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Our 2019 federal election toolkit is out!

CAUT -

Canadians will head to the polls on October 21 and CAUT prepared tools for its member associations to be able to make a difference. CAUT’s For Our Future campaign is an issue-based and non-partisan campaign with two goals:

1. To raise awareness about the positive role the federal government could play in strengthening

the post-secondary education (PSE) system; and

2. To get out the student vote for education.

Once the Fall academic semester starts, we will have just under two months to make post-secondary education an election priority. It is essential that we hit the ground running in September.

In the kit, you will find:

  •   Key messages about the campaign;
  •   Steps to help develop your campaign;
  •   Action ideas, tips and resources for engaging members and students in the federal election, and reaching out to candidates; and

Access the kit here.

Home care workers to meet in Ottawa

NUPGE -

"We have hundreds of members employed in this sector, and most are struggling to serve their clients properly without adequate resources and training while earning bottom-of-the-barrel wages. For work this important, there need to be massive improvements. We want to talk about how we can effect this kind of change for everyone involved." — Larry Brown, NUPGE President

Le Service du recrutement lance son plan stratégique

Unifor -

Alors que le monde du travail change et que l'économie évolue, le Service du recrutement d'Unifor lance un nouveau plan stratégique de recrutement pour intégrer de nouveaux groupes de travailleuses et travailleurs dans le mouvement syndical.

« On ne peut pas rester coincés dans les mêmes méthodes. On ne peut pas continuer à regarder en arrière. Nous devons être prêts à nous adapter aux nouvelles opportunités, à l'évolution des lieux de travail et des paysages politiques », a déclaré Kellie Scanlan, directrice du Service du recrutement d’Unifor, au congrès cet après-midi.

Le nouveau plan repose sur quatre piliers : instaurer une culture de recrutement, développer les ressources, attirer de nouveaux travailleurs et travailleuses au sein du syndicat en leur montrant ce qu'Unifor a accompli dans des milieux de travail similaires et en identifiant des objectifs stratégiques de syndicalisation.

« Nous avons tous un rôle à jouer, qu'il s'agisse des déléguées et délégués syndicaux, des militantes et militants locaux, des conseils sectoriels ou des dirigeantes et dirigeants élus », a déclaré Kellie Scanlan.

Depuis sa fondation, Unifor a consacré d'importantes ressources au recrutement et à la constitution d'une équipe solide et diversifiée de représentantes et représentants, et de militantes et militants, qui aident les non-syndiqués à se joindre à Unifor.

« L'élément vital d'un syndicat est la syndicalisation, et nous avons créé Unifor pour en faire un syndicat axé sur le recrutement », a déclaré Chris MacDonald, adjoint au président.

Les travailleuses et travailleurs dans les lieux de travail autres que ceux représentés par Unifor ont remarqué que les membres d'Unifor dans des milieux similaires ont de meilleures conditions de travail et de meilleurs salaires, et qu'ils veulent réaliser des gains semblables. C'est ce qui s'est produit récemment chez Scieries Chaleur, au Nouveau-Brunswick.

« Les travailleuses et travailleurs chez Scieries Chaleur connaissaient de première main les avantages d'avoir une convention collective, simplement en discutant en personne avec les membres d'Unifor dans une usine voisine », a déclaré Kellie Scanlan.

« Ces membres d'Unifor ont alimenté cette campagne de recrutement. Ils incarnent le genre de culture de recrutement que nous devons encourager partout. »

En même temps, Unifor n'attend pas simplement que les travailleuses et travailleurs se présentent pour demander à adhérer au syndicat. Le Service du recrutement d'Unifor identifie des cibles stratégiques pour de nouvelles campagnes, comme chez WestJet, où Unifor aide les travailleuses et travailleurs de première ligne des aéroports à adhérer au syndicat.

« Nous avons vu à quel point l’élan de syndicalisation prenait de l’ampleur chez WestJet. Nous n'avons pas attendu d'avoir des appels téléphoniques ou des recommandations sur le terrain », a déclaré Kellie Scanlan.

« Nous sommes un syndicat pour des milliers et des milliers d'employés de compagnies aériennes. Nous nous sommes donc positionnés stratégiquement dans les aéroports, d'un bout à l'autre du pays. Et nous avons commencé à parler aux travailleuses et travailleurs. »

Un plan stratégique de recrutement est nécessaire pour contrer les attaques coordonnées des employeurs contre le mouvement syndical, a déclaré Kellie Scanlan.

« Les travailleuses et travailleurs ont besoin de nous, ils comptent sur nous, et nous sommes prêts à relever le défi. »

 

 

 

Organizing Department releases strategic plan

Unifor -

As the world of work changes and the economy evolves, Unifor’s Organizing Department is launching a new organizing strategic plan to bring new groups of workers into the labour movement.

“We can’t get stuck in grooves. We can’t get stuck looking backward. We have to be ready to adapt to new opportunities, changing workplaces, changing political landscapes,” Unifor Organizing Director Kellie Scanlan told the Unifor convention this afternoon.

The new plan is based on four pillars: building a culture of organizing, developing resources, attracting new workers to the union by showing them what Unifor has achieved in similar workplaces and identifying strategic organizing targets.

“All of us play a role, from shop stewards and local activists to industry councils and the elected leadership,” Scanlan said.

Since its founding, Unifor has dedicated great resources to organizing, building a strong and diverse team of staff and activists who help non-union join Unifor.

“The lifeblood of a union is organizing, and we created Unifor to be an organizing union,” said Assistant to the President Chris MacDonald.

Workers in non-Unifor workplaces have been noticing that Unifor members in similar workplaces have better working conditions and wages – and want to achieve similar gains. This happened recently at the Chaleur sawmill in New Brunswick.

“Chaleur workers knew first-hand the benefits of having a collective agreement, simply by having face-to-face conversations with Unifor members at a nearby mill,” Scanlan said.

“Those Unifor members fuelled this organizing drive. They embodied the exact sort of organizing culture we have to foster everywhere.”

At the same time, Unifor is not simply waiting for workers to come to it asking to join the union. Unifor’s Organizing department identifying strategic targets for new drives - such as at WestJet, where Unifor is helping frontline airport workers join the union.

“We saw how quickly momentum was building at WestJet to unionize. We didn’t wait for phone calls, or hot shop tips,” Scanlan said.

“We are a union for thousands and thousands of airline employees. So we positioned ourselves strategically in airports, right across the country. And we started talking to workers.”

A strategic plan for organizing is needed to counter the coordinated attacks on the labour movement by employers, Scanlan said.

“Workers need us and they are depending on us, and we are ready for the challenge.”

 

 

 

Labour can and must do more about sexual assault says Me Too founder

Unifor -

The founder of the Me Too movement told Unifor Convention Delegates that organized labour has been a strong force behind advancing diversity in the workplace and the role of women.

“Diversity is being invited to the dance. Inclusion is being asked to dance,” said Tarana Burke, who founded the Me Too movement long before Hollywood scandals made the #MeToo hashtag go viral.

Burke founded the movement in 2006, inspired by a young girl at a youth camp who gathered up the courage to tell her about the horrific assaults she had suffered as a child. It was a story the girl had never shared before.

“In that moment I could not muster up the courage of this child,” Burke said.

“These nightmares, this triggering, this fear, this anxiety, this pain, this shame that she carrying in the pit of her stomach, I carried it the same way because it happened to me too,” she said.

“I carry the courage of that child in my heart every day.”

Burke said Me Too grew from that experience into a worldwide network that supports survivors in their healing while working to end sexual violence.

Such work goes well beyond a hashtag, Burke said, while crediting #MeToo with exposing the epidemic of sexual violence faced by women and girls.

Burke said sexual violence is a workplace issue, pointing out that 19 per cent of working women in Canada report being sexually harassed at work, and 40 per cent have experienced some form of sexual assault since the age of 16.

“This is not about just changing policies. This is not about giving lip service.,” said Burke, whose mother was a UAW shop steward for 22 years.

“It’s about the sanctity of our humanity.”

Burke received a standing ovation before attending a meet and greet meeting with Unifor delegates.

Analysis of France’s “yellow vest” movement

Unifor -

Julien Tourreille, a PhD in political science with the Raoul-Dandurand Chair in Strategic and Diplomatic Studies at the Université du Québec à Montréal, presented an analysis of the “yellow vest” movement in France. He focused notably on the real impact of this crisis on the different political parties and social institutions, including trade unions. Where did this movement come from? Does it reflect a fundamental shift? What legacy will it leave, if any? These are just some of the questions he touched on.  

“It seems to me that all the main ingredients of this yellow vest crisis can be found in the mixture of a feeling of being left behind, the unpopularity of political decision-makers and a deep discontent with government decisions,” explained Mr. Tourreille.

Despite the spectacular aspect of the numerous protests that have swept the country, the researcher considers that it is still a relatively modest social movement. He attributes this to several factors, starting with the violence that has marred many of the protests and alienated many people. That is why the movement has been unable to build capital and rally more people around it. Another explanation lies in the movement’s inability to produce a recognized leader.

The French context and what Mr. Tourreille calls the “doom and gloom” and typically defiant attitude of the French people have also acted as catalysts of this movement. 

Nonetheless, the yellow vest protesters have managed to wring concessions worth some 10 billion Euros from the government. In doing so, they have at the same time helped reinforce the perception that labour unions have lost much of their power, since they not won any major victories in a long time.

Thus, while the yellow vest movement may not have benefited trade unions, nor has it succeeded in reshaping the French political landscape. For example, the movement has not garnered mass support; in fact, the contrary is true, as is reflected in the outcome of the European elections. Sympathizers of the movement have mainly thrown their support behind the Rassemblement National, a right-wing party.

But does this mean that the yellow vest movement is just a flash in the pan? No, according to Mr. Tourreille, who says that the phenomenon of the “yellow vests constitutes a serious warning to both the political establishment and other organizations, including unions.”

More fundamentally, Mr. Tourreille believes that “the yellow vest movement could herald the potential slide toward populism of French democracy, similar to what happened in the United States with the Tea Party, which paved the way for the election of Donald Trump.”

Analyse du mouvement des gilets jaunes en France

Unifor -

Julien Tourreille, a PhD in political science with the Raoul-Dandurand Chair in Strategic and Diplomatic Studies at the Université du Québec à Montréal, presented an analysis of the “yellow vest” movement in France. He focused notably on the real impact of this crisis on the different political parties and social institutions, including trade unions. Where did this movement come from? Does it reflect a fundamental shift? What legacy will it leave, if any? These are just some of the questions he touched on.  

“It seems to me that all the main ingredients of this yellow vest crisis can be found in the mixture of a feeling of being left behind, the unpopularity of political decision-makers and a deep discontent with government decisions,” explained Mr. Tourreille.

Despite the spectacular aspect of the numerous protests that have swept the country, the researcher considers that it is still a relatively modest social movement. He attributes this to several factors, starting with the violence that has marred many of the protests and alienated many people. That is why the movement has been unable to build capital and rally more people around it. Another explanation lies in the movement’s inability to produce a recognized leader.

The French context and what Mr. Tourreille calls the “doom and gloom” and typically defiant attitude of the French people have also acted as catalysts of this movement. 

Nonetheless, the yellow vest protesters have managed to wring concessions worth some 10 billion Euros from the government. In doing so, they have at the same time helped reinforce the perception that labour unions have lost much of their power, since they not won any major victories in a long time.

Thus, while the yellow vest movement may not have benefited trade unions, nor has it succeeded in reshaping the French political landscape. For example, the movement has not garnered mass support; in fact, the contrary is true, as is reflected in the outcome of the European elections. Sympathizers of the movement have mainly thrown their support behind the Rassemblement National, a right-wing party.

But does this mean that the yellow vest movement is just a flash in the pan? No, according to Mr. Tourreille, who says that the phenomenon of the “yellow vests constitutes a serious warning to both the political establishment and other organizations, including unions.”

More fundamentally, Mr. Tourreille believes that “the yellow vest movement could herald the potential slide toward populism of French democracy, similar to what happened in the United States with the Tea Party, which paved the way for the election of Donald Trump.”

Unifor delegates adopt new bargaining priorities at 2019 Convention

Unifor -

Delegates at the third Constitutional Convention adopted the 2019 Unifor Bargaining Program, Stronger Together. This program outlines the challenges ahead, assesses progress made toward achieving the overarching goals of the union and sets specific goals for the years ahead.

“From the earliest days of the labour movement workers have always aimed to establish common wages and working conditions - in their workplaces, industries and even across the economy,” said Unifor Research Director Bill Murnighan.

“The goals have been to raise the floor for everyone, and make sure employers cannot pit workers against one another.”

Since its founding, Unifor has provided in-depth market analysis, observed developing trends in workplaces across the country and used its considerable expertise to inform, guide and support bargaining committees large and small.

At Unifor, nearly half of our members bargain in some form of coordination within their sector, often known as master or pattern bargaining. These coordinated efforts add to the strength of individual committees and offer incredible opportunities for sharing best practices, innovative language and important advances for workers.

This year’s priorities reflect current challenges such as the steady decline of “good jobs” as companies move to out-source and replace full time workers in favour of part time workers. We are also watching  as technological change and automation continues to threaten jobs.

“No one has felt the uncertainty of these economic and trade-related headwinds more than Canadian workers,” Unifor Researcher Angelo DiCaro said.

The priorities for 2019 also build on the incredible work done since 2016.

Key achievements toward equity include having 375 active Women’s Advocates across Canada through our internationally-recognized Women’s Advocate Program; targeting incidences of unpaid internships and increasing employment opportunities for young workers.

The union has also negotiated Paid Education Leave (PEL) and encourages participation in education courses for equity-seeking groups; and continues to develop joint labour-management committees and processes to investigate and deal with workplace harassment.

More and more agreements are also adopting gender-neutral language, and important job security provisions.

Read the full 2019 Bargaining Program adopted at Unifor’s third Constitutional Convention for full details on the 2019 priorities.

 

 

 

Ford plans many more healthcare cuts

Rank and File - latest news -

By Doug Allan The Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) Economic and Budget Outlook review has identified planned government spending savings that come via (1) announced program changes (program cuts like the government’s cut to OHIP+), (2) announced efficiency targets (identified areas where the government hopes it will… Read More

Budget 2020: Academic & research staff are ready to solve Canada’s emerging problems 

CAUT -

Post-secondary education changes lives and Canada for the better. Through teaching, research and service to the community, Canada’s academic staff, scientists and researchers are key partners in addressing the climate emergency and other economic and social challenges. Canadians need a strong federal partner to work with the provinces to make sure that we have a sustainable research ecosystem, and affordable education for all. 

Read our submission here.

 

Academic & research staff are ready to solve Canada’s emerging problems 

CAUT -

Post-secondary education changes lives and Canada for the better. Through teaching, research and service to the community, Canada’s academic staff, scientists and researchers are key partners in addressing the climate emergency and other economic and social challenges. Canadians need a strong federal partner to work with the provinces to make sure that we have a sustainable research ecosystem, and affordable education for all. 

Read our submission here.

 

Academic & research staff are ready to solve Canada’s emerging problems 

CAUT -

Post-secondary education changes lives and Canada for the better. Through teaching, research and service to the community, Canada’s academic staff, scientists and researchers are key partners in addressing the climate emergency and other economic and social challenges. Canadians need a strong federal partner to work with the provinces to make sure that we have a sustainable research ecosystem, and affordable education for all. 

Read our submission here.

 

Convention delegates pay tribute to Bob Orr

Unifor -

More than 2000 convention delegates an guests gave outgoing secretary-treasurer Bob Orr an emotionalstanding ovation for his life-long commitment to Unifor and the labour movement.

“My individual achievements would not have been possible without the will and strength of our membership,” said Bob Orr, National Secretary-Treasurer. “When we formed Unifor, the membership set out to change the labour movement, and we have done just that!”

As a son of trade union activists, Orr started his working life in a union shop in 1978 in St. Catharines, Ontario. After being laid off, Orr went on to work at the GM Windsor Transmission plant.

Orr became active in his union, and passionately defended the rights of his co-workers, He was elected to ten positions over 14 years. In 1999, former National President Buzz Hargrove appointed Bob to a staff position at the CAW. Since then, he has worked in the Windsor, London, Chatham, Kitchener and Toronto offices. He quickly rose through the ranks  and was appointed National Coordinator, National Staff Representative in Organizing and Service, and he served as Assistant to National Secretary-Treasurer’s Jim O’Neil and Peter Kennedy and later was apoointed Assistant to President Ken Lewenza and Jerry Dias.

“The pride Bob puts into your work and the commitment you’ve made to this unionis unmatched,”said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “For more than 35 years, you have shown us that through integrity and humanity, a better world is possible. Bob, thank you for being a tremendous leader and for all your service to our union.”

Before his speech, convention delegates watched a farewell tribute video that included heartfelt testimonials from members, elected and former officers  tofurther illustrate Orr’s life-long commitment in fighting for the rights of workers across Canada.

Watch the video here.

Roméo Dallaire presented with Unifor Nelson Mandela Award

Unifor -

Retired Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire, whose warnings of a coming genocide in Rwanda went unanswered 25 years ago, is the 2019 recipient of the Unifor Nelson Mandela Award.

“No one is worthy of a Nelson Mandela award. No one is worthy of comparison to that human being,” said Dellaire. “I am more than humbled to receive such an award, particularly as a soldier, to receive a peace award.”

Dellaire was head of a United Nations mission in Rwanda in 1994. He repeatedly tried to warn the UN Security Council that action was needed in the weeks leading up to the genocide, but was denied permission to act.

In just under 100 days that year, more than 800,000 Rwandans were killed by the Rwandan military and Hutu militia. Most of those killed were Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

Dellaire wrote about his experiences in Rwanda in his 2003 book, Shake Hands with the Devil, and has spoken openly about his post-traumatic stress disorder, helping to bring the condition into the open.

“Twenty-five years ago yesterday, I came back from Rwanda. Well, my body came back, but part of the man I was is still there,” said Dellaire, as he called on delegates to support colleagues facing mental illness.

“Peer support within your organization is crucial to saving lives.”

Dellaire is also founder of the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, which works to end the use of child soldiers. The organization receives funding from the Unifor Social Justice Fund.

“It is darn near supernatural the way General Dellaire has managed to corral the most recalcitrant, often bloody-minded governments and militias into preventing the use of child soldiers,” former Canadian Ambassador to the UN Stephen Lewis said as he introduced Dellaire.

Lewis called Dellaire a perfect recipient of the Nelson Mandela award, because both men emerged from atrocities with a determination to build a better world.

“Nothing can move his optimism. He looks for the best in everyone he meets, and somehow he finds it.”

The Nelson Mandela Award is named in honour of Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa from 1994-1999 and an anti-apartheid revolutionary. This award recognizes the struggle, courage and achievement of Mandela to advance human rights and social justice. Recipients are recognized for their human rights and social justice efforts.

Labour, health, environmental groups call on Canada’s grocers to ditch toxic receipts

UFCW Canada -

Toronto – August 20, 2019 – Today, UFCW Canada, Breast Cancer Action Quebec, Environmental Defence Canada, and Mind the Store join forces to launch a public campaign urging Canada’s leading grocery retail giants – Costco Canada, Loblaws, Metro, Sobeys, and Walmart Canada – to stop using receipt paper coated with bisphenol-A (BPA) or bisphenol-S (BPS).

Strong unions needed in Canada, Freeland tells convention

Unifor -

Strong unions are not only vital to protecting good jobs and the middle class, but to fending off the rise of the radical right in Canada and around the world, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland told the Unifor Convention today.

"When it comes to defending workers’ rights and supporting the middle class, one thing is certain. No political force is more essential or more effective than strong unions,” Freeland said.

Freeland said a strong middle class is the best protection against the rise of right-wing populism.

“Populism develops where the middle class is eroding, where people are losing ground and hope,” Freeland said.

“When people feel that their economic future is threatened, when they believe that their children have fewer opportunities than they had in their youth, this is where people are vulnerable to the demagogue.” 

The rise of such leaders around the world poses a real threat to smaller countries such as Canada, saying we cannot survive in a world with no rules and where only the law of the jungle prevails.

When it came to renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement and fighting the U.S.’s 232 tariffs on steel aluminum, then, it only made sense to treat it as an opportunity to fix what was wrong with the original NAFTA, Freeland said.

Unifor National President Jerry Dias was a consultant to the NAFTA talks, a role that Freeland said was key to the new deal containing significant improvements to worker protections, including a requirement for major changes to Mexican labour laws.

“None of this would have been possible were it not for our very strong partnership with labour unions and labour leaders, including the amazing Jerry Dias and his team,” Freeland said. 

“We all stood shoulder to shoulder in the fight over NAFTA and 232. You were fighting for your own jobs, of course, but you also knew you were fighting for your whole country.”

Joie Warnock highlights incredible work for equity, fair contracts in western region

Unifor -

Outgoing Western Regional Director Joie Warnock gave a passionate update on activities in the western region to Unifor Convention delegates on Tuesday, highlighting the commitments to reconciliation with First Nations.

“As usual, it is our members on the ground making the biggest difference toward reconciliation,” said Warnock.

Crediting the testimony and wisdom coming from Indigenous communities, she urged members across Canada “to listen and act upon what we have heard.”

Activists in Manitoba earned thanks for leading Unifor’s fight for paid domestic leave. In May 2016, the province became the first to pass legislation mandating paid time off for those fleeing domestic violence.

“Now, there is domestic violence leave legislation in every province and territory,” said Warnock. “Our success has served as a valuable example of what’s possible through our mobilizing and political action.”

Warnock spoke directly to Saskatchewan Crown workers who are preparing to take job action.

“We are fighting against a premier who saw fit to increase MLA wages by 2.3 per cent and offer nothing to front-line workers – needless to say, we’re not accepting this,” said Warnock. “We’ve held rallies, days of action in our workplaces and launched an advertising campaign to get the message out there, so we’ll do whatever it takes to achieve fair collective agreements.”

The 100th anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike reminded all workers of their collective power.

“Many things have changed since 1919, but workers’ collective power is still the most important political force in our society,” said Warnock. “Capital knows damn well that we pose a direct threat to their unfettered ability to mistreat workers and concentrate their wealth even further.”

She closed her speech with special recognition of union organizers and a call to every member to deepen their involvement in the union.

Warnock has been appointed to work in the President’s office as an assistant following Convention.

Watch Joie Warnock’s entire speech here.

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