36 Reasons to Thank a Union

Did you know that labour unions made the following 36 things possible?

1. Weekends without work
2. All breaks at work, including your lunch breaks
3. Paid vacation
4. Family & medical leave
5. Sick leave
6. Social security
7. Minimum wage
8. Prohibiting employer discrimination
9. 8-hour work day
10. Overtime pay
11. Child labour laws
12. Occupational Safety & Health
13. 40-hour work week
14. Workers’ compensation (workers’ comp)
15. Unemployment insurance
16. Pensions
17. Workplace safety standards and regulations
18. Employer health care insurance
19. Collective bargaining rights for employees
20. Wrongful termination laws
21. Legislation against age discrimination
22. Whistleblower protection laws
23. Legislation prohibiting employers from using a lie detector test on an employee
24. Veteran’s employment and training services
25. Compensation increases and evaluations (i.e. raises)
26. Sexual harassment laws
27. Disabilities legislation
28. Holiday pay
29. Employer dental, life, and vision insurance
30. Privacy rights
31. Pregnancy and parental leave
32. Military leave
33. The right to strike
34. Public education for children
35. Equal pay – requires employers pay men and women equally for the same amount of work
36. Laws ending sweatshops

OMERS Pension Update

Dear OMERS plan members:

We wanted to give you an important update about OMERS. As you may have heard, the pension fund lost more than $3 billion or -2.7% last year, a shortfall of more than $10 billion compared to their own benchmark returns for 2020.

This is the result of some very questionable decisions made by investment managers that business media giant Bloomberg described as “bad bets” with your pension savings, while the five top OMERS executives collectively made $8 million in bonuses last year.

And this isn’t new – it’s part of a longer pattern of underperformance at OMERS.

Well, now it’s time to demand accountability and to ramp up our calls for increased scrutiny of OMERS. We are currently in the process of demanding an immediate and comprehensive review of OMERS’ failed investment management in recent years, with full disclosure to plan members and the involvement of unions and employers.

We simply can’t allow OMERS executives to get away with washing their hands of these investment results or blaming COVID for their poor 2020 returns. On the exact same day OMERS reported losses, Quebec’s large pension fund manager, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), reported positive 2020 returns of +7.7%.

This latest bad news from OMERS is the result of their decisions and CUPE Ontario will continue to oppose any attempt to make plan members pay for them.

To CUPE Ontario’s 120,000 active OMERS plan members, we will take action. There will be accountability.

Please keep an eye out for updated information, including ways you can take direct action as a plan member of OMERS.

Fred Hahn – CUPE Ontario

Tim Hickman Scholarship

CUPE Local 101 is pleased to announce that application submissions are now open for the 2021 Tim Hickman Memorial Health and Safety Scholarship. Each year, this scholarship awards $3000 to students currently enrolled full-time in an occupational or public health and safety related program at a Southwest or Central-West Ontario college or university. The scholarship is sponsored by CUPE Local 101, CUPE Local 107 and the City of London, with the support of Tim’s family and friends. Applications for the scholarship are due February 28, 2021. For details on how to apply, to view past recipients or learn more about Tim’s story, visit london.ca.

Stay at Home Order Update

Fellow Members:

What a kickoff to the New Year! And as predicted, this new year comes with new Provincial restrictions.

Stay-At-Home Order

Premier Ford has just announced another lockdown and stay-at-home order effective Thursday January 14th at 12:01 am.  As the early modelling anticipated, 2nd Wave COVID infection rates are setting daily and disconcerting records. We are at risk of overloading the infrastructures of our hospitals and care facilities beyond capacity.  Based on media reports and images, both here in Canada and south of the border, we see the numbers of positive cases and the mortality rate continuing to rise.

It was frustrating to see that in some instances there were political leaders and medical personnel who preached to practice precautions, and were then caught taking non-essential travel, or caught attending holiday gatherings with groups exceeding the 5 person maximum.  As a society we can, and must, do better.

Try not to become discouraged with those careless people who refuse to take precautions.  Most of us are doing our absolute level best to follow direction from health officials and take proper precautions to prevent infection and mitigate the spread of COVID. Please continue to protect yourselves, and those you care about.

It warrants repeating:  Please continue to protect yourselves with using masks, social distancing, frequent hand washing, minimizing our trips out of the home for only essential reasons and managing your mental health. Reach out to your support network, or contact your Employee Assistance Program, and take time to unplug from the bombardment of negativity in the media.  Negativity breeds negativity.

Remote Work

Over the last several months, and again more recently, our employers have been altering our work tasks in ways to allow these to be performed remotely.  As a result, there are no anticipated layoffs or Designated Emergency Leaves (DEL) for this new lockdown and stay-at-home order, or even the foreseeable future. We ask about this at each and every meeting and we will notify you if this ever changes.

General Membership Meeting

Due to restrictions we cannot physically host our GMM in person, however we desperately need to continue moving forward the business of the Union.  We have plenty to do in 2021 such as present the Trustees’ reports, seek approval on the annual budget, and continuing to pursue initiatives and goals of the Local to improve working conditions for all.

The Executive is investigating ZOOM and other tools to host the GMM virtually in order to securely conduct business. Updates will follow through VP Phil Boyd, your Unit Chair, or your Steward.  If you have any workplace concerns relating to work environment, job postings, accommodations, Health and Safety, or Return to Work, be sure to connect with your Unit Chair, Steward, a union committee member, or Executive.   We continue to all be here to support you.

Finally, thank you to our members who are frontline workers; thank you to our members supporting the frontline workers remotely; and thank you to those of us who are working remotely and yearn for the return to work, and a return to normalcy. While COVID is a burden we are all shouldering, each of us copes with it in different ways.  We ask that you continue to be kind to yourself and be kind to others.

On behalf of the Executive,

Adam Brightling


CUPE Local 101