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WE, the United Way, and labour’s charity problem

Rank and File - latest news -

By Doug Nesbitt “André Ouellet, Canada’s [Liberal] foreign affairs minister, threw human rights out of the whole issue of trade,” He [Craig Kielburger] told the delegates indignantly. “He said that Canada isn’t the world’s Boy Scout.” (Laughter. Meaningful pause). “Well, I’m a Boy Scout-” (Prolonged surge of laughter and applause). “And this just means that Continue readingWE, the United Way, and labour’s charity problem

Strike averted as Dominion store workers reach tentative agreement

Unifor -

July 31, 2020

ST. JOHN’S–Unifor Local 597 and Loblaw Companies Limited have reached a tentative collective agreement, avoiding strike action at Dominion stores across Newfoundland.

“These members have shown their character on the frontline of the pandemic and throughout the bargaining process as they united to improve working standards,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “Unifor has and will continue the fight to raise the bar for essential retail workers.”

Details of the collective agreement will not be released prior to ratification. Member votes on the new contract will take place in the coming days.

"I want to thank the bargaining committee for their hard work and the public for showing their support for the workers," said Unifor Local 597 President Carolyn Wrice. "Our members look forward to continuing to play a vital role in their communities."

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector and represents 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.

For media inquiries please contact Unifor Communications Representative Kathleen O’Keefe at kathleen.okeefe@unifor.org or 416-896-3303 (cell).

“Enough talk. We need bold action now.”: a coalition of unions representing front-line healthcare workers respond to Ontario’s long-term care staffing study

Unifor -

July 30, 2020

TORONTO — Unions that represent front-line healthcare workers across the long-term care sector issued the below joint statement following the release of Ontario’s long-term care staffing study, attributed to Sharleen Stewart, President, SEIU Healthcare, Candace Rennick, Secretary-Treasurer, CUPE Ontario, and Jerry Dias, National President, Unifor:

“Today the provincial government received yet another recommendations report on what we’ve already known for years. It’s time for transformational funding commitments and rigorous implementation timelines to ensure healthcare workers receive the support they need to deliver quality care for our most vulnerable. Unfortunately, Premier Ford’s government has yet to take steps towards funding an action plan to improve the delivery of long-term care. All three unions have long been advocating for a legislated care standard of four hours per resident per day and are urging the government to take immediate steps to pass that into law.

We are pleased that the report echoes our recommendation for a minimum daily average of four hours of direct care per resident, based on hours worked, not hours paid. The next step is ensuring that this has teeth by becoming legislated.

There are constructive, actionable steps that Premier Ford should take now to improve the system:

  1. Ensure that workers are paid at a rate commensurate with their significant contributions
  2. Eliminate Bill 124’s adverse impacts on worker retention
  3. Reverse the previously eliminated paid sick leave
  4. Revise transfer payment agreements with operators to mandate more full-time jobs
  5. Include unions, families and worker advocates in all policy implementation tables

Front-line healthcare workers are real heroes who have for too-long been exploited by a system that puts profits before care. They need support now, before the fall flu season and before a subsequent spike in COVID-19.

As we all know, long-term care staffing was in crisis prior to the spread of COVID-19, but it’s now on life support after the crushing impacts of the pandemic. Enough talk. We need bold action now.”

For media inquiries, contact:



Corey Johnson

SEIU Healthcare

c.johnson@seiuhealthcare.ca

416-529-8909



Daniel Tseghay

CUPE Communications

dtseghay@cupe.ca

647-220-9739



Shelley Amyotte

Unifor Communications

shelley.amyotte@unifor.org

902-717-7491

 

Enough talk, we need bold action on long-term care now: unions

Unifor -

“Enough talk. We need bold action now.”: a coalition of unions representing front-line healthcare workers respond to Ontario’s long-term care staffing study

TORONTO — Unions that represent front-line healthcare workers across the long-term care sector issued the below joint statement following the release of Ontario’s long-term care staffing study, attributed to Sharleen Stewart, President, SEIU Healthcare, Candace Rennick, Secretary-Treasurer, CUPE Ontario, and Jerry Dias, National President, Unifor:

“Today the provincial government received yet another recommendations report on what we’ve already known for years. It’s time for transformational funding commitments and rigorous implementation timelines to ensure healthcare workers receive the support they need to deliver quality care for our most vulnerable. Unfortunately, Premier Ford’s government has yet to take steps towards funding an action plan to improve the delivery of long-term care. All three unions have long been advocating for a legislated care standard of four hours per resident per day and are urging the government to take immediate steps to pass that into law.

We are pleased that the report echoes our recommendation for a minimum daily average of four hours of direct care per resident, based on hours worked, not hours paid. The next step is ensuring that this has teeth by becoming legislated.

There are constructive, actionable steps that Premier Ford should take now to improve the system:
1. Ensure that workers are paid at a rate commensurate with their significant contributions
2. Eliminate Bill 124’s adverse impacts on worker retention
3. Reverse the previously eliminated paid sick leave
4. Revise transfer payment agreements with operators to mandate more full-time jobs
5. Include unions, families and worker advocates in all policy implementation tables

Front-line healthcare workers are real heroes who have for too-long been exploited by a system that puts profits before care. They need support now, before the fall flu season and before a subsequent spike in COVID-19.

As we all know, long-term care staffing was in crisis prior to the spread of COVID-19, but it’s now on life support after the crushing impacts of the pandemic. Enough talk. We need bold action now.”

For media inquiries, contact:

Corey Johnson
SEIU Healthcare
c.johnson@seiuhealthcare.ca
416-529-8909

Daniel Tseghay
CUPE Communications
dtseghay@cupe.ca
647-220-9739

Shelley Amyotte
Unifor Communications
shelley.amyotte@unifor.org
902-717-7491

Dominion store strike deadline looms

Unifor -

July 30, 2020

ST. JOHN’S–Negotiations to renew the collective agreement between Unifor and Loblaw Companies Limited are coming down to the wire as a strike deadline that will affect all 11 Dominion stores in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador looms.

“This is not the outcome we want. However, as the hours pass it becomes clearer that strike action may be inevitable,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.

Negotiations between Unifor and Loblaw have been ongoing for eight months, beginning shortly after the company’s decision to eliminate 60 full-time positions, approximately 1 in 5 full-time jobs, at Newfoundland Dominion locations. Today more than 80 % of the remaining workers are part-time, with more than half earning less than $12 an hour.

“At this point some progress has been made. However, on the most important matters, including wages and new full-time jobs, we remain far apart. We are nearing an impasse,” said Unifor Local 597 President Carolyn Wrice.

The approximately 1,400 frontline workers at the Dominion stores have been working without a contract since October 2019 and have not received a wage increase since the spring of 2018.

“The COVID-19 crisis has been very difficult on our members, physically and emotionally. The only positive aspect was that it reminded Canadians of the value of supermarket work,” said Dias. “These frontline workers put their health and safety on the line to keep stores open and food on tables. Million-dollar Loblaw executives didn’t do that. The workers did.”

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector and represents 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.

For media inquiries please contact Unifor Communications Representative Kathleen O’Keefe at kathleen.okeefe@unifor.org or 416-896-3303 (cell).

 

Firing of Hong Kong professor condemned

CAUT -

(Ottawa — July 29, 2020) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) condemns the dismissal of pro-democracy activist professor Benny Tai from his tenured position as an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Hong Kong.

“The firing of Professor Tai is another signal that academic freedom and civil liberties are under threat from the Chinese government,” said CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “It sends a clear and chilling message not only to academics in Hong Kong, but to all of those pressing for democratic reforms and respect for human rights.”

Professor Benny Tai was a leading figure of the 2014 “Umbrella Revolution” protests in Hong Kong that paralysed the city for 79 days. Authorities arrested him last month, and sentenced him to 16 months in prison for two public nuisance offences.

Jeff Bezos and Amazon Must Be Held Accountable by Congress for Failure to Disclose COVID-19 Employee Infections and Deaths, Attack on Worker Rights

UFCW Press Releases -

Ahead of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Testifying to Congress, America’s Largest Food & Retail Union Calls on Lawmakers to Hold Amazon & Bezos Accountable for Company Failures

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, ahead of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos testifying to Congress, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, America’s largest food and retail union with 1.3 million workers, condemned Amazon for blatant efforts to stop employees from exercising their right to join a union and endangering both workers and consumers by failing to disclose internal numbers on how many Amazon employees have been infected by COVID-19. Additionally, UFCW recently challenged Amazon’s antitrust practices in a new complaint to the Federal Trade Commission.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“The time is long past to hold Jeff Bezos and Amazon accountable for their failures and irresponsibility that has consistently placed Amazon profits ahead of the safety and rights of American workers.

“It is outrageous that in the middle of a pandemic, Amazon refused to tell the American people how many of its workers have been exposed, become sick, or died from COVID-19. Even worse, Amazon has fired and attacked its own workers who bravely spoke out against the company’s unethical and irresponsible behavior. Enough is enough.

“Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos must be forced to answer the tough questions and be held accountable by Congress for the company’s blatant attacks on workers, and their failures to keep workers safe as COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on our country.”

Background:

UFCW has been a leading national voice calling for greater accountability for tech companies for their worker mistreatment, including Amazon and Facebook whose CEOs are testifying to Congress today.

In April 2020, UFCW condemned Amazon for firing the worker who led the recent strike at its Staten Island facility. In December 2018, the retail branch of UFCW launched a campaign to unionize Amazon warehouse workers. UFCW has also called on Amazon for action to protect its Whole Foods workers as more continue to be infected by COVID-19.

In June 2020, UFCW called out Facebook for creating a tool that allows companies to censor communications among their workers about unionizing. On the Facebook Workplace platform, an intranet-style chat and office collaboration product, the initial design would enable employers to blacklist words like unionize in communications on the platform.

In March 2020, UFCW condemned Instacart for failing to immediately provide the COVID-19 hazard pay and personal protective equipment needed to support and keep their workers safe at the beginning of the pandemic. In February 2020, Instacart workers in the Chicago area joined UFCW, making history as the first Instacart workers to join a union.

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The UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in healthcare, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members serve our communities in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at ufcw.org. 

Unifor vows to continue fighting Kenney's anti-worker law

Unifor -

EDMONTON—Unifor members have resolved to continue to defend their rights at work after the all-night session of the legislature eased the passage of Bill 32.

“Bill 32 is a blatant attack on workers’ constitutional rights. There is absolutely no way we will comply with it,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Jason Kenny is turning back the clock on workers’ rights to benefit his wealthiest corporate donors.”

While working Albertans slept last night, the UCP government used rare parliamentary procedure to force an end to the legislature’s debate on Bill 32 and expedite its passage this morning. The bill has been panned by unions as an attempt to place even greater limits on workers’ collective voices while letting corporate influence continue unfettered.

“I’ve heard from Unifor members across the province, from the Oilsands to education workers in Calgary, and we are united to defend workers’ rights,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor Western Regional Director. “Trump’s labour laws have no place in Alberta.”

Unifor is encouraging all workers, union or not, to stand up for better workplace conditions and freedom of speech at afl.org/defend-worker-rights and monitor Unifor’s Bill 32 resource page for updates about the campaign.

As part of the broader fight-back strategy, Unifor is working with the Alberta Federation of Labour on a legal challenge to Bill 32.

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).

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