This morning, MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky released a statement about the Premier’s determination to impose mass layoffs and cuts to those who deliver our public services.
It is also a difficult and stressful situation for the people who work with this vulnerable population, who are already under-supported and underpaid.
"I hope [this] ruling shows the Premier and his government that it's time for them to stop fighting with their own employees, to stop the threats, and to start treating the people who deliver vital public services with respect." — Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President
April 20, 2020
VANCOUVER—Translink has moved ahead with issuing notice of hundreds of layoffs of front-line transit worker, potentially interfering in the ability of tens of thousands of essential service workers to get to their jobs, says Unifor.
“Public transit is a vital part of Metro Vancouver’s effective response to COVID-19,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “We must support essential services workers in every way we can, and that includes getting them to work safely and effectively.”
Unifor says that close to 1,000 transit operators and 200 maintenance staff have received layoff notice effective May 18, 2020. B.C. Transit has not announced any plans to reduce service levels.
Health care workers have already spoke out against transit service cutbacks. Unifor has warned that the existing service levels, with the COVID-19-related capacity regulations, are already proving a challenge for social distancing precautions.
“Maintaining safe interpersonal distance on busses today is a challenge, and it will only get more difficult—or impossible—with fewer busses on the road,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor Western Regional Director. “The federal government and provincial government need get off the sidelines and keep our transit system healthy during the pandemic. Not next month. Not next week. Today.”
Unifor is calling on all levels of government to come together to maintain transit service levels to keep passengers safe and to keep the struggling Metro Vancouver economy moving during an already challenging time.
Information about the union’s response to the pandemic, as well as resources for members can be found at unifor.org/COVID19.
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.
To arrange interviews via Skype or Facetime, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at firstname.lastname@example.org or 778-903-6549 (cell).
America’s Largest Food and Retail Union Applauds Action by JBS, Largest U.S. Beef and Pork Processor, to Strengthen Worker Support and Protections
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, which represents more than 250,000 meatpacking and food processing workers all across the country, announced an agreement with JBS — the leading processor of beef and pork in the United States — to increase wages for workers by $4 per hour and further strengthen safety measures in these plants.
The agreement between the UFCW and JBS is the union’s latest action to protect workers and strengthen our nation’s food supply during the coronavirus pandemic. This follows UFCW’s recent announcement of increased pay and protections for workers across these industries.
UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:
“In the face of this pandemic, the safety of JBS workers and all our meatpacking members is paramount. The UFCW has worked throughout this national health crisis to ensure that our union members are protected and millions of Americans continue to have access to the food they need.
“We applaud JBS and our UFCW Locals for coming to an agreement that recognizes the hard work and sacrifices of these brave men and women by giving them an additional $4 an hour and, more importantly, access to the personal protection equipment like masks, gloves, and face shields that they need to do their jobs safely.
“We hope JBS’s leadership sends a message to all other companies – union and non-union. Now, more than ever, it is critical that not only is our food supply protected, but that food processing and meatpacking workers are protected as they perform such an essential role during this health crisis.”
As part of this new agreement, JBS announced the following for workers at its plants in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin:
- Beginning April 20 and lasting through May 30, JBS employees will receive an additional $4 an hour in pay increases. This will be in addition to the previously announced $600 bonus.
- JBS employees will have access to enhanced personal protection equipment like masks, gloves, and face shields.
- JBS will be installing plexiglass shields in areas of plants where social distancing is not possible.
- Expanded cafeterias and breakrooms in JBS plants will allow workers to better practice social distancing.
- Enhanced cleaning in common areas and plants will further strengthen safety measures.
The UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries.
Our members help put food on our nation’s tables and serve customers in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org.
Toronto – April 18, 2020 – UFCW grocery members continue to work on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic and are doing their best to ensure that Canadians and their families get the food, beverages, and supplies they need to stay healthy and safe during this crisis.
In response to Premier Pallister’s announcement earlier this week that his government plans to reduce the workweek for some provincial employees, MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky wrote to the Premier today, arguing that public employees are going to need more time and a lot more information before any decisions can be made.
"I am calling on your government to extend the provisions of the Canada Health Act to include Canada’s residential care facilities. By doing so you would ensure that they must meet the 5 principles of the CHA: public administration, accessibility, comprehensiveness, universality and portability." — Larry Brown, NUPGE President
Vancouver – April 17, 2020 – A new survey of Canadian attitudes and behaviour during the COVID-19 crisis finds that the coronavirus pandemic has significantly impacted the grocery shopping habits of Canadians and their families, with a majority of people saying they are buying more food products than they normally would.
Toronto – April 18, 2020 – Front-line workers are getting a lot of well-deserved praise and attention as they help keep us fed and safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. And the law is very clear about employers’ responsibilities to keep all workers safe from hazards and harm on the job.
Today, the Court of Queen’s Bench ruled that the MGEU was entirely justified in seeking arbitration on behalf of Civil Service members. In her ruling, Judge Keyser sided firmly with the union and directed Finance Minister Scott Fielding to appoint an arbitration panel as clearly outlined in the Civil Service Act.
Vancouver – April 16, 2020 – With the support of their union, budtenders at Clarity Cannabis have achieved hazard pay in recognition of their important work on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. UFCW 1518 became the first union to unionize private cannabis dispensary workers in Canada last February, when Clarity Cannabis workers joined the union.