A message from CUPE PEI President, Ashley Clark



It’s been busy on our Island! Since being elected your Division President in May, I have been connecting with individuals and organizations, learning the (many) ropes, and working hard to represent Island worker interests with government, in the media, and at the CUPE National Executive Board. I want to say a HUGE thank you to all the CUPE locals, councils, and the CUPE PEI Board – as well as the CUPE Regional Director and entire Maritime Region Staff team – all of whom bring their knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm to every issue we work on together!

One thing that has become crystal clear is that we are facing a dearth of leadership inthis province. From a municipal councilor denying the realities of residential schools and a provincial MLA making sexist comments about women paramedics to the toxic administration and culture at UPEI and the Premier’s divisive recruitment and retention strategy, we have seen people in positions of power directly harm and disrespect the people living and working in this province. Add to this reality the fact that inflation on PEI has skyrocketed; the cost of food, rent, and other essentials is out-of-control; and wages aren’t keeping up with inflation, the struggles and anxiety many people are facing today just to get by are real and understandable. In facing these difficulties, what inspires and motivates me is the incredible bravery and
solidarity I have seen from workers here on PEI and across the country. People are getting fed up with the status quo that advantages corporations over communities, and they are turning those frustrations into action. At our 60 th anniversary CUPE National Convention, we heard about strikes and job action across the country, where workers are standing up to their employers and they are winning – achieving better for their bargaining units, which means better for everyone! There are structural challenges that we have to face in our fight for fairness — indifferent, incompetent, or uncaring governments at every level; legislation that restricts our chartered rights and freedoms (or laws that don’t protect us from being exploited and unfairly treated); not to mention chronic underfunding of important social services.

Over the last few months, I have been meeting with Local Presidents, attending Local meetings and AGMs, and working with Regional and National staff to map out our plans to address those challenges head-on. I am so excited by the passion I am hearing from members across the province and the determination from Local leadership to fight for better for everyone. Island workers are tired of begging for scraps and are done waiting nicely for the government and employers to dictate when and how they want to deal with the Union. I am very proud to
represent CUPE workers on PEI and am excited to tackle the year ahead together!

PEI Long-Term Care Review fails to add new insights

CUPE Local 2523, representing close to 200 Atlantic Baptist Nursing Home workers, along with CUPE PEI, issues a statement regarding the recently published Long-Term Care (LTC) review. While the review acknowledges inequities and calls for improvements in the private sector, it falls short of addressing the fundamental issues faced by LTC residents and workers.

The report emphasizes aligning qualifications, recruitment, retention, and financial aspects but lacks a comprehensive plan for improving LTC conditions. “Simply aligning an underfunded public sector with an even worse private sector does not provide the visionary change needed in LTC,” said CUPE Servicing Representative Lori Mackay.

“Many of the review’s recommendations merely suggest further investigation into known issues, delaying crucial action,” added Mackay. CUPE Local 2523, the PEI Health Council, and CUPE PEI initially presented recommendations in October 2022 advocating for higher-quality care, increased staffing, improved data, wage and working conditions improvements, and clear pandemic plans.

CUPE highlights the following elements, among many others, which were brought forth by care workers but inexplicably absent from the review:

  1. Transition private LTC homes to the public sector to ensure higher quality of care.
  2. Increase staffing levels in long-term care homes to improve quality of care.
  3. Negotiate fairly with unions to improve working conditions for all classifications of workers.
    1. The government has set aside some funds for wages but not true parity between private and public sectors.
    2. In current bargaining, Local 2523 has had no choice but to go into conciliation to push back on their employer’s “zeroes” (years of wage freezes) and below-inflation wage demands.
    3. Unlike other sectors, no worker in LTC has received any retention or recruitment bonuses.
  4. Support LTC workers in working reasonable hours and allow workers to take time off.
  5. Increase the number of paid sick leave for staff to 20 days per year.
  6. Maintain free tuition coverage for resident care worker programs and create educational bridging programs to train Resident Care Workers as Licensed Practical Nurses.
  7. Address the workplace psychosocial contributors to poor mental health including harassment, violence, and heavy workload.
  8. Enact pay equity in the sector, as LTC work is predominantly done by women.
  9. Address the discrepancy in resident infection rates between public and private LTC facilities.

Real progress in LTC requires a more comprehensive approach, which really recognizes the importance of those who deliver care to residents. “CUPE PEI calls on the provincial government to do the right thing and make our long-term care service a real publicly-owned and operated healthcare service. All residents and workers in this sector deserve the same standard of safety, dignity, and quality of care,” concluded Ashley Clark, President of CUPE PEI.

Celebrating Labour Day

Dear Residents of PEI and CUPE PEI Members,

Happy Labour Day to you and your families. This day holds special significance for us, as we recognize the tireless efforts of workers and the vital role they play in shaping our Island. It’s a time for unity, reflection, and hope for a brighter future.

Labour Day is not just a day off work; it’s a celebration of the sweat, determination, and dedication that each one of us invests in our daily endeavours. As President of CUPE PEI, I am proud to recognize the essential contributions of our union members in making our island a better place for all. Our collective strength has led to safer workplaces, improved wages, better benefits, and a stronger voice for workers’ rights. Together, we have made a lasting impact on the lives of our fellow Islanders.

Yet, as we celebrate our accomplishments, we must also acknowledge the areas where we can do better. Our island is growing, and we must ensure that this growth is accompanied by fairness and equity for all. It’s disheartening to witness so many workers struggling to make ends meet while so few reap the rewards. The rising cost of living, coupled with the critical need for enhanced service – not just in quantity but also in quality – compels us to take action.

Investments in vital sectors like healthcare, education, and the green transition are not just important—they are necessary for our collective well-being and the sustainable future of our island. Quality public services, fair wages, and a commitment to creating green and sustainable jobs are pivotal to our success. We must stand together to ensure that the benefits of growth are shared by everyone, not just a privileged few.

As we celebrate Labour Day, let’s also renew our commitment to fighting for better wages, safer workplaces, and improved services. I invite each and every one of you to participate in the Labour Day events taking place across our island. Let’s showcase our solidarity and determination to build a more just and prosperous PEI.

On behalf of CUPE PEI, I wish you all a joyful and inspiring Labour Day. Let’s continue to be the driving force behind positive change in our beautiful island community.

In Solidarity,

Ashley Clark
President, CUPE PEI

– – – – – –

Come to the PEI FEDERATION OF LABOUR’S  LABOUR DAY PICNIC, this Monday September 4, 2023, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

at the Joseph Ghiz Memorial Park, Charlottetown
Drop by as we celebrate Labour Day 2023! Everyone Welcome
Bouncy Castle for Kids, Hot Dogs, Corn, French Fries and more will be served.
For further information contact our office at (902) 368-3068 or peifed@pei.aibn.com

Gold Cup and Saucer Parade 2023

The rain didn’t dampen the spirits of these CUPE Members at the Gold Cup and Saucer parade in Charlottetown . The theme was summertime on the Island. Our CUPE PEI float included quintessential island activities with a campfire and our rolling green pastures, sand on the beach and our beautiful ocean with a lifeguard protecting public services.  A special thanks to Phillips Auto Sales who generously lent us a truck to pull the float and Good Guys Auto Glass for donating space to work on our float.

Long-Term Care Rate Hike Is Cause for Concern

Click to watch the full CBC Compass interview recorded on August 3, 2023. The segment begins at 18:04.

Charlottetown, PEI – CUPE PEI is deeply concerned about the recent announcement made by Health P.E.I. regarding new increases in daily room rates of public long-term care homes. The maximum daily rate for residents in care homes will be increasing from $92.19 to $105.78 per day, matching the higher private sector rates.

“The idea of increasing rates in the public system, as so to match the private sector is a step backward for families and a leap towards privatization in healthcare,” said Ashley Clark, President of CUPE PEI.

CUPE advocates for a true universal public long-term care system, CUPE PEI believes that access to quality long-term care should not be compromised by financial barriers.

“Rates were already unbearably high. Workers’ wages and retirees’ savings are not keeping up with inflation, so the government should be lowering rates, not increasing them,” said Clark. “This is a time where governments should be making public services more accessible, because families need more help, not less,” she added.

Healthcare in Canada is meant to be free and accessible to all, regardless of income. It is Government’s responsibility to administer this care. Health Minister Mark McLane recognized that “…we can’t expect our private long-term care homes to make investments that don’t make sense to their business model,” (June 16, CBC news). “Yet, by making the public option less attractive, this Government is signaling its intention of stepping away from its responsibility of providing public care. That is unacceptable,” said Clark.

CUPE PEI calls on the King Government to bring all private long-term care and healthcare operations into the public sector. “The government should not sacrifice the well-being of Islanders by handing over their basic responsibilities to the private sector,” concluded Clark.

Ashley Clark Elected President of CUPE PEI

Charlottetown, PEI – CUPE PEI is pleased to announce the election of Ashley Clark as the new president of its provincial division. Elected during the 43rd CUPE PEI AGM, her 2-year mandate officially begins on Monday, June 5th.

In her victory speech, Clark thanked the outgoing president, Leonard Gallant, for having completed two 2-year terms (from 2019 to 2023) and having worked hard to bring more attention to front-line workers’ wages and fighting inflation.

Ashley Clark has been president of Local 1870, representing UPEI Support Staff. She has been involved with her union since 2015 and is active on the local, provincial, and national level. She is passionate about protecting public services from privatization and advancing equity in all institutions.

“I am honoured to have been elected as the President of CUPE PEI,” said Ashley Clark. “I am committed to standing up for our members and fighting for justice in the workplace and improving working conditions for all,” said Clark.

CUPE PEI represents over 3,300 members across various sectors including education, healthcare, municipalities, post-secondary, long-term care, group homes, and many others.

For media inquiries or more information, please contact:

Ashley Clark
President, CUPE PEI


Pour publication immédiate                                                                                                         Le 2 juin 2023

Ashley Clark élue présidente du SCFP de l’IPÉ

Charlottetown – La division de l’île du Prince Édouard du Syndicat canadien de la fonction publique (SCFP IPÉ) est heureuse d’annoncer l’élection d’Ashley Clark à titre de nouvelle présidente. Élue lors du 43e AGA du SCFP IPÉ, son mandat de deux ans débute officiellement le lundi 5 juin.

Dans son discours de victoire, Ashley Clark a remercié le président sortant, Leonard Gallant, d’avoir effectué deux mandats (de 2019 à 2023) et d’avoir travaillé fort pour attirer l’attention sur les salaires des travailleurs de première ligne et sur la lutte contre l’inflation.

Dans le passé, Ashley Clark fut présidente de la section locale 1870, qui représente le personnel de soutien de l’UPEI. Elle s’est impliquée dans son syndicat depuis 2015 et est active aux niveaux local, provincial et national du SCFP. Elle se passionne pour la protection des services publics contre la privatisation et la promotion de l’équité dans tous les établissements.

« Je suis honorée d’avoir été élue présidente du SCFP de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard », a déclaré Ashley Clark. « Je m’engage à défendre nos membres et à lutter pour la justice en milieu de travail et l’amélioration des conditions de travail pour tous », a ajouté Mme Clark.

Le SCFP IPE représente plus de 3 300 membres dans divers secteurs, notamment l’éducation, les soins de santé, les municipalités, l’enseignement postsecondaire, les soins de longue durée, les foyers de groupe et bien d’autres.

Pour plus d’informations ou pour des entrevues en français, contactez:

Ashley Clark
Présidente, SCFP IPÉ

43rd AGM – Ashley Clark Elected President of CUPE PEI

We are thrilled to share with you a summary of the 43rd CUPE PEI convention, where important discussions and decisions were made on behalf of our union members. This gathering brought together over 130 delegates and guests dedicated to promoting fairness, advocating for workers’ rights, and enhancing public services in Prince Edward Island.

Jennifer LeBlanc

The morning session commenced with a lively atmosphere, as attendees enjoyed a breakfast discussion on CUPE’s Anti-Racism Strategy. This initiative aims to foster diversity and inclusivity within our union, ensuring that workers of all backgrounds are valued and represented.

One of the convention’s highlights was the inspiring presentation by Leo Cheverie, a well-known activist from Local 1870. He shared updates on the ongoing “Water is Life” campaign, shedding light on the crucial efforts to protect our precious water resources. Leo’s passion and dedication reminded us of the power we hold as a collective to make positive change.

Leo Cheverie

Delegates actively participated in meaningful debates, particularly on constitutional resolutions. A significant outcome was the unanimous decision to create a diversity seat on the CUPE PEI executive board. This progressive step ensures that the voices and perspectives of Black, Indigenous, and racialized workers are heard and valued within our organization.

During the afternoon, the convention welcomed special guests, Katelyn Rogers and Meghan Rogers, PEI Easter Seals Ambassadors. Their impactful presentation highlighted the vital role our members play in supporting individuals with disabilities and showcased the profound difference our work makes in their lives. Locals Representatives, CUPE National, SCFP Quebec and many more pooled their funds to donate over $15 200 to the PEI Easter Seals

From left to right: CUPE President Mark Hancock, newly elected CUPE PEI President Ashley Clark and Leonard Gallant, outgoing CUPE PEI President

The convention also included important elections. We bid farewell to Leonard Gallant, who concluded his term as Division President and congratulate Ashley Clark on being elected as the new CUPE PEI President (2 year term). In her acceptance speech, Clark expressed her deep gratitude and commitment to advocating for fair wages, safe working conditions, and quality public services. Under her leadership, we are confident that our Division will continue to thrive and make a positive impact on workers and the community.

We would also like to acknowledge the newly elected representatives who will serve on the board:

  • Secretary-Treasurer (2-year term): Linda Jones
  • Health Care East employees representative (2-year term): Darren O’Connor
  • Education West employees representative (2-year term): Chantal Chanel Walsh
  • UPEI 1870 & 501 Security/Police representative (2-year term): Cecia Huang
  • Atlantic EMS/Atlantic Baptist Nursing and Group Homes representative (2-year term): Alice Rice
  • Young Worker representative (1-year term): Mikayla Gallant
  • Trustee (3-year term): Cheryl Koughan

We extend our appreciation to all candidates who put themselves forward, demonstrating their commitment to serving our community and advancing the interests of workers.

In conclusion, we would like to express our gratitude for Islanders’ continued support and engagement. Together, we will strive for a fairer and more inclusive society, where workers’ rights are protected, and public services are of the highest quality. We remain dedicated to building a brighter future for all residents of Prince Edward Island.