Cornwall, Ont. – February 20, 2019 – UFCW Canada Local 1006A members working at Baxtrom's Your Independent Grocer (YIG) in Cornwall, Ontario have voted to end a 12-week labour dispute by accepting the latest company offer, which includes gains for members.
Unifor proudly recognizes Pink Shirt Day, an annual event on the last Wednesday in February where Canadians across the country come together to support the important commitment to a safe, harassment-free environment at work and school.
Pink Shirt Day began in Berwick, Nova Scotia in 2007 when David Shepherd, Travis Price and a large group of students decided to defend their peer who was bullied for wearing a pink shirt. In a show of solidarity, they, and many students turned up to school the next day wearing pink shirts.
All members are encouraged to participate in Pink Shirt Day, which happens on Wednesday, February 27 this year. Wearing a pink shirt on that day is both an important statement of solidarity to those who have been bullied. By wearing a pink shirt, and sharing a message or the Unifor image online, you can help to show that the union is committed to speaking out against bullying and harassment.
Help to organize your workplace to participate in Pink Shirt Day this year, but do not let it end there. Take time and familiarize yourself with Unifor’s process of addressing harassment and bullying in the workplace. Make a promise to act, speak out against bullying and offer kindness every day.
Unifor is a proud sponsor of the Leading Change Summit, an initiative of the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters, running February 19 – 21, 2019 in Edmonton, Alberta.
“These shelters play an integral role when it comes to primary prevention work, offering crucial support to women, often as the first point of contact,” said Joie Warnock, Unifor Western Regional Director. “We are seeing conversations about sexual harassment, domestic violence, workplace harassment and other forms gender-based violence take place in mainstream media, so it is more important than ever that service providers, such as shelters, are part of that discussion.”
A Unifor delegation of five members are attending summit.
In 2016-17 alone, 9,927 women and children were accommodated by shelters in Alberta. The summit’s theme, “Bold Conversations to End Gender-Based Violence in a Changing World” offers a platform where service providers and users, educators, facilitators, policy makers and leaders in public and private domains can meaningfully engage with each other.
“Consent, gender norms and intimate partner violence are key issues that affect us all and that we must educate ourselves and others about,” said Lisa Kelly, Unifor Director of Women’s Department. “This summit provides an avenue to come together and devise innovative solutions that effectively address gender-based violence.”
Present at the summit is actor, activist, author and 2017 TIME Person of the Year, Terry Crews. Crews will share his own experiences of confronting the pervasive culture of toxic masculinity and will be part of a panel discussion on the topic. Joining Crews on the panel is keynote speaker, Dr. Michael Flood, an internationally recognized researcher on men, masculinities, and violence prevention, and an activist and educator.
About Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters
For 35 years, the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters has worked with shelter organizations in Alberta to help better serve women, children and seniors. For more information, visit: https://acws.ca/leading-change-summit-2019
The NSGEU/NUPGE is calling on the NSHA to hire more full-time nurses and revert to its long-standing practice of providing nurses with proper compensation.
On February 20, the World Day of Social Justice is observed around the globe. The 2019 theme chosen by the United Nations is If You Want Peace & Development, Work for Social Justice.
Social justice is the foundation upon which safe and prosperous relationships between nations are built. With an estimated two billion people living in fragile and conflict-affected situations worldwide, the International Labour Organization (ILO) maintains that decent work is key to achieving sustainable development and social justice.
“Unifor believes the creation of new and better paying jobs with greater access to those jobs helps to construct more equitable and peaceful societies,” said Unifor International Director Mohamad Alsadi.
Unifor advocates for the rights and betterment of workers across Canada and internationally through the Unifor Social Justice Fund, a registered charity predominantly maintained by contributions from Unifor employers negotiated during collective bargaining.
“The Social Justice Fund supports more than 100 projects in Canada and 44 other countries that provide emergency aid, work to alleviate poverty, and promote human rights and equitable development,” said Alsadi. “Through this support, the lives of workers, their families and their communities are improved and advanced.”
For more information visit unifor.org/sjf
More than 200 members of Unifor Local 4268 driving school buses for Campeau Bus Lines in Whitby, Ajax, Oshawa, Clarington, Bowmanville, Peterborough, Orono, Cobourg, Port Hope, Brighton and the Kawartha region have ratified their first three-year collective agreement.
“We started bargaining in October 2018 with the goals of improving working conditions and compensation for all driving time,” said Debbie Montgomery Local 4268 President. “I am proud of our bargaining committees determination in getting the best deal for our members.”
Previously many of the hours worked by Campeau school bus drivers were unpaid. The new payment methodology in place recognizes all time worked. The new agreement has a clear key-to-key payment formula agreement, daily minimums for standard scheduled work, additional pay language for any additional work performed and paid time off for training and meetings.
The agreement also includes strong anti-harassment and discrimination language, comprehensive Health and Safety provisions, vacation scheduling and levels of vacation pay up to 8%.
VICTORIA—Premier John Horgan’s second budget offers significant funding for initiatives that will primarily benefit working people, says Unifor.
“The BCNDP government is making good on its promises to make life more affordable for British Columbians,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.
The flagship program launched in the 2019 provincial budget is the income-tested B.C. Child Opportunity Benefit, which will replace the B.C. early childhood tax benefit. The new program is more than twice as generous as the program it replaces, and expands eligibility to families with children up to 18 years old, up from 6 years old.
The budget also makes much-needed investments in health care, poverty reduction, transit, and directs $679 million for the CleanBC climate plan introduced last year with input from Unifor. Finance Minister Carole James also announced the elimination of interest on provincial student loans.
“Families were left out in the cold for more than a decade under the B.C. Liberals, who used their years in power to enrich the province’s wealthy,” said Joie Warnock, Unifor Western Regional Director. “However, workers are still suffering under Gordon Campbell-era labour laws and it’s important that the Horgan government take swift action to restore workers’ rights.”
Today's provincial budget continues to make life more affordable for British Columbians. The government has eliminated student loan interest and increased funding for tuition-free Adult Basic Education (ABE) and English Language Learning (ELL). They’ve also introduced a historic First Nations revenue-sharing agreement as part of their work in advancing reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. For too long, many British Columbians have been denied the opportunity to succeed. Budget 2019 removes barriers to opportunity and helps working people across our province.
“This budget has good news for post-secondary, and those who live, learn, and work in BC. Financial barriers to education are being reduced, and actions to improve overall affordability help everyone, including our contract academic staff,” said Terri Van Steinburg, FPSE Secretary-Treasurer.
Post-secondary and opportunities go hand in hand. Our federation was pleased to see the following measures to maintain our public infrastructure through relief, access, and investment in our post-secondary system.
Student loan interest eliminated, effective today.
Funding increased for tuition-free ABE and ELL, benefitting an estimated 19,000 students.
Post-secondary spaces opened across BC, including 2900 tech seats and 620 early childhood educator seats.
The previous provincial government prioritized maximizing private profits over maintaining public institutions for over a decade. Our sector is an excellent example: tuition keeps going up, yet wages for contract academic staff stay down. This budget addresses problems that have persisted for far too long, but it doesn’t solve everything. We need to continue to work with our colleagues in our unions to improve our working conditions, and we’ll need to continue our advocacy to address the larger, systemic problems in post-secondary. By working together to address problems and remove barriers we’ll be able to make our system affordable, accessible, sustainable, and fair.
We’re proud that our members continue to deliver a broad array of courses and specialized skills training, from high school upgrading to computer science and automotive repair. Post-secondary educators prepare learners for the jobs our economy needs, and the knowledge our democracy requires.
Saskatoon, Sask. – February 19, 2019 – As UFCW Canada Local 1400 members continue to strike for a fair future at Saskatoon Co-op, a string of recent news stories and opinion pieces suggest the members’ call for fairness is resonating in the media and with the public.
MGEU will be hosting four tele-meetings for health care workers involved in upcoming union representation votes. These meetings will answer some key questions that many health workers have been asking. Two tele-meetings will be held on February 27 for Facility Support and Community Support workers and two more tele-meetings will be held on March 20 for Technical-Professional/Paramedical workers.
Domtar and Unifor have just negotiated $100,000 early retirement packages and up to $50,000 in moving allowances for about two dozen woodlands employees near Ear Falls.
"EACOM's Ear Falls sawmill recently hired dozens of additional Unifor members for increased lumber production and saw log harvesting on the Trout Forest. However, as a result of the EACOM sawmill expansion, Domtar will no longer require its lone chipper operation based in Ear Falls after March 31," said Unifor Local 324 President George Smith.
To minimize the impact of this transition away from bush chipping and more towards saw log harvesting, Domtar and Unifor negotiated $100,000 early retirement packages for senior protected employees throughout all of Domtar's forestry operations.
“These packages will provide our long-service employees with a dignified retirement option while also helping to reduce potential layoffs of newer employees," Stephen Boon, Unifor National Representative Stephen Boon stated. "Any affected Ear Falls employees wishing to re-locate to Dryden will also be provided with a range of moving allowance options based on years of service up to a maximum of $50,000."
“Under the current political and economic climate, all workers must stand together so their voice is heard and their rights are protected.” — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President
“It’s time for the board of directors at NEW to tell their executive director to get back to the table with a decent and respectful wage offer." — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President
"This solid vote of support shows that health science professionals believe their bargaining committee delivered.” — Val Avery, HSABC President
Colin James, President Unifor Local 222, he is an activist and mentor. Colin was born in Birmingham, England and immigrated to Canada at the age of 13. His parents worked hard to provide for their family and instilled helping and bringing others up without allowing them to bring you down. Martial arts was his passion through his teen years and taught him discipline, determination and respect.
In 1980, Colin started working at General Motors and decided to get active in the community as well as in the union. Colin was elected as an alternate shop steward in 1992, and was elected to the position full time in 1995. He was elected to this position for 4 terms until 2007 when he was elected District Committee person, on the Bargaining Committee, as well as Trustee on the Local Executive Board.
Colin remained in these positions until 2016, when he decided to run for President of the Local and was elected. Colin became the first worker of colour to become President at Local 222 in 2016, and was recently acclaimed for another term as President. Colin remains active in the community and always finds the time to help others.
Doreen Bassaragh is a proud activist, and an actively involved Unifor Local 6008 Member. She has participated in many strike actions, picket lines, and rallies. Doreen has also lobbied the government around issues including but not limited to $15 Fairness, National Drug Plan, Child Care, Climate Change. At the local Doreen is an active member on the Women's Committee, and Chair of the Aboriginal & Workers of Colour Committee. She is the elected Women’s Advocate and also a union Steward. Doreen believes in mentoring and educating young people on union activism and will continue to fight corporate greed at future days of action.
Angela Downey is a proud activist and member of Unifor Local 4606. Angela lives in Lucasville Nova Scotia. She was one of three women who brought the union to her workplace. Angela stands behind her union fully as she believes the union has done a lot for her and all membership since they became unionized. Angela is actively involved in many committees in her local including, but not limited to the Women’s, Education, Human Rights committees and the Aboriginal & Workers of Colour Committee. In Angela's own words she describes the meaning of her union, “through the education and strength of my union family I was able to find my voice, and was able to be a part of my community association and help within my community.”
Angela was receiving push back and felt her Lucasville Nova Scotia community was shrinking. But through her learned skills in the union and her loving heart, she fought back with her community to re-establish the boundaries and made Lucasville a heritage site.
As a healthcare worker she brought education to the community by having a health fair open to all community members. The sessions include information on men’s health, high blood pressure and Alzheimer’s. Angela is proud to being apart of Unifor and knowing that she can call on any of the Unifor members and amazing things always happen.
Dana Anne James is a fierce activist at Unifor Local 6006. She always speaks up for others and is deeply involved in her union. Dana is Chief Steward and Chair of the Human Rights Committee at Local 6006. She is active within her community volunteering for various advocacy groups. Dana serves as a Labour Councillor and is on the Board of Directors for Social Planning Toronto.
Tshweu Moleme was born under Apartheid South Africa, where much of his activism originated. Tshweu is a union Representative at Local 1090 – AWOC, Casino Rama. Apart from his trade unionism, his activism has also touched various areas, such as decolonization, anti-racism education and Afrocentric approaches. He can be found at the grassroots, as a strong advocate for a better, fairer world for all.
Tshweu enjoys volunteering as researcher and board member with the following organizations: Youth Activism & Community - New College, UofT Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs, Municipal Heritage Committee, City of Orillia Information Orillia. He is also a student, researcher and volunteer at the University of Toronto (HBA - Political Science, and MEd); Research - Workplace Learning & Social Change; Vice President Academic – LHAE, at OISE.
When Tshweu is not working, representing members or volunteering Tshweu can be found spending time with his wife Sarah and two sons Mookodi and Thuto.
Hortense Fletcher is a Production Associate at Cambridge Coatings. She along with a team oversees the daily operation of the E-coat Line. Hortense is also an active member of the union, where she is the union representative. Before this role, Hortense was an Early Childhood Educator in the Bahamas. In her spare time she enjoys reading and spending time with her family.
Dwayne Gunness is a member of Unifor Local 40. Dwayne has been a long-standing member of the former CAW now Unifor. He Currently is the Vice President at Unifor Local 40. He is servicing units within the local Retail, Language School, and the Not for Profit Sector. At the Local Dwayne is responsible for EI and sits on as a member of Unifor EI/CPP Committee. Dwayne is also a Trustee on Unifor Retail Wholesale Council.
Many are unaware that Dwayne is one of the main reasons Unifor has a section in the Caribana parade. Celebrating diversity and being an active member of the Aboriginal and Workers of Colour Toronto Caucus and committees has always been a commitment of Dwayne's.
Melrose Cornwall is a proud Unifor Local 112 activist and member. Melrose was Born in Antigua West Indies, and he moved to Canada in November of 1979 as a Licensed welder. He has been employed at Toromont formally known as "Crothers" since 1987. Melrose is actively involved in the union. He was first elected as Shop Steward in 1996, and on the bargaining committee in 1999, serving two terms as Committee person. Melrose was acclaimed as Unit Chair in 2005 and served in that capacity until he resigned as Chairperson in 2017. He was also elected skilled trades Rep for his unit in 2009 and has been a delegate to the National Skilled Trades Council ever since.
Melrose serves on many committees within Local 112 which includes Human Rights, Substance Abuse, Picnic, and the Aboriginal & Workers of Colour Caucus. Melrose has been a Delegate to the CLC, OFL and Unifor Regional Council.
Melrose takes pride in being a delegate to the National Skilled Trades Council and the fact that he has passed all welding tests from 1982 which includes ASME Pressure Vessels, and CWB all.
Melrose uses his favourite quote, “Everyday may not be good, but there's something good in every day" as his daily outlook at work and in his community.
Margaret Olal is a proud activist and member of Unifor Local 3000. Sister Margaret Olal was instrumental in organizing our union into our workplace 22 years ago. Margaret's commitment to her Local and national union has never wavered. Whether it was representing the membership in her workplace at every round of bargaining or becoming Chief Steward, Margaret has always been committed to building Unifor.
Margaret volunteers her free time to assist the Local and national union whenever she is called upon. She has helped in the Provincial and Federal elections and provided support to volunteers who are new to the campaign process. Margaret is also a member of the Standing Committee for the Aboriginal and Workers of Colour as well as a member of the Equity Advisory Panel. But no matter what Margaret is doing she is never too busy to help the membership, be it in her workplace, on the picket line or members from other workplaces.
Chika Agbassi is a proud determined activist and member of Unifor Local 5555. Chika is exceptionally passionate about community development through leadership. In the summer of 2018, Chika noticed the call for the AWOC conference in her Local’s newsletter and decided she wanted to attend. Barely six months later, Chika has participated at the two weeks AWOC PEL program and has successfully launched Local 5555’s AWOC committee. Chika also recently ran for and was elected as Trustee on the Executive Board as well as to her Unit Workplace Committee, starting her term January 1, 2019.
Chika hopes to see many more AWOC faces in leadership within the union and the community at large because she firmly believes in the saying, ‘a chain is only as strong as its weakest link’.
Unifor members in the Saskatchewan Crown corporation sector are fed up with austerity bargaining from the provincial government. They’ve made it clear that a fair contract is the only way to avoid the potential of sector-wide job action later this spring.
As part of their effort to raise the profile of the work they do, Crown workers have released a video about bargaining and what it means to the rank-and-file members of Locals 1S, 2S, 649, and 820.
“I was in Regina to open bargaining for SaskTel in January, and I can tell you, our members are ready to fight for a good contract,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “We’re going to unite our members across the Crown sectors to get the contract our members deserve.”
With SaskTel now formally in bargaining, the majority of the Saskatchewan Crown corporation workers represented by Unifor are negotiating a new contract, something that Unifor intends to use to members’ advantage.
Unifor’s Western Regional Director Joie Warnock says that there has been gridlock in the public sector after years of austerity mandates from the right-wing provincial government, leaving no room for negotiated gains for workers.
“Incompetent governance from the ruling Saskatchewan Party has left the economy sputtering and public sector workers with meagre compensation increases,” said Warnock. “This spring, that’s going to end.”
Unifor Local 195 members at Ventra Plastic plant in Windsor, Ontario voted in favour of a new three-year contract. The 330 members working in auto parts manufacturing at the plant ratified the collective agreement on February 16, 2019.
“I am proud of the skill and determination of the bargaining committee," said Tammy Pomerleau, 1st Vice President of Unifor Local 195. “Our members will greatly benefit from the substantial gains made in the round of bargaining.”
The agreement includes annual wage increases, an extra week of vacation, improved ELOA days, an extra Christmas Holiday and increased benefits.