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Campeau school bus drivers ratify first collective agreement

Unifor -

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%.

BCNDP budget will help low- and middle-income families

Unifor -

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.”

OMG Buzzfeed is unionizing

Rank and File - latest news -

By Chloe Rockarts On Tuesday, February 12, Buzzfeed workers in the United States voted to unionize. In Toronto, a majority of the ten BuzzFeed Canada workers filed for union certification with the Canadian Media Guild (CMG), a local of the Communications Workers of America. Media… Read More

Budget 2019 – what does it mean for post-secondary?

Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC -

Feb 19, 2019 FPSE News

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.

  • Relief
    Student loan interest eliminated, effective today.
  • Access
    Funding increased for tuition-free ABE and ELL, benefitting an estimated 19,000 students.
  • Investments
    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.

Have a question about the upcoming health care votes – join the MGEU Tele-meeting

Manitoba Government & General Employees Union -

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.

$100k retirement packages for Domtar Woodlands employees

Unifor -

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."

Black History Month: Unifor members speak on activism Week 3

Unifor -

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 publishes new video on what’s at stake for Crown workers

Unifor -


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.”

Members at Ventra Plastics ratify collective agreement

Unifor -

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.

Sting and cast give big boost to #SaveOshawaGM campaign

Unifor -

A moving performance by Sting and the cast of his musical, The Last Ship, in Oshawa gave a big boost to Unifor’s campaign to convince General Motors to reverse its decision on the Oshawa Assembly Plant.

“You have a duty to support the community that’s worked for you. It should be a mutual support system. It’s about loyalty. These workers have loyally given their lives to the company. It’s a two-way street,” Sting told the crowd as he urged General Motors to do the right thing.

Thousands of Unifor members and the public attended the Valentine’s Day solidarity performance, held in the heart of downtown Oshawa. The legendary musician began with “Message in a Bottle,” and after several numbers from the musical, closed with “Every Breath You Take.”

“We live in a time where people with influence rarely poke out their head,” said National President Jerry Dias as he thanked the British recording artists on stage. “Today is about saying to GM in the strongest terms that we’re not accepting your decision to close down the facility.”

The Last Ship, with music and lyrics by Sting, is based on the closure of the shipyard in the musician’s hometown. The Mirvish musical, playing at Toronto’s Princess of Wales Theatre, tells the empowering story of the worker’s fight against the shutdown.

At a post-performance news conference with Dias Sting told reporters he could see the anxiety in the faces of autoworkers.

“It’s very evident to us, performing on stage. We could see everyone’s face. I can see the worry on their faces, genuine concern about the future. It was very moving for us to see that close up. It’s not a game, this is real.”

It’s been 11 weeks since General Motors made the devastating announcement about Oshawa and Dias said Unifor is not backing down in this fight.

“We are telling your story and it’s important that your story is heard….Canada needs to get behind you. This can’t be buried under the political red carpet,” said Sting.

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