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Happy Thanksgiving from CUPE 543

Happpy Thanksgiving CUPEWishing all our current members, retirees, their families and the community we serve a very Happy Thanksgiving. Living in a rich and diverse community within Canada’s largest province gives us reason to be thankful.

We hope that your day is spent in the comfort of your family and friends; as we count all the reasons to be thankful, please remember those in our community, country, and around the globe who are in need of an assisting hand to help foster a better tomorrow.

October 12th, 2015|

Second Annual Thanksgiving Giveback

CUPE 543 hosts annual Thanksgiving Giveback on Friday, October 9 –

600 families in need to receive Thanksgiving hampers


WINDSOR, ON – On Friday, October 9, City of Windsor ‘inside’ municipal and public service workers, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 543, will give back to the Windsor community that they serve by hosting a Thanksgiving Giveback event to help 600 local families celebrate Thanksgiving with hampers filled with all the ingredients to ensure a festive Thanksgiving dinner. This is the second annual Thanksgiving Giveback that CUPE 543 is mounting in conjunction with the Windsor Essex Food Bank Association (WEFBA).


“CUPE 543 is honoured and happy to give back to the Windsor community that we so proudly serve,” said Mark Vander Voort, president of CUPE 543. “We received tremendous positive feedback and satisfaction for helping our community in last year’s Thanksgiving Giveback and we will continue to help in any way we can to ensure families in need have an opportunity to have a full Thanksgiving dinner filled with all the trimmings.”


Thanksgiving hampers will be distributed at 10 food bank locations across the City of Windsor on Friday, October 9. CUPE 543 members will be on hand to give back at five locations including the Unemployed Help Centre, Drouillard Place, The Downtown Mission, The Salvation Army and Windsor Lifeline Outreach. Each hamper will contain a turkey (for families) or a chicken (for single recipients), along with carrots, potatoes, onions, stuffing, apples, cookies and candy for families with children.


CUPE 543 members and their families worked with community agencies and volunteered to pack hampers with 500 turkeys, 100 chickens, 2,750 pounds of potatoes, 3,000 pounds of carrots, hundreds of pounds of onions and 3,000 pounds of apples, along with 600 bags of cookies and 1,000 bags of candies for each of the 600 hampers. All the produce comes from local farmers and CUPE 543 thanks local suppliers for their donations and discounts for the giveaway, including Jay Williamson (owner of Freshco at McDougall and Tecumseh, Windsor) Col-Mac Orchards in Kingsville, Craig Matte and Todd Stevenson (managers from Real Canadian Superstore in Leamington), Pier-C Produce Inc., and Produce Wholesaler in Chatham.


“Our Thanksgiving Giveback would not be possible without the support from our members and our community partners that help make Windsor a great place to live and work,” continued Vander Voort. “Our members are proud to be part of this community and, this Thanksgiving, we want to give back to the community that we are so proud to serve.”


CUPE 543 represents over 1,500 public service workers in Windsor, including the City of Windsor (inside workers), Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, ABC Day Nursery, Windsor Occupational Health Information Service, Windsor Essex Community Housing Corporation, Prism Berlie and Great Beginnings Child Centered Co-operative, providing important public services to residents in Windsor.




For more information, please contact:

Mark Vander Voort, CUPE 543 President, 519-254-3543 (office), 519-903-5515 (cell)

Lisa Marion, CUPE National Representative, 519-966-9595

James Chai, CUPE Communications, 905-739-3999



October 12th, 2015|

Attention: Current CUPE 543 Members Under the Age of 30

Scholarship Announcement 12MY2015 P1&2

May 12th, 2015|

Keep Ontario Hydro Publicly Owned and Publicly Controlled! Say NO to privatisation!!!

JOIN CUPE Ontario in the fight to keep our assets in the public trust. Visit KEEP HYDRO PUBLIC to see how you can protect our assets, built and maintained by Ontarians for Ontarians!

CUPE Ont Hydro Pvtn

April 26th, 2015|

April 28: Day of mourning for workers killed or injured on the job

CUPE Nat Day of Mourning

Apr 21, 2015

Every year, around the world, unions mark the International Day of Mourning on April 28 to honour workers killed or injured on the job. It’s an important date for the labour movement: we remember those workers we’ve lost, and fight for better standards for today’s workers.

In 2014, six CUPE members lost their lives, and just four months into 2015 already five CUPE members have died on the job.

“It’s deeply troubling, the number of deaths we’ve seen recently,” said CUPE National President Paul Moist. “Our hearts go out to the families and the friends and colleagues of these workers.”

In seven of the 11 incidents listed, working alone was a contributing hazard. Working alone means a worker does not receive immediate assistance if they’re incapacitated in some way, leaving the worker susceptible to graver injury. CUPE recently conducted a survey showing that 94 per cent of members who work alone face at least one other hazard during that period.

“Working alone is a serious problem in our workplaces. It’s a hazard that’s only getting worse with cutbacks and an aging workforce,” said Moist. “Employers need to acknowledge the risk our members face, and make efforts to reduce the hazard.”

Sadly, the health and safety challenges workers face often go beyond the workplace. The federal government and many provincial governments continue to undermine the health and safety of workers by weakening occupational health and safety laws. For instance, the federal government has modified the definition of danger for federally regulated workers. The definition now specifies that hazards must be “an imminent or serious threat” implying that workers are not entitled to protection from conditions that could cause them illness in the future.

CUPE opposes the change. If you believe you’re in danger at work, for any reason, you still have the right to refuse unsafe work.

It’s been more than 30 years since CUPE’s National Health and Safety Committee first proposed the idea for the Day of Mourning. Since then it has become an international event, marked by workers, governments and other organizations the world over. Unfortunately, it seems the need to raise awareness about workplace health and safety is as important as ever.

April 26th, 2015|

Cystic Fibrosis Great Strides Walk in honour of former 543 Member Ian McArthur. Please join CUPE 543’s team!

Please click on the poster below to be taken to the team page where you can register and/or donate!

cystic fibrosis poster











April 17th, 2015|

Windsor Star Article on SAMS

Recently CUPE Local 543 President Mark Vander Voort and First Vice-President Jessie Simonetti, sat down with The Windsor Star’s Columnist Chis Vander Doelen. Click on the link below to see the article.

Government computer can’t do math


March 10th, 2015|


CUPE Calls Code Red on SAMS code-red-300x156





Next ACTION Step:


March 12 is the four-month anniversary of the introduction of SAMS at Ontario Works and we want to make sure people know we’re still seeing RED over SAMS!

All CUPE members are asked to wear RED to work on Thursday, March 12, as a symbol of the urgency that SAMS is creating chaos in the workplace. Then e-mail, tweet and post photos of you and your colleagues sending out a CODE RED from your workplace – and don’t forget to tag ‪#‎CUPEON and link to CUPE Ontario’s Facebook page.

Let’s make Ontario Works offices a sea of red on March 12. It will help to send a clear message that the situation remains critical and that immediate support is needed in the workplace.

  1. SAMS email address:

They have created a dedicated e-mail address for members who work with SAMS and would like to share their experiences: comments about what you are currently experiencing in the workplace, SAMS’ effects on clients; and “impact statements” about your SAMS experience.

Send your words and pictures to; all correspondence will be treated with the utmost confidentiality.

3. Write to your MPP They have prepared a draft letter for members to send to their MPPs, alerting them to the ongoing problems at Ontario Works and the concerns that members have as citizens, workers and taxpayers. You will be welcome to use the sample text or use your own words – ones that describe the impact of SAMS


March 9th, 2015|

SAMS Update Letter from Local 543: Jessie Simonetti

I wanted to update members on what CUPE Ontario and what CUPE Local 543 have been doing with respect to SAMS and more importantly what we still need to do on a go forward basis.

As a bit of a recap, ‎CUPE Ontario and the Social Service Workers Co-ordinating committee (SSWCC) has been persistent in its message with the Minister that SAMS is seriously flawed.

SSWCC developed a working group of 10 members from across the province who are either experienced caseworkers or LBE’s or SME and on 06 February, 2015 met with the Assistant Deputy Minister. At that meeting, OMSSA was present as observers. A total of 79 recommendations were developed by CUPE Members along with a demand to have SAMS work with voice assisted software such as dragon for those members who require accommodations.

As we all know, the Minister has since announced that they are asking Price Water House Cooper to perform an independent review of SAMS. The Minister has assured CUPE Ontario that CUPE’s working group will be involved in the independent review process.

CUPE Ontario and SSWCC is working with OMSSA as well as with OPSEU regarding our concerns with SAMS. On March 2, 2015 a Phone Town Hall meeting occurred for all CUPE Members who work with SAMS. This phone conference call provided an update as well as allowed members to ask questions or make comments.

‎CUPE Ontario has a dedicated link on its website specifically on SAMS. All of the 79 recommendations made by CUPE Members are listed on that link. Check it out. CUPE Ontario

CUPE has set up a secure and confidential email address so that staff can share their experiences, comments or “impact statements” about your SAMS experiences. The chair of SSWCC – Carrie Lynn is the only person to access these emails. So if you want to share your experiences or impact statements please do so at:  (Please ensure that no client identifying information is revealed‎). Your comments or submission will be confidential.

On Thursday March 12, 2015 all Social Service Workers across Ontario will be engaged in our CODE Red campaign in which we will all wear RED to work. This is clearly symbolic but it will send a very clear message across the province that we as staff are seeing red about SAMS. It also is a very easy thing to do to show our collective support for each other. So let’s support each other during this stressful time and wear red to work on 12 March, 2015 (Thursday)

As we have heard a report will be going to City Council soon. ‎ Local 543 intends to have a delegation to speak on the matter. As OW workers, we should be present at Council so that our councillors know we have concerns with SAMS. We can also speak on the matter of SAMS when delegates have the opportunity to address Council. If you would like to be a delegate, please contact the Local as soon as possible. Regardless, come out and let’s support each other when the report goes before Council. Wearing RED when we attend the Council meeting will certainly make a statement.

On 6 March, 2015, your President and I were contacted by the local newspaper for an interview. We discussed some of the problems with SAMS for our clients, its impact on staff and the community, as well as the municipality.

Please spread the word about Code Red on Thursday 12 March and the need to attend the Council meeting of 23 March, 2015.

In solidarity

Jessie Simonetti

Local 543 and SSWCC representative


March 9th, 2015|

Retirement Security for Everyone. Get the Job Done!

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) has long been a cherished pension savings vehicle for Canadians. Established in 1965, it complimented the Old Age Security (OAS) benefit.

The CPP doesn’t come free; we and our employers all pay for it through payroll deductions. However, these deductions are pre-tax and modest when we consider the benefit they provide later in life.

So what are we asking the Government to do?

What we are asking for is simple and achievable.

We are asking the Federal government to increase contributions to the CPP by 3% over a period of seven years for both employees and employers.

And, to increase immediately the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) by 15% to lift all seniors out of poverty. This would be funded by reducing Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) tax subsidies.

As an aside, it is worth noting that Canadian’s are gouged by RRSP investment fees, and there is no guarantee of the pay-out when Canadian’s retire – not a great savings vehicle at all.

Why are we asking for increases to the CPP and GIS?

Now more than ever, in an era of vanishing employer pensions plans, reduced to non-existent post retirement benefits, less and less affordable housing, rising living costs, and regressive austerity measures, seniors are forced to make very tough decisions. Some have to decide between buying their medications or buying groceries or paying rent.

Poverty has a staggering impact on all aspects of life: mentally, emotionally, and physically, collectively and individually. Those in poverty tend to have poorer health outcomes leading to increased usage of the health care system. They become trapped in a dynamic that supports and grows the cycle of poverty for them and their family members. Poverty decreases participation in fundamentally important social functions such as community engagement, wellbeing, and democracy in general.

From an economic standpoint, an increased CPP and GIS would be greatly beneficial to the economy. Studies have shown that the last major CPP increase resulted in an economic boom. It not only benefited retired Canadians, but it helped grow, support, and sustain the economy.

In an age where employer funded pensions plans are being diminished or removed altogether by employers, where RRSP’s are not being utilised by most Canadians, and where neither offer the returns or the stability necessary for most Canadians, it is absolutely vital to have a universal plan that can be accessed by all Canadians.

The CPP is a very large and well invested pension fund that delivers stable returns. In this case, bigger is absolutely better. Its good growth is assured when the economy is doing well and it is able to easily whether down turns when the economy is not doing well.

The CPP is portable, so no matter where you are in Canada, it goes with you.

Look around; we are regarded as an aging country. If we continue on this current path, things will certainly get worse for our seniors. They are our neighbours, our fellow citizens; after a lifetime of hard work, they deserve to enjoy their later years with dignity and with our thanks.

What can you do?

  • Call your Member of Parliament Tell them you support the CLC’s position on phasing in the doubling of the CPP. Ask them to support it.
  • Call your Provincial Representative and ask them to support the CLC’s proposed change to the CPP.
  • Assist with the campaign, Sign up online (for more information click on the CLC link below).
  • Join the Facebook page “Retirement Security for Everyone”.
  • TALK TO CO-WORKERS in your workplace and ask them to call their MPs and provincial government representatives. Ensure this campaign is discussed at your union meeting.
  • Write a letter to your local newspaper.

For more information on the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) and Canadian Medical Association (CMA) supported campaign, “Retirement Security for Everyone, Get the Job Done”, please click on the link below.

Retirement Security for Everyone Banner

February 15th, 2015|