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Unifor members across Canada bolster Regina picket lines

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Unifor Local 594’s bold fight to defend the defined benefit pension plan against a massively profitable refinery has drawn reinforcements from across the country.

Members from three provinces have already travelled to Regina to join the picket lines, and dozens more are expected this weekend.

“Unifor members are ready to fight,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “When a greedy employer like FCL attacks our members, it can expect a fight with our entire union membership.”

Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) owns the Co-op Refinery, where nearly 800 Unifor members have been locked out since December 5, 2019 in freezing conditions. At issue is the employer’s demands for concessions for most that amount to a 50 per cent cut in the value of their pensions.

“Co-op Refinery makes $3 million in profit every single day when our members are at work,” said Kevin Bittman, Unifor Local 594 President. “Clearly the attack on our pension is an attempt to break the union.”

Leanne Marsh, a skilled trades worker at Unifor Local 2200 and Chairperson of Unifor’s B.C. Regional Council arrived January 8 to show support.

“I jumped at the chance to come out here to show B.C.’s support for this fight,” said Marsh. “While I’m here, there are secondary pickets happening at B.C. co-ops nearly every day. We’re supporting Unifor Local 594 in every way we can.”

Mohamad Alli, a retiree from Local 468 in Winnipeg, shares those sentiments: “I knew I had to come to show my support. Pensions are absolutely critical to retirement security for workers, and what FCL is trying to do to their loyal workforce is disgusting and wrong.”

If you want more information about joining Local 594 picket lines, please contact your local union president.

CAUT in solidarity with India anti-government protesters

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(Ottawa – January 15, 2020) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) condemns recent violent police and government attacks at three of the India’s leading universities: Jamia Millia Islamia, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).

Over the past month, police and government-backed thugs have beaten students and teachers, and used tear gas and rubber bullets to quell peaceful protests over recent changes to citizenship laws and proposals calling for national registration of all citizens. The changes have fueled fears that Muslims in India will face discrimination by the right-wing Hindu-majority government.

“Peaceful protesters have been brutally attacked while police have also refused to allow medical assistance for badly injured victims,” says CAUT executive director David Robinson. “We condemn these illegal tactics in the strongest terms, and urge the Indian government to immediately reconsider its proposals which are the root cause fueling the protests.”

The harsh attacks have led to solidarity protests across India with at least 29 universities and colleges joining. Additionally, general public protests have erupted in support of the students, and a January 8 nationwide general strike, also in support of the students and specifically anti-government, involved up to 250 million participants, including trade unions, students and farmers.

CAUT urges review of labour relations at UNBC

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(Ottawa – January 15, 2020) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is concerned about the state of labour relations at UNBC and is urging the institution to agree to an external independent review.

“In my many years of experience with CAUT, I can say without hesitation that I have not come across a more difficult and acrimonious labour relations environment than exists at UNBC today,” wrote CAUT executive director David Robinson in a letter to the Chair of the UNBC Board of Governors.

Read the full letter here.

Joseph Mairs: A coal miner who never died

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Rankandfile.ca caught up with Eden Haythornthwaite to speak about the long-running annual Joseph Mairs Memorial held every year on Vancouver Island. This year’s memorial begins 1pm at St. Mary’s Catholic Church Hall in Ladysmith. Who is Joseph Mairs, and how long has this memorial been held? Joseph Mairs was a trade unionist and a coal Continue readingJoseph Mairs: A coal miner who never died

Unifor Local 302 Paramedics call on Elgin County to increase EMS service levels

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Paramedics from Unifor Local 302 submitted a deputation in front of the Council of Elgin County on January 14, 2020, sounding the alarm bell on the need for enhanced ambulance services for residents.

The call for increased ambulance services comes at a time where the capacity for Emergency Medical Services in the county simply cannot meet the needs of the community. Service levels have remained stagnant over the last decade, while the county’s population has continued to grow and the demand has increased.

That means the system now can not handle the call volumes for medical emergencies on a regular basis, putting residents at risk due to the lengthy ambulance wait times and delays in treating those in need. Paramedics have seen first-hand that this under- servicing has created uncertainty, and puts lives at risk.

In order to meet the needs of Elgin County and of St. Thomas residents, Unifor is calling on the Council of Elgin County to develop a concrete plan for EMS going forward, and conduct an immediate review of call volumes. The union is also asking the council to immediately increase capacity by adding 36 hours of ambulance transport capacity to the system.

Elgin-St.Thomas EMS paramedics are dedicated to providing the best services for residents to ensure that someone is experiencing a medical emergency, they are safely and quickly transported to the hospital for care.

Come to Regina

Unifor -

Unifor is asking all locals across Canada to send as many members as possible to Regina starting January 19, 2020.

Their greedy employer has locked out nearly 800 Unifor Local 594 members since December 5, 2019. The Co-op Refinery makes $3 million dollars a day in profits. Last year, the Co-op parent company, Federated Co-operatives Limited earned more than $9.2 billion dollars. Yet the Co-op wants to cut the pensions of their loyal, hardworking employees by half, despite promising that these pensions would be protected in the last round of bargaining.

Help us fightback against the Co-op, which is acting like a greedy corporate bully.

Please contact your Local Union President for more details. If your president is not available, please email Josh.Coles@unifor.org.

For tips on what to pack for a prairie picket line watch this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sq5gD0witMg

If you can’t join us in Regina, you can still help by going to Boycottco-op.ca to add your name to the pledge to boycott all Co-op retailers until our members get a fair deal.

Toronto Uber drivers first to apply for unionization in Canada

UFCW Canada -

Toronto – January 13, 2020 – UFCW Canada has applied to the Ontario Labour Relations Board to unionize Uber Black limousine and SUV drivers in Toronto. The more than 300 drivers work in and out of Pearson International Airport and downtown Toronto. They could become the first ride-sharing workers in Canada to gain union representation.

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