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April 2013 President's Report (TCHC)

Dear Local 79 Sisters and Brothers at TCHC:

Members of the Local 79 Executive, the TCHC Unit Officer, and the CUPE National Representative were at selected meetings last week to listen to discussions between our members at TCHC and management. It was important for Local 79 Representatives to hear these discussions, although this was a scheduled Bargaining date.  While bargaining has been progressing, issues of concern remain with some of the TCHC proposals. Local 79 has bargaining dates scheduled into May and I’ll keep you informed of developments.  Local 79 will continue to monitor closely the restructuring at TCHC and urge management to have ongoing communications with Local 79 and our members.

Following release of the Federal Budget, I wrote to Stephen Harper telling him that Local 79 believes that the provision of stable, sustainable Federal policies and resource commitments are long overdue to enable the residents of Canada’s largest city, Toronto, to grow and prosper. Harper’s so-called Economic Action Plan 2013 has no plan for workers and needed services for communities. There is no new money dedicated for skills training, no mention or commitment to public health care, no investment in a national child care system, and no attempt to address the crisis in retirement insecurity, this Federal Budget gets a failing grade. We know we can expect another Omnibus Bill again this year following the Budget announcement.  Our experience tells us that hidden inside hundreds of pages of legislation there could be significant cuts to public services and threats to trade union rights.

Local 79 recently announced our opposition to a new casino in Toronto after the results of an internal poll showed 67% of our responding members oppose a casino outright. 81% thought that poverty would be worsened by a casino and 82% thought crime would increase. We are concerned about a casino’s negative impact on communities and our members, who are front-line community workers, are worried that the social impacts of a casino could overwhelm Toronto’s already strained social support system. Local 79 has signed on in support of ‘No Casino Toronto’, a leading opposition group against the establishment of a casino in Toronto.

A recently published joint report from United Way Toronto and McMaster University revealed that precarious employment has increased by nearly 50% in the last 20 years, and continues to do so. Following on the heels of this study, The Law Commission of Ontario released their own study with 47 recommendations for action by the Ontario government to begin to reverse this damaging trend. I wrote to Premier Wynne urging her to adopt the recommendations of the Law Commission of Ontario’s report to improve the Employment Standards Act, ensure fair wages for part-time workers, increase protections for temporary migrant workers, and enforce workplace health and safety rules.  Local 79 participated in the launch of the Workers Action Centre’s Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage, with a rally at the Ministry of Labour. A third of Ontario children who live in poverty have one parent who works full-time. Raising the minimum wage to $14/hour would provide a pathway out of poverty for many of these families.

At the end of March, I had the honour of giving the welcome address to more than 350 labour leaders attending the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) National Leaders’ Summit. During my address I showcased Local 79’s “Taking Care of Toronto” campaign and year of community engagement which have given Local 79 a recognized and stronger voice for issues affecting Toronto communities. Following the Summit, the CLC welcomed 1,400 delegates to a conference aimed at equipping union members with the ability to engage in the public debate over the governments’ attacks on workers’ rights and the ramping up of austerity plans. The resulting campaign is called “Union Pride and Solidarity”.

April 28th is the National Day of Mourning, when we pause and remember all workers who have been injured, made sick, or killed on the job. It is also a time when we rededicate ourselves to ensuring that all workers have safe, healthy workplaces. The 2013 service will be held on Friday April 26th at 12 noon at Larry Sefton Park, Bay and Hagerman Street. (Behind Toronto City Hall)

Canada’s National Nursing Week for 2013 is May 6th-12th. This year’s theme, Nursing: A Leading Force for Change, celebrates the role of nurses at the forefront of effecting change in the quality of health care. (Please see the Local 79 website for more details.)

I was recently appointed to be the Labour Co-Chair of the United Way 2013 Campaign Cabinet. In addition to this being a great personal honour, I consider this to be well-deserved recognition of the important contributions made to this worthy cause year after year by Local 79 members, and the extensive community engagement by Local 79 in 2012.

Applications for the 2013 Alex Gregory Memorial Scholarship
will be accepted for students who are in their final year of secondary school in Ontario, and are registered in a post-secondary institution this fall. Five scholarships for $500 each will be awarded to children of current or retired members. Please apply for an application in writing to the Education Committee, c/o the Local 79 office. Please include your name, address, home and work telephone numbers, division, and employee number.

In Solidarity,

Tim Maguire
President

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Shall replenish. Tree doesn’t face. There which creepeth multiply fish unto of Seed. Behold made two Rule divided. Fruit form.

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