Latest Labour News

Unifor members proudly help restart the Nordic Kraft pulp mill in Lebel-sur-Quévillon

Unifor -

Our members are proud to participate in the reopening of the Nordic Kraft pulp mill in Lebel-sur-Quévillon, officially announced on November 8.

“What is happening in Quévillon is no small feat,” explained Unifor Quebec Director Renaud Gagné. “Imagine restarting a mill that’s been shuttered since 2005. Even though it wasn’t dismantled for its metal, it’s easy to understand that time and the elements have affected the facility,” he added.

“I’d like to highlight the fact that we devoted a great deal of time and energy over the past few years to various projects aimed at getting this mill back up and running. Today, we are extremely proud and pleased that this project is finally moving forward,” said brother Gagné.

In April, the members ratified a new collective agreement with wage conditions comparable to those negotiated in other pulp mills such as the Saint-Félicien facility owned by Resolute Forest Products.

“We weren’t able to talk publicly about the reopening before the official announcement because there were still some loose ends to tie up,” said the Quebec Director.

Unifor has long advocated for the need to develop new niche markets for the use of forestry products – a renewable resource – in order to ensure the future not only of jobs in the industry, but also of entire regional communities that depend on it for their livelihood. In that sense, the Nordic Kraft projects corresponds exactly to what the union has been demanding for so long.

The mill is scheduled to start producing pulp in 2020. Ultimately, it is expected to provide jobs for hundreds of Unifor members. Local 1212 currently represents about 100 members who are working on recommissioning the mill’s production equipment.

UFCW stands with Uber drivers at Supreme Court of Canada

UFCW Canada -

Ottawa – November 14, 2019 – The campaign for justice for Uber drivers has arrived at the Supreme Court of Canada, after UFCW Canada and other intervenors told the Supreme Court on November 6th that Uber’s exclusion of Uber drivers from the protections of Ontario’s Employment Standards Act is illegal.

Privatizing highway snow clearing will put public safety at risk: Gawronsky

Manitoba Government & General Employees Union -

The government’s privatization push on highway snow clearing moved forward last week, when they quietly posted several requests for proposals from private contractors to bid on snow clearing services for the 2019/2020 season. President Gawronsky says that the Province should look to the experiences in Ontario to see how privatization could put public safety at risk.

Hundreds rally against Doug Ford’s health care cuts

Unifor -

On Saturday November 9, hundreds of Unifor members and retiree’s joined with coalition partners at the latest Ontario Health Coalition rally to protect public health care from Doug Ford’s reckless cuts to hospitals, long-term care, and ambulance services. 

“Doug Ford says he’s for the people but he’s proved that he’s only for the rich people,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “They offer tax breaks to the wealthiest in our society, to rich corporations, and slap all sorts of cuts on us to pay for their gifts to the rich. This is an attack on our children and grandchildren.”

Dias spoke at the mass public rally to denounce the cuts by the Ford Conservatives. Dias took the opportunity to remind supporters that residents in nursing homes receive just six minutes of care each morning, and that we must keep fighting to make sure conditions are improved so we have better care and safer work.

“Doug Ford’s government has been a complete disaster for Ontario’s public services. All told, he has cut billions of dollars from sorely needed funding for vital social programs that help Ontario’s most vulnerable, the sick, children with autism, and our seniors,” said Katha Fortier, Assistant to National President Jerry Dias. “Ford’s cuts amount to a cut of more than $1,100 per person in Ontario on everything from hospitals and schools to vital social and public services including water and food safety, and even vaccinations.”

The government plans to cut funding for and eliminate 25 out of 35 local public health units ,49 out of 59 local paramedic & ambulance services, and eliminate 12 of 22 local dispatch units. They have also imposed real-dollar cuts to local hospitals, and impose real-dollar cuts to long-term care homes, including cancelling two special funds that contribute to resident’s well-being.

While the province is experiencing a severe shortage of personal support workers, Ford has also implemented public sector wage restraint legislation that will disproportionately affect women who work in health care and social services, earning very modest wages.

Unifor is monitoring leaked information that suggests home care services will be privatized in local communities and more major cuts are coming to care provision staff in the provincial agencies including the LHINs.

“What type of government would attack children with autism, cut $17 million from women’s programs, and then cut funding and give less care to the sick, to our seniors, and to the most vulnerable in our society?” asked Dias. “Doug Ford’s conservative government is attacking health care workers and patients alike and it’s up to us to put a stop to his conservative agenda.”

The November 9 day of action came as part of four regional actions across Ontario supported by labour unions and social partners working with the Ontario Health Coalition to fightback against the Ontario government’s health care cuts.

Unifor has launched the Stop Ford Cuts campaign in September to fightback against the government’s conservative agenda. The campaign calls for an end to the government’s slashing of public services and municipal spending, and instead invest in public services that lift up all workers and ensure a brighter future for all.

You can take action now and tell Premier Ford to stop his reckless cuts by visiting stopfordcuts.ca.

Unifor assists Indigenous newspaper to rebuild following arson attack

Unifor -

Unifor has donated $10,000 to the Turtle Island News to assist in rebuilding efforts following an arson attack at the newspaper’s office in Six Nations Territory in Southern Ontario.

“The attack on Turtle Island News caused physical destruction but it is also an assault on media and the journalists’ ability to deliver important local coverage to their community,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.

Turtle Island News is the only published national Indigenous weekly newspaper in Canada. The paper reported that a stolen truck rammed the newsroom before unidentified individuals doused the vehicle and the structure with gasoline and set them ablaze in a pre-dawn attack on October 28, 2019. Luckily, no one was injured in the incident.    

Damages are estimated at $150,000 as the fire caused structural damage and the loss of computers and cameras. While insurance is expected to cover most of the costs, flames devastated the paper’s photo archive, incinerating irreplaceable images that documented a quarter century of community history.

As soon as the flames were extinguished, the dozen staff employed at the paper immediately set to work in order to make the deadline to get the weekly edition out the next day.

"The paper always has to come out. We all know that," she said Lynda Powless, publisher and editor of the Turtle Island News. "If we hadn't put it out they would have won."

Unifor supports the Committee to Protect Journalists call for a prompt and thorough police investigation into the incident, which was recorded on building security cameras.  

“Sadly, this is not the first threat that journalists at Turtle Island News and other Canadian media outlets have had to face,” said Jake Moore, President of Unifor Local 79M and chair of the Unifor Media Council. “Acts of violence against media are often motivated by the desire to intimidate and silence the free press. This crime, and others against media, need to be taken seriously as an attack on democracy.”

 

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