July 6, 2010

Time to abandon tired global-or-nothing ideology

Every other day in the big mainstream dailies, it seems, some right wing champion of so-called public-private partnerships is given generous column inches to extol the virtues of P3s and the global market. Earlier this year, for example, ATB Financial economist Todd Hirsch argued that opponents of a Calgary bridge construction project that went to a Spanish bidder were needlessly “paranoid” about lost jobs and “insecure” in their failure to embrace the wisdom of the global market in awarding contracts for large public infrastructure projects.


June 14, 2010

A time to celebrate…and a time to make things better

June 21st is National Aboriginal Day. This is a time to celebrate the cultures and contributions of our First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. The Canadian Union of Public Employees has been proud to participate in this celebration every year since it was proclaimed in 1996. In some cases, our members not only attend the events but are instrumental in organizing them. Last year, at a National Aboriginal Day event held at Ship’s Point in Victoria’s Inner Harbour, kids learned how to create their own spirit stones and do sidewalk chalk art that captured the day’s activities.

May 18, 2010

Worker-bashing screed misses the point

Sent to The Province May 7th - unpublished.

Thank you, Jon Ferry, for so clearly laying out the tycoon’s solution to economic problems: make working people pay for them (“Blame unions for funding shortfalls, tax hikes,” The Province, May 7).

Ferry rages that municipal and school board workers got pay increases last year that were higher than the cost of living.

April 29, 2010

Time to put an end to ‘near misses’

…Text of a speech by Barry O’Neill, delivered in Surrey City Council chambers on the National Day of Mourning, April 28, 2010.

I can’t say I’m pleased to be here, because I’m never pleased at these events—what we’re dealing with is very serious. But what I wanted to say first of all is greetings from the 80,000 members that we represent across British Columbia. We’re doing similar kinds of ceremonies all across this province and in fact, all across this country. My background is as an occupational health and safety activist.

April 15, 2010

Our members have the know-how

One of the great things about our union is the variety of skills and knowledge that our 80,000 members bring to the table. With more than 170 locals throughout the province, CUPE represents workers in colleges, community social services, health, K-12, libraries, municipalities, transportation, and universities. That’s a lot of expertise.

Although many of our job classifications involve fairly visible work, much of the general public never gets to witness or appreciate the full range of skills that CUPE members have to offer.

March 24, 2010

Value for taxpayers and public opinion favour public sewage treatment

By the end of March, elected councillors in the Capital Regional District (CRD) will make a crucial decision on how new sewage treatment should be procured and whether they will accept a public private partnership (P3) and hand sewage treatment to private corporations.

From the beginning this project has been caught in the cross hairs of the B.C. government’s privatization agenda. Premier Gordon Campbell’s October 2006 capital standard policy requires all capital projects with $50 million in provincial funds to be considered for privatization.

February 18, 2010

This year’s May Day will be “Community Action Day”: O’Neill

BURNABY—This year on May Day, CUPE BC will be asking its members to mark International Workers Day by celebrating their presence in and involvement with the communities where they live and work.

May Day is recognized each year as the International Workers’ Day. The May 1st date was chosen more than 100 years ago to commemorate the struggles and gains of workers and the labour movement.

February 11, 2010

Invest in your community, CUPE recommends

The president of CUPE B.C. wants people to support their communities through a Local First campaign, and Local 439 is embracing his message.

Barry O'Neill was in Comox to speak to School District 71 support staff members during their professional development day Monday at Highland Secondary School.

The day's theme was Investing in Your Community, and CUPE Local 439 provided a series of workshops to educate members on the Valley and a lunch with local food prepared by local businesses and students.

January 20, 2010

Good news that LPNs stay united in HEU

CUPE BC applauds the solidarity of LPNs who have chosen to stay with the Hospital Employees’ Union.

Commenting on the January 18 announcement that the BC Nurses’ Union leadership failed to meet sign up targets necessary to represent LPNs, CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill said that the Labour Board should dismiss the BCNU raid applications.

“This has been a colossal waste of time and resources. It has created divisions among health care workers in a bargaining year. And it has undermined solidarity and trust within the labour movement,” said O’Neill.

January 14, 2010

Playing the waiting game with our paramedics

The ambulance paramedics have been waiting for more than four years for the provincial government to launch a comprehensive inquiry into the sorry state of ambulance service in BC. The list below of ambulance wait times is sad proof of the need for this. The figures come from the employer - the BC Ambulance Service - and they will no doubt shock many people with the length of time British Columbians have to wait for an ambulance in communities across this province.