Halifax Media Co-op

News from Nova Scotia's Grassroots

More independent news:
Do you want free independent news delivered weekly? sign up now
Can you support independent journalists with $5? donate today!
Advertisement

CUPE expects little from meeting with finance minister

by Robert Devet

Danny Cavanagh, Nova Scotia president of CUPE, addresses a Halifax Water rally at City Hall earlier this year. Cavanagh and other union leaders will meet with Nova Scotia's finance minister to talk about upcoming bargaining sessions and the economic climate. Cavanagh isn't holding his breath, he tells the halifax media co-op. Photo Robert Devet
Danny Cavanagh, Nova Scotia president of CUPE, addresses a Halifax Water rally at City Hall earlier this year. Cavanagh and other union leaders will meet with Nova Scotia's finance minister to talk about upcoming bargaining sessions and the economic climate. Cavanagh isn't holding his breath, he tells the halifax media co-op. Photo Robert Devet

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Danny Cavanagh is not sure what to make of finance minister Randy Delorey's invitation to sit down and discuss “a new bargaining approach.”

Cavanagh, Nova Scotia's president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), is one of the union leaders set to meet with Delorey this Tuesday morning. Leaders of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees (NSGEU), UNIFOR, and the Nova Scotia Nurses Union (NSNU) will also attend.

Cavanagh expects little from the meeting.

"In the past we have seen the same kind of thing happening. They like to take people into a meeting, tell them that this is how life is going to be, and then say that they consulted with people,” Cavanagh tells the Halifax Media Co-op.

There is little in the liberal government's past actions that would cause Cavanagh to think otherwise.

Essential services legislation introduced by this government took away the right to bargain, first from home care workers, and then from all health care workers. And an aborted effort to force health care workers to abandon their current union is still fresh in everybody's memory.

The minister's invitation states that "a core priority of this government is to reform our finances in order to safeguard the services Nova Scotians rely upon," CBC reports. "We have heard loud and clear from Nova Scotians that taxpayers are not interested in contributing any more," the invitation states.

“In the invitation they talk about innovation. But if they want to talk about innovation, then government has to be wiling to listen,” Cavanagh warns.

Cavanagh is clear on the kinds of innovations he's not very fond of.

For years workers have watched governments hand out money like the $22 million dollars paid to the Royal Bank, or the huge salaries paid with public money to university presidents, he says. And suggestions that Government privatize the Land Titles system and the Registry of Motor Vehicles are equally shortsighted, he believes.

Instead he suggests that government get a bit more creative.

Why not pay attention to a report CUPE commissioned in 2011, Cavanagh wonders. That study, by economist Robert Fairholm, argues that an expansion of early childhood learning and care will cause Nova Scotia's GDP to grow by two percent.

Or maybe government should support CUPE Nova Scotia's 10% Shift campaign, Cavanagh says.

If every Nova Scotian were to shift just ten percent of their spending to local groups and services, than that would boost the economy by double the amount the federal warship building is expected to generate, the campaign's website explains.

“We need to have a discussion about what innovation really means, and stop blaming workers, Cavanagh says. “Stats Canada shows that the cost of food increased by three percent in the last year. Workers are going to expect something. Not a lot, but something.”

“We need to stay competitive with other provinces, specifically when it comes to healthcare. We don't want people leaving this province to go to Newfoundland, or New Brunswick or elsewhere.”

Follow Robert Devet on Twitter


Socialize:
Want more grassroots coverage?
Join the Media Co-op today.
Topics: Labour
500 words

Advertisement

User login


Google+
Subscribe to the Dominion $25/year

The Media Co-op's flagship publication features in-depth reporting, original art, and the best grassroots news from across Canada and beyond. Sign up now!