"We have a system that looks at care in silos rather than a coherent system that is concerned about health from birth to death. This needs to change." — Larry Brown, NUPGE President
Toronto – June 15, 2020 – After weeks of sustained activism, UFCW Canada has secured improved health and safety protections for workers in the food processing sector by working with the federal government to have union support recognized as an important factor in accessing Canada’s $77.5 million Emergency Processing Fund.
“I’ve been watching politics and polling for a long time, and I’ve never seen numbers like these.” — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President
VANCOUVER—Unifor is calling on the provincial government to resist calls from employers to water down proposed changes to workers’ compensation that would see employers help to cover the costs associated with saving the lives of workers who contracted COVID-19 at work.
“These are the same forces that resisted responsibility for lung cancer and asbestos poisoning,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “COVID-19 is the latest in a long line of occupational diseases that employers wish to pretend has nothing to do with the workplace.”
The Employers’ Forum has written to Worksafe BC to urge it to reverse course on changes that would see employers share the cost of helping workers who contracted COVID-19 at work. Instead, the Forum proposes all costs be borne by the government.
“Employers have a responsibility to keep workers safe in the workplace. The consequence for failing to do so is shouldering costs associated with workplace injuries,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor Western Regional Director. “You can’t have it both ways. Employers can’t publish warm and fuzzy statements about ‘COVID Heroes’ one day, and seek to undermine their workplace health and safety net the next.”
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 Zoom/Skype/Facetime, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at firstname.lastname@example.org or 778-903-6549 (cell).
Toronto – June 13, 2020 – UFCW Canada’s ground-breaking online education program, webCampus, continues to grow with the addition of new “On-the-Go” courses.
America’s Largest Food & Retail Union Calls on Facebook to Immediately Shut Down Feature Allowing Companies to Censor Employees
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), America’s largest food and retail union with 1.3 million members, condemned Facebook for pushing a tool that allows companies to censor communications among their workers about unionizing. A new report details how Facebook Workplace, an intranet-style chat and office collaboration product, would enable employers to blacklist words like unionize in communications on the platform.
UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:
“Facebook’s new tool allowing companies to censor workers trying to unionize is a shocking abuse of power and a dangerous threat to the ability of all workers to exercise their right to join a union.
“Whether it’s Amazon firing workers who organize protests or Whole Foods using store surveillance to track employee efforts to unionize, it is clear that giant corporations are more emboldened than ever to shut down any effort by workers to make their voices heard.
“With millions of American workers in grocery stores, meatpacking plants, and other essential businesses continuing to be infected by COVID-19, there has never been a more important time to protect the right of these workers to speak out for the protections they need. Facebook must immediately shut down this dangerous new tool that censors employee efforts to unionize, and end all efforts to silence workers standing up for the better pay and protections they have earned.”
UFCW has been a leading national voice calling for great accountability from technology companies like Facebook in response to efforts to stop workers from unionizing and speaking out for the protections they need on the job.
In February 2020, UFCW supported the successful effort of Instacart workers at a Mariano’s store in Skokie, Illinois to unionize and join UFCW Local 1546. These Instacart workers made history as the first workers with the company to join a union.
In December 2018, the retail branch of UFCW launched a campaign to unionize Amazon warehouse workers in New York. UFCW has been a vocal critic of both Amazon and Whole Foods for the treatment of their workers.
In March 2020, UFCW called out Amazon and Whole Foods for failing to provide their workers with paid sick leave until after testing positive for COVID-19. With testing incredibly scarce, this policy has left thousands of workers across the country in limbo, putting their safety and the safety of customers at risk during the outbreak. Last year in September 2019, UFCW condemned the move by Amazon to cut healthcare coverage for part-time Whole Foods workers across the country.
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.
June 14 to 20 is National Public Services Week – a chance to recognize the contributions of public-sector workers in Manitoba and across the country. While we can't recognize Public Services Week in quite the same way this year, we can still celebrate the achievements of the skilled people working on the front lines and behind the scenes to keep families safe and help our lives run smoothly by displaying these signs of gratitude.
Vancouver – June 12, 2020 – Communications workers at Point Blank Creative are the newest members of UFCW 1518 after voting unanimously to join the union.
"The act ... is a draconian measure which limits and reduces a union's bargaining power...and inhibits the union's ability to trade off monetary benefits for non-monetary enhancements, such as protection from contracting out, job security, and layoffs. It has left no room for a meaningful collective bargaining process on issues crucial to union memberships." — Justice McKelvey, Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench
“The fact that your government felt it necessary to create the CERB is a damning statement on the damage done by restrictions on EI coverage and benefits that have been introduced over the years have done” Larry Brown, NUPGE President
TORONTO – Ontario workers who had their bargaining rights attacked by Ford’s wage restraint law, find hope and vindication as similar legislation was struck down by the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench.
“Ford’s attack on Ontario public sector workers’ bargaining rights, including thousands on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic, is a common tactic by conservative politicians, but that does not make it right,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Ford should repeal 124 and give Ontario workers the respect they deserve, because his law will be struck down just like Pallister’s.”
Earlier this week, a Manitoba judge ruled that the so-called Public Services Sustainability Act violates the right to collective bargaining protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
In Ontario, Unifor is engaged in a similar court challenge against the legislation in Ontario, along with many other unions representing workers across the broader public sector.
“We said it in 2019, that this law would not stand up in court. After this week’s ruling that confidence has grown, Ford cannot continue to pay lip service to public sector workers while stifling their rights,” said Naureen Rizvi, Unifor Ontario Regional Director.
Ford’s wage restraint bill has forced a one per cent wage cap across the public sector in Ontario, including unionized and non-unionized workers, for any currently expired or expiring collective agreements over the next three years.
This applies to the public service, as well as hospitals, Ornge, some long-term care homes, boards, commissions, agencies, school boards, universities and colleges, and children’s aid societies. Police and firefighters, excluded from the legislation, received wage increases of two per cent or more.
June 12, 2020
TORONTO — Workers at the Sonoco paper mill in Quinte West are spending their last day on the job today after the company decided earlier this year to shutter the mill and focus operations in South Carolina.
“My heart goes out to the entire community of Quinte West as we know the tremendous impact losing forestry jobs has on these rural towns,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “It is extremely disappointing that an agreement of sale could not be arranged with the present employer to save as many jobs as possible."
Unifor Local 1489 represents 81 workers at the Sonoco paper mill. The community of Quinte West has a long history as a forestry town with operations in the sector dating back to 1880. The closure is seen by many to be unnecessary.
“We’ve spent years trying to establish a forestry strategy for Ontario with the government, but sadly, we still don’t see any efforts to keep these good jobs here in the province,” said Naureen Rizvi, Ontario Regional Director. “Premier Ford needs to be worried when family-supporting manufacturing jobs continue to leave this province.”
Unifor supported efforts to find a buyer for the facility that could have maintained many good-paying jobs. The forestry sector requires directed efforts and support from all forms of government across Canada to maintain the economic viability of small communities where most remaining mills operate.
For media inquiries contact National Communications Representative Shelley Amyotte at 902-717-7491 or email@example.com.
After three long years of standing up for the rights of public sector workers to sit down and negotiate their wages with the Pallister government, today is victory day. Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench Justice McKelvey has ruled that the government's wage freeze law, the Public Services Sustainability Act (Bill 28), and its actions to impede collective bargaining with Manitoba's public sector workers are a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
I’m very pleased to share some good news with all MAHCP members today. MAHCP, along with other unions who banded together to form the Partnership to Defend Public Services (PDPS), has won our court challenge to Bill 28, the Manitoba Government’s unconstitutional wage freeze legislation. Please see a news release from PDPS here, issued on behalf of all partner unions.
We have said all along that Bill 28 tramples on our right to free and fair collective bargaining, and the judge has agreed.
The Partnership’s legal team will be reviewing the judge’s full decision and we will have more to say about this landmark court case and its potential implications in the coming days and weeks. For now, we can celebrate a significant victory for Allied Health Professionals and all working people in Manitoba.
Bob Moroz, MAHCP President