If you love the Oshawa Santa Claus Parade like we do, then please join us and volunteer – we’ll definitely find a spot for enthusiastic Santa lovers. CUPE 218 and Durham Northumberland CUPE District Council are looking for helpers for this event. Check it out!!!
Happy Labour Day to all! Now more than ever, we need to talk about how unions have strengthened the middle class and worked to even the playing field. And we need to continue organizing and bargaining forward even in tough times, not only for unions but for EVERYONE. Thank you to all the volunteers and activists with CUPE Council who helped make today’s event at Memorial Park in Oshawa truly amazing! Solidarity!
CUPE Ontario is a proud partner of the We Have Your Back Coalition, which is asking you to share messages of support for children, youth, and educators on the first day back to school on September 4th to let them know that we #haveyourback in the face of Doug Ford’s assault on modern sex education.
Share a quick message or video on social media with the hashtag #haveyourback about something related to:
OMERS just had another high performing year.
Let OMERS know we must keep key benefits like guaranteed indexing so we can keep up with cost-of-living increases and live with dignity after we retire.
Send them a message here: https://cupe.on.ca/omers-guaranteed-indexing/
Dear OMERS Sponsors Corporation Chairs,Now that I have the details of the proposed changes to my OMERS pension plan that will significantly impact my retirement, I am writing to strongly urge you, and all the representatives on the Sponsors Board, not to proceed with the implementation of the following changes:
After yet another high performing year, OMERS is well ahead of schedule to be fully funded by 2025, keeping our plan in a strong position to maintain all core benefits.
Implementing conditional indexing will allow you to remove indexing for years after the date of implementation until the pension plan meets specific conditions – some of which will be decided at a later date, behind closed doors and based on a financial management strategy that has not even been created yet.
We understand that some of the conditions being proposed include that indexing would continue only when OMERS is above 105% fully funded AND that the implementation of indexing won’t cause the plan to go below 105% fully funded. In other words, the plan would likely have to be 108-109% funded for retirees to receive their indexing.
This means that after the changes come into effect, it will be impossible for members to know when they will receive indexing, when they won’t or if they will at all, which is a huge loss of pension security. My costs for goods and services will go up every year, but I won’t know if my pension will keep pace.
The proposed changes to how the accrual rate is calculated would also mean a substantial loss in benefits for many plan members.
Right now, calculating our pension is done by multiplying years of service by an accrual rate of 1.325% for salaries up to the current Year’s Maximum Pensionable Earnings (YMPE) of $55,300 and by two percent on wages above that amount. The proposed changes would raise this salary threshold by 14% before increasing the accrual calculation to 2%. This will mean that my pension earnings will grow at a significantly slower rate. The result will be a lower pension for anyone currently earning above the YMPE. A member earning at the proposed threshold would see a six percent reduction in their pension from this change alone.
Changes to early retirement mean that even if a person has worked for more than 30 years, or has attained their “90 factor”, they cannot qualify for unreduced early retirement until they reach 60. This is punitive for those who have dedicated their working lives to their job and have paid into their pension on every pay cheque for 30 years.
Most OMERS pension members make modest salaries, but we defer a portion of our wages to the plan because we know a decent and secure defined benefit pension is critical for our retirement. We also know that our modest salaries turn into modest pensions. Maintaining these secure benefits are critical to us keeping up with the constant increases in the cost-of-living once we retire.
I know the current proposal comes out of a Comprehensive Plan Review based on worst possible case scenarios of the future. Any attempt to reduce OMERS’ current benefits puts my own retirement planning in jeopardy. That is not a possibility – that is a fact.
I am asking all members of the OMERS Sponsors Board to do the right thing and vote against these proposed plan changes and I ask that you ensure this correspondence is shared with your fellow board members.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario have joined with striking workers at York University to voice their opposition to the new Conservative government’s “back-to-work” legislation.
“Our members went on strike more than four months ago because we were experiencing firsthand how the quality of education at York was degenerating. We believed York would bargain with us to help find solutions to improve the quality of education we provide, but they have essentially refused,” said Devin Lefebvre, Chairperson of CUPE 3903. “This legislation gives York exactly what they’ve wanted from the beginning and it absolves them from having to take responsibility for the quality of education the university provides. This is not good for students.”
“The right to meaningful collective bargaining and the right to strike are not political punching bags. They’re constitutional rights,” said Michael Bryant, Executive Director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA). “These rights are protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to ensure dignity and fairness for workers. As the federal government found out with the Canada Post case, back-to-work legislation will be closely monitored by the courts.”
Compared to all other provinces, Ontario universities receive the lowest per student government funding. Chronic underfunding of colleges and universities has led to a significant increase in the use of precarious labour on Ontario campuses. Sixty percent of the teaching at York is now done by teaching assistants, graduate students and contract faculty – the members of CUPE 3903.
“Universities and colleges are not just institutions for learning, but are places of employment for thousands of workers,” said Nour Alideeb, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. “Job security, adequate graduate funding and equity protections for the most vulnerable are fundamental to delivering high quality education. Protecting students means investing in education, not stripping away the rights of the workers that students depend on.”
“The Ford government’s disregard for workers’ rights and quality education is exposed in today’s ‘back-to-work’ legislation,” said Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario. “These workers have been bravely fighting to improve the quality of education at York and will continue to do whatever they can to push for improvements, even if the legislation passes. The consequences of this reckless legislation will be felt in classrooms.”
CUPE 3903 represents more than 3,000 teaching assistants, contract faculty, graduate assistants and part-time librarians and archivists at York University. CUPE Ontario is the largest union in Ontario, representing more than 260,000 members across the province.
Canada Day in Oshawa's Lakeview Park has been a tradition in our great Region for many years, bringing our entire community together, for residents and visitors to enjoy and share our special bond of living in one of the greatest countries in the world and celebrating our freedom, values and diversity.
Each year Durham Northumberland CUPE Council is there, come and visit our booth and stay for the festivities as the City of Oshawa presents an amazing day of fun and entertainment in celebration of Canada's 151st birthday. Join us at Lakeview Park.
The celebration features with live entertainment and activities for all ages. A grand finale fireworks display will begin at dusk (approximately 10:00 p.m.) off the shore of Lake Ontario.
The City of Oshawa's Canada Day Celebration is Oshawa's premier festival. The event plays host to over 50,000 residents and visitors every year. The activities and entertainment are top-notch and this year will prove to be the best that Oshawa has to offer. Live local entertainment, carnival, family zone, historical village and spectacular fireworks will provide something sure to please everyone in the family. CUPE Local 250 and 251 workers provide much of the support for this great event.
Today the United States Supreme Court ruled that government workers who benefit from a collective agreement but choose not to join the union, are not required to pay union dues. Though the ruling has no direct impact on workers in Ontario, this attack on unions and their ability to fight for better conditions for working people could have ripple effects that cross the border – particularly in light of the election of Doug Ford as premier.
Unlike today’s ruling in the U.S., Canada’s Supreme Court has long upheld mandatory dues check off for all workers who are part of a bargaining unit and benefit from its collective agreement. Put simply – there’s no free lunch. If you get the benefits, wages and protections that the union bargains for you, you have to pay union dues.
For US government employees who are already under attack, today’s decision is a huge blow. Even workers, perfectly happy with their unions’ work, could make the economic decision to opt out of paying their dues. The financial loss to the unions will severely handicap their ability to protect their members. The end result will be that wages are driven down, pensions and benefits cut, and there will be no one there to defend a member who is unfairly disciplined.
We cannot let something like this happen in Ontario.
Though, Ontario workers do not need to worry about a Supreme Court decision, the provincial government has the ability to bring in legislation to repeal provisions in the Labour Relations Act (LRA) that require mandatory dues check-off. This is something that former Conservative leader Tim Hudak promised to do in the 2014 election and he was resoundingly defeated. Despite the fact that newly elected Premier Doug Ford never raised the issue in the recent election, many fear that he may still try to do what Hudak failed to accomplish. Today’s ruling south of the border could spur him on.
CUPE Ontario and the entire labour movement are on guard for such an attack. We will be ready if any attempts are made to table legislation that undermines the rights of workers and their unions. We cannot allow any government to take us backward and we will do everything in our power to make sure that never happens.
Premier Designate Ford’s hiring freeze demonstrates a lack of understanding of the scope of government services.
The announcement of a unilateral hiring freeze across all government services demonstrates Premier Designate Doug Ford’s lack of understanding of the overall scope of services the Ontario government provides, says CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn.
“Ford has not even been sworn in as Premier and he has made this sweeping decision without having had the time to actually understand the overall needs of each of the Ministries and the services they provide across Ontario,” says Hahn. “This has the potential of causing significant and perhaps unintended problems on the frontlines in our communities.”
“Rash decisions are not the way to improve the lives of working people and their families,” says Candace Rennick, Secretary-Treasurer of CUPE Ontario. “Once the new Premier officially takes office and becomes more familiar with the breadth of necessary jobs that will be effected, we hope he will adjust his decision.”
Though full details of the hiring freeze are unclear, while representing the City of Toronto, Doug Ford supported policies that led to significant numbers of jobs going unfilled after retirements, parental leaves and resignations.
“What we saw in Toronto directly impacted the level and quality of services people received,” says Hahn. “We are gravely concerned that today’s announcement will lead to the same or worse all across Ontario. We already have a crisis in long-term care and our children are not getting the level of support they need in the classroom. We need a Premier who is going to make sure people get the services they need, not one that will make everything worse.”