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Statement from CAW Local 567
CFNU threatens scabs in clear attempt to bust its own staff union
(Ottawa) July 5, 2012 - The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU), representing over 150,000 nurses across Canada, is employing anti-labour strike-breaking tactics in a dispute with its CAW staff union Local 567. The CFNU is rebranding an event organized and paid for by the CFNU as ‘non-CFNU' in order to use its member organizations as scabs.
The CFNU holds an event each year during the Premiers' meetings to draw attention to nurses' concerns about Canada's healthcare system, however, it has at the last moment declared this year's to be a "Member's Organization" event rather than a CFNU event. Linda Silas, President, stated: "We are not taking any chances in the event of a job action." The CFNU event is scheduled for July 25, 2012, in Halifax. The CFNU staff union will be in a strike position on July 11, 2012.
Issues in dispute include contracting out, layoff, benefit rollbacks, and wage parity. The average wages of the CFNU member organizations are up to 50% more than CFNU staff rates. Ironically, it is the same nurses' dues supporting both the CFNU and its member organizations. The staff union had long advised the employer that wage gaps must be narrowed in this contract, after the issue had been raised in the last two negotiations. While wage parity for eight people is a drop in the bucket of the entire CFNU budget, the staff union only asked for a step towards that objective and has since reduced its demands in an attempt to reach an agreement. The union is now asking for less than $48,000 in wage increases for all staff combined, representing just 1/3 of the way towards parity. The CFNU president, on the other hand, last year received a personal salary increase far surpassing what was offered to the entire staff combined. When this was raised in bargaining, Silas stated: "Like many organizations, we do not think that executive compensation has any relevance to negotiations with a staff union."
The employer is proposing changes to sick leave, which would allow the employer to demand a sick note on the first day of illness. Such a provision would undoubtedly create both a license to harass, and a chill on the use of sick days. This is hardly the kind of leadership one would expect from a healthcare sector union.
The CAW Local 567 is calling on all the CFNU member organizations and their staff unions to not participate in any CFNU events in the event of a strike by the CFNU staff union.
The CAW Local 567 is also calling on all unions in the city of Ottawa to write to the CFNU and the members of its National Executive Board, asking that they return to the table to negotiate in good faith a contract that respects the principles of job security, fairness, and wage parity with its own members.
Stuart Ryan, President CAW Local 567
The National Executive Board of the CFNU includes the leadership of eight provincial nurses unions including: Heather Smith, Bev Dick, United Nurses of Alberta (UNA); Rosalee Longmoore, Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (SUN); Sandi Mowat, Manitoba Nurses Union (MNU); Linda Haslam-Stroud, Vicki McKenna, Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA); Marilyn Quinn, New Brunswick Nurses Union (NBNU); Janet Hazelton, Nova Scotia Nurses' Union (NSNU); Mona O'Shea, Prince Edward Island Nurses' Union (PEINU); Debbie Forward, Newfoundland and Labrador Nurses' Union (NLNU).
The statement was sent with an email to labour organizations that stated:Attached is an appeal from my local CAW 567. Our members who work forthe Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions could be on strike as ofJuly 11, but their employer is planning to turn its annualpresentation at the Premiers Conference July 25 from being a CFNUevent to an event sponsored by its member affiliates. This isstrike-breaking.
We are asking that the affiliates of the Ottawa and District LabourCouncil send messages to Linda Silas, President of the CFNU and to theaffiliate organizations protesting the potential strike-breaking andto tell the CFNU to bargain in good faith and negotiate a justcontract for our members who work for the CFNU.
The Ottawa District Labour Council is asking people to send messages to the e-mails for the provincial affiliates that make up the Canadian Federation of Nuses (copying them to the CAW Local 567 President email@example.com).
These are the emails for the CFNU Board:
Linda Silas, CFNU President firstname.lastname@example.org
Debbie Forward email@example.com
Janet Hazelton firstname.lastname@example.org
Marilyn Quinn email@example.com
Mona O'Shea firstname.lastname@example.org
Linda Haslam Lindahs@ona.org
Vicki McKenna email@example.com
Sandi Mowat firstname.lastname@example.org
Rosalee Longmoore email@example.com
Heather Smith firstname.lastname@example.org
Bev Dick email@example.com