The videos may be only 30 seconds but iit sends a serious and direct message: "Don't be that guy."
"Minister Bains just announced amendments to Bill 9 that will extend occupational disease and personal injury presumption to wildfire fighters — a long-overdue and hard won recognition of the technically, physically, and mentally challenging work that they do every day to protect lives and property across the province." — Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President
Canadian retail, wholesale and warehousing industries are facing a major technological upheaval, as online shopping advances, consumer habits change and automation expands. These changes raise serious questions about the future of work in the sector, our bargaining demands and our ability to organize new members.
More than 100 members attended the second Unifor Retail and Wholesale Workers Conference in Port Elgin, Ontario from April 12-14, 2019.
Themed “Making gains when confronted by change. Advancing Unifor’s ‘Program for Action’ in Retail-Wholesale” the Retail and Wholesale conference allowed workers to discuss new challenges affecting workplaces and continue building on the union's bargaining and political action strategy, that's resulted in landmark improvements to wages, scheduling and other gains for retail workers since 2015. Unifor locals are now preparing to renegotiate contracts for more than 10,000 supermarket workers across Canada over the next two years, starting with Toronto-area Metro stores in July.
Unifor represents more than 20,000 members working in retail stores, supermarkets, food warehouses, drug stores, wholesaling outlets and others across Canada. Workers in the sector face erratic work schedules, high turnover and many earn minimum wage. The previous Ontario government launched the changing workplace review to address the same inequities retail and wholesale workers in Ontario were facing.
Unifor became a leading voice in pushing for a living wage, equal pay for equal work and legislated paid sick days for all workers in Ontario. The Liberal government at the time passed Bill 148 that brought in progressive labour reforms. However, the Ford government immediately reversed the majority of the progressive labour reforms found in Bill 148.
“Metro and Loblaw lobbied the new right wing government hard on erasing the gains and going back to lower standards,” Naureen Rizvi Ontario Regional Director. “Employers needed to know that they may have won the battle but have yet to win to war. We developed the Emergency Collective Bargaining Directive that included eight of the key labour reforms that were included in Bill 148.
In a panel discussion on tackling the gender pay gap within the retail-wholesale sector, Lana Payne, Atlantic Regional Director led a conversation on the important role Unifor is playing in identifying and raising gender pay inequities with governments and employers.
“The work of Unifor, our sister unions and our community coalition partners is helping to narrow gender pay inequities,” said Payne. “Average wages in retail has jumped in Canada from $16 to $18 per hour since 2014. Even higher in provinces like Ontario and Alberta, thanks to major campaigns to increase minimum wage, and creative bargaining from our Union.
On the final day of the conference, Unifor National President Jerry Dias spoke of ways retail and wholesale workers are confronting e-commerce, online shopping and new automated technological changes in their workplace.
“The success we had in the retail and wholesale sector shows how critical both bargaining and political action are to make real gains for workers,” Unifor National President. “It shows how important community alliances and community solidarity is. It’s not one versus the other – it’s both. That’s how workers win.”
To read the Unifor’s retail and wholesale sector program for action click here.
Winnipeg – April 13, 2019 – UFCW Local 832 members working at General Mills Canada in Winnipeg have ratified a new union contract that provides wage increases and more vacation, among other gains.
MAHCP and other unions met with Commissioner Robert Pruden this morning, the government appointee who is overseeing the upcoming health care representation votes. Commissioner Pruden has not yet set the timing for these votes. We are all waiting eagerly for that information and we will communicate it to you as soon as we have it, but at this point we are still waiting.
The Commissioner did confirm that the vote will be electronic, with a telephone option, and he also intends to deliver unique PINs to each eligible voter via Canada Post. Please make sure that your employer has your correct mailing address so you receive that PIN in a timely manner once voting is scheduled. He also indicated that there will be a Help Line available for any eligible voter to call and get assistance during the voting period.
If you’re still wondering whether you will be voting or not, here’s a list of who is included:
MAHCP members who will be included in the Shared Health vote are:
• Shared Health
• CancerCare Manitoba
• Rehabilitation Centre for Children
MAHCP members who will be included in the WRHA vote are:
• St. Boniface Hospital
• All community hospitals and health centres
We know you have a lot of questions – not just about the representation votes but about all the changes that are being forced on our members. MAHCP will continue coming to you with as many in-person opportunities as possible. We want to meet with you directly and answer any questions you may have. If we haven’t been to your worksite lately, please feel free to contact us and we will set up a meeting as soon as possible. I look forward to seeing you soon.
Bob Moroz, President
Vaughan, Ont. – April 12, 2019 – Manufacturing workers at the Pliteq plant in Vaughan, Ontario are the newest members of UFCW Canada Local 1006A after recently voting to join the union.
"The revenue from our taxes goes to paying for the quality public services and programs that, as individuals, most people could never afford on their own. Our public services are a epitome of our commitment to care for each other." — Larry Brown, NUPGE President
"This unit brought so much added-value to the table, including helping with issues outside of the child welfare system. The inability of this government to see the benefit of putting people before profit is just so short-sighted.” — Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President
“We’re not just falling behind, Doug is driving us into the ditch. Maybe the new licence plate he has come up with should read, 'Rest in Pieces.'" — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President
31,000 UFCW Members From Across New England Protest Stop & Shop Cuts That Hurt Workers, Customers, and Local Communities
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Today, 31,000 members of the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Locals 328, 371, 919, 1445, and 1459 who work at Stop & Shop are walking off their jobs to protest the company’s proposed drastic and unreasonable cuts to health care, take home pay, and customer service as well as unlawful conduct.
The proposed cuts by Stop & Shop, whose parent company earned $2 billion in profits in 2018, would devastate health care benefits, significantly increase health care costs, and decrease take home pay. Stop & Shop’s proposed cuts would also have a negative and severe impact on customer service, including the very cashiers, stockers, bakers, deli clerks, and butchers that Stop & Shop customers rely on.
The members of the five UFCW Locals released the following joint statement:
“Our 31,000 members who work at Stop & Shop work incredibly hard to provide the great customer service that has made the company billions of dollars in profit and the top grocery store in New England. Instead of a contract that recognizes the value and hard work that our members provide every day, Stop & Shop has only proposed drastic and unreasonable cuts to health care benefits and take home pay, while replacing real customer service with more serve-yourself checkout machines.
“The hard-working men and women at over 240 stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island are standing together to tell Stop & Shop that it is time to do the right thing. The men and women who make Stop & Shop a success have earned and deserve affordable health care, a good wage, and the ability to retire with dignity. They have earned and deserve a good job that allows them to do what they do best: provide the very best customer service for New England communities.
“What Stop & Shop workers don’t deserve, and what no one who works hard in New England deserves, are unreasonable cuts while the company they work so hard for makes billions of dollars in profits. That is wrong and it sends a terrible message to every customer who truly depends on our Stop & Shop cashiers, stockers, bakers, deli clerk, and butchers.”
UFCW Locals representing 31,000 Stop & Shop workers in New England have been negotiating a new contract with Stop & Shop representatives since January 14th. The company’s latest proposal includes the following drastic cuts:
- Requires the average full-time employee to pay an additional $893 and the average part-time employee with employee-only coverage to pay an additional $603 in weekly health care premiums over three years.
- Reduces the monthly pension benefit for many newly hired full-time employees by 32 percent.
- Many part-time employees would receive an average general wage increase of less than two percent.
Stop & Shop’s parent company, Ahold Delhaize, saw over $2 billion in profits last year and got a U.S. tax cut of $225 million in 2017. The company is claiming the proposed cuts are necessary, but is unlawfully refusing to provide financial information to verify that claim.
While Stop & Shop continues to propose drastically cutting worker benefits, Ahold shareholders voted on April 10 to give themselves an 11.1 percent raise in dividends over the last year. The expected payout will be on April 25 for around $880 million.
Public polling has repeatedly shown that 3-in-4 British Columbians support a public inquiry into the multi-layered crisis.
On April 2, more than 50 representatives of Unifor local unions gathered for the final meeting of the 2019 regional tour by the Unifor Quebec Director.
The popularity of the annual tour is on the rise, with over 400 local union members participating this year in 10 meetings with the Quebec Director held in Saguenay, Baie-Comeau, Rimouski, Boisbriand (North Shore), Amos, Quebec City, Trois-Rivières, Gatineau, Longueuil (South Shore) and Montreal. The tour offers a unique opportunity for the local unions and Quebec Director Renaud Gagné to discuss and share information on the challenges and realities facing the different workplaces. Current issues of interest to members are also addressed. Among other important files, brother Gagné updated members on the duties imposed by the U.S. on aluminum and softwood lumber, the campaign to save the GM plant in Oshawa, caribou protection measures and their impact on jobs, the upcoming federal election, organizing campaigns, etc.
In the regions, the tour is also an opportunity to meet with local media and to present our issues, to lobby local and national politicians and, more broadly, to contribute to the promotion of Unifor.