Latest Labour News

Australian bushfires solidarity


The bushfire crisis currently gripping Australia has had a devastating impact on wildlife and people. CAUT’s sister organization, the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), is reporting that the fires have directly affected some of their members who have suffered loss of their homes and other financial hardships. Some universities have also provided members with additional leave so that they can defend their homes and communities and provide volunteer support in response to this national disaster.

CAUT associations and members can show their solidarity with the NTEU by donating to the Australian Council of Trade Union’s Bushfire Relief Fund or the Australian Red Cross.

Beyond this direct support, the NTEU is urging colleagues around the world to call out the fact that the severity of the bushfires is a direct result of climate change, and that any serious response must include a comprehensive approach to tackle the climate crisis both in Australia and around the globe.

CAUT and the NTEU have as one their core values the principle of sticking together and supporting each other in times of hardship. Please take a moment to show your solidary with all our Australian colleagues and communities affected by this disaster.

MGEU welcomes home firefighters from Australia


The wildfires tearing through Australia are an unprecedented national disaster. At least 26 people have died, along with millions of animals, while nearly 15 million acres have burned and more than 2,000 homes have been destroyed since October.

Unifor presents Ontario budget recommendations

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Ontario Regional Director Naureen Rizvi voiced Unifor’s strong opposition to the deep financial cuts and overall economic strategy of the Ford government as she presented the union’s budget recommendations to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs.  

“This budget is tabled at a time when Ontarians have lost confidence in this government. We have seen an aggressive agenda of funding cuts and legislative attacks on the vulnerable and on workers, and the people of Ontario have expressed their outrage,” said Rizvi. “Let’s be clear - the attack on the most vulnerable people in this province is nothing short of a disgrace.” 

At the January 17 pre-budget consultation hearing at Queen’s Park, Rizvi cited damaging government policies including the cancellation of the $15 minimum wage, the rolling back of sick days and the elimination of equal pay for equal work.

Rizvi also called out Doug Ford for opening the door to for-profit health care services, attacking school board workers and creating chaos in education, and for his Conservative government’s ongoing neglect of manufacturing workers.

“In recent months, this government has stood by while approximately 2,300 highly skilled assembly line workers and 1,200 independent parts supplier workers have lost their jobs in the Durham region,” Rizvi said. “Our communities are being decimated by the huge loss of manufacturing jobs.”

During her address to the Committee, Rizvi stressed the need for investment in electric vehicle technology and manufacturing, and repeated the union’s warning about lack of production orders at the Bombardier facility in Thunder Bay.

“It is time for a strong commitment to a “Buy Ontario” strategy that will put workers first and grow the province’s manufacturing sector into the future,” Rizvi stated.

Read Unifor’s Ontario Pre-Budget Submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs here.

Offer to pay off parents a new low for Ford Government


“A legislated raise limited to 1% comes to less than $8 a week, far less than the $60 a day the government is spinning through its propaganda machine doubling as our education minister. The government should abandon this cruel and ham-fisted legislation and get serious about bargaining right now." — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President

Unifor members across Canada bolster Regina picket lines

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Unifor Local 594’s bold fight to defend the defined benefit pension plan against a massively profitable refinery has drawn reinforcements from across the country.

Members from three provinces have already travelled to Regina to join the picket lines, and dozens more are expected this weekend.

“Unifor members are ready to fight,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “When a greedy employer like FCL attacks our members, it can expect a fight with our entire union membership.”

Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) owns the Co-op Refinery, where nearly 800 Unifor members have been locked out since December 5, 2019 in freezing conditions. At issue is the employer’s demands for concessions for most that amount to a 50 per cent cut in the value of their pensions.

“Co-op Refinery makes $3 million in profit every single day when our members are at work,” said Kevin Bittman, Unifor Local 594 President. “Clearly the attack on our pension is an attempt to break the union.”

Leanne Marsh, a skilled trades worker at Unifor Local 2200 and Chairperson of Unifor’s B.C. Regional Council arrived January 8 to show support.

“I jumped at the chance to come out here to show B.C.’s support for this fight,” said Marsh. “While I’m here, there are secondary pickets happening at B.C. co-ops nearly every day. We’re supporting Unifor Local 594 in every way we can.”

Mohamad Alli, a retiree from Local 468 in Winnipeg, shares those sentiments: “I knew I had to come to show my support. Pensions are absolutely critical to retirement security for workers, and what FCL is trying to do to their loyal workforce is disgusting and wrong.”

If you want more information about joining Local 594 picket lines, please contact your local union president.

CAUT in solidarity with India anti-government protesters


(Ottawa – January 15, 2020) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) condemns recent violent police and government attacks at three of the India’s leading universities: Jamia Millia Islamia, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).

Over the past month, police and government-backed thugs have beaten students and teachers, and used tear gas and rubber bullets to quell peaceful protests over recent changes to citizenship laws and proposals calling for national registration of all citizens. The changes have fueled fears that Muslims in India will face discrimination by the right-wing Hindu-majority government.

“Peaceful protesters have been brutally attacked while police have also refused to allow medical assistance for badly injured victims,” says CAUT executive director David Robinson. “We condemn these illegal tactics in the strongest terms, and urge the Indian government to immediately reconsider its proposals which are the root cause fueling the protests.”

The harsh attacks have led to solidarity protests across India with at least 29 universities and colleges joining. Additionally, general public protests have erupted in support of the students, and a January 8 nationwide general strike, also in support of the students and specifically anti-government, involved up to 250 million participants, including trade unions, students and farmers.

CAUT urges review of labour relations at UNBC


(Ottawa – January 15, 2020) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is concerned about the state of labour relations at UNBC and is urging the institution to agree to an external independent review.

“In my many years of experience with CAUT, I can say without hesitation that I have not come across a more difficult and acrimonious labour relations environment than exists at UNBC today,” wrote CAUT executive director David Robinson in a letter to the Chair of the UNBC Board of Governors.

Read the full letter here.

Joseph Mairs: A coal miner who never died

Rank and File - latest news - caught up with Eden Haythornthwaite to speak about the long-running annual Joseph Mairs Memorial held every year on Vancouver Island. This year’s memorial begins 1pm at St. Mary’s Catholic Church Hall in Ladysmith. Who is Joseph Mairs, and how long has this memorial been held? Joseph Mairs was a trade unionist and a coal Continue readingJoseph Mairs: A coal miner who never died