Social Justice Fund supports Doctors Without Borders in priority areas

A Unifor Social Justice Fund donation of $200,000 is supporting Doctors Without Borders, or Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), deliver lifesaving medical treatment in four priority areas.

“MSF is providing front-line care to vulnerable populations in zones of conflict and/or humanitarian crisis,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “The contribution by the Unifor Social Justice Fund will bring direct aid to patients in Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangladesh and Venezuela.”

In Yemen, Unifor’s support is helping MSF reduce deaths due to conflict in the Abs and Haijjah city districts and surrounding areas. Away from the bullets and bombs at the frontlines, MSF staff deal with the secondary implications of the war as they operate mobile clinics to provide consultations, vaccinations, and referral to the MSF-supported hospital in Abs. In addition, the teams provide mental health activities to children and water to refugee camps.

Photo ©Al Hareth Al Magaleh/ MSF

“The Unifor Social Justice Fund's support helps MSF provide life-saving medical care to people in need. Thanks to donations like yours, we can deliver independent medical aid and save lives,” said Flavia Tenenbaum, Fundraising Director, MSF Canada. “We are so grateful for your compassion and commitment to MSF.” 

With the Social Justice Fund’s support, MSF is continuing ongoing medical care in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Medical teams deal with a wide range of health needs in addition to conducting malnutrition, malaria and measles campaigns. In the first five months of 2019, more than 1,500 measles-related deaths were recorded in what is likely to be the deadliest epidemic since the disease made a strong resurgence in the country in 2011. So far this year, MSF has vaccinated 361,079 children and provided medical care for 14,785 patients.

Photo ©Pablo Garrigos/MSF, MSF nurses prepare vaccines against measles at the health center of Lungonzo, Kamwesha health zone (Kasai).

In addition to relentlessly fighting the measles epidemic, MSF personnel are treating patients displaced by violence in the Moyen Plateau and nearby Haut Plateau, with over half of those seen presenting with malaria.

MSF is also tackling malaria in Venezuela, where there has been a significant increase in cases due to the decline in the country’s health system following years of economic and political crisis. The Social Justice Fund donation will support expansion of MSF work encompassing treatment for physical wounds incurred during ongoing social unrest, including emergency surgery, in addition to psychosocial intervention and health promotion. 

Photo ©Esteban Montaño/MSF

“Médecins Sans Frontières core values include independence and neutrality and this impartiality allows its teams to deploy quickly to where the medical need is greatest to provide free medical care to patients, regardless of citizenship, religion or political affiliation,” said Mohamad Alsadi, Unifor International Director. “It’s wonderful that the Unifor Social Justice Fund donation is able to support such diverse treatment and preventative measures by MSF around the globe.”

In Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar, MSF has stepped up to provide multiple services to Rohingya refugees living in crowded camps with limited access to medical care, including surgery. MSF programs also focus on inadequate provision of secondary healthcare, including comprehensive obstetric and neonatal care, pediatric services, treatment for non-communicable diseases, and chronic illnesses. Furthermore, support from the Social Justice Fund enables MSF to address critical gaps in health services provided to the refugees, including access to sexual and reproductive health services.

Photo © Nitin George/MSF, Gaziur Rahman is nurse supervisor of MSF at the Goyalmara Green Roof hospital in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

For more information visit: https://www.doctorswithoutborders.ca/


Multi-award winning author Nancy MacLean to speak at Unifor convention

What led to the rise of libertarianism and the radical right in the United States?

According to award-winning American historian Nancy MacLean, the rich and powerful are trying to fundamentally alter the rules of democratic governance in the U.S.  In her latest book, 'Democracy in Chains', MacLean says that behind today’s headlines of billionaires taking over U.S. politics is a secretive political establishment with long, deep, and troubling roots.

MacLean is a Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University. Her research focuses on race, gender, labor history and social movements in 20th century U.S. history.

Although she has written a handful of other books, 'Democracy in Chains' caused an uproar among republicans and media pundits. On Mises Wire, one commenter wrote, "No doubt she’s a rabid feminazi, anti-Southerner, socialist and pathologically focused on race and gender. She’s a historical victimologist who produces nothing of value."

MacLean said she was shocked by the vicious attacks and “such rhetorical bullying would be laughable if it weren’t part of a pattern on the right.”

Delegates will be sure to enjoy her speech and for those who can’t make it to the convention, she’ll be live on the Unifor Facebook page August 19.


Vancouver’s container truckers open negotiations

Unifor has begun a new round of collective bargaining with several employers servicing Port Metro Vancouver.

“Unifor constantly pushes for fair treatment of container truckers. Our efforts have led to drivers receiving millions of dollars in compensation illegally withheld by unscrupulous company owners,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor B.C. Area Director.

As the largest union in Metro Vancouver’s container trucking industry, Unifor has a very successful record. Container truckers shut down Port Metro Vancouver for nearly four weeks in March 2014 as a result of wage undercutting by trucking companies and long wait times at the Port.

Despite facing back to work legislation, Unifor members refused to back down and truckers only went back to work after a plan was negotiated between the truckers, the Port, the B.C. government, and the federal government.

Unifor was also responsible for a trucker-friendly Container Trucking Act (2014) that has created a Container Trucking Commissioner who investigates companies for wage theft and issues heavy fines for non-compliance with the new law and rates.

Since 2014, Unifor has collected hundreds of thousands of dollars owed to drivers. The Commissioner has levied fines and awarded over $2.3 million in wages to drivers.

With the election of the NDP government in B.C., Unifor successfully fought for further gains including 4.6 per cent hauling rate increases over the past two years and more resources for the Office of Container Truck Commissioner for enforcement and auditing.



Jerry Dias stresses international solidarity in battle for workers’ rights

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.”

Unifor continues to support Indigenous community in Winnipeg

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 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 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

Unifor launches ad campaign to raise awareness about the future of the energy sector

With big changes in the energy sector underway, what does the future hold for Canadians whose livelihoods depend on it?

“About 12,000 Unifor members work in the energy sector,” said Scott Doherty, Unifor Assistant to the National President. “Unifor wants to ensure that as the economy shifts, current and future generations will continue to have good paying jobs.”

Natural resources are vital to Canada’s economy and fossil fuels will remain a critical component of the world’s energy needs for decades to come. However, the country’s energy policy has focussed on shipping unprocessed oil and gas to foreign markets for refining, then importing those same refined products for domestic use.

“We need to invest more in infrastructure, processing and refining,” said Kim Conway, Energy Council Chair. “That will reduce our dependence on importing refined products and create more Canadian jobs.”

Watch our video about the future of the energy sector and what it means to you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qcCzlpXUig&feature=player_embedded

Unifor is calling on all levels of government to help create a new national energy strategy that reflects our vision. Read more:


The founder of #metoo shares her story at #Unifor19 Convention

When sexual abuse allegations first surfaced against powerful Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in 2016, few people had heard of #metoo. A trickle of actresses who accused Weinstein of sexual abuse quickly turned into a flood of women who posted their own stories on Twitter. Within the blink of an eye, #metoo became a worldwide movement of women speaking out against sexual harassment and sexual abuse.

At Unifor’s constitutional convention in August, “Me Too” founder Tarana Burke will be a featured speaker. Burke is a civil rights activist from New York, who began using the phrase to raise awareness of the pervasiveness of sexual abuse in society in 2006.

Burke says there has been a lot of emphasis on perpetrators of sexual violence, but very little discussion about the lives of survivors and the process of healing. Burke intends to help lead the focus on that discussion in the years ahead.

Burke was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year for 2017. She speaks at events across North America and is Senior Director for the organization Girls for Gender Equity in Brooklyn.

Her speech at Unifor’s Quebec City Convention will be on August 20 at 2pm. Members not attending the convention can watch her live on Unifor’s Facebook page.

Unifor Media Action Plan takes journalism campaign to airwaves

Journalism matters. That is the message Unifor’s Media Action Plan is taking to prime time in a new television commercial debuting this week.

“Who else is going to fight to save local news and protect jobs in media if not us, Canada’s largest media union?” said Jake Moore, Chair of Unifor’s Media Council.

The campaign video will air across Canada on several national newscasts over the summer.

“Canadians need reliable local and national news to be informed about events that affect their lives, the experiences of their neighbours, and the impact of social and political policies,” said Tanya Luciani, chair of the Media Action Plan committee.

The steep decline of media advertising has resulted in thousands of layoffs in print, broadcast news, sports and entertainment. Google and Facebook have sucked a whopping $7 billion of advertising money out of the Canada media business yearly while contributing nothing to local news.

All while more than 250 newsrooms have shut their doors across Canada over the last ten years.

These losses include small and mid sized papers in places like Guelph, Moose Jaw, Nanaimo and in Quebec’s eastern townships.

The current government provided a $595 million newspaper rescue package in its last budget.

Unifor has lobbied the federal government over the last four years as part of the #savelocalnews campaign, with demands to level the playing field and apply federal regulations to the American tech giants.

For more information go to MediaActionPlan.ca. Will you stand with media workers, and tell Members of Parliament that local Canadian news matters and must be saved?

Wirecomm workers ratify collective agreement

In a meeting on Sunday, July 21, 2019, members of Unifor Local 5011, working at Wirecomm Systems ratified a 5-year collective agreement with their employer.

The new contract replaces the previous collective agreement, which had expired in April 2018, and marks the end of a challenging round of negotiations with the company. The contract includes protections against unjust wage deductions, and improves both hourly wages as well as per-unit rates for service and installation codes.

Wirecomm is a sole source contractor for Rogers Communications, providing service and installation to Rogers customers across the Greater Toronto Area.

For more information, or to get connected with their local union representatives, members of 5011 can contact:

Emmanual Atueyi, Wirecomm – Unit Chairperson, Member at Large, Local 5011 at emmanual.atueyi@unifor-local5011.ca

Eghosa Iyamu, Wirecomm - Bargaining Committee Member, Vice President, Local 5011 at eghosa.lyamu@unifor-local5011.ca

Marmon Keystone workers ratify collective agreement

Unifor Local 1256 members working at Marmon Keystone have voted 100 per cent in favour of ratifying a new three-year collective agreement.

“We entered this round of negotiations to improve the lives of our members,” said Angus MacDonald, Unifor Local 1256 President. “This agreement has gone beyond what we had initially hoped for at the start of bargaining and shows our collective bargaining strength as a union.”

The new contract includes annual wage increases, signing bonus, improved benefits and strengthened language in the collective agreement.

“I want to thank the bargaining committee for all their hard work in achieving this agreement that is fair and equitable,” said MacDonald.

In addition, the bargaining committee negotiated domestic violence leave language that was taken away by the Ford government.

Unifor Local 1256 represents production workers at the plant.

Social Justice Fund supports female literacy program

The Unifor Social Justice Fund has donated $44,000 to OneProsper International to support female literacy programs in India’s Thar Desert.

“In this region there are contributing issues that prevent girls from earning an education,” said Raju Agarwal, Founder and CEO of OneProsper International. “With the help of the Unifor Social Justice Fund we are able to take a holistic approach towards solving the crisis in female literacy.”

In the Thar Desert, the spread of water-borne diseases is common and the girls, among India’s poorest, often spend up to seven hours a day collecting water. To allow them to get that time back, OneProsper International builds a tank on site with a seven-layer biosand filter to turn harvested rainwater into clean, potable water. Each tank is then inscribed with the name of the girl’s mother to show her daughter that women are important.

Women beneficiaries are taught water-smart farming methods that replenish depleting groundwater and increase crop yields. A farming dyke is installed to maximize irrigation, and seeds and farm training are provided to allow the family to grow fruits and vegetables to supplement their diet.

“Providing financial stability for the family creates the opportunity for the girls to pursue an education and a brighter future,” said Unifor International Director Mohamad Alsadi.

Each girl sponsored by OneProsper International is able to start school with the necessary support to continue until graduation. Donations to the charity pay for tuition, uniforms, school supplies and a bicycle for transportation.

The goal is for the family to become self-sufficient after the first year with the ability to continue to pay for their daughter’s education with farming profits.

This year OneProsper International aims to secure enough funding to send 1,000 girls to school. For more information visit oneprosper.org.

Young workers at Halifax Discovery Centre focus on diversity and inclusion to secure groundbreaking first agreement

Negotiating a first collective agreement is a challenging and often time-consuming process as a bargaining committee gets familiar with the process and works with the membership to determine priorities. For the newly-formed unit at the Halifax Discovery Centre, part of Local 4005, the group was steadfast from the beginning that diversity and inclusion be central to their proposals.

“The creativity and insight demonstrated by this group of workers was informed by their own experiences and they ended up with language that has inspired other locals, even in other unions,” said Darlene McIvor, National Representative.

One such creative item in their proposals was to have their CEO begin all public statements with an acknowledgement of being on unceded Mi’kmaq territory. This, unfortunately, did not make it into the final agreement, though an acknowledgement is printed at the beginning of their agreement. Another that was successfully adopted, is the inclusion of an annual labour-management meeting specifically for discussion around workplace diversity and inclusion.

“I’m especially happy that we outlined a specific labour-management communication process and that, should it not be followed, we have recourse through a grievance process,” said Japna Sidhu-Brar, member of the bargaining committee. 

Part-time workers will get an additional paid statutory holiday, and health and dental benefits, something many part-time workers are not provided. One day of leave with pay will also be granted as Citizenship Leave to allow a full-time employee to attend the Citizenship Court of Canada on the day they are to become a Canadian citizen.

“Many of us are students who came to Halifax from other parts of the world, and to acknowledge and respect a day as important as your citizenship ceremony is one way we can be welcoming of diversity in our workplace,” said Sidhu-Brar.

“We are incredibly proud of the hard work that has been put into bargaining this collective agreement,” said Jennifer Murray, Business Agent of Council 4000. “The resilience and determination of this committee is a true reflection of the strength and support from the entire membership.”

The workers, most of whom identify as young workers, ratified their first agreement by 92 per cent on July 15.

Countdown to Convention 2019

The countdown is on to Unifor’s third constitutional convention in Quebec City where the union will gather to celebrate our victories and plan for future fightback’s for our members.

“We have had one hell of a year, fighting employers and right wing governments and what we do at convention will set the stage for the next year of action as we fight for workers in the federal election,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.

Internationally renowned guest speakers and world-class entertainment will round out a week of constitutional debate, resolutions,  and video debuts in the capital of Quebec.

More than 2,000 delegates, dignitaries, staff and guests will descend upon the Quebec City Convention Centre.

Tarana Burke, the founder of the #MeToo movement, will address convention, along with a senior federal government cabinet member, and several other quest speakers.

Blue Rodeo will perform an exclusive concert. Free, onsite childcare will be available, registration is online only and you must sign up by July 20.  Just select “Constitutional Convention 2019” under “Select an event.”

“Whatever It Takes” is the theme of Convention 2019 and members who attend are also in for some fun surprises.

Unifor grows in Kenney’s Alberta

Within months of the election of the right wing government of Jason Kenney in Alberta, Unifor is growing in the province with a strong vote by workers at the Sheraton Suites Calgary Eau Claire hotel to join Unifor.

“These workers showed real determination to join Unifor, even in the face of anti-union legislation being brought in by Kenney,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.

Organizing Director Kellie Scanlan said the workers at the hotel showed great strength and solidarity throughout the campaign.

“Thanks to their hard work, supported by the Organizing Department, they have a voice in their workplace at a time when their provincial government is trying to take it away.”

The 170 workers at the hotel voted by a two-thirds majority to join Unifor last week. The votes were counted Tuesday after a dispute over membership was settled with the employer.

Unifor’s newest members in the hospitality sector includes housekeeping, food and beverage, banquet, front desk, maintenance and other staff. They join Unifor’s approximately 20,000 gaming and hospitality members across Canada.

Understaffing, workload and deteriorating working conditions were the top issues in the organizing drive, which was led by many of the original workers at the landmark downtown hotel, build in 1999.

Besides labour law changes limiting overtime and holiday pay, and cutting the minimum wage for young workers, Kenney eliminated automatic certification for new bargaining units introduced by the previous NDP government just two years ago.

Assaults on bus drivers still considered part of the job by WorkSafeBC

A disturbingly high number of transit operators are assaulted while on the job, but WorkSafeBC routinely denies compensation by claiming that it’s ‘part of the job.’

“More than 100 bus drivers are attacked every year in B.C.,” said Unifor Western Regional Director Joie Warnock. “Assaults are not part of the job. And it’s high time WorkSafeBC recognized that physically and mentally injured workers need and deserve compensation.”

Tana MacKay is a bus driver with Unifor’s Health and Safety Committee in Victoria. She advocates for injured workers and recently spoke at a government review of WorkSafeBC policies.

“I know bus drivers who have been beaten up and then, while still recovering are smothered by forms, paperwork and personal questions, which delays their claim,” she said. “The trauma of an assault can cause PTSD and other mental health problems, but WorkSafeBC frequently denies those claims.”

B.C. Transit has announced it will move forward with installing shields to separate drivers from the public on buses across the province by 2022. While safety barriers are a common feature on European buses, here in Canada, the only other transit authority to equip its buses with barriers is Toronto.

In 2015, federal politicians amended the criminal code to make it harder for judges to give light sentences to offenders who assault workers.

Unifor represents more than 4000 transit operators in Metro Vancouver. In Victoria, Local 333 represents 750 bus drivers, mechanics, maintenance and other workers at BC Transit operations.

If you live in B.C. and want to give your feedback re WorkSafeBC take the online questionnaire until July 19thhttps://feedback.engage.gov.bc.ca/714556?lang=en

Le personnel de la résidence de retraite Chartwell Montgomery Village ratifie une convention collective

Les membres de la section locale 1285 travaillant à la résidence Chartwell Montgomery Village ont voté à 89 p. cent en faveur de la ratification de la nouvelle convention le 16 juillet 2019.

« Notre campagne Demandez à Hilda visait à faire reculer la demande de gel salarial de Chartwell pour les travailleuses et travailleurs touchés par l'augmentation du salaire minimum de 2018, a déclaré Jerry Dias, président national d’Unifor. Cette victoire en dit long sur le succès de notre campagne Demandez à Hilda. La campagne a obtenu l'appui des résidents, des familles et des membres de la collectivité, ce qui a forcé l'employeur à renoncer à sa demande régressive. »

La nouvelle convention collective de trois ans comprend les gains suivants :

  • Des augmentations salariales minimales de 2 p. cent pour toutes les classifications chaque année de la convention.
  • Un différentiel supplémentaire de 2 p. cent dans la grille salariale du personnel de cuisine et d'entretien ménager.
  • Des rajustements salariaux de 1 p. cent pour les préposés aux services de soutien à la personne et les cuisiniers.

Parmi les gains supplémentaires, mentionnons un congé de maladie payé additionnel, une prime de quart de fin de semaine, des améliorations importantes aux dispositions sur les heures supplémentaires et une rémunération pour les employés à temps partiel au lieu des avantages médicaux.

La campagne comportait une série de vidéos « Demandez à Hilda », basées sur les publicités de Chartwell qui utilisaient une comédienne pour représenter une résidente appelée Edna. Le nom Hilda a été utilisé parce qu'il a toujours été établi que ces travailleuses et travailleurs sont assujettis à la Loi sur l'arbitrage des conflits de travail dans les hôpitaux (LADHT), qui empêche la plupart des travailleuses et travailleurs de la santé de la province de faire grève.  Le rôle de Hilda a été joué par la retraitée d’Unifor, Roxy Baker.

« La victoire d'aujourd'hui montre que lorsque les travailleurs et travailleuses décident d’agir collectivement, ils se font entendre, a déclaré Katha Fortier, adjointe au président national d'Unifor. Nous avons vu des rassemblements contre Chartwell organisés à travers l'Ontario où des milliers de membres de la communauté ont signé des pétitions demandant que les travailleuses et travailleurs reçoivent un salaire équitable. Notre présence en ligne était tout aussi forte, où les vidéos Demandez à Hilda ont été visionnées plus de 200 000 fois sur Facebook. » 

La section locale 1285 représente près de 50 membres qui travaillent à la maison de retraite d'Orangeville, en Ontario. Les sections locales 229, 2458 et 8300 ont également participé à la campagne sur les maisons de retraite Chartwell. On s'attend à ce que ces milieux de travail concluent des ententes en suivant ce modèle.

Chartwell Montgomery Village workers ratify collective agreement

Local 1285 members at Chartwell Montgomery Village voted 89 per cent in favour of ratification of the new agreement on July 16, 2019.

“Our Ask Hilda campaign was focused on pushing back against Chartwell’s two-year wage freeze proposal for those workers affected by the 2018 minimum wage increase,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “This victory speaks volumes to the success of our Ask Hilda campaign. The campaign garnered support from residents, families and community members forcing the employer to back down from its regressive proposal.”

The new three-year agreement includes the following increases:

  • Minimum two per cent wage increases for all classifications in each year of the agreement.
  • An additional two per cent spread in the grid for dining and housekeeping staff.
  • One per cent wage adjustments for Personal Support Workers and cooks.

Additional gains include an additional paid sick day, a weekend shift premium, significant improvements to the overtime language and monetary compensation for part-time employees in lieu of health benefits.

The campaign featured a series of “Ask Hilda” videos, based on the Chartwell commercials that used an actor to represent a resident called “Ask Edna”. The name Hilda was used because these workers are consistently found to fall under the Hospital Labour Disputes Arbitration Act (HLDAA) that prevents most health care workers in the province from striking.  The role of Hilda was played by Unifor Retiree, Roxy Baker.

“Today’s victory shows that when workers take collective action they are force to be reckoned with,” said Katha Fortier, Assistant to the Unifor National President. “We saw rallies against Chartwell organized across Ontario where thousands of community members signed petitions demanding that workers be paid a fair wage. Our online presence was just as strong, where the Ask Hilda videos have been viewed more than 200,000 times on Facebook.” 

Local 1285 represents nearly 50 members working at the retirement home in Orangeville, Ontario. Local’s 229, 2458 and 8300 were also involved in the campaign for Chartwell Retirement Homes. It is expected that those workplaces will reach settlements based on this pattern.

Unifor members at Vopak Terminals trigger strike

During the night of July 2, members of Local 175C Vopak Unit went on strike. Faced with the impossibility of concluding an agreement for the renewal of their collective agreement and the intransigence of their employer, the members of the section had no choice but to trigger this action.

The stalemate is based on four issues: pension plans, overtime, wages and salary feedback. Members are more determined than ever to stand up. A 100 per cent strike mandate was given to the bargaining committee on May 5, 2019, with the collective agreement expiring back on June 25, 2017. This dispute affects some 30 members working at the oil terminals located in Quebec City and Montreal.