Latest Labour News

Unifor calls for safe re-opening of casinos across Canada

Unifor -

September 2, 2020

TORONTO—Unifor is calling on provinces to safely re-open casinos and gaming operations across the country today under the same sound public health protocols that guided re-openings in other sectors of the economy.

“Enough is enough—it’s time to safely re-open casinos so gaming workers can get back to work and support their families,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “There’s just no sound science that justifies re-opening Walmarts, gyms, and restaurants while at the same time keeping the casinos closed. There’s no logic behind the decision, and it’s placing a perfectly legal sector in jeopardy.”

Over the past several weeks, provinces across Canada have begun to lift restrictions on business operations including restaurants, retail shops, and fitness facilities, based on the expert guidance of public health officials. At the same time, however, casino remain closed under government order in a number of jurisdictions, including British Columbia and parts of southern and south-western Ontario.

Gaming is a highly regulated sector and operators are already required to follow strict government-mandated parameters. As Unifor members continue to work with large gaming providers under strict health and safety protocols the remaining gaming and secondary hospitality operations should be allowed to re-open—particularly those that feature slot gaming, which allows for highly-controlled physical distancing.

With many gaming facilities closed or operating at restricted capacity, thousands of gaming workers across the country remain on lay-off. Many of these workers have already lost, or are soon to lose, benefits coverage, creating a looming drug coverage crisis that could put gaming workers in the difficult position of having to choose between life-saving medication and other essentials like paying for rent or groceries.

“While other types of businesses have been allowed to re-open, casinos and gaming workers are being left behind,” added Dias. “We have reviewed the comprehensive plans our employers have submitted to government to make sure guests and workers are kept healthy and safe. With these enhanced measures in place, our members want to get back to work and help our economy get back on its feet.”

Canada’s legal gaming sector already faces competition from illegal and unregulated online gaming. While many provinces have their own legal online gaming platforms, there are concerns that the extended closure of bricks-and-mortar casinos could lead more customers to participate in illegal online gambling.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. Unifor represents nearly 9,000 gaming workers at casinos, racetracks, and lotteries across Canada and is the largest union for gaming workers in the country. 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 David Molenhuis, Unifor National Communications Representative at david.molenhuis@unifor.org or 416-575-7453 (cell).

National Hazard Pay Campaign Launches Today As COVID-19 Continues to Threaten and Sicken Thousands of America’s Frontline Workers

UFCW Press Releases -

America’s Largest Food & Retail Union Announces National Hazard Pay Campaign With Actions in 26 Cities and 10 States Targeting Top Grocery Chains

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) – America’s largest food and retail union with 1.3 million members, announced the launch of a new national campaign to restore hazard pay for millions of America’s frontline workers. The new campaign will call on the country’s leading grocery companies — including Whole Foods, Walmart, Kroger, Albertsons, Ahold — and many other essential businesses, to reinstate hazard pay in light of the continuing human cost being paid by America’s grocery workers and other essential employees during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of the first phase of the UFCW’s national hazard pay campaign, at least 26 worker actions will be held this week at grocery stores and other essential businesses across the country in CaliforniaTexasGeorgiaVirginiaColorado,WashingtonTennesseeMarylandWestVirginia, and other states hit hard by COVID-19.

The new campaign will include grassroots actions as well as targeted paid and digital media to highlight the serious health threats these workers continue to face. UFCW will connect customers and communities with essential workers to call on these businesses to guarantee hazard pay as long as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone said, “America’s grocery workers are putting their lives on the line every day that they walk into the store, because this pandemic is far from over and the health threats are just as real now as they were when this crisis began. It is outrageous that the CEOs of these companies refuse to restore hazard pay even as more of these workers are getting sick and dying every week. Hazard pay for grocery workers must be reinstated now.”

This past week, UFCW confirmed there have been at least 103 grocery worker deaths and over 14,300 grocery workers infected or exposed to COVID-19. As a new investigation by Bloombergreported last week, the actual national number of workers who have died, become sick, or been exposed, is likely much higher given that America’s largest food companies have launched an effort to hide the true human cost.

“While top grocery chains rake in billions in profits during this pandemic, these frontline grocery workers continue to put themselves at risk to ensure our families have the food we need. As long as the hazard of COVID-19 continues, these companies must do what is right and provide the hazard pay these grocery workers have earned and deserve,” Perrone added.

During the campaign, the UFCW will be releasing first person testimonials from workers on the frontlines, as well as customers and local community members, calling on these companies to provide hazard pay to all of these essential workers. To view these videos, please click here.

Background:

UFCW has been a leading national voice in calling for grocery chains to restore hazard pay for these workers who continue to be on the frontlines of this pandemic.

In a CNN op-ed with Senator Kamala Harris, the union called for top companies like Kroger, Whole Foods, Albertsons and others to ensure that all of their employees receive the hazard pay that they have earned for putting themselves at risk.

Additionally, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown led a group of Senate Democrats in a letter calling on the CEOs of the country’s top supermarket chains to end the delays and reinstate grocery worker hazard pay.

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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

Re-opening colleges and universities: Fall semester plans

CAUT -

CAUT is tracking institutional plans for delivery of courses during the pandemic. We have compiled a database of more than 110 institutions' back to school plans, including the mode of delivery chosen for the Fall 2020 semester and links to each institutions’ health and safety plans.  The database can be found here.

We looked at which universities and colleges are:

  • Fully on-line
  • Primarily on-line
  • Blended
  • Primarily in-person
  • Fully In person

Below are highlights from our compilation of re-opening plans for Fall 2020:

  • The majority of institutions (55%) will be delivering their courses primarily on-line for the fall semester. Most instances of in-person learning in these cases are limited to course components that cannot be held virtually. 
  • Twenty-five percent of institutions are going forward with blended learning, meaning a mix of online, hybrid (i.e. online and in-person components) and in-person classes. 
  • Sixteen percent of institutions will hold courses fully online.  
  • Few institutions are going back to "traditional" teaching, with only two percent holding classes primarily in-person and one percent fully in-person.
  • Two percent of institutions have yet to announce their fall semester plans.

Methodology

CAUT determined fall delivery plans by reviewing each institution’s website, using language within statements, course schedules, FAQ sections, and other relevant areas within the sites to identify the delivery plan type.

  • Institutions choosing to exclusively provide online classes for the fall were coded as “Fully Online”.
  • Where an institution expressed using in-person classes only in special circumstances (such as when specialized equipment is required or specialized labs or when online teaching is not possible) and offering all other classes online, the delivery plan was listed as “Predominantly Online”.
  • Delivery plans were coded as “Blended” where an institution’s site expressed using a mix of online, hybrid and/or in-person classes. These decisions relied heavily on the institution’s language, as many used the terms “mixed”, “blended”, “hybrid” or similar wording in their plans.
  • Institutions that expressed delivering most of their classes in-person were listed as “Primarily in-person”.
  • Where no information could be found on an institution's plan, whether on their website or through news sources, or where an institution had not yet finalized their plan, they were listed as "Unknown/to be determined".

As things are sure to change and evolve over the coming months, CAUT will continue to monitor how universities and colleges are protecting the health and safety of the campus community. If you believe your institution’s mode of re-opening has been miscategorized, please let us know by sending an email at research@caut.ca.

OPSEU hails latest measures to fix crisis in corrections

NUPGE -

“It’s imperative that front-line workers, through their union, are consulted every step of the way during the design and build. The eyes of Corrections staff are everywhere. We know what keeps communities safe. Developers are only looking at their bottom line.” — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President

Unifor members at Detroit 3 give bargaining committees strong strike mandate

Unifor -

TORONTO—Unifor members at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors have authorized their bargaining committees to take strike action, if necessary, to secure fair contract settlements.

“Our members voted overwhelmingly to support their bargaining committees and our bargaining priorities, including; job security, product commitments and economic gains for all members” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “We will continue to push our agenda at the bargaining table, but remind government that they have an active role to play in securing our auto industry’s future. A future made in Canada.”

Workers at General Motors voted 95.3 per cent in favour, those at Ford Motor Company voted 96.4 per cent in favour and at FCA, voted 98.4 per cent in favour of strike action in votes that took place over the weekend. On or around Labour Day, Unifor plans to announce the company designated as the strike target, and will continue negotiations with that company until reaching a settlement and no later than the strike deadline on September 21 at 11:59 p.m.

For additional information and background, please go to autotalks2020@unifor.org.

Unifor opened formal contract talks with the Detroit Three in Toronto on August 12th, using new protocols for social distancing. Unifor’s theme for these talks is The Future is Made in Canada. A digital media kit including contact information, background on Canada’s auto industry can be found on this website which will be updated regularly.

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 or to arrange interviews via Factime, Zoom, or Skype please contact Unifor’s Director of Communications, Natalie Clancy at Natalie.Clancy@unifor.org or 416-707-5794 (cell).

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