This week, we are sorry to hear of the loss of Fred Upshaw, the first black unionist to lead a major Canadian union, and former OFL Executive Board member. We also invite you to join a very important telephone town hall meeting on Mar 7 at 7 p.m.
Fred Upshaw was a trailblazer and a dedicated trade unionist who led the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) from 1990 to 1995, securing wage increases for public employees and winning unit reform and human rights language in OPSEU contracts. He was the first black trade unionist to lead a major Canadian union.
“The work Fred did for his brothers and sisters in the labour movement made lasting positive change for workers of color across this province” said OFL President Chris Buckley. “As the first black president of a major Canadian union, Fred set an example for many younger labour activists and we should all be grateful for his work for greater inclusion and fairness within the labour movement and communities across Ontario.”
Fred Upshaw was born in Halifax in 1935 but moved to Toronto with his mother in 1941. He was the eldest of six children in a single-parent family.
His life as an activist began at Malvern Collegiate High School, where as student council president he led a walkout demanding that students be consulted over uniform changes. Upshaw was a debater and singer in his early years. Following a short stint on the executive of United Auto Workers’ Local 222, Upshaw became a registered nurse and took a job at Whitby Psychiatric Hospital where he was a member, and later president of OPSEU Local 331.
Elected to the OPSEU Executive Board in 1980, Upshaw became First Vice-President/Treasurer in 1984 and President of OPSEU in 1990, serving on the OFL board during his presidency from 1990-1995.
Upshaw’s presidency coincided with the five-year rule of Ontario’s NDP government under Premier Bob Rae. Upshaw led the union during the fightback against Rae’s Social Contract Act. As a key leader of the Public Services Coalition, Upshaw won agreements that minimized the impact of “Rae Days” and prevented layoffs. During Upshaw’s time in office, OPSEU won the right to strike for Ontario Public Service members, joint union-management control over the OPSEU Pension Trust (now OPTrust) and the colleges’ pension plan, and political rights for Crown employees. Always a human rights activist, Upshaw championed employment equity during his term in office.
He was an active member of the OFL board.
“I worked with Fred for many years and I could always rely on him for support in taking recommendations to the board,” said former OFL human rights director June Veecock. “This was in the old days when it was quite challenging to put Human Rights and equity on labour’s agenda. Fred was always progressive on those issues.”
Upshaw also served on the Worker’s Health and Safety Board, remaining a member until his death.
“Fred Upshaw was a clear and resolute voice on behalf of all workers while serving as OPSEU’s President on the Federations Board of Directors,” said former OFL president Gord Wilson. “Fred provided valuable insight for me and all of us serving with him on the Board. No one could doubt his commitment to improving the lives of working people and their families regardless of origin, race, language, sex or sexual orientation. Workers have lost a staunch ally. He will be sorely missed. Well done brother, well done.”
The OFL extends deepest condolences to his family, friends and his colleagues in the labour movement.
A lot has changed since our union was founded in 1963.
But two things remain constant today: public services continue to be important equalizers in our communities and our members who deliver them are under attack.
Governments continue to cut corporate taxes, starving public coffers of the resources needed to deliver important services to Canadians. Workers are being asked to make up the shortfall through lower wages, lesser benefits, and diminishing working conditions.
We continue to face austerity agendas and attacks on workers’ rights both at the bargaining table and in legislatures across the country. We have seen a sharp rise in the number of employers seeking concessions and two-tier provisions in our collective agreements. Governments of all stripes are restructuring the services our members provide and looking for ways to privatize those same services.
As Canada’s largest union, representing 643,000 workers across sectors in every province, we have a responsibility to fight back on behalf of our members and all workers across the country. I know that we are stronger and achieve so much more when we stand shoulder to shoulder. That’s why I am proud of the renewed collective bargaining policy adopted by our National Executive Board this past December.
It’s our strategy to protect collective agreement rights, resist demands for concessions and two-tier contract provisions, and defend every worker’s right to free collective bargaining. And it’s our blueprint for solidarity across the board, to ensure CUPE locals and members are ready to stand together and fight back against attacks during bargaining.
We’re equipping our locals with the resources they need to fight concessions and two-tier contract proposals. And we’re asking them to negotiate better provisions for precarious workers and protection against workplace violence. We’re developing a coordinated bargaining approach in every region so that we can lead from a position of strength. And we’re committing to political action to defeat any government that attacks our bargaining rights.
Corporate interests and austerity-pushing politicians across the country know that we are unstoppable when we work together. So, together, let’s stand strong against attacks on workers’ rights, and set a course for a fairer and more equal Canada.
CAMBRIDGE, ON – The 185 members of Local 32 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 32) who provide roads maintenance, including snow removal, water and wastewater services, arena maintenance, cemetery services, parks and pools maintenance and mechanical services for the City of Cambridge commenced strike action this morning at 12:30 a.m. after negotiations…
We wish to make you aware of a potential development that could have serious implications for you and your family and let you know how you can take action on this matter.
The federal government is considering taxing employer contributions to group health benefit plans and could announce the new tax as early as its spring, 2017 Federal Budget.
Why this matters to you:
Currently, employer paid health benefit plans are a tax-deductible benefit and are not included as part of your taxable income.
If the federal government introduces the new tax, the premiums we pay on your group benefit plans would no longer be exempt from federal tax. This could significantly increase your tax bill, and reduce your take home pay.
As an example, Extended Health Care Benefits, including Dental for family coverage, will cost approximately $5,580 per year. This amount would be added to your taxable income hence requiring you to pay taxes on the additional amount at your applicable taxation rate.
How to take action:
You can make your voice heard and urge the federal government not to tax health benefit plans. Simply visit http://donttaxmyhealthbenefits.ca// to easily send a letter to your Member of Parliament and the Minister of Finance.
It is with great sadness and heavy hearts we grieve the loss of three of our members this holiday season.
Please take the time to remember these members who have passed, and their families and friends, as the holidays will be a difficult time for all.
Wednesday, October 19 8:15 – 8:45 a.m.
Tuesday, October 18 12:15 – 2:00 p.m.
3:15 – 4:15 p.m.
Wednesday, October 19 10:30 – 11:00 a.m.
Housing Access Centre (HAC)
Wednesday, October 19 2:45 – 3:00 p.m.
Tuesday, October 18 11:40 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Information Technology Services (ITS)
Tuesday, October 18 10:45 – 11:15 a.m
London Middlesex Housing Corporation
Tuesday, October 18 9:00 – 9:30 a.m.
Tuesday, October 18 2:15 – 3:00 p.m.
Middlesex-London Health Unit
Wednesday, October 19 1:15 – 2:00 p.m.
MLHU – Inspectors (201 Queens Ave.)
Tuesday, October 18 10:15 – 10:30 a.m.
Middlesex County Office
Wednesday, October 19 2:05 – 2:30 p.m.
Ontario Works (Northland Mall)
Tuesday, October 18 8:15 – 8:45 a.m.
Planning (Dundas Street)
Tuesday, October 18 11:15 – 11:30 a.m.
Tuesday, October 18 9:45 – 10:05 a.m.
South London Community Centre
Wednesday, October 19 9:00 – 9:30 a.m.
South West Community Care Access Centre
Wednesday, October 19 11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
WSC – Westmount Mall
Wednesday, October 19 9:45 – 10:15 a.m.
Voting will also take place at the General Membership Meeting on Wednesday, October 19, from 4:30 – 5:00 p.m.
Phil Vivyurka, our current VP, is taking a break and will not be continuing on in his role. I am hoping that Phil gets some rest, relaxation and hopefully comes back soon to help and support us all in whatever capacity he is wanting. Phil has given so very much to Local 101 and a great activist. His knowledge, expertise and experience cannot be replaced. Thanks so much Phil for everything you have done and for your support and mentorship all these years.
President, CUPE Local 101
Nominations will be accepted at our September 28 General Membership Meeting (GMM). Any member nominated for an executive position shall have been a member for the past twelve months and attended 50 percent of all meetings.
In addition, no nominations shall be accepted unless the member is in attendance at the Nomination Meeting, or has allowed to be filed at such meeting and their consent in writing, duly witnessed by another member.
There are other rules, so please review our by-laws for more information.
The Executive positions that will be up for nomination will be:
Sub Unit Liaison