Latest Labour News

Essential but precarious: Toronto bike couriers fight for a union

Rank and File - latest news -

By Haseena Manek Since Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced restaurants would stay open for takeout and delivery during the COVID19 pandemic, bicycle couriers have ben deemed “essential” workers. Already a dangerous job, bicycle couriers working for food delivery apps like Foodora, Uber Eats, Doordash and Skip the Dishes have no sick leave, no health insurance. Continue readingEssential but precarious: Toronto bike couriers fight for a union

CAUT welcomes improved Canada Emergency Response Benefit

CAUT -

(Ottawa – March 26, 2020) The federal government’s newly expanded and improved income support program for workers and their families is a valuable and timely measure, says the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT).

“The COVID-19 pandemic is causing massive disruption worldwide and the next few weeks or months will be difficult for many workers who are experiencing job loss or reduced income,” says CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is a significant step forward and we encourage both provincial and federal governments to continue to expand and adapt supports to best assist Canadians with this crisis.”

The new CERB, announced March 25, simplifies and expands previously announced programs and will provide $2000 per month for up to four months to workers who have lost income as a result of COVID-19, including contract workers and those who previously would not have been eligible for the benefits offered through the Employment Insurance (EI) program. 

The application portal is expected to be functional by early April. Those applying can expect funds within approximately ten days. 

Alberta urged to reverse education cuts as COVID-19 crisis takes hold

CAUT -

(Ottawa — March 26, 2020) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is gravely concerned by the Government of Alberta’s refusal to reverse planned cuts to post-secondary education which will see over 600 workers laid off at the University of Alberta alone, most before March 31st.

Despite outcries from the scientific community, and a national call to support workers and families through the COVID-19 crisis, the provincial government is proceeding with massive funding cuts to post-secondary education.

The Kenney government announced earlier this year that funding would be reduced by up to 20% for some institutions. With universities and provinces now reeling from the fallout of the COVID-19 crisis, the funding reductions will be even more devastating for workers and families in Alberta and will have long-lasting impacts on the quality and viability of post-secondary education.

“In this unprecedented time, governments need to be investing in science, supporting workers, reducing anxieties, and ensuring that families can get through this crisis,” said CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “The post-secondary education and research community is stepping up to address the COVID-19 crisis. To cut funding to the institutions that provide needed evidence-based expertise to deal with this pandemic – from research in vaccinology and immunology, to policies needed to address the social and economic fallout – is short-sighted and harmful.”

Robinson adds that CAUT supports the calls of the joint letter sent to the University of Alberta to maintain employee benefits and payroll throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

COVID-19 Update #5 - Working for you during these trying times

Manitoba Government & General Employees Union -

We have fielded thousands of calls, emails, and messages over these past few weeks, and are focused on resolving the most pressing issues facing members during this pandemic. Find out how MGEU has been working for members in this update. Also in this update: Send a message to the Premier and add your voice in support of EI top up, to help working families.

UFCW updates on COVID-19 engage thousands on social media

UFCW Canada -

Toronto – March 26, 2020 – As UFCW Canada and its Local Unions work hard to keep members and the public informed during the COVID-19 pandemic, UFCW social posts thanking members on the front lines for their vital work throughout the crisis have engaged hundreds of thousands of Canadians across the country.

RN says Co-op Refinery scab camp “a disaster waiting to happen”

Rank and File - latest news -

Editor’s introduction The following letter was received by Andrew Stevens, a Regina city councillor and co-founder of Rankandfile.ca. It was first shared publicly on Facebook. It relates to the scab camp established at the Co-op Refinery in Regina in which the employer has locked out refinery workers for over 100 days. Stevens writes of the Continue readingRN says Co-op Refinery scab camp “a disaster waiting to happen”

UFCW Announces Increased Pay, Benefits for Meatpacking and Food Processing Workers on Front Lines of Outbreak  

UFCW Press Releases -

America’s Largest Private Sector Union Secures Higher Pay, Essential Benefits for Over 40,000 Workers Across the Country Protecting U.S. Food Supply Chain 

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, which represents more than 250,000 meatpacking and food processing workers, announced agreements the union reached to increase pay and benefits for workers with Cargill, Hormel, JBS, National Beef, Pepsi, Kraft Heinz, Campbell’s Soup, Danone, and Maple Leaf Foods. The boost to pay and benefits will be received by more than 40,000 workers and represent a strong investment in the men and women who are essential to protecting the U.S. food supply chain during the coronavirus outbreak.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“After talks between America’s leading food companies and UFCW, the union representing more than 250,000 meatpacking and food processing workers, we are proud to support additional and critical pay and benefit increases for these workers who are essential to America’s food supply. These wage and benefit increases will not only protect the health and welfare of these hard-working men and women, they will help ensure all of America’s families have the food they need to overcome the public health crisis our nation faces.

“What these companies did shows real leadership. They worked together with our union family and they recognized the incredible hard work and sacrifices that our members and all meatpacking and food processing workers are making every single day.

“At a time of such national crisis, where food is so vital, we hope that this sends a message to every company in these industries – union and non-union – that it is time for every employer to do more to protect our food supply and the hardworking men and women keeping our communities stable and families fed.”

Background:

UFCW reached the following agreements to support meatpacking and food processing workers across the country:

  • Cargill: Employees will receive a $2 per hour pay increase in effect between March 23 and May 5. Cargill will also strengthen worker safeguards with increased spacing in factory floor work areas, waive co-pays for coronavirus testing and treatment, and the ability to take time off for any coronavirus-related absences.
  • Danone North America: Employees will receive a 15 percent pay increase and 80 hours of additional paid leave for coronavirus-related absences.
  • Kraft Heinz: Employees who are required to quarantine will receive short-term disability benefits with waived waiting periods, waiver of co-pays for coronavirus medical care, and $100 weekly childcare subsidy for workers in districts where schools have closed.
  • Pepsi: Employees will receive an additional 2 weeks paid leave for coronavirus-related absences and childcare assistance equal to at least two-thirds of their pay for up to 12 weeks or a $100 daily reimbursement if they have children enrolled in closed schools.
  • Hormel: Employees are receiving a $300 bonus for working during this time frame.
  • JBS: Employees who are UFCW members will receive a $600 bonus on May 15th.
  • Maple Leaf Foods: Employees will receive additional $80 per week in premium pay.
  • Campbell’s Soup: Employees will receive a $2 per hour pay increase during the outbreak.
  • National Beef: Employees are receiving a $2 per hour pay increase between March 16 through May 10, 2 weeks paid leave if they are required to quarantine, waiver of co-pays for coronavirus medical care, and the ability to take time off for any coronavirus-related absences.

 

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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

 

Ontario fiscal update fails to provide direct financial support to workers affected by COVID-19

Unifor -

March 25, 2020

TORONTO—The fiscal update provided by Ontario Minister of Finance Rod Phillips today failed to enact adequate measures to protect Ontarians from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“As this deadly and costly pandemic unfolds, Ontarians deserved to see far more from their government in today’s update,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Minister Philips spoke at length about protecting the cash flow of businesses but had shockingly little to say about the cash flow of Ontarians and that’s completely unacceptable.”

Unifor has been demanding urgent action from the Ford government, including immediate relief for workers affected by the pandemic or the broader economic effects of the government’s public health response. These measures should include instituting a minimum of 14 paid sick days and establishing direct, emergency income assistance measures. The full recommendations from Unifor are outlined in a letter to the Premier here.

The government announced only small one-time payments for families with children and limited other measures to offer minor relief with utility costs and student loans. With record-numbers of layoffs and Employment Insurance claims in recent days, the federal government and other provincial jurisdictions are providing greater direct support measures than the government of Ontario.

Minister Philips also announced a $3.3 billion funding increase as part of the government’s health care response to COVID-19. While greater detail is needed on the government’s planned deployment of the funding in the short-term, health care workers must see a more substantial investment to address chronic, long-term underfunding of health care in Ontario, with a clear plan to reopen and staff shuttered hospital beds.

“Today’s announcement leaves countless thousands of Ontarians out of what should have been the most ambitious and substantive direct income assistance plan we’ve seen in generations,” said Naureen Rizvi, Unifor’s Ontario Regional Director. “Instead, this government is failing in its responsibility to provide direct emergency relief to Ontario workers, as so many other provinces and countries have already done.” 

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 an interview, please contact Unifor Communications National Representative David Molenhuis at david.molenhuis@unifor.org or 416-575-7453 (cell).

After snubbing Moe’s mediators, Co-op demands more concessions

Unifor -

March 25, 2020

REGINA—Only 72 hours after rejecting all of the recommendations from Premier Scott Moe’s appointed mediators, Federated Co-operatives Limited has tabled new, aggressive concessions in bargaining with oil & gas workers in Regina.

“Right from the beginning, we called for mediation to be binding, not a friendly suggestion for Co-op to ignore,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “The province must introduce legislation to end to this dispute and force this rogue employer to restore safe operation of Saskatchewan’s largest refinery.”

On day 111 of the bitter lockout at the Co-op Refinery, the company has tabled a “final offer” with concessions that go far beyond what was proposed by Vince Ready and Amanda Rogers in their report commissioned and paid for by the Saskatchewan government. Co-op’s new demands include a significant reduction in the company’s pension responsibilities while gutting the employee savings plan.

“Co-op has never wanted to compromise, they want it all,” said Kevin Bittman, Unifor Local 594 President. “But it’s too late for that. The mediators’ report was the process that workers and the company agreed to, we ratified it, and it’s what Scott Moe needs to enforce.”

Local 594 voted 98 per cent in favour of the compromises contained in the report from the Premier’s appointed mediators, and say they are ready to return to work under that settlement, which includes workers contributing eight percent to their pensions. Unifor says that a return to work for the skilled workforce that normally operates the Regina refinery cannot happen soon enough.

“The crowded scab camp is a health disaster waiting to happen. It is in the province’s interest for Premier Moe to put an end to this lockout and close the scab camp once and for all,” said Dias.

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 Communications Representative Ian Boyko at ian.boyko@unifor.org or 778-903-6549 (cell).

Delivering during COVID-19: Canada Post’s shocking working conditions

Rank and File - latest news -

By Doug Nesbitt Postal workers are widely recognized as essential services during this crisis, but they’re sounding the alarm about working conditions which pose a glaring threat to themselves and the public. On social media and in the mainstream media, postal workers are frustrated with the failure of management to respond effectively to COVID-19 threat, Continue readingDelivering during COVID-19: Canada Post’s shocking working conditions

UFCW members gain wage premiums, more safety protections at Olymel, Cargill, Maple Leaf Foods

UFCW Canada -

Toronto – March 24, 2020 – Canada’s voice of food workers, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW Canada), is proud to announce that the union’s conversations with major meat producers at Olymel, Cargill, and Maple Leaf Foods have secured premium pay increases and more safety protections for all front-line workers at these companies. 

On the Front Lines: UFCW food manufacturing members

UFCW Canada -

Toronto – March 24, 2020 – While a growing number of businesses are closing as part of escalating government measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, UFCW food manufacturing members remain on the front lines of the crisis working hard to supply grocery stores and help feed Canadians and their families during the coronavirus pandemic.

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