Feed aggregator

CAUT Statement on the 100th Anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike

CAUT -

(Ottawa – May 15, 2019) Today marks 100 years since the commencement of the Winnipeg general strike, when most of the city’s workers — about 30,000 private and public sector employees — walked off the job in an organized but unprecedented protest over dismal working conditions, low wages and the lack of a right to a collective voice.

Six weeks later it was over, but not before the federal government had ordered the arrest of eight strike leaders, and riots on June 19, “Bloody Saturday”, resulted in the deaths of two strikers and injuries for many others when mounted police rode into crowds gathered at Market Square and used clubs and guns to quell the unrest.

“The Canadian Association of University Teachers stands with other unions in Canada to honour the memory of this ground-breaking strike and of the people who fought for rights we often take for granted today,” says CAUT executive director David Robinson. “Today, workers are facing a resurgence of anti-unionism that threatens to erode or eliminate the power of collective action which was so hard-won by those before us — a threat we must stand together to guard against, just as workers did 100 years ago, despite the precarity of their situations.”

The strike was a defining event in the history of Canada’s modern union movement and served to highlight the plight of the working class, and drive growing solidarity. It spawned the birth of the first mandated minimum wage, leading the way for unionization of workers, improvements in employment and social conditions, and ultimately to recognition by the Supreme Court of Canada of the right to strike as essential to a meaningful process of collective bargaining protected by Canada’s Constitution.

IPS workers gather to talk strategy in Oshawa

Unifor -

More than 100 local leaders and delegates in the Independent Parts and Suppliers Council gathered in Oshawa Friday for the twice annual IPS Council.

“There is no question we are in a difficult position facing a number of challenges. That is why we are here today, to discuss possible solutions” said Gerry Logan, President of IPS Council.

The meeting was held two days after General Motors held a joint news conference with Unifor to announce plans to maintain a footprint in Oshawa and transform the plant to a stamping and parts facility.

“The fact that Unifor’s campaign forced GM to change its plans, and won community support should give us all hope that together we have power,” said John D'Agnolo, President of Local 200.

Despite the GM announcement, almost 2000 Unifor members in the IPS sector still face job loss at the end of 2019. Several Unit Chairpersons reported high levels of stress among members and their families.

“We remain committed to doing everything we can to assist and support our affected IPS members,” said Luis Domingues, Unifor Director of IPS.

 “We have to focus and find solutions for our members in IPS and we have to act now, together as a united force,” said Lorraine Sinclair, Local 1859, during an emotional discussion on how to fight for auto sector jobs.

Many local union delegates spoke about the important role of the IPS bargaining program and how it is being used by bargaining committees across the sector to make important gains for our members.

“In the face of these challenges, we are not going anywhere. We will fight together and win together, and it starts by using the bargaining program in a coordinated manner,” said Domingues.

Determined Autoport bargaining committee in Halifax sees major gains in new deal

Unifor -

Ratified by 84% on Tuesday, May 14, the new collective agreement for Autoport workers in Halifax makes strong gains including a paid 30-minute lunch, a 30-minute shorter work day, improved bereavement leave and wage increases representing an average increase of 4 to 5 per cent annually over three years.

“We knew this round of negotiations was going to take time because both sides had a lot a concerns they wanted to address,” said Scot Spike, President of the Autoport unit Lodge 1 at Local 100. “I’m proud of the committee for working so well together and for the patience and support of our members.”

Other gains in the contract include an increased RRSP employer pension contribution to 9 per cent, new language around scheduling and improved Women’s Advocate language covering recurring training.

“We knew from our many years dealing with CN that it would be challenging to have them share their profits with the workers but it’s great to see the solidarity of the members at Lodge 1 standing behind their bargaining committee and achieving a great agreement,” said Terry McKimm, President of Local 100.

Autoport is one of the largest vehicle processing and shipment facilities in North America handling nearly 185,000 vehicles every year. The facility is located in Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia, at the mouth of the Halifax harbour.

Unifor makes workers’ rights an election issue in Newfoundland and Labrador

Unifor -

The Newfoundland and Labrador election is May 16 and Unifor took the opportunity to demand responses from party leaders on issues ranging from raising the minimum wage, to ending prolonged labour disputes and creating a standalone regulator for safety in the offshore oil and gas sector.

“Engagement was low leading into this election and we knew there were important issues to be addressed, so we made workers’ rights election issues,” said Lana Payne, Atlantic Regional Director. “After the year we had supporting workers in Gander who never should have been locked out for two years, we are demanding change so it can’t happen again. Our demands won’t disappear on election day either - we’re going to hold all our elected officials to account.”

Unifor issued a questionnaire to party leaders asking for commitments on each of the following demands: raise the minimum wage to $15; increase vacation and paid sick day minimums; strengthen collective bargaining rights to prevent prolonged disputes and protect against contract re-tendering to bust unions and decrease wages; and create a standalone regulator in the oil and gas sector for safety and the environment.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Liberals, NDP and PC parties responded to our questionnaire. The questionnaire and their full responses can be read at unifor.org/NLvotes.

On Monday evening, Unifor issued a review of the responses received on a Twitter thread.

“In general, we were pleased to see that on some issues, including improvements to collective bargaining rights, there was unanimous recognition across the parties that something must be done,” said Payne.

Unifor’s Political Action department organized canvass events to engage members in the political process and promote conversation on doorsteps about workers’ rights and what needs to be done to better protect them.

First agreement reached for rural Nova Scotia telecom unit

Unifor -

Telecommunications workers at Eastlink along the South Shore of Nova Scotia secured their first agreement this week. These workers are technicians responsible for the maintenance, installation and repair of telecommunications services.

In a fiercely competitive industry, the bargaining team was able to secure the same contract as counterparts in the Halifax area which had decades of bargaining gains in them.

“This committee knew what they needed to make their work environments better,” said Roch LeBlanc, Unifor National Representative. “Their focus and excellent preparation led the team to secure gains for workers in this unit including a commitment from the employer on the frequency of stand-by work.”

The unit has many long-term employees, some who started with the company as early as 1985.

The union congratulates the bargaining committee on securing this collective agreement, particularly Don Lemoyne, Randy Outhouse and Local President Todd Beaver.

Remembering Vic Catano

CAUT -

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) extends its deepest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Vic Catano, who passed away on May 10, 2019. As a leading academic staff association activist, he contributed enormously to advancing college and university workplace rights. His loss will be keenly felt; his legacy will continue.

Honoured in 2009 with CAUT’s Donald C. Savage Award, Vic’s work as a chief negotiator on the Saint Mary’s University collective agreement set a standard that associations across the country, big and small, continue to incorporate and build on. Again and again, CAUT has turned to that language for use in its model clauses and bargaining advisories.

As a leader, he dedicated time and energy to serving as President of CAUT, President of Saint Mary's University Faculty Union, and countless other committee positions.

Dr. Catano was a Professor of Psychology at Saint Mary’s University. Over time he also served as a Special Lecturer at the Technical University of Nova Scotia, an Adjunct Professor at Dalhousie University, a Visiting Research Fellow at the Canadian Forces Personnel Applied Research Unit, President of the Association of Psychologists of Nova Scotia, President of the Canadian Society of Industrial / Organizational Psychology, and Chair of the Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations’ Independent Board of Examiners.

Beyond these specific achievements, Vic also leaves a record of personal warmth, compassion, and deep commitment to the cause of workplace justice. Our responsibility to his legacy is to continue his work.

President’s Message on Concordia

Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals -

 

This is an update to try to help you understand just what is happening with the planned closure of the Concordia Emergency Department and related changes. We understand from local management that these changes are still set to happen as of June 24, 2019, and we have not been told any differently by the WRHA or Shared Health.

For our members in the laboratory at Concordia, we know that you have all made your employment choices, and in some cases retirement plans, based on the planned closure date. Yesterday you received a letter from Shared Health confirming the status of your choice. MAHCP knows that any change to the planned closure date may affect your choice, and we have asked the Employer to include that other options will be considered regarding those choices if the closure does NOT happen on June 24, 2019 as planned. This includes any who have indicated that you would choose to retire rather than moving to a different lab.

For those of you in the WRHA and DI at Concordia, I will share with you that we have not yet heard from the Employer their final decision on numbers of individual positions that would be impacted by the planned June 24 closure. I spoke with many of you a couple of weeks ago, but unfortunately we still do not have any confirmation from the Employer on the final numbers.

We all know that the Manitoba Government has re-engaged Dr. Peachey to evaluate the implementation of his recommendations. There has been plenty of media attention on this issue recently and MAHCP has been vocal about how this ongoing uncertainty is negatively affecting our members at Concordia.

So what does all this mean?

MAHCP has yet to learn what Dr. Peachy may recommend. Is he going to recommend that the Concordia Hospital maintains at the very least an urgent care centre? Is he going to recommend a delay in the closure? Or is he going to say that that the ER should close on June 24 as planned?

It is important to note here that the Manitoba Government has brought Dr. Peachey back for this review, not the WRHA nor Shared Health. This is a government decision. MAHCP has been meeting with both Employers over the past number of days, and I am certain that the Employers are awaiting government decisions, the same as the rest of us. The Employers were given a mandate for closure in June and have been working towards a labour adjustment strategy based on that mandate and our Collective Agreements.

I don’t often let the Employer off the hook, but until we learn something different, they are working under the assumption that the ER will close in June as planned.

If it does not, I want to assure each of you that we will continue to be there for you to make sure that any choices our Laboratory members have already made are not binding, and that we get the clearest information possible as soon as Government makes their plan clear in the wake of the Peachey review.

Our Allied Health members at Concordia have faced uncertainty for far too long, but I want you to know that MAHCP is working hard to advocate for and protect your rights. As always, I will continue to update you as we learn any new information.

In Solidarity,

Bob Moroz, President

Asian heritage month - Week 1

Unifor -

Making Change from Unifor local 1S

Albert Ngui is a Canadian born Chinese-Filipino residing in Regina, Saskatchewan.  Albert is an activist and advocate for fair and equitable work, for all Workers of Colour in the workplace.  Through his experiences working with Unifor’s Aboriginal & Workers of Colour (AWOC) Committee, he was able to find the support and the voice needed to become a leader within the labour movement, his local, and in his community.  Today, he has become an active Union Steward, Activist, Trustee, AWOC member in his local, and has become founder of the Workers of Colour committee within the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL).  Thank you Unifor for your support!

Up and Coming Determined Unifor Local 240 Activist

Marybeth Punzalan is the Chairperson of the Giovanni Caboto Club and the Worker of Colour Chairperson for Unifor Local 240 in Windsor, Ontario.  She represents over 100 members in the hospitality sector.

Marybeth is a great example of a leader who is fierce, determined and fearless.  She was instrumental in organizing her workplace and successful, along with the bargaining committee, in negotiating their first collective agreement.  This was not an easy task since her employer is an Italian men’s private club.  The club has been under great scrutiny in our community for not allowing women on their executive board.  They have been boycotted by many in our community, which has had an impact on their jobs.  Despite this, Marybeth, along with the other organizers did not back away from joining Unifor and they continued to take on the many injustice’s workers had faced without the union.

Being chairperson is difficult in this workplace, and Marybeth is faced with the added challenge of being a woman and a person of colour.  Her tenacity is admirable and inspiring.  Despite the hard feelings the employer has for Unifor as a national organization and their personal anger towards the committee for organizing a union, Marybeth continues to show up to work every single day and works tirelessly on behalf of the membership at the Caboto Club.  She is more determined as each day passes to ensure members receive the respect and dignity they deserve.

Roda Elliott is from Nova Scotia and works as a CCA (Continuing Care Assistant) at Debert Court of Shannex, and a member of Local 4606. As a member, her whole family had a privilege to attend the Family Education in August 2017 and met many people, some of whom they stayed connected with until now. The whole family had the best time of their life at Port Elgin during that time it was a great experience.  She learned so many things in Family Education program and from then on has been very interested about Unifor and what more it can offer her as a union member. In 2018,

Roda had the opportunity to attend a 2 week AWOC (Aboriginal and Workers of Colour) course where understanding how racism is not individual acts or attitudes, but is systemic and real in the lived experiences of Aboriginal and Workers of Colour like her. During the course, she recognized how racism intersects with gender, sexual orientation, abilities, and other forms of discrimination. She has met wonderful people and real activists in this two week course, they worked together as a group to understand the connection between racism and capitalism, and how it acts locally and internationally. She experienced racism, inequality and biases and didn’t know how to deal with it before, but now knows how to stand up for herself and for others when there is a need to challenge racism in the workplace and in the broader community. Roda has strengthened her support from Local 4606 and solidarity between Aboriginal and Workers of Colour by joining their network group and seen positive changes in equality and rights for vulnerable groups in society, but there is more to be achieved though activism and legislation. Roda is proud to be an AWOC member and a Unifor activist. Humility, Wisdom, Honestly, Love, Respect and Courage to all.

UFCW Statement on Amazon Replacing Workers with Robots

UFCW Press Releases -

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) President Marc Perrone released the following statement in response to a new report that Amazon is rolling out machines to automate the boxing of customer orders, a job held by thousands of its workers:

“Jeff Bezos’s vision for our economy is focused on driving up profits at any cost by replacing talented employees with automation. While Amazon is raking in billions in tax cuts from cities desperate for new jobs, the company is ruthlessly working to eliminate the jobs of thousands of its current employees.

“This comes as Amazon announced it is offering to pay its workers $10,000 to quit their jobs rather than using that money to make Amazon jobs good jobs to begin with. It’s clear that Jeff Bezos cares more about the bottom line than investing in the hardworking employees who made Amazon a success in the first place. This is shameful.

“Our nation’s leaders need to wake up and realize that left unchecked, Amazon’s predatory business model will only continue to wipe out thousands of jobs that have powered our economy for decades. Our families and communities deserve better than this.”

BACKGROUND:

As reported by Reuters, Amazon started adding technology to a handful of warehouses in recent years, which scans goods coming down a conveyor belt and envelops them seconds later in boxes custom-built for each item. The plan shows how Amazon is pushing to boost profits at the expense of its own workers.

  • Amazon has considered installing two machines at dozens more warehouses, removing at least 24 roles at each one, these people said.
  • These facilities typically employ more than 2,000 people.
  • Resulting in more than 1,300 cuts across 55 U.S. fulfillment centers for standard-sized inventory.
  • Amazon would expect to recover the costs in under two years, at $1 million per machine plus operational expenses, they said.

This report comes as Amazon announced they are offering up to $10,000 for current Amazon employees in warehouses and other facilities to quit their jobs so that they can start delivering packages for the company instead.

###

The UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. 

Our members help put food on our nation’s tables and serve customers in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org

 

Bethlenfalvy dead wrong on privatization

NUPGE -

"Ontario spends far less per person on public services than any other province and that is partly because individuals and businesses in Ontario pay less income and corporate tax." — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President

Yellow Vests and Migrant Worker Rights in Saskatchewan

Rank and File - latest news -

By Andrew Stevens (Originally published in The Conversation) For the first time in generations, international migration has helped to fuel Saskatchewan’s population growth. “Suddenly,” wrote Saskatchewan-based columnist Tammy Robert in Maclean’s in 2017, “Saskatchewan was the place to be — not the place to be from.” Starting in 2007,… Read More

South Asian Heritage Month - Week 1

Unifor -

Unifor Local 111 Activist/ Leader

Jessie Rana eldest of two daughters has been a conventional operator for over a decade. Being a role model to her younger sister she is a strong believer in the power of positive thinking. 

When at work she is a part of an influential local.  Not only is she a recording secretary and an active job steward for local 111, but she is also the chair of the Violence in Workplace Committee and Young Workers Committee. In her spare time she volunteers with the YMCA coaching for grade 4/5 basketball and assisting with local food and toy drives.   Jesse is an activist in the community and willing to make change wherever possible.

Proud Unifor Local 40 Member/ Activist

Joachim Victor Gomes is a member of Unifor local 40.  He has been a co-chair for the Equity Committee of TYRLC from 2009 – 2013. His day-to-day job is to help newcomers to find a job in their area of expertise, facilitating career mentoring and citizenship education mentoring is a large part of his daily activities.

Rising Leader Unifor Local 6006

Dharsan Rajasingham is a young worker who was instrumental in organizing and unionizing his unit of over 200 people in 2015.  Dharsan sits on the Ontario Regional Young Workers Committee. He is a Chief Steward for Local 6006 and chair of the AWOC committee. Dharsan like to help out in any way and is always present at days of action in the community.

PSAC urges passage of new Accessibility Act

PSAC -

While there is room for improvement, PSAC has reiterated its support for the government’s Bill C-81, the Accessible Canada Act. Once C-81 is passed, the government will have the authority to work with stakeholders and Canadians with...

Pages