Latest Labour News

Weekly labour news digest – March 22 2019

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Federal government to legislate $82bn aid package The federal government announced a $82 billion aid package as a temporary measure to provide relief to businesses and workers, as Canada reacts to unprecedented job losses. The package includes $55 billion in tax deferrals for businesses alongside direct payments of $27 billion. The latter includes $10 billion Continue readingWeekly labour news digest – March 22 2019

Unifor watching closely as Ontario hospitals given emergency powers

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TORONTO— Unifor health care members understand the need for the Ontario government’s temporary order giving hospitals extraordinary emergency powers to prevent the spread of COVID-19 but the union cautions employers to not to exert unnecessary force, and show respect for front-line workers while enacting the order.

“Unifor recognizes that this is not business as usual but we will be watching closely how hospitals use these special powers to manage this pandemic,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Health care workers understand the motive and goals of this temporary order. However, let me be crystal clear, we will monitor every workplace change and will not allow employers to abuse their powers with this order to cut front-line health workers or infringe upon workers’ rights.”

The temporary order allows hospitals to cancel and postpone services to free-up space and valuable staff, set staffing priorities, and develop, modify and implement redeployment plans for the next 14 days. It also allows volunteers to do work normally performed by unionized workers.

“This temporary order may over ride certain provisions of the collective agreement, but rights under the Occupational Health and Safety Act remain intact,” said Naureen Rizvi, Ontario Regional Director. “Health care members will continue to be engaged and bring any health and safety concerns to their joint occupational health and safety committees. Our members continue to be resilient and steadfast in their fight against the spread of COVID-19, and they bravely show up at work every single day.”

Prior to the temporary order being enacted, the union raised several concerns about the temporary order to Ontario Minister of Health Christine Elliott.

“We informed Minister Elliott that hospitals should only enact these directives in response to a demonstrated need,” said Andy Savela, Unifor Health Care Director. “This order should not be ‘open season’ on the terms and conditions of our collective agreements.”

Unifor will continue to provide updates as information becomes available at unifor.org/COVID19.

Unifor leading call for retail worker protections and wage premiums

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March 23, 2020

TORONTO – Unifor calls on all retailers to match wage premiums and enhanced health and safety protocols in recognition of front-line service workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.



“We recognize the tremendous risk workers are taking and thank them for their dedication during these unprecedented times,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Unifor continues to call on retailers to recognize the importance of their front-line workers and to compensate them fairly during the crisis.”



The union’s advocacy efforts for adequate protective gear, wage premiums, and sick leave benefit improvements have created a ripple effect across the country. Unifor members working for Rexall were the first to receive wage premiums and shortly thereafter Unifor worked with Loblaw, Metro, and Sobeys who announced similar initiatives. Now, more than 15,000 Unifor retail workers will receive a $2 dollar wage premium and enhanced health and safety protocol for front-line staff. New protocols include plexiglas protective barriers, social distancing measures and commitment to wage and benefit protection during layoffs.



“The voice of unions is clearly crucial to ensuring workers’ rights are protected during the COVID-19 crisis,” said Lana Payne, Unifor Secretary-Treasurer. “Too often we hear about workplace injury as a result of employers cutting corners – now more than ever, the risk is too high for complacency.”



Unifor encourages all employers choosing to remain open to follow-suit and provide workers with wage premiums and appropriate health and safety measures. Front-line workers are taking extraordinary risk while performing their crucial services in order to serve Canadians.



“All employers choosing to remain open during the outbreak have a legal responsibility to provide a safe working environment,” said Dias. “Retail workers deserve recognition and gratitude for their brave service during this pandemic. The actions employers take now will impact what’s to come, and we are all watching.”



The union published a list of necessary policy recommendations to address workers’ safety and well-being as sweeping layoffs and the threat of exposure continues to climb. While government programs are a start, Canada still lags behind many other countries in providing income top-ups and development of a robust economic response to COVID-19.



Safety is top priority, particularly in sectors that require exposure to the public. Unifor released a series of information sheets outlining the unique impacts COVID-19 is having on sector-specific workforces.



Unifor launched a comprehensive hub for information about the pandemic at unifor.org/COVID19 and encourages all members to visit the site regularly for updates.

For media inquiries please contact National Communications Representative, Paul Whyte at Paul.Whyte@unifor.org or 647-221-9343 (cell).

Unifor shocked by Co-op rejection of independent mediator’s recommendations

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REGINA—Unifor is shocked that Federated Co-op has rejected the recommendations of the independent mediator and is using the COVID-19 crisis to leverage even more concessions from oil & gas workers.   “FCL CEO Scott Banda’s tactics get more disgusting by the hour,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Western Canada needs a secure fuel supply and the skilled operation of the Regina refinery. Instead, Scott Banda wants to use a public health crisis as bargaining leverage on his own employees.”   Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe appointed respected mediator Vince Ready in February 2020 to find a solution to the now 108-day lockout. Ready tabled his recommendations on March 19, 2020 and the bargaining committee of Unifor Local 594 reluctantly agreed to accept the terms on March 20.    The recommendations included sweeping changes to the refinery workers’ pension plan, something cited by FCL as the primary issue leading to the lockout. Ready’s terms would have put millions of dollars back into Co-op coffers, as workers would have contributed up to eight per cent to their pensions, in addition to other major concessions the company had been seeking.    “Refinery workers entered Premier Moe’s mediation process in good faith, only to be slapped in the face again with the underhanded approach from the company,” said Kevin Bittman, Unifor Local 594 President.   “The evidence is now staring the Premier in the face: Co-op has never wanted a fair deal. There is only one option left, and that is legislation to end this shameful lockout,” said Dias, who will be making a formal request to the provincial government to intervene.   Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.   For media inquiries please contact Unifor’s Director of Communications, Natalie Clancy at Natalie.Clancy@unifor.org or 416-707-5794 (cell). Unifor National President Jerry Dias is available for video interview FaceTime or Skype.

UFCW and Stop & Shop Announce Ten Percent Pay Raise for Grocery Workers During Coronavirus Pandemic

UFCW Press Releases -

Over 70,000 Workers Across New England, New York, and New Jersey to Receive Raise, Additional Two Weeks Paid Sick Leave

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), which represents 1.3 million workers in grocery, retail, and other industries, applauded Stop & Shop for giving all union Stop & Shop and Peapod employees represented by the UFCW a ten percent increase in pay during the coronavirus outbreak. Workers will also receive two additional weeks of paid leave if they become sick.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“After discussions between Stop & Shop and the UFCW, Stop & Shop is announcing a 10 percent raise and additional sick leave for grocery workers during the coronavirus pandemic. This essential pay and benefit increase will not only protect these hard-working men and women, it will help protect the food supply throughout our communities.

“As we know, grocery workers like Stop & Shop employees have been on the front lines of this crisis, serving the needs of millions of families in the northeast. Protecting them is absolutely essential to our communities and food supply now more than ever.

“Every supermarket, grocery store, and food retail employer – union and non-union – in the Northeast and across America must follow the example that Stop & Shop has set and follow their lead.”

Background:

UFCW International and UFCW Locals have been negotiating with employers across the country to recognize how hard grocery workers are working to provide necessary food and supplies to their communities during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • UFCW and Safeway announced that Safeway would provide a two-dollar-per-hour increase in pay for its grocery workers across the country during the outbreak.
  • In California, UFCW Locals applauded Stater Bros. Markets for implementing a $2.00-per-hour pay raise to its workers. The raise will apply to all hourly employees over the course of four weeks beginning March 23.
  • In Missouri, UFCW Local Union 655 secured a deal for grocery workers at Schnucks, Dierbergs, and Straubs to waive all co-pays for coronavirus testing, maintain pay for those who become sick, and expand access to telemedicine with zero out-of-pocket costs.

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The UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in healthcare, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members serve our communities in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at ufcw.org.

 

 

Unifor donates $30,000 to foodbank and homeless shelter in Regina

Unifor -

REGINA—Unifor is giving back to the community in Regina with $15,000 in emergency funds for both the Regina Food Bank and the Carmichael Outreach, a charity that combats homelessness and poverty in light of the COVID-19 crisis.

“When members of Unifor Local 594 reached out to the national union with this request, we did not hesitate to donate to the community that has been so supportive of locked out oil & gas workers at the Co-op Refinery over the last three months,” said Dias.

“We know that families are already struggling in Regina as many sectors are seeing massive layoffs. As a union we felt now is the time to give back, even in the midst of our own struggles with our 107-day lockout,” said Kevin Bittman, President of Unifor Local 594.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

For media inquiries please contact Unifor’s Director of Communications, Natalie Clancy at Natalie.Clancy@unifor.org or 416-707-5794 (cell). 

Unifor donates $30,000 to foodbank and women’s shelter in Regina

Unifor -

REGINA—Unifor is giving back to the community in Regina with $15,000 in emergency funds for both the Regina Food Bank and the Carmichael Outreach, a charity that combats homelessness and poverty in light of the COVID-19 crisis.

“When members of Unifor Local 594 reached out to the national union with this request, we did not hesitate to donate to the community that has been so supportive of locked out oil & gas workers at the Co-op Refinery over the last three months,” said Dias.

“We know that families are already struggling in Regina as many sectors are seeing massive layoffs. As a union we felt now is the time to give back, even in the midst of our own struggles with our 107-day lockout,” said Kevin Bittman, President of Unifor Local 594.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

For media inquiries please contact Unifor’s Director of Communications, Natalie Clancy at Natalie.Clancy@unifor.org or 416-707-5794 (cell). 

March 21: PSAC stands against racism

PSAC -

On this day in 1960, the police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against racist apartheid laws. Six years later, the United Nations proclaimed March 21st as the International Day for the...

UFCW & Safeway Coronavirus Talks Lead to Grocery Worker Pay Raise for Employees Across the Country

UFCW Press Releases -

America’s Largest Grocery Worker Union & Safeway Announce $2 an Hour Pay Increase for Safeway Employees on the Front Lines of the Outbreak

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), which represents 1.3 million workers in grocery, retail, and other industries, applauded the move by Safeway to provide a two-dollar-per-hour increase in pay for its grocery workers across the country during the coronavirus outbreak.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“After close talks between Safeway and UFCW, the union representing over 1.3 million grocery store and food processing workers, we are proud to support the significant wage increase adopted by Safeway, one of America’s largest supermarket companies.  “Safeway and the UFCW both recognize that grocery store workers are on the frontlines of this crisis. They are vital to our food supply, and serving the needs of millions of American families.  “What Safeway did today shows real leadership. They worked with our union family and they recognized the incredible hard work and sacrifices that our members and all grocery workers are making every single day across this nation. This pay increase will not only help protect these workers and support their families, it will also ensure they are able to continue to perform an absolutely vital role in our communities.  “We hope that this sends a message to every supermarket, grocery store, and food retail employer – union and non-union – across this country that it is time for every company to recognize the sacrifice America’s food workers are making – sacrifices that Safeway has rightfully recognized and which other companies must also recognize.  “At a time of such national crisis, where food is so vital, it is critical that every employer do more to protect our food supply and grocery stores by protecting the hardworking men and women who work there and keep them open.”

Background:

Earlier this week, UFCW Local Unions 21, 367, and 1439 in Washington State announced a deal with Safeway as well as Albertsons and Fred Meyer/QFC grocery stores to provide two weeks of paid leave for these workers, strengthen childcare access, and protect healthcare coverage for any workers who become sick.

In Missouri, UFCW Local Union 655 also secured a deal for local grocery workers to waive all co-pays for coronavirus testing, maintain pay for those who become sick, and expand access to telemedicine with zero out-of-pocket costs.

UFCW also recognized Michigan, Minnesota, and Vermont this week for designating their states’ grocery workers as front line responders, expanding access to free childcare as these employees continue to help local families during this crisis.

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The UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in healthcare, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members serve our communities in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at ufcw.org.

COVID-19: Taking care of each other

NUPGE -

We need to take care of ourselves especially now and a big part of being healthy means taking care of our mental health. Stress is a major factor in poor health. And for those who struggle with mental illness, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, these times are especially difficult.

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