Important Child Care Fund milestones, from the early ‘80s when CUPW women pushed to make child care a priority issue in the union, to winning control of the Child Care Fund in the ‘90s, and the creation of award-winning child care projects.
CUPW women push to make child care a priority issue in the union. It becomes part of the debate on women’s issues at the union’s national convention that year.
The union adopts two child-care policies in its National Constitution:
The union begins to put child care on the bargaining agenda. In 1987, it puts forward a comprehensive demand for employer-paid child care services. The eventual mediation/arbitration award includes a joint child care study.
The joint study finds that CUPW members have a variety of child care problems:
The union wins a jointly administered child care fund (Appendix L) capped at $2 million. The employer puts $200,000 into the fund every three months. The fund can be used for projects to provide child care services to postal worker families, child care information programs, needs assessments and child care research. However, the language in Appendix L is limiting: the fund cannot be used to advocate for better government policies on child care.
After more than 25 meetings with the employer and virtually no money spent, there is little to no agreement on anything. Frustrated by Canada Post's stalling, the National Women's Committee ensures that the union puts forward a demand for complete control and administration of the fund.
CUPW wins control of the Child Care Fund.
The union develops 11 community-based projects that provide high-quality child care services to postal worker families.
The Union sponsors a study, In Our Way, to look at workforce barriers faced by parents of children with special needs. It is the first research of its kind in Canada and Québec. The study recommends that the union set up a pilot program for CUPW parents of children with special needs.
The Union also produces a video called Juggling with Care with segments about families who have children with special needs. The video discussion guide features sections on the stresses and workplace issues faced by workers who have children with special needs.
In the summer of 1996 the union puts in place the Special Needs Summer Project, designed in collaboration with SpeciaLink (The National Centre for Child Care Inclusion). The pilot draws the participation of 105 members. That fall, the Special Needs Project becomes a permanent year-round project intended to help reduce the financial, emotional and physical stresses of CUPW families of children with special needs.
The Union develops Child Care Now!, a five-day course on child care held at Port Elgin for the first time. The course contains a component on children with special needs, and a significant number of course participants are parents who use the Special Needs Project. Members who have children with special needs and other parents forge new understandings and strong connections each time the course is held.
CUPW produces a video, The Key to Caring, which features three of the union's child care projects, including the Special Needs Project.
CUPW and UPCE-PSAC sign an agreement that gives their members access to our child care projects. Between 2000 and 2002, UPCE and PSAC successfully negotiate a child care fund that is equal to 10% of the CUPW Child Care Fund and to be administered by CUPW.
Family Place Resource Centre, a federally funded, non-profit organization, becomes the administrator of the Special Needs Project. A staff of three administers the day-to-day operations of the project out of the project office in Baddeck, Nova Scotia.
Moving Mountains: Work, Family and Children with Special Needs, a book showcasing the stories of CUPW families who use the Special Needs Project, is published and widely distributed.
CUPW wins the ISO Families Award, given by the Quebec government's Council on the Status of Women, for the union's work on the Child Care Fund to help parents balance work and family life.
As a result of collective bargaining, the employer agrees to increase its contribution to the fund to $250,000 by April 2003.
The union also makes two further gains. It negotiates coverage for members who have adult sons and daughters with disabilities who are dependent on their parents for care, and for grandchildren when the member has primary responsibility for financial and residential care.
The Special Needs Project wins the Rosemarie Popham Award, presented by Family Service Canada. The award recognizes exceptional contributions made to advocacy and social policy development on behalf of children and families.
Rural and Suburban Mail Carriers (RSMCs) win access to the Child Care Fund in their first collective agreement, and are provided with a one-time payment of $200,000.
The Moving On project is launched. The project provides information, resources and financial support for families who have dependent adult sons and daughters with special needs.
The union produces a new poster, Breaking through barriers, on the Special Needs and Moving On projects. The poster wins a Canadian Association of Labour Media (CALM) award.
Negotiated cost-of-living increases to the Child Care Fund ensure that the projects will continue to grow and be available to members. Canada Post is to make quarterly deposits of $324,000 into the fund by 2010.
The Special Needs Project surpasses its first decade.
CUPW puts a child care fund for RSMCs on the bargaining table. An arbitrator awards $65,000 quarterly to be put into the Child Care Fund on top of other monies, without a cap on the total amount of these additional funds that can accrue.
CUPW creates and supports several community child care projects, and continues to work to build an increased awareness of child care within the union.