Latest Labour News

What does Kenney’s Bill 1 mean for Indigenous, labour and social movements?

Rank and File - latest news -

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney tabled Bill 1: The Critical Infrastructure Defense Act on February 25, 2020. The bill would crack down on Indigenous land defenders supporting Wet’suwet’en sovereignty, but also have implications for labour and other social movements – especially in light of Kenney’s recent austerity budget. University of Alberta professor James Muir explains more. Continue readingWhat does Kenney’s Bill 1 mean for Indigenous, labour and social movements?

Doug Ford’s Bill 124: An Attack on Workers

PSAC -

PSAC is a founding member of a coalition of unions that came together in late 2019 to fight back against regressive changes being forced on workers by the Ford government. The coalition, coordinated by the Ontario Federation of Labour, represents...

CAUT Statement on International Women’s Day

CAUT -

(Ottawa – March 8, 2020) CAUT and academic staff across Canada mark International Women’s Day by standing united with woman and girls around the world, and celebrating their social, economic, cultural and political achievements.

CAUT continues to call on the federal government to take concrete actions to improve gender equity both within and outside of the post-secondary education sector, including signing on to the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) proposed Convention 190  to end gender-based violence and harassment in the world of work.

CAUT welcomes the agreement reached last year to ensure more robust equity targets, transparency and accountability within the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) Program. The agreement builds upon other recent government changes to enhance equity, diversity and inclusion within the CRC Program, and capped 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.

On this IWD, CAUT applauds the tenacity of the women academics who persevered in challenging systemic bias within the CRC Program: Marjorie Griffin Cohen, Louise Forsyth, Glenis Joyce, Audrey Kobayashi, Shree Mulay, Susan Prentice, and the late Wendy Robbins and Michèle Ollivier.

Empress hotel workers reach tentative agreement

Unifor -

VICTORIA—The bargaining committee for Fairmont Empress hotel workers have reached a tentative agreement with the employer.

“Unifor is a union for hotel workers,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “I’m proud of the work accomplished by Local 4276 to lead the hospitality sector in British Columbia.”

With more than 20,000 members at hotels and casinos across the country, Unifor is the largest Canadian union in the hospitality and gaming sector. Hospitality is one of the largest employers in Canada, with more than 1.2 million people working in the sector. Unifor’s collective agreements are helping lift traditionally low paid workers out of poverty while giving hotel workers a powerful voice. Local 4276 served strike notice earlier this week after a lack of progress at the bargaining table. Today’s tentative agreement reached today means that Empress workers will vote on ratifying the contract next week.

“The bargaining committee successfully fought back concessions and achieved many of our goals for a new contract,” said James Griffin, Local 4276 President.

More details about the agreement will be made available after the ratification meeting. Local 4276 represents almost 500 Empress workers in the housekeeping, culinary, groundskeeping, serving, guest relations, maintenance, and engineering departments.

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).

UFCW Applauds Congressional Action to Protect Good Jobs in U.S. Food Industry  

UFCW Press Releases -

America’s Largest Private Sector Union Praises Effort to Prioritize Good Pay, Workplace Safety for $1.1 Billion in Federal Government Contracts  

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union announced its support of the Food Worker Pay Standards Act which was introduced by U.S. Representative Mark Pocan (WI-02). The bill would ensure that the federal government only purchases food produced by workers who earn fair pay and benefits.

“The Food Worker Pay Standards Act is a strong investment in American workers in our country’s meatpacking and food processing industries,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone. “By setting high standards for companies that receive billions of taxpayer dollars in federal contracts, Congress is sending a powerful message that these jobs need to be good jobs that put food safety and workers first. As the largest union representing America’s food workers, UFCW is proud to support this legislation. We urge Congress to stand up for good jobs in this industry by passing this bill and sending it to the president’s desk for his signature.”

“The federal government should not be in the business of rewarding companies with taxpayer-funded contracts if they don’t pay or protect their workers adequately,” said Rep. Mark Pocan. “Workers in the food processing industry are disproportionately workers of color, and the time is long overdue to protect their dangerous jobs with federal guardrails. This bill will signal to food processing companies nationwide that the federal government is only willing to work with businesses that put workers first. Anything less will not be funded by the American people.”

BACKGROUND:

Through contracts, grants, loans, loan guarantees, and tax breaks the federal government funds work performed by millions of people.

  • About 40 percent of the government’s discretionary spending goes to contracts for goods and services covering everything from school lunches to military equipment.
  • In fiscal year 2018, the federal government spent more than $550 billion on these contracts and $1.1 billion of those tax dollars went to purchase meat, poultry, and fish.

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) supports using federal purchasing power to guarantee the federal government only does business with high-road companies that respect workers’ rights, pay living wages, provide a safe workplace, and treat their workers with dignity.

The Food Worker Pay Standards Act will:

  • Ensure that workers who process meat, poultry, or processed food purchased by the federal government are compensated at or above the prevailing rate for such workers in their locality and
  • Ensure that the prevailing wage rate for meat, poultry, and processed foods workers is not less than the wages and benefits agreed to in collective bargaining agreements in those industries.

Tens of millions of Americans—around 22 percent of the workforce—are employed by companies that have at least one federal contract. It is essential to ensure that the men and women who work for federal contractors receive fair wages and work in safe and healthy environments.

Federal, state, and local governments contract for billions of dollars in food services each year. In FY 2018, the federal government spent $1.1 billion dollars on meat, poultry, and fish.

Food processing is a high hazard industry and workplace safety is a key concern.  Meat and poultry slaughter and processing workers face many job risks that can lead to severe injury, illness, and death.

  • Poultry workers are at twice the risk of being injured on the job, suffer illnesses at a rate that is seven times as high, and have among the highest number of amputations compared to other workers.
  • Meatpacking workers are injured at 2.4 times the rate of other industries.
  • These injuries result in lost time or restrictions at three times the rate of other industries and they face illness rates at 17 times the rate of other industries.

The Food Worker Pay Standards Act will make our food safer. Unionized food processing plants are more likely to have robust health and safety programs which help reduce workplace injuries and illnesses and empower workers to report food safety issues. The UFCW and Tyson’s Foods have negotiated an industry-leading food safety program.

In addition to support from UFCW, this legislation is also endorsed by the AFL-CIO as well as the Bakery, Confectionery, and Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers (BCTGM) union.

This legislation is co-sponsored by Anthony Brown (D-MD), André Carson (D-IN), Danny Davis (D-IL), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Jesus “Chuy” García (D-IL), Deb Haaland (D-NM), Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Robin Kelly (D-IL), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Dan Kildee (D-MI), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Andy Levin (D-MI), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Linda Sánchez (D-CA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Norma Torres (D-CA), Lori Trahan (D-MA), David Trone (D-MD), Maxine Waters (D-CA).

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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 grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members help put food on our nation’s tables and serve customers in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org.

Unifor urges Ottawa to proactively protect workers from COVID-19 virus

Unifor -

March 5, 2020

Toronto - Unifor is calling on Ottawa to take immediate steps to protect workers as COVID-19 spreads around the globe.

“Emergency supports are needed now for all workers in workplaces affected by COVID-19, to protect their health and provide job stability and income assistance in the event of shift reductions or layoffs,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.

Dias has written  Filomena Tassi, Minister of Labour and Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion to make several recommendations to urge the federal committee dealing with this crisis to work proactively with the provinces to mitigate impacts on workers from the potential pandemic and resulting economic slowdown.

With more than 30 confirmed cases here in Canada, the public health risks and demonstrable effect on the economy are creating uncertainty and hardship for workers, especially in the health care, hospitality, education, transportation and retail sectors.

“We represent thousands of workers in these sectors and we were relieved to see Minister Patty Hajdu confirm yesterday that workers will have a voice in federal response to this public health and economic crisis,” said Dias.

“Racial stigmatization has also created additional challenges for workers in the Chinese and other ethnically diverse communities across Canada.”

Many unionized workers have job and income security provisions in their collective agreements in the event of shift reductions, or the need to take sick leave, but not all workers have those protections. Dias is asking the federal government to prepare for sector-wide work disruptions by implementing protective health and awareness strategies for workers most vulnerable, and to take measures to mitigate financial hardship.

Unifor is asking Ottawa to take the following measures to ease the burden on workers:

  • waive the one-week waiting period for Employment Insurance
  • increase duration of EI sick leave from 15 to 26 weeks;
  • provide emergency special EI payments for vulnerable workers
  • provide special “income relief” measures for health care workers, as was done with SARS
  • reduce qualifying hours for EI to 360 (from 420 and 700 hours)
  • ease federal Work-Sharing rules
  • urge provinces to legislate paid sick days
  • urge employers to waive requirements for doctor’s notes to substantiate sick leave

Unifor’s Health and Safety Department has provided this fact sheet to all members and locals and is monitoring the situation closely.

For media inquiries please contact Unifor’s Director of Communications, Natalie Clancy at Natalie.Clancy@unifor.org or 416-707-5794 (cell).

 

 

Ontario PC donor and nursing home CEO appointed to Ford’s long-term care panel

Rank and File - latest news -

Panel also criticized for having no union representation By Zaid Noorsumar The Ontario government’s recently constituted long-term care staffing advisory group includes the owner of a for-profit chain that donated $20,000 to health minister and deputy premier Christine Elliot’s campaign to lead the Ontario Progressive Conservatives in 2015.  James Schlegel, the CEO of Schlegel Villages, Continue readingOntario PC donor and nursing home CEO appointed to Ford’s long-term care panel

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