PEI Schools Must Remain Inclusive and Welcoming to All

Charlottetown, PEI – Recently, some parents are making propositions at home and school association meetings to remove the province’s guidelines for respecting, accommodating, and supporting gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. CUPE Education Locals (CUPE 1145, CUPE 1770, CUPE 1775, and CUPE 3260) are unanimous in their support for the existing guidelines.

“We see these guidelines as something positive for students, our communities, and our members. Making public services safe and welcoming for all is something to celebrate, not to tear down,” said Carolyn Vandaele, President of CUPE Local 3260. The provincial guidelines are aimed at ensuring schools are safe and welcoming for all students, and that children’s and staff members’ sexual orientations and gender identities are respected.

“The guidelines are 100% in line with our unions’ stance on respectful workplaces. We salute the Public School Branch’s recent public statement of support for the guidelines,” said Robert Geiss, school bus driver and President of CUPE 1145.

“We call on our Education Minister Natalie Jameson to do the same, and issue a public statement,” said Tracy Campbell, President of CUPE 1770.  “Clearly, the Department must do a better job at raising awareness and helping parents understand why these guidelines exist,” concluded John Doucette, President of CUPE 1775.

CUPE represents over 1,600 education workers on the Island. CUPE 1145 represents school bus drivers and aids. CUPE 1770 represents education administrative and support staff. CUPE 1775 represents school board maintenance staff. CUPE 3260 represents educational assistants, youth service workers, workplace assistants, student attendants, and educational language interpreters.


Black History month

Black History Month is a time to celebrate and highlight the best of Black History and culture, and to honor the ancestors and leaders of Black communities, their accomplishments and their continued fight for liberation.


Tell Premier King: Healthcare Workers Need Your Support!

PEI workers want to be part of the recruitment and retention solution. Sign this letter if you agree that no front-line workers should be excluded from having their voice heard on this matter.  It’s time our government allocated the proper resources to help those delivering the services Islanders rely on.

CUPE Submission to the PEI Long Term Care Review

CUPE, representing dedicated Long Term Care workers, has issued a formal submission on the PEI Government’s Long-Term Care (LTC) review. Our Submission emphasizes the need for substantial improvements in LTC conditions, as the review primarily focuses on aligning private and public sectors. CUPE underscores the urgency of addressing issues such as staffing levels, worker wages, quality training, and comprehensive pandemic plans. We call for a more comprehensive approach that prioritizes the well-being of LTC residents and staff, emphasizing the importance of a safer and better healthcare environment.

Read the Submission here. Submission_PEI_LTC_Review_2022_10_24

Lowest paid essential workers excluded from Retention Initiative

More than 1 500 healthcare and long-term care workers are angry at being left out of a new staff retention incentive plan crafted by the Dennis King Government. On Monday, Premier King and the Health and Wellness Minister Ernie Hudson announced an $8 million “Retention Initiative” in exchange for a one-year return in service agreement from healthcare staff.

“It’s outrageous that more than 1 300 of us in healthcare, the lower-paid staff doing essential work such as laundry, cooking, sterilization, custodial tasks, maintenance and many more, were specifically excluded from the announcement,” said Chris Lewis, President of PEI Health Council.

“Our members have been running on fumes, doing double duty, running short, working longer hours, and having vacations denied when requested. We are frustrated King has chosen to play favourites when there is a real retention crisis in our sectors too,” said Leonard Gallant, President of Local 1779 and President of CUPE PEI. “King talks about ‘stabilizing the workforce’ but forgets that without a team approach, his strategy is flawed. Surgeries, for example, cannot happen if there is no one to clean operating rooms and sterilize equipment!” said Robyn Currie, president of Local 1051.

The same workers excluded from this recent initiative also were unjustly overlooked from provincial COVID-19 support measures. “There is a pattern emerging, where this government keeps on disenfranchising whole groups of workers by ignoring them completely,” said Rhonda Diamond, President of CUPE Local 805.

It is time the government recognized inflation is hurting the lower-paid workers the most, may they be in the public or the private sector like us nursing home workers. “When rent, bread, and gas prices go up, it hurts us disproportionately,” said Donna Gormley, President of CUPE Local 2523 and Local 5331, who were excluded from the Retention Initiative. Those Locals are comprised of over 200 members working in private long-term care facilities.

CUPE Locals are demanding government broadened and improved its Retention Initiative, to ensure no care workers are left behind. “Let’s be clear: each bargaining team should have been included in the conversation from day one. The Premier must fix this now,” concluded Leonard Gallant.

CUPE PEI Statement for September 30th, Truth and Reconciliation Day

Dear Members of CUPE PEI,

On September 30th, let’s pause and take time to remember the victims and survivors of residential schools in Canada.

Proclaimed a statutory holiday by the Federal Government in 2021, the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation is the outcome of federal Bill C-5, sponsored by PEI Senator Brian Francis. The resolution was a direct response to the Call to Action 80 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. CUPE PEI stands in solidarity with the Miꞌkmaq, Maliseet, and Peskotomuhkati nations, whose traditional lands are in the Atlantic region of Canada. We remember all those who had to suffer the “Indian Day Schools”, the Shubenacadie Residential school, and other institutions put in place by governments to destroy indigenous culture and identity.

As a society, we must heal the wounds of the past and work towards a fair, equitable, and inclusive future where all will be able to reach their fullest potential. As trade unionists, let’s not forget our role in making reconciliation a tangible reality in our workplaces through collective bargaining.

We encourage you to participate in the September 30th Ceremony, at 11:30AM, outside of the Provincial Administration buildings in Charlottetown (across from Rochford Square).

In solidarity,

Leonard Gallant
President of CUPE PEI

Health Care Needs Solutions, Not Privatization

Charlottetown, PEI – This week, the four conservative Atlantic Premiers, along with Ontario’s Premier Ford, announced their idea of bringing in privatization in healthcare, instead of dealing with the recruitment and retention crisis.

Premier King floated the idea of publicly funded but privately operated health care services. The PEI Health Council, which represents over a thousand healthcare workers on the Island, along with CUPE PEI, are calling on Premier King to retract his statements and rule out privatization.

“One of the Government’s fundamental jobs is delivering good public services for all. Handing over this responsibility to corporations means he does not want to do meet his basic job requirements as Premier” said Chris Lewis, President of PEI Health Council.

“Privatization will not solve staffing issues. It simply drains workers from the public sector to the private sector, moving people around instead of bringing more people in it. It is robbing Peter to pay Paul,” said Leonard Gallant, President of CUPE PEI.

“In the U.S., where healthcare is completely privatized, they have massive staff shortages, so let’s not fall into that trap,” said Gallant. Earlier this year, the American Hospital Association called the workforce shortage in U.S. hospitals a “national emergency,” In July 2022, U.S. News reported that staff shortages were “choking the U.S. health care system”.

“This government must focus on public solutions, like removing barriers to entry in the workforce, cut tuition fees, stop the casualization of the work and improve working conditions of all to retain staff,” concluded Lewis.