to pay our suspended President a small fraction of her wages
over the course of her suspension this holiday season. This is in addition
to the expenses we are likely to incur in our campaign to fight our
employer's attempt at union-busting. We therefore welcome any donations
that you or your organization would like to make to our campaign. Please
make cheques payable to "CUPE local 4512" (mark them "reinstatement
campaign") and mail them to:

David Bernans
Secretary-Treasurer, CUPE local 4512
337 Rue Principale Est
St-Eloi QC
G0L 2V0


Concordia University:
Suspended for union activity!

By CUPE staff writer
Translated to English by David Bernans (CUPE 4512)
The Original French article

Hard to believe! The student association at Concordia University
(Concordia Student Union or "CSU") recently handed out a two-month
suspension to the President of its own staff union, Christina Xydous, for
union activities! This is an odious decision, harking back to the dark
years of anti-union repression at the beginning of the last century.

The letter sent to the President notably cites as the motive for the
suspension, the convocation by the union (CUPE 4512) of a press conference
held jointly with some CSU Councilors. They are thus seeking to muzzle the
union. This is clearly an overt attempt at intimidation towards union

Following this suspension, union members unanimously decided to support
their President and to denounce the unjustified disciplinary measures
targeting her. It is obvious for all those concerned that these measures
follow directly from the denunciations by CUPE 4512 of the CSU¹s numerous
violations of clauses in the collective agreement. Finally, it must be
emphasized that Christina Xydous is not suspended for motives relating to
her work as an employee, but only because of activities undertaken under
her mandate as a union representative.

CUPE demands the immediate reinstatement of Christina Xydous with
financial compensation for losses incurred, accompanied by a public
apology from the CSU for this unacceptable act.

You can send your comments on this affair to the student association, to the largest newspaper on campus, with a copy to the union


To view the article published by the Link following our press conference held jointly with some dissident CSU Councillors

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Australian University Settlement

General staff at the University of Newcastle have accepted a new enterprise agreement

General staff at the University of Newcastle have accepted a new enterprise agreement which delivers a 16.8% (18% cumulative) pay increase by 1 October 2006, 26 weeks paid parental leave and a range of work/life initiatives.

Derek Blackadder found this item on LabourStart.

LabourStart is the online global labour news service. Hope you find it of interest.

An Verbal Account of the Effects of the 2004 Tsunami

To download his statement as a MP3 file
Jagath Bandera is a trade unionist based in Australia. He has recently returned to there after being in Sri Lanka during the recent tsunami and it's aftermath.

His experiences and impressions are being broadcast on Radio LabourStart, an internet radio station service of

To download his statement as a MP3 file, go to

To listen to Jagath's account and to other labour news and music on Radio LabourStart where you can set up your system or download easy-to-use software that will allow you to listen to the station.

Strike Appeal for North of Superior - Local 3253


The workers of North of Superior programs who provide mental health and other forms of counseling to communities of Nipigon, Longlac, Geraldton, Terrace Bay, Marathon, Manitouwadge and surrounding communities have been on strike since June 26, 2004.

These workers are members of Local 3253 and they have not had any wage increase in over eight years. The employer is offering little to remedy this and mediation attempts to resolve the strike by the Local, representing 30 social service workers in Northern Ontario, have failed and no new talks are scheduled.

A majority of these workers are women, who are the primary or sole income earners for their families - and 20 children, ranging in age from infants to 16 year olds, are affected by this strike.

This is a difficult strike in many ways for these workers – work sites are spread throughout the north, which makes picketing difficult; it is costing a lot in gas money to move around to different strike locations; and after nearly 6 months on the picket lines, winter weather is upon them with no end in sight.

We have to get behind the workers from this local and ensure that they win this strike and we have to ensure they have the financial support to survive and, at the very least, be able too enjoy the holiday season.

This is the only strike we currently have in Ontario, so please give generously. Consider an adopt-a-family, fundraising or simply write a cheque to the strike fund.

Cheques should be made payable to CUPE Local 3253 Strike Fund; and sent to,

CUPE Local 3253 Strike Fund
CUPE Lakehead Area Office
79 Court Street North,
Suite 108
Thunder Bay, ON
P7A 4T7

In solidarity,

Patrick (Sid) Ryan

Brian O’Keefe

Insurance Company Tax Evasion - Accusation

How insurance companies are aiding tax evasion by over-charging in America and shipping the money to offshore firms.

Terry Mills was working in Wilmington, DE, for J. Montgomery, one of the largest insurance agencies in the region, when in 1993 he was called in to get to the bottom of a messy insurance problem. Little did he know that he would uncover a story – as yet unreported – about tax evasion through offshore firms, but with a twist. The scheme Mills came across seemed to be taking place with the aid of AIG, a major U.S. insurance giant.

The case Mills was sent to look into had to do with a Delaware holding company named NVF Corp., which owned a vulcanized fiber factory, and which was being reorganized. The reorganization was prompted by a federal court order which enjoined its owner, Victor Posner, from acting as officer or director of any public company.

Posner, who died in 2002, long had a reputation as the original "corporate raider," famed for engineering hostile takeovers of companies and looting them. He had a history of corrupt dealings.

For instance, Posner and his son Steven, along with Drexel Burnham Lambert, Inc., had been defendants in a 1988 SEC complaint about a "stock parking" scheme to gain control of the Fischbach Corporation that the SEC said cheated investors of about $4 million.

But more relevant to what Mills was dealing with in 1993, it turns out that Victor Posner and NVF had a relationship going back at least to 1977. That was the year when the SEC had filed a complaint against Sharon Steel Corporation, its holding company NVF, and several individuals, including Victor Posner, for a litany of corporate and individual misdeeds, including treating assets of public corporations as their private property.

In 1987, Victor Posner pleaded no contest to evading more than $1.2 million in taxes and was ordered to pay $7 million in fines and back taxes.

Even so, Mills was astonished when he examined the NVF insurance books. "The company I was with [J. Montgomery] had the opportunity to write the insurance for NVF in the period after the SEC gave Posner the cease and desist," Mills told me. He said he found that, "The senior management really didn't have a handle on what the costs were."

Mills found a curious pattern: NVF had been paying National Union Fire of Pittsburgh, an AIG company, substantially over market for workmen's compensation insurance. He told Catherine Mulholland, director of the Delaware Insurance Department's bureau of examination, that when he went to buy workers comp, he found it was only half as much as the year before.

Mills told me, "The fronting company was AIG. And the broker on the deal was Alexander. It was one of the biggest brokers in the world."

Here's how the deal worked: Insurance companies normally insure themselves by laying off part of their risk to reinsurance companies, so if a claim comes in above a certain amount, the reinsurance company will pay it. AIG had reinsured the NVF policy through a company named Chesapeake Insurance, a reinsurance company based in Bermuda. It turned out that Chesapeake was owned by Posner.

In essence, NVF, owned by Posner, was buying insurance from an AIG company – which was buying reinsurance for the policy from an offshore company owned by Posner. And Bermuda provided the tax and secrecy haven, so Chesapeake's books were safe from the eyes of American regulators and tax authorities.

The transaction meant all the parties came out ahead: AIG would keep a portion of the allegedly inflated NVF premium before sending the rest to Chesapeake, which meant AIG would have a higher commission. Posner would write off the entire amount as a business expense and enjoy the extra cash in Bermuda, tax free. Reduced profits might also mean smaller dividends and share prices.

A former insurance department regulator, using hypothetical numbers, explains, "Say the normal premium was $1 million. [If I ran the company,] AIG could charge me $2 million and then send a premium of $900,000 over to a reinsurance company that it has set up for me in Bermuda. I never have to pay any claims, so I get to keep the $900,000 tax-free offshore."

"This was not an isolated case with Vulcan. AIG did that a lot," he claims, speaking under condition of anonymity. "AIG helped companies set up offshore captive reinsurance companies." AIG, he alleges, "would then overcharge on insurance and pay reinsurance premiums to the captives, giving the captive owners tax-free offshore income." He adds, "Doug McLeod [editor of Business Insurance] told me that there were captives that hardly ever paid any claims."

McLeod told me, "Looking at the schedule F, the reinsurance schedule, of one of the AIG companies, they had a captive. They reported a pretty large amount of premiums ceded, sent to that captive, but very little in claims payments coming back. That is unusual. Why would a captive of a large company collect that amount of premium and not pay any claims? They could have gone through a loss-free year, but it doesn't seem likely."

The "captive" scheme is a variant of transfer pricing or "profit laundering," whereby companies inflate the cost of purchases or services from tax havens in order to boost their home country expenses and move profits to tax-free jurisdictions. It might also hurt shareholders, since dividends could be reduced by the company's cost of inflated premiums.

Mills cancelled the NVF policy with AIG. "We were able to find them coverage in the standard market," he says. "We started a new policy in late 1993."

However, it seems the Delaware Insurance Department took no action against the insurer.

Provided the details of what AIG allegedly did, company spokesman Andrew Silver says simply, "We don't have any comment on that."

AIG declares on its website that it "pioneered the formation of captives almost 60 years ago," and it offers management facilities to run the captives in offshore Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Isle of Man, and Luxembourg – all places where corporate and accounting records are secret and taxes minimal or nonexistent.

There is reason to suspect the pattern discovered by Mills is being duplicated elsewhere. For instance, Marsh, the insurance brokerage recently charged by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer with bid-rigging, also runs the Marsh Captive Management Group to help corporate customers set up reinsurance companies in offshore Barbados. There is a link between Marsh and AIG: Maurice (Hank) Greenberg runs AIG, while Marsh was being run by his son, Jeffrey, until he was fired after the bid-rigging charge was made.

"There are more captive insurance companies in Bermuda than any place else," says David Schiff, editor of Schiff's Insurance Observer. "The whole purpose is that it's not regulated by the U.S. Rates are not supposed to be too high or low, but [regulators] are usually looking to protect consumers. How do they tell us Microsoft is paying too much for workers comp? There's no way for a regulator to know that."

"Fraud is hard to find unless you get tipped off," he adds.

An insurance broker and risk management consultant says, of the "captive" arrangement, "It's common; that's the way it's done." He adds that "oil companies all have offshore captives." And McLeod says that several oil companies were joint shareholders of the Oil Insurance Ltd, an oil company group captive.

There are more than 1,800 captive insurance companies based in Bermuda with over 60 percent owned by American interests.

"A majority of fortune 500 companies have captives," says McLeod. He pulls out a copy of the Tillinghast Captive Directory and ticks off U.S. companies with Bermuda captives: Levi Strauss: Majestic Insurance International; Caterpillar Tractor: Caterpillar Insurance Co. Ltd., FMC Corp (tractors): Financial Reassurance Co and Transcon Insurance, Carnival Corp.: Trident Insurance, all managed by Marsh. Other big firms with captives were Schlumberger (oil field services): Harrington Sound Insurance and Castle Harbour Insurance, managed by JLT, and United Van Lines: Vanliner Reinsurance managed by Codan Management.

"Reinsurance has always been a traditional way of moving money," the broker says. "You can do a 'rent-a-captive' where you don't even have to set up your own captive, you just run the funds through a bookkeeping system: it's even cheaper. The question is whether the IRS lets you get away with it."

In 2002, the IRS and the Treasury department required transactions with captives to trigger disclosure, list-maintenance, and registration requirements "based on information that many of these arrangements were being used to shift income improperly to PORCs [Producer-Owned Reinsurance Companies] for purposes of avoiding income tax."

However, in September 2004, the administration abolished that rule. IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson explained that, "Based on disclosures by taxpayers and examination of tax returns, we have determined problems associated with these transactions are not as prevalent as initially believed."

Of course, fraudulent use of offshore captives is hardly likely to be disclosed by taxpayers or noted on tax returns. Spokesmen at Treasury and the IRS declined to discuss the issue.

Following indictments for alleged bid-rigging against Marsh insurance company officials brought by Spitzer, officials in other states are looking more broadly into insurance practices. Asked about whether Spitzer was checking into the abuse of offshore captives, his spokesman declines to comment.

It's an area that should be examined by state and federal investigators.

Lucy Komisar, a New York-based journalist, is writing a book on the offshore bank & corporate secrecy system and international money laundering.

[courtesy of Ed Gould of the CAW]

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Our Times is an independent, pro-union Canadian magazine dedicated to promoting worker's rights and social justice. We're read by over 8,000 trade unionists, community activists and union supporters across the country. We publish feature articles, reviews, opinion pieces, poetry and short stories. We also feature the work of pro-labour photographers and illustrators. Our Times is not an academic publication. It is not a hip publication. It is a workers' publication.
[courtesy of the about Our Times page]

Thanks to Derek Blackadder for reminding me of this magazine.
Derek was one of our Local's previous National Representatives - he has moved into Organizing for CUPE.

Tsunami aftermath: What unions are doing

Tsunami 2004: The global trade union response
Other than the reported responses in the LabourStart website, in Toronto individuals can make donations at their local Toronto Police Stations who will accept cash or cheque donations and supply a receipt.

The local division to the main campus is 31 Division located near Hwy 400 and Finch Avenue West.
The local division to Glendon Campus is 53 Division just west of Yonge Street on Eglinton Avenue West.

CUPE pledges $100,000 to Asian relief effort

[December 30, 2004 08:42 PM]

OTTAWA – The Canadian Union of Public Employees today pledged $100,000 to assist in the massive relief effort following the earthquake and tidal waves that have devastated several Asian countries leaving more than 120,000 dead.

“This is one of the worst natural disasters in history and our half a million members would want their union to assist in any way possible,” CUPE National President Paul Moist said.

“We are offering our pledge through Oxfam Canada which is working in the hardest hit regions of Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Thailand and other countries,” added National Secretary-Treasurer Claude Généreux. Oxfam workers are members of CUPE.

Drinking water and medical supplies are major priorities, said an Oxfam news release. An Oxfam aid flight left on Dec. 29 carrying 27 tons of emergency water equipment worth $250,000 (CDN), going first to Sri Lanka and then to Indonesia.

Oxfam is preparing 25,000 packs of food locally, containing rice, flour, dhal, fish, sugar and cereal, plus 10,000 packs of soap, sanitary towels, candles and matches, the release said.

“We urge our members to pledge what they can to help,” Moist said. “It is at times like these when the labour movement rallies to support workers who have lost family members, their homes and their livelihoods.”

The CUPE leaders will issue a written appeal to all members to do what they can to assist the tens of thousands of families stricken by the disaster.

To make a pledge to Oxfam Canada. For ongoing coverage of labour’s international relief assistance, go to LabourStart Tsunami. Also visit CUPE National for more information.