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.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Canada's Quiet Bargain

Canada’s Quiet Bargain: The Benefits of Public Spending responds to incessant calls for tax cuts and concludes public services make a significant contribution to the majority of Canadians’ standard of living – worth at least 50% of their income.
with thanks to the CCPA


Friday, April 17, 2009

CUPE Website of the year

Vote for this site for CUPE website of the year Do this as a write-in vote on the site.

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Drug spending estimated at $30 billion in 2008

“Over the last 20 years, drugs have consistently remained one of the major cost drivers in health care,” says Michael Hunt, Manager of Pharmaceutical Programs at CIHI. “Spending on pharmaceuticals has more than doubled over the past 10 years, outpacing growth in health spending by hospitals, physicians and other health professionals.”
source Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI)

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Hospital cleaners left with breathing trouble, hair loss

Employees do not have access to protective gear when using corrosive chemicals and air ventilation systems are inadequate, according to the inspector's report, issued on April 8.

The cleaning contractor at Nanaimo Regional Hospital has failed a health and safety inspection.

The five orders issued to the contractor echo concerns from hospital housekeeping employees who gave their union a strike mandate in order to entice Compass negotiators back to the bargaining table.
Nanaimo Daily News through part of

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Direct Deposit for Expense Reimbursements and Accountable Advances

Over the past four years the Finance Division has encouraged employees to participate in the Direct Deposit program for the reimbursement of employee expenses and accountable advances. This program commenced in 2005 and has currently converted the majority of employees to direct deposit, thus eliminating the need to prepare and mail cheques to employees. Given the success of this program, we are now in the process of converting the remaining employees to direct deposit.

Please note that currently only payments in Canadian funds and to a Canadian bank are being processed by direct deposit. All other payments will be processed by cheque.

Some of the advantages of direct deposit are:

* Payments are received faster than waiting for the cheque to arrive in the mail.
* Payments are deposited directly into your account thereby eliminating the need to have cheques forwarded to you in the event you are out of town.
* Direct deposit offers enhanced security; it eliminates the possibility that a cheque could be intercepted without your knowledge.
* The Finance Department will email your payment details on the day that we initiate payment. The funds should reach your account within 1-2 business days of this notification.

The following information applies:

The attached Direct Deposit Application Form must be completed and returned by mail or in person to: Accounts Payable Department, Suite B, EOB.

The bank account used for direct deposit must be held with a Canadian bank. A voided cheque must be provided.

If the direct deposit is to be made to a savings account or if a void cheque is not available, then the following alternative documentation would be acceptable:

* a copy of your account statement,
* a letter from the bank, or a screen print from your on-line banking service
* This documentation must contain: your name, your address, bank name, institution number, transit number, and bank account number.
* A valid email address is required to notify you of impending direct deposits.

All banking information is regarded as confidential and is used strictly for the purpose of implementing the Direct Deposit payment option.

Please note that this is a separate direct deposit program than the one administered by Human Resources to deposit your pay.

Should you wish your expense reimbursements and accountable advance requests to be deposited into the same account as your pay, we only require

that you send an email to the Accounts Payable department specifying this preference.

We will then make the appropriate arrangements with the Payroll Department on your behalf.

If you have further questions regarding the Direct Deposit program, please email Accounts Payable at

Yours sincerely,

Aldo DiMarcantonio

There are links available to file the forms required to start this procedure.
Look at the following directly:

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Judge awards $500,000 to woman abused by supervisor, employer also held vicariously liable

Determining that abusive treatment by a supervisor had caused post-traumatic stress and long-term depression that precluded a return to any kind of employment and that the employer was vicariously liable for everything that occurred, an Ontario judge awarded more than $500,000 damages jointly against the supervisor and the employer for intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, mental suffering, and psycho-traumatic disability.
Lancaster House Labour On-line

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Super-Strong Paint Kills Superbugs

“When any building or furnishing is damp for more than 48 hours, mold may grow,” the scientists write in the article. “Water damage due to roof or plumbing leakage, floods, and poor drainage of rainwater runoff or landscape irrigation can significantly promote mold growth.”

Mold, in addition to causing physical damage to building materials, also can sensitize and produce allergic responses in some individuals. Mold exposure, the scientists write, also can cause serious fungal infections.
Thanks to WebMD website

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Union-bashing columnist tries to have it both ways, says prof

In Terence Corcoran’s world, Wal-Mart, a company racking in billions of dollars annually in profits, is a hero for convincing a Quebec arbitrator to allow it to keep its employees’ wages at slightly above minimum wage, wrote David Doorey, professor in the Master of Human Resources Management Program in York’s Atkinson School of Administrative Studies, in the National Post April 15. The villain in his story is the United Food and Commercial Workers Union for obtaining “only” a 30-cents-per-hour raise.

But Corcoran would have us believe that it is the bully union that should be chastised, and not Wal-Mart. Why? Because the union promised the employees more than it actually was able to obtain from the arbitrator, for one thing. And for another, it was certified on the basis that a majority of the Wal-Mart employees signed a card saying they wanted the union to represent them, rather than by winning a vote.
In fact, the model worked as it should, wrote Doorey. It gave the workers an opportunity to see what a union could do for them. If a majority of employees are unhappy with what the union won in the first agreement, they can show the union the door and return to the non-union model that has served Wal-Mart employees so well in the past.

Unions rarely make huge strides in first contracts. Improvements come incrementally, round by round. In this case, the union not only won a modest raise, it won a grievance procedure that will allow employees to challenge management decisions they perceive to be arbitrary or based on favouritism. So, it’s unfair to suggest that the union achieved nothing here.

Of course, Corcoran has argued in his column before that unions that win “good” settlements for their members are to blame for the crumbling of the economy, the failures of government and various other ills. Now he’s chastising a union for bargaining a "bad” settlement for its members.

That’s the great thing about ideologues, said Doorey. They can take any facts and make them fit their world view.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

You've got to see the bathroom

An online survey of 2,175 adults by Harris Interactive last year found that 88% of people who visit restaurants believe that restroom cleanliness reflects the restaurant's overall hygiene, including sanitary standards in the kitchen and prep areas.
Detroit Free Press

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Mall Opera Man

They know Robert because he entertains them with music... a music he was never trained in: opera. Robert grew up singing to the radio and in church choirs. Opera is not his bag. Never was. Until one early morning down a lonely corridor at the mall when he just started singing a song. He had no idea what the song was, where he originally heard it, or what type of music it was. He just started singing it. Later someone said, "Robert, are you singing opera?" That's how all this started.

This story reminds the older members of our Local of a couple of singers that were in our midst over the years. George Cirlus worked as a semi-pro singer is one that comes to mind first as he had been one our Trustees many years ago.


RCMP have right to unionize, judge declares

In a 37-page ruling, an Ontario judge has held that, under the Charter of Rights, Canada's 20,000 RCMP officers are entitled to decide whether they wish to bargain with the force's management through a union of their own choice. At present they are limited to a consultative Staff Relations Representative Program under management's control.

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Korean carrier KTF launches mobile phone-controlled vacuum cleaner

South Korean telecom firm KTF has just announced a cleaning robot which can be controlled by a 3G cellphone. The robot -- called the CW100 -- was built in collaboration with Microbot, and is a "smart" vacuum (much like a Roomba). The CW100 uses an onboard video camera to send live images of what it's "seeing" to the mobile phone, and the user can then remotely control it using the keypad. The bot will be sold for KRW 500,000 (about $370) in conjunction with a data plan that runs KRW 5,000 (about $3.70) per month. Sounds pretty affordable and awesome to us -- as long as it doesn't run over the family cat. Check out another photo after the break.

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

CUPE 3903 - We have a deal! (pending ratification by you, of course)

The following is the text of a press release sent out earlier tonight. Watch this site for more information coming soon, or drop by the union office in the East Office Building and say hello!


CUPE 3903's executive committee and bargaining team are pleased to announce that after nine months of negotiations--and the longest university strike in the history of English-speaking Canada--the union has reached a mediated settlement with York University.

The union represents 3400 contract professors, teaching assistants, graduate assistants, and research assistants at York University. Earlier this year, CUPE 3903 was legislated back to work by the McGuinty government, after a strike that started in November 2008 and lasted 85 days.

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Saturday, April 04, 2009

Medicine Hat security guards join CUPE

Mar 6, 2009 04:27 PM

MEDICINE HAT – Security Guards employed by G4S Security Systems have voted to join the Canadian Union of Public Employees. The 60 employees are believed to be the first group of security guards in G4S to form a union.

The employees provide security services to the Medicine Hat Hospital, College, as well as other locations. They are also responsible for by-law enforcement for the City of Medicine Hat.

CUPE Alberta President D’Arcy Lanovaz said employees came to the union with complaints of unfair treatment by their employer.

“We heard complaints about women making a dollar an hour less than men doing the same job, and some employees getting preferential treatment by managers,” said Lanovaz. “Worker safety was also a critical factor, with many employees forced to work alone.”

Lanovaz said this was the second attempt by the employees to form a union in under a year

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