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.

In Memoriam – Annie MacPhee

In the early morning of Saturday, June 18, 2022, the first responder community lost Annie MacPhee. Annie was a paramedic for over 31 years and was an exemplary activist of CUPE Local 3324. She was a great paramedic, firefighter, and dedicated mother.

This is a tragic time for Annie’s family and friends. A GoFundMe page has been set up jointly between CUPE Local 3324, PAPEI, and Island E.M.S to assist her family with travel and other funeral-related expenses.

We send our deepest condolences to Annie’s family and friends, near and far.

42nd annual AGM

The 42nd Annual CUPE PEI Convention has begun. Over a hundred delegates and a dozen guests are currently present. Today, delegates will hear the presidents’ and secretary treasurers’ reports from both the Division and CUPE National. This will be followed by committee reports, and debate on resolutions concerning affordable housing, national pharmacare, improved non-profit nursing home funding, and more.

May Day is International Worker’s Day!

On May 1, workers around the world honour and draw inspiration from the activism and collective power that won the struggle for an eight‑hour workday. CUPE recognizes International Workers’ Day, or May Day, in solidarity with millions of workers worldwide.

Workers in Canada are part of the global movement that’s organizing for safe working conditions, a living wage with benefits and a pension, and quality public services for everyone.

Our collective demands for decent work, safety, dignity, and respect are urgent, as we enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The crisis has exposed serious gaps and inequities in our country, and between countries. It has shown the devastating consequences when governments cut, privatize or neglect public services. The importance of strong public services, and the value of front-line workers, have never been more clear. Let’s make sure workers, and public-sector solutions, are at the heart of the post-pandemic recovery.

We have also seen how corrupt and authoritarian governments are using the pandemic as a smokescreen to crack down on workers and other people organizing for human rights. We stand in solidarity with movements around the world resisting repression.

International solidarity connects our struggles for labour rights, economic justice, racial justice, migrant justice, and climate justice. CUPE will keep strengthening worker-to-worker connections in the year ahead with migrant workers in Canada, and with our partners and allies in countries including Bangladesh, Burma, Cameroon, Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and the Philippines.

This May Day, CUPE reiterates our call to the Canadian government to stop blocking COVID-19 vaccine access for low- and middle-income countries. Until all of us are safe, none of us are safe.

Actions you can take

  • The Trade Justice Network is holding a National Day of Action on a People’s Vaccine on May 1st. Send a message: tell your MP you want vaccine justice for all.
  • CUPE is inviting members and community leaders from all regions to a webinar on Global Vaccine Justice. On May 11, 2022, take part in a discussion with international solidarity experts on how Big Pharma greed is drawing out the pandemic. about what Canada can do. Register today at to learn what Canada must do to end vaccine inequity.
  • Take part in May Day celebrations and rallies in your region.

Day of Mourning Ceremony

April 28, 2022 marks the third Workers’ Day of Mourning since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 40 years ago, CUPE members created this day to remember workers who lost their lives on the job and to inspire others to advocate to prevent further tragedies.

Please join us to this year’s  Day of Mourning Ceremony, which is organized by the PEI Federation of Labour:

Day of Mourning Ceremony
St. Paul’s Hall, 101 Prince Street, Charlottetown
Thursday, April 28, 2022, at 7:00 p.m.
Contact info: Carl Pursey, President 902-626-7996

Remembering your four rights

The Day of Mourning was created by CUPE members 40 years ago to remember those who lost their lives on the job and to inspire other workers to advocate to prevent further tragedies.

As trade unionists, it is our responsibility to continue this fight. We must ensure that all workers know about the four workers’ rights enshrined in every health and safety law in the country:

  • The right to refuse work you believe is unsafe until an investigation can be carried out;
  • The right to participate in deciding what is safe in the workplace and to report hazards;
  • The right to information on any hazard in the workplace that may cause harm, and how to prevent that harm;
  • The right to be free from reprisal for carrying out any of the other rights or any other requirement of health and safety law.