Latest Labour News

Hospitality and gaming workers applaud EI changes

Unifor -

August 21, 2020

TORONTO—The new Employment Insurance measures introduced yesterday by the federal government will no doubt have an incredibly positive impact on workers in the hospitality and gaming sectors, says Unifor.

“For workers who cannot access CERB for much longer, the new EI measures will be a big help,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “But workers in sectors such as hospitality and gaming are still facing mounting concerns without extended health benefits coverage. This is a major concern for Unifor.”

By reducing the number of work-hours required to access EI, the federal government has dramatically expanded the number of hospitality and gaming workers who can qualify for EI after CERB has ended. Unifor has campaigned for expanded access to EI for many years, including several meetings with the federal government in recent weeks.

“Hotels, restaurants, and casinos have been among the sectors hardest hit by COVID-19-related closures,” said Albert Pacis​, unit chairperson at Unifor Local 112 at the Hyatt Regency Toronto. “During this time, getting financial help for workers was Unifor’s top priority.”

“Unifor has been fighting to address the unique struggles of gaming workers,” said Corey Dalton, President of Unifor Local 1090. “We’re going to keep fighting for a safe return to work, benefit coverage and fair financial supports while the industry recovers.”

To arrange for interviews, in-person or via Skype/Facetime, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at ian.boyko@unifor.org or 778-903-6549 (cell).

Covid-19 Update #13: MGEU Mandates masks at all in-person meetings, meetings in Area 2 & 3 under review

Manitoba Government & General Employees Union -

Due to the latest public health recommendations, MGEU members will be required to wear masks during all in-person meetings. Masks will be made available at the meeting if required. The new colour-coded COVID scale recently implemented by the Province also caps gatherings in the Prairie Mountain Health region to no more than ten people. As such, MGEU's in-person meetings in Area 2 and Area 3 are now under review.

Media Advisory: Jerry Dias available for comment following CERB briefing

Unifor -

August 20, 2020

TORONTO—Unifor National President Jerry Dias will be available to discuss the federal government’s announcement about the transition from the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

“Canadians will be watching closely. Tens of thousands of families are still struggling as a result of the economic measures taken by government to fight the spread of COVID-19,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “The government must show leadership by improving Employment Insurance so that no worker is left behind.”

What:  Media availability by Zoom, Facetime, or Skype

Who:   Jerry Dias, Unifor National President

When: Thursday, August 20 at 2:30 p.m.  ET

Unifor members have been actively campaigning for Employment Insurance reform for years, including a renewed effort when COVID-19 struck.

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 for interviews, in-person or via Skype/Facetime, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at ian.boyko@unifor.org or 778-903-6549 (cell).

Post-secondary staff concerned about remote teaching, research, health and safety and jobs

CAUT -

(OTTAWA— 20 August, 2020) A survey conducted by the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) shows that the pandemic has significantly increased the workload and the stress level of academic staff across the country.

“Post-secondary staff moved overnight to ensure education continuity for millions of students this spring.  The pandemic created a set of new challenges that needs to be understood and addressed to ensure quality of education this fall,” explained CAUT Executive Director David Robinson.

Amongst the key findings of the survey, a majority of academic staff from universities and colleges are working more than before COVID-19 with almost one-third working more than 10 additional hours per week. A total of 84% of respondents reported somewhat or much higher stress levels due to the pandemic, balancing work and dependent care, challenges with teaching and research, and job insecurity.

Other survey key findings:

· About 1 in 10 have seen their work eliminated or reduced since the pandemic;

· 68% of respondents are worried about the challenges of remote teaching;

· Two out of three are researching less or not at all due to the inability to hold or attend conferences, dependent care responsibilities, inability to access labs or offices, not being able to conduct in-person research, and increased teaching demands;

· Only 1 in 4 feel that they are consulted before decisions that affect them are made; and,

· Respondents identified safe childcare, more access to mental health services, and technological assistance among the resources most needed.

“Academic staff are worried about their students, their research, and their jobs.  It is not clear how the concerns about remote teaching, research and jobs at universities and colleges are going to be addressed without more government and institutional support for post-secondary education,” added CAUT President Brenda Austin-Smith.

CAUT surveyed 4,300 academic staff from all provinces between May 13 and June 12, using crowdsourcing data collection. The findings offer valuable insights on the experiences of participants.

Read the summary here.

Read the recommandations here.

Unifor welcomes Employment Insurance modernization

Unifor -

August 20, 2020

TORONTO—Sweeping changes to Employment Insurance (EI) announced today will reduce barriers to qualify and increase the minimum benefit.

“It is important that the transition from the CERB be seamless and painless for workers who have not regained employment,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Today’s changes address many of the problems we’ve helped identify for the federal government.”

Unifor has been on the front lines of advocating for EI reform for many years. When the EI system was failing workers in early 2020 when COVID-19 was emerging in Canada, Unifor lobbied for the creation of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Since then Unifor leadership and activists have been advocating for significant changes to EI access, benefit levels, and penalties.

Changes to the program include a one-time reduction in qualifying hours that will improve access and a new benefits floor has been established at $400/week. For those workers expected to be excluded from EI following the expiry of CERB, a new recovery benefit has been created. A complete list of changes are summarized on the government’s website.

“Today’s changes are a relief for many workers in the short term, but EI has been so badly broken for so long that a full overhaul of the system is still absolutely critical,” said Dias. “These temporary changes, critical now, have to guide more comprehensive improvements to EI that will benefit workers for generations to come.”

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 for interviews, in-person or via Skype/Facetime, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at ian.boyko@unifor.org or 778-903-6549 (cell).

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