Latest Labour News

Jerry Dias stresses international solidarity in battle for workers’ rights

Unifor -

Unifor National President Jerry Dias stressed a message of international solidarity in the battle for workers’ rights as he addressed the Constitutional Convention of the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA).

Founded in 1940, the UWUA represents 50,000 members across the American energy sector, including the electric, gas, steam and nuclear industries. UWUA members gathered July 24-27 in Las Vegas, Nevada to set the direction of the union for the next four years while acknowledging the past with a theme of “Protecting our Legacy”.

“Protecting our legacy means building a modern labour movement, moving forward and evolving while never forgetting the struggles of the past,” said Dias. “In many ways unions on both sides of the border are being forced to re-fight for the same rights won nearly one hundred years ago.”

Dias spoke of the common struggle in a gig-economy to secure decent jobs, living wages, benefits and retirement security, and the fight to oppose anti-worker trade deals and legislation.

So-called ‘Right to Work’ (for less) laws in many U.S. states make it difficult for unions to organize while undercutting their financial stability, resulting in worker exploitation and lower wages. Just a few months ago, 200 Unifor members working at Tandus Carpets saw their 46-year old plant close and ship work to Georgia, a RTW state.

In light of the migration of jobs to Right to Work states from other across the U.S. and Canada, Unifor actively opposed ‘Right to Work’ laws as a trade-distorting practice during the renegotiation of NAFTA.

“This is your struggle but this is our struggle too. Canadian workers can’t wall themselves off from the bad practices of global employers,” Dias said. “When our American sisters and brothers are hurt, Canadian workers are hurt too. We stand together.”

Dias pointed out that workers are currently facing a Right to Work threat in Alberta, the heartland of Canada’s oil and gas industry and the heartland of Canada’s conservative movement.

Today, Canada’s energy workers are struggling and the Jason Kenney government is looking for scapegoats. The United Conservative Party unfairly blame the one-term New Democratic Party government, environmentalists and unions.

“The Kenney government is looking to bust the door down, introducing “agency fees” – to stop unions from doing the political work that needs to be done,” Dias said. “This is our battleground and this fight is underway. We look to unions like the UWUA for support and solidarity.”

CAUT welcomes settlement on equity targets for Canada Research Chairs Program

CAUT -

(Ottawa – July 31, 2019) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is welcoming today’s announcement that an agreement has been reached to ensure more robust equity targets, transparency, and accountability within the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) Program.

Today’s settlement builds upon recent government changes to enhance equity, diversity and inclusion in the CRC program, and caps a process started in 2003 by eight academics who, with the support of CAUT, filed a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission over the program’s failure to reflect the diversity of Canada’s university researchers.

“Canada’s research community owes much to the eight women who came forward 15 years ago to challenge systemic bias in the CRC program and who persevered in holding the program to account,” says CAUT executive director David Robinson. “Over the past four years, the government has ushered in several initiatives aimed at increasing equity, diversity, and inclusion within the research and university sectors, and today’s settlement helps to further advance that work.”

The new agreement establishes a ten-year framework for the CRC program to reflect the diversity of the Canadian population, setting institutional targets for the representation of women, visible minorities, persons with disabilities, and Indigenous peoples. Additionally, the under-representation of members of the LGBTQ+ community will be addressed for the first time.

“This is an important step towards ensuring that the Canadian research field both reflects Canada’s rich diversity and benefits from the talent and perspectives of those who were previously denied a seat at the table,” says the Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, Marie-Claude Landry.

Consistent with other recent changes, today’s announced settlement enhances accountability mechanisms for institutions that fail to consistently meet targets.

“The changes being made to the CRC program recognize that under-representation arises not from a lack of qualified candidates but from discriminatory and exclusionary principles or practices in society and in academia itself,” says Robinson. “By addressing these barriers we can better encourage excellence, innovation, and fairness in the research environment.”

The women academics who initially challenged the CRC program before the Canadian Human Rights Commission with the legal representation of CAUT are: Marjorie Griffin Cohen, Louise Forsyth, Glenis Joyce, Audrey Kobayashi, Shree Mulay, Susan Prentice, and the late Wendy Robbins and Michèle Ollivier.

Media Contact: Valérie Dufour, Director of Communications, Canadian Association of University Teachers; 613-293-1810 (cell); dufour@caut.ca

Backgrounder statements by some of the complainants:

“I am thrilled that this settlement addresses all the gaps in the 2006 settlement”

- Shree Mulay

“Too often, equity and diversity initiatives have been restricted to availability in a currently discriminatory pipeline. Under this new agreement, the Canada Research Chairs Program will move quickly towards reflecting the full and actual diversity of Canada. This is a path-changing understanding, for universities and other Canadian institutions.”

- Susan Prentice

“This exciting agreement will change for the better what we know or think we know about ourselves, the natural world and the people in our world. It will throw doors open to everyone and welcome ways of seeing/thinking/being that have not yet found their place in schools, colleges and universities.”

- Louise Forsyth

“When the agreement is in full force, the representation of the groups named will reflect their representation within the Canadian population – not just their representation in universities.  This is a significant expansion of the concept of equality and something that has the power to effect significant change, especially if it is expanded to other groups and applied more widely in public institutions in the future."   

- Marjorie Griffin Cohen

Unifor continues to support Indigenous community in Winnipeg

Unifor -

For the second year in a row, Unifor is proud to sponsor the No Stone Unturned concert in Winnipeg.

Claudette Osborne-Tyo was 21-years old when she disappeared from Winnipeg’s north end. Claudette’s family has been organizing the No Stone Unturned free concert for eleven years in honor of all of Manitoba’s Missing and Murdered. It features local musicians, free food, a candlelight vigil, and fireworks.

Unifor volunteers showed up to pitch for set up, distributing t-shirts, serving elders, and clean up.

“No Stone Unturned is an event that builds community bonds and celebrates the lives of those who were taken too soon,” said Joie Warnock, Unifor Western Regional Director. “It is very important to Unifor’s reconciliation efforts that we be as involved as possible at the grassroots level to support Indigenous communities and families.”

See the gallery here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/UniforCanada/photos/?tab=album&album_id=3055006424570833

Unifor lance des publicités préélectorales au Manitoba

Unifor -

Unifor a ajouté à sa campagne des panneaux publicitaires, des publicités dans les abribus, des publicités à la radio et des annonces dans les journaux pour défaire le premier ministre conservateur Brian Pallister. Les publicités mettent en lumière les antécédents de Brian Pallister en matière de soins de santé et de mauvaise gestion de Manitoba Hydro et invitent les membres du public à visiter le site Web de la campagne à l’adresse https://mb.uniforvotes.ca/.

Bien que les élections à date fixe établies par la loi manitobaine n’auront pas lieu avant l’automne 2020, Brian Pallister a laissé entendre qu’une élection pourrait être déclenchée dès le 6 août, la date du scrutin étant fixée au début de septembre 2019.

« Brian Pallister espère que les Manitobains seront trop occupés par leurs vacances estivales et la préparation de la rentrée scolaire pour s’intéresser de près à son passé trouble en tant que premier ministre », a déclaré Jerry Dias, président national d’Unifor.

Les nouvelles publicités s’intègrent à la campagne de membre à membre que mènent les militantes et militants d’Unifor dans l’ensemble de la province et qui prend de plus en plus d’ampleur. Comme toujours, Unifor considère l’élection comme une occasion de favoriser directement la mobilisation et l’engagement des membres.

« Brian Pallister a saboté Manitoba Hydro et fermé des salles d’urgence, a indiqué Joie Warnock, directrice de la région de l’Ouest d’Unifor. Il représente une catastrophe pour le Manitoba. Nous sommes impatients de participer aux efforts déployés dans toute la province pour élire un premier ministre qui appuie les travailleuses et travailleurs. »

Unifor launches pre-election ads in Manitoba

Unifor -

Unifor has added billboards, bus shelter ads, radio ads, and newspaper ads to its campaign to defeat conservative premier Brian Pallister. The ads raise the profile of Pallister’s record on health care and mis-managing Manitoba Hydro and direct members of the public to visit the campaign website at mb.uniforvotes.ca.

Although the fixed election dates set by Manitoba legislation are not until fall 2020, Pallister has hinted often this summer that an election could be called as early as August 6, with the election date falling in early September 2019.

“Brian Pallister is hoping that Manitobans will be too busy with summer vacation and back-to-school preparation to take a close look at his troubled record as premier,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.

The new ads compliment a growing grassroots member-to-member campaign that is being conducted by Unifor activists across the province. As always, Unifor is treating the election as an opportunity for face-to-face member engagement and mobilization.

“Brian Pallister has undermined Manitoba Hydro and closed emergency rooms,” said Joie Warnock, Unifor Western Regional Director. “He’s been a disaster for Manitoba and we’re looking forward to the province-wide fightback to elect a premier that stands with working people.”

Listen to the radio ad here

Congrats to the 2019 MGEU Bursary Winners!

Manitoba Government & General Employees Union -

The MGEU is pleased to announce the 2019 recipients of nearly $30,000 in MGEU educational scholarships and bursaries. “We’ve had a record number of applicants this year for our Area Bursaries. It’s great to see so many MGEU members and their families put their names forward,” said MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky. “Our union is about building a better life for our members and these bursaries give people the chance to pursue an education and upgrade their skills.”

MAHCP welcomes new LRO Cory Szczepanski

Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals -

MAHCP is pleased to announce that Cory Szczepanski has joined our team as a Labour Relations Officer.

Cory is an experienced LRO, with 15 years in labour relations, who most recently worked with COPE in Saskatchewan. He’s also a three-term local president with the United Steelworkers.

A graduate of the Canadian Labour College in 2012, Cory has spent the last three years in Saskatchewan fighting a government-mandated bargaining scheme and standing up for public sector workers across the province in the battle to stop the privatization of Crown corporations.

However, his roots are in Manitoba: Cory has run for office in the Westman region and is a former president of the Brandon and District Labour Council.

MAHCP considers Cory’s vast labour relations knowledge to be an asset and we’re appreciative that he’s come on board in a time of upheaval in health care.

Cory has three beautiful children under the age of 10, and loves hunting and fishing in the great outdoors.

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