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Demands grow louder in Ontario to end for-profit nursing homes

Rank and File - latest news -

By Zaid Noorsumar The Ontario Health Coalition is holding an online Day of Action today, May 1, to demand the Ontario PC government and Premier Doug Ford fix long-term care. The hashtag #FixLTCFord is being used by the Coalition and its supporters on Twitter and other social media platforms. In addition to demanding the elimination Continue readingDemands grow louder in Ontario to end for-profit nursing homes

RadioLabour interviews UFCW Canada National President Paul Meinema

UFCW Canada -

Toronto – May 1, 2020 – UFCW Canada National President Paul Meinema recently spoke with RadioLabour, an internationally web syndicated radio station, to talk about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on UFCW members working in the food retail and meat processing sectors, and to discuss the actions that our union is taking to protect the health, safety, and dignity of workers on the front lines.

International Workers' Day Solidarity


May Day has long been a day to rally and march for a better world. This May Day we cannot march but we can rally ourselves around that better world and commit ourselves to action. We must ensure that the lessons of today lead to change tomorrow.

Post-secondary educators issue urgent call for support to offset impacts of COVID-19


(Ottawa — May 1, 2020) The federal government must address the significant financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on universities and colleges with a series of bold measures to strengthen public funding and to maintain enrolment levels, says the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT).

“Universities and colleges are integral to the solving of Canada’s current and future challenges. We urge you to take immediate steps to further close the gaps in emergency support and commit to making changes to improve the affordability and sustainability of post-secondary education as part of a recovery plan that ensures a stronger and more just post-Covid-19 Canada,” wrote CAUT President, Brenda Austin-Smith, and CAUT Executive Director, David Robinson, in a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

CAUT is asking the federal government to act on three recommendations in order to ensure Canada’s post-secondary institutions weather the pandemic and are well-positioned to assist the country in recovery:

  • Allow universities and colleges access to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy;
  • Work with the provinces and institutions to implement tuition waivers to ensure that any qualified student will be able to get the education and training they need without taking on additional debt;
  • Increase the federal transfer to the provinces for post-secondary education with agreements on shared priorities to improve affordability, accessibility and quality.

CAUT argues that the extending the federal wage subsidy program will help secure jobs for the summer and the fall for thousands of academics. Providing tuition waivers gives students and those workers currently unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic an opportunity to get the education and training they need without taking on debt. The final recommendation focuses on building long-term, stable, and predictable public funding for Canada’s universities and colleges.

“This pandemic has brought into sharp relief the unsustainability of the current financing of post-secondary education in Canada. Support for students must be complemented with a commitment to stable and predictable core operating funding. This will allow colleges and universities to focus on their core academic mission,” concluded Austin-Smith and Robinson.

For more information, please contact:

Lisa Keller, Communications Officer, 613-222-3530 or keller@caut.ca

COVID-19: Human rights resources


Equity seeking groups continue to face higher rates of precarious work, homelessness, poverty, under-employment, unemployment and social isolation. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the inequalities marginalized individuals typically face. Physical...

Why I’m voting NO for OSSTF tentative agreement

Rank and File - latest news -

By Rick BeerOSSTF member, Toronto District School Board Some people believe that education workers should be grateful to have kept their jobs and their paycheques under the current circumstances – education workers should have gratitude for another contract containing real wage cuts. Some people believe that education workers should be fearful that the government would Continue readingWhy I’m voting NO for OSSTF tentative agreement

Western Unifor locals donate more than $50,000 to food banks

Unifor -

May 1, 2020

VANCOUVER—Unifor locals from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia have marked International Workers’ Day by making donations to local food banks across Western Canada.

“Layoffs resulting from the pandemic means workers everywhere are hurting. From lobbying to improve safety at work and government emergency programs to community donations, Unifor is working to help all workers, union and non-union,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor Western Regional Director. “At the local level, Unifor members have taken action to help reduce hunger during this challenging time.”

A total of $50,000 was pledged from more than 20 locals across the prairies and B.C.

Unifor local unions representing workers in many sectors participated, including transportation, forestry, media, manufacturing, telecommunications, mining, rail, energy, and aerospace.

“When crisis strikes, workers come together to support other workers, whether they are unionized or not,” said Leanne Marsh, chairperson of Unifor’s B.C. Regional Council.

Unifor’s Social Justice Fund and Canadian Community Fund pledged the seed donations to start the May Day project. The B.C. Regional Council and Prairie Regional Council followed suit by pledging their own donations.

“Many Unifor local unions have suffered from layoffs during the pandemic, but they’re still digging deep to contribute to the community-wide effort to help struggling families,” said Guy Desforges, chairperson of Unifor’s Prairie Regional Council.

Earlier this month Unifor’s Canadian Community Fund donated commercial-grade refrigerators to the Bear Clan Patrol’s food security project in Winnipeg’s North End.

To arrange for interviews, in-person or via Skype/Facetime with Gavin McGarrigle, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at ian.boyko@unifor.org or 778-903-6549 (cell).

Mr. Furnace serves lockout notice to workers during pandemic

Unifor -

May 1, 2020

ST. CATHARINES—Members of Unifor Local 1999 working at Mr. Furnace have been served notice that they could be locked out of their jobs on Monday, in the midst of a public health and economic crisis.

“It’s a new low for labour relations to see an employer issue this notice during a pandemic,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “COVID-19 is already responsible for hundreds of thousands of layoffs. Locking out workers that still have their jobs is an especially heartless move right now.”

Mr. Furnace, a subsidiary of Right Time Heating and Air Conditioning Canada, has been bullying workers since bargaining began says Unifor. The employer filed for conciliation before a single bargaining meeting had taken place. The bargaining offers from the company attempt to re-write virtually every clause of the collective agreement by erasing seniority and established wage structures.

“Mr. Furnace is using the pandemic to try to break the union,” said James Tauvette. “Before bargaining even started, the company was overturning seniority rights and contracting out. This company was spoiling for a fight and had no interest in good-faith bargaining.”

Unifor points to the 13 outstanding grievances for a company of 19 workers as an example of the company’s disrespectful behaviour.

“The way a company treats their workers tells you a lot about the values of the owners,” added Dias. “Mr. Furnace customers should consider other providers if this is going to be a pattern at Mr. Furnace and Right Time Heating and Air Conditioning.”

To arrange for interviews, in-person or via Skype/Facetime, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at ian.boyko@unifor.org or 778-903-6549 (cell).

MGEU requests Workplace Safety Health Branch intervention

Manitoba Government & General Employees Union -

MGEU has made repeated efforts to ensure that community support workers in Prairie Mountain Health and Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority have the personal protective equipment necessary to safely do their work. Despite this, these employers continue to restrict the appropriate use of PPE and they often provide unclear and contradictory direction on PPE usage.

Regina City Council endorses binding arbitration for Co-op Refinery

Unifor -

April 30, 2020

REGINA—Pressure is growing for Premier Scott Moe to end the Co-op Refinery lockout with binding arbitration after the Regina City Council endorsed the idea today by a near unanimous vote of 9-1.

“City councillors out-flanked the mayor to show real leadership with this extraordinary endorsement of binding arbitration,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “After Co-op snubbed the province’s mediators, a legislated solution is the best path to ending the lockout.”

Moved by councillor Andrew Stevens, the motion calls on the provincial government to seek binding arbitration to end the 147-day lockout at the Co-op Refinery. The refinery attempted to impose a final offer on Unifor Local 594 but workers voted 89 per cent against the contract. The union has already ratified the compromise proposed by two independent mediators in March 2020.

“Premier Moe’s appointment of mediators was a welcome step, but now we need the premier to follow through and impose the compromises proposed by the mediators,” said Kevin Bittman, president of Unifor Local 594.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

To arrange for interviews, in-person or via Skype/Facetime, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at ian.boyko@unifor.org or 778-903-6549 (cell).