Latest Labour News

Asian Heritage Month - Week 3

Unifor -

Unifor Local 4606 Activist and Community Leader

Barbara Fung was born in Hong Kong, and raised and educated in Thailand.  She has worked at the IWK Health Centre in Nova Scotia since 2008.  Even though Barbara may appear to be quiet, she is an active member in Unifor local 4606.  In 2016, Barbara joined the Atlantic Aboriginal and Workers of Colour committee and after demonstrating her activism, she was sent to Port Elgin for a two week Aboriginal and Workers of Colour Leadership course. During the course, Barbara met many people from other parts of Canada and this further inspired her to do more. Once she got back to Halifax, she continued her leadership.  Barbara is an activist and helps with all campaigns, rallies and community events.  She is currently volunteering in the Lucasville Community.  Barbara will always speak out against racism, islamophobia, harassment, animal abuse and any violations to Human Rights.  Barbara had this to say, “Change comes from the little things that each of us can do, and if we all do our part the world can be a better place.”

Unifor Local 673 Activist and Leader

“Unions are created for seeking justice and equity not just in the workplace, but also in the broader society. They are the protectors of the working class”, this is how Jian Huang sees the labour movement. As a long time member of Unifor Local 673, Jian has felt the power of the union and knows his place within it.  As he puts it, “I see my role as helping my coworkers; I have suffered from managerial pressure and learned how to deal with it from union brothers and sisters of the past. Now, I take the experiences they gave me, combine it with knowledge gained from union training, to help others. After all, what I gain from the union is not meant for me but is meant to be shared will everyone”.  Jian now holds several positions within his local. He chairs the Education committee and sits on several others. Beyond his work within the local, Jian has taken part in multiple job actions, most recently standing shoulder to shoulder with some of our besieged members in Goderich, Gander, and Oshawa.  In the future, Jian doesn’t see his role changing. His ultimate goal is to mobilize our members and get them to push for greater equity. As this “woke” union activist puts it, “Equity is very important for everyone, even if you don’t think the sting of discrimination will affect you, think about your future and you’ll soon remember that we all age.”

South Asian Heritage Month - Week 3

Unifor -

Unifor Local 673

“I joined a unionized work environment in my late 20s and it’s only now, that I’m really understanding how lucky I was to get such a great job!” This is Akash Shanghvi, a union activist at local 673. “When I joined, I didn’t know much about unions, I just wanted a secure job and enough money to raise a family. What I didn’t realize then but do now, is there are so many hard-working people in our country who want the exact same thing but face boulder sized challenges like discrimination or gig economy jobs that make those dreams seem impossible, but I was lucky and I had help. I had a strong group of people- I never met- remove those challenges before I even got to the workplace.” Since that realization, Akash has chosen to join the fight. He now plays an active role within his local and currently chairs the Human Rights committee. In that role, he has organized fundraisers and awareness campaigns to help community groups, shelters, care homes, and youth groups. On what he hopes to accomplish over the next few years, Akash says, “I want to do my part, I have so many people to thank for the joys I have in my life, I might never be able to thank them all in person, but I can pay it forward.”

Unifor Local 6006 Proud and committed

Sapna Sagar is the Vice-president of Local 6006. She is a union activist and active in promoting workers’ rights and the rights of those without a voice in the community.  Sapna works with the community-based advocacy groups on various issues. She demonstrates her commitment in everything she does.  Sapna is the Chair of the Education Committee at the local.

Unifor Local 2002

Leanne Sookram is a proud Mother of two young adults.  Leanne is a proud Unifor Local 2002 member and activist.  She works out of the Winnipeg Area with Air Canada for over 25 years.  Leanne is newly elected to the Prairie Regional Women’s Committee, being the first woman of colour to be elected in all the regions on this committee.  Leanne holds a number of other positions within her workplace, such as Vice Chair for two terms and Women’s Advocate since 2011.  She actively participates in fundraising for Women’s Shelters along with various other campaigns.  Leanne has assisted with other Unifor Sisters to amend the Manitoba Labour Code to allow for paid domestic violence leave (first province in Canada). In 2016, Leanne represented the Women’s Advocate program at ITF Women’s Conference in Morocco. Leanne had this to say, “10 years ago or so, I didn’t have a voice. I was experiencing a storm that was meant to harm me.  Instead, with help, support, encouragement, and the power to believe in myself, that storm made me, Me. I found my voice and I am continuing to use it to help other women to find their own voices.”

Unifor Local 40 Leader and Activist

Rubeen Chauhan works at CultureLink Settlement & Community Services as a frontline worker. CultureLink is a non-profit charitable organization working to support the integration of newcomers and refugees since 1988. Rubeen runs different community connection mentorship programs and she matches newcomers with mentors to practice English, learn about Canada and get hands-on volunteer experience in public speaking, event planning and project management.

Rubeen is a steward representing members at CultureLink.  As a rep, she is responsible for dealing with management, grievances and answering questions about union matters and members’ rights. Rubeen had this to say, “We have lots of new staff members joining the organization. Therefore, we work together as a committee and organize monthly member drop-ins so they can come with their questions or just have a chat with their union reps.”  Unifor Local 40 is proud to have leaders like Rubeen who always make the membership, community and union a place for everyone.

Amendments to Mental Health Act Raise Serious Concerns

Manitoba Government & General Employees Union -

The Pallister government proclaimed amendments to the Mental Health Act which is raising huge concerns for the MGEU and health care workers across the province. The amendments will see police officers transfer over the custody of individuals awaiting an involuntary medical examination or psychiatric assessment to “a person who is trained and qualified” or in other words, health care aides and nurses. The government has stated training will be provided.

Pilkington Glass unit achieves significant wage increases

Unifor -

Unifor Local 222 members at the Pilkington Glass unit in Whitby, Ontario achieved significant wage increases and gains in paid vacation in a new three-year collective agreement, ratified on May 21, 2019.

“The bargaining committee worked hard to negotiate a strong contract that includes the largest pay increases since the unit was formed back in 2007,” said Unifor Local 222 President Colin James.

The increase in the wage progression moves 6 per cent as of June 9, 2019 with additional increases of 2 per cent in both 2020 and 2021.

Significant progress was made in other areas with the addition of the full Women’s Advocate programme, paid domestic violence leave, and harassment language that adds a four-member Joint Investigation Committee with all investigation training paid by the employer.

The new agreement also secures a preferential hire agreement that will offer first opportunity employment to any members displaced from General Motors Oshawa or the General Motors supply chain.

The new contract covers approximately 100 Pilkington workers at the facility, which supplies Honda, Toyota and Lexus.

“This collective agreement puts us on solid footing for the future,” said James.

The bargaining committee consisted of Local 222 President Colin James, Unit Chairperson Todd Robinson, Committee Member Ray Buller, Local 222 Organizer Joel Smith and National Representative Sam Snyders.

Pilkington Glass Unit Achieve Significant Wage Increases

Unifor -

Unifor Local 222 members at the Pilkington Glass unit in Whitby, Ontario achieved significant wage increases and gains in paid vacation in a new three-year collective agreement, ratified on May 21, 2019.

“The bargaining committee worked hard to negotiate a strong contract that includes the largest pay increases since the unit was formed back in 2007,” said Unifor Local 222 President Colin James.

The increase in the wage progression moves 6 per cent as of June 9, 2019 with additional increases of 2 per cent in both 2020 and 2021.

Significant progress was made in other areas with the addition of the full Women’s Advocate programme, paid domestic violence leave, and harassment language that adds a four-member Joint Investigation Committee with all investigation training paid by the employer.

The new agreement also secures a preferential hire agreement that will offer first opportunity employment to any members displaced from General Motors Oshawa or the General Motors supply chain.

The new contract covers approximately 100 Pilkington workers at the facility, which supplies Honda, Toyota and Lexus.

“This collective agreement puts us on solid footing for the future,” said James.

The bargaining committee consisted of Local 222 President Colin James, Unit Chairperson Todd Robinson, Committee Member Ray Buller, Local 222 Organizer Joel Smith and National Representative Sam Snyders.

Unifor members shine at general strike centenary parade

Unifor -

Several Unifor members in Manitoba donned early 1900s period costumes at the parade to commemorate the historic 1919 general strike. Dressed up as workers from a variety of sectors including media, rail, and telecommunications, they were joined by dozens of other Unifor members from the region to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the strike.

“In the labour movement, we stand on the shoulders of giants. The sacrifices made by the strikers of 1919 helped shaped Canada’s modern workforce and politics,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.

Last week Unifor’s leaders held a special meeting in Winnipeg and attended a celebratory dinner with hundreds of other progressive labour activists.

“The Winnipeg General Strike’s anniversary is an important time to celebrate the many crucial victories of our predecessors,” said Joie Warnock, Unifor Western Regional Director. “We have no shortage of challenges, but as we learned one hundred years ago, ‘we are many, and they are few’.”

Unifor celebrates Ramadan at Fast in the 6

Unifor -

Unifor was the presenting sponsor for the 3rd annual Fast In The 6. The event is an evening of food, fun and the arts, coinciding with Ramadan, to celebrate Toronto’s diversity through the shared experience of breaking of the fast.

Throughout the month, more than 1.6 billion Muslims around the globe fast from dawn to dusk, refraining from consuming food and water during this period. The event attracted thousands of Canadians to celebrate the message of diversity, unity and prosperity.

“The strong community support today shows just how appreciated this event is, and how strong Toronto’s Muslim community and the city of Toronto is,” said Terry Farrell, Unifor National Staff Representative, in his address during the reception before the event. “Our union is committed to supporting Toronto’s Muslim community and promoting the diversity of our great city.”

When the sun sets each day during Ramadan, families and Muslim communities, break the fast together in what is called Iftar. The Fast in the 6 event included a free Iftar dinner for all present, as well as an evening of comics, musicians, and fireworks for the whole family.

At Unifor, we’re serious about our pledge to be a union for everyone, to celebrate and defend the rights of all workers, no matter where they were born, their religion or any other reason, said Farrell.

The free event was organized by Toronto residents Dany and Lisa Assaf, who decided to host the celebration after witnessing increasing hate and fear around the world and here in Canada.  

Many Unifor members and their families also attended the event, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The festival is a coming-together of Toronto’s diverse communities to increase understanding and dialogue.

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