Andrew Prokopchuk and Gerry Rosset were greeted yesterday by family at the Winnipeg Richardson International Airport after a 38-day stint helping Australian officials with the continuing firefight in South Wales, about 200 kilometres south of Sydney.
Vancouver – January 10, 2020 – The union that organized Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) workers in Vancouver and Victoria has won improvements for all MEC employees across British Columbia.
“Corporate tax cut benefits have trickled up, not down while Canadians have paid the price through cuts to public spending. They’ve been a multi-hundred-billion-dollar failure.” — Toby Sanger, Director of Canadians for Tax Fairness
In the face of terrible devastation and extreme danger, NUPGE wildland firefighters volunteer to fight what is being called the worst season of bush fires in Australian history.
Amqui and Causapscal, Que. – January 9, 2020 — Labourers, assistants, mechanics, clerks, and delivery drivers at the Coop Purdel in Amqui and Causapscal, Quebec have achieved a new union contract that provides wage gains, increased premiums, and more.
Nearly 800 members of Unifor Local 594 at the Co-op Refinery in Regina have been locked out for more than a month after the employer went after their pension plan.
Local 594 members have been fighting a courageous fight on a 24-7 picket line in bitterly cold conditions to defend what is rightfully theirs. This month Unifor will be escalating job action to pressure the company to get back to the table and drop their concessions.
Every message of solidarity is meaningful and deeply appreciated by these members. Please print off the poster below and take a photo with your various bargaining committees. Send photos as soon as possible to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Download your poster here.
There are many other ways for Unifor members to get involved and show their support. Visit boycottco-op.ca to learn more.
Inspired by the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, Unifor continues to act to support women facing harassment and violence in and out of the workplace. In December, Unifor Local 114 and Clipper Navigation reached an agreement with significant gains to wages and improvements to address precarious work schedules and, importantly, Paid Domestic Violence Leave language.
“We are thrilled the company and union worked together to include paid domestic violence leave for workers at Clipper Navigation,” said Barbie Zipp, Local 114 bargaining committee member and BC Women’s Committee Chair. “Through my work with the union, I know how workplace protection like this can be life-saving and be the support someone needs to flee a dangerous situation.”
Zipp, along with fellow bargaining committee member MacKenzie Planedin and National Representative Jim Dixon, championed Paid Domestic Violence Leave during bargaining and they are hopeful it sends an important message to other employers and to the BC government that paid leave days are vital to every workplace.
Unifor Local 114 and the employer agreed to Paid Domestic Violence Leave for up to five days for cases involving an employee and/or an employee's child. Both the Union and the employer recognized that domestic violence is a workplace issue and working together to incorporate this language into the collective agreement provides employees economic security to make life-changing decisions.
A 2015 study commissioned by the Conference Board of Canada states that 71 per cent of employers have had to protect a victim of conjugal violence. Members of Unifor Women’s Committees across the country continue to push for stronger legislative protections and bring stronger supports to survivors.
“Domestic violence doesn’t end when you leave the home,” said Lisa Kelly, Unifor Women’s Director. “Our union continues to bargain Women’s Advocates and make sure domestic violence leave is paid so that more women can access the resources they need to escape and find safety. Governments and employers are coming on board, but more work is needed every day to end gender-based violence and put firm supports in place.
British Columbia was the last province to introduce Domestic Violence Leave in Labour the standards, but the leave is unpaid. All provinces have included paid days, with the exception of British Columbia and Alberta. This bargaining breakthrough will help us push British Columbia to introduce paid leave.
Unifor is committed to establishing workplace programs and working conditions that protect its members in and out of their place of work, not just on December 6, but every day.
Read more about Unifor’s ground-breaking initiatives to support workers facing domestic violence here.
Unifor members across the country are stepping up to support the locked out members of Local 594 with secondary pickets at Co-op gas bars and grocery stores.
Information pickets have been conducted at Co-op retailers in Campbell River, Victoria, Abbotsford, Langley, Ladner, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina, and Winnipeg. More locations are being added daily.
“Federated Co-op’s greedy attack on pensions has motivated Unifor members in communities large and small to get out and promote a boycott,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Co-op members need to know that their local co-op is directly benefitting from scab labour and concession bargaining at its refinery.”
Local Federated Co-ops are the owners of the Co-op Refinery in Regina, where nearly 800 members of Unifor Local 594 have been locked out since December 5. Negotiations hit an impasse when FCL demanded massive concessions on pensions, despite massive profits and an explicit commitment during the last round of bargaining to maintain current benefit levels.
Unifor’s national boycott campaign has been supported by radio and television ads.
Any member of the public can take action by visiting boycottco-op.ca and sending a letter to Co-op managers. On January 7, Unifor announced that the campaign would escalate in the coming weeks.
With Local 594 members covering 21 different job classifications locked out, refinery operations are being attempted by a much smaller group of managers and unqualified replacement workers, jeopardizing both safety and production.
Toronto – January 8, 2019 – UFCW Canada, the union for Uber, Lyft, and other ride-hailing drivers, welcomes the City of Toronto’s introduction of new “vehicle-for-hire” regulations aimed at improving safety for drivers and passengers, but would like to see further reforms that empower drivers with enforceable labour rights and health and safety standards.
(Ottawa – January 8, 2020) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) wishes to express heartfelt condolences to the families, friends and loved ones of the 176 victims involved in a horrific air crash that occurred earlier today in Iran.
Media reports suggest that the 63 Canadians on the flight included Edmontonian Mojgan Daneshmand, and her husband Pedram Mousavi, both engineering faculty at the University of Alberta.
Daneshmand was an assistant professor and Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Radio Frequency Microsystems for Communications and Sensing, while Mousavi was a professor of mechanical engineering. Their daughters Daria and Dorina were with them and also perished.
Other Canadians on the flight were from British Columbia, Quebec, and Ontario. The University of Ottawa has confirmed that three students were aboard the Ukraine International Airlines flight, which crashed shortly after takeoff from Iran's capital of Tehran on its way to Kyiv.
“Right now, the Wakamow Manor Social Detox Centre is simply not structured or equipped to deal with all situations and clients who present themselves at the facility.” ― Whitney Kujansuu, SGEU Steward
Moose Jaw (8 Jan. 2020) ― Saskatchewan Government and General Employees' Union (SGEU) members at Wakamow Manor Social Detox Centre located in Moose Jaw are echoing concerns being raised about the need for improvements to addictions services in the province.
Premier Stephen McNeil announced on December 20 that the Boat Harbour Act would stand, mandating a closure of the effluent treatment facility currently used by the Northern Pulp mill in Pictou, NS, by the end of January. Without a place to treat effluent, Northern Pulp must close. More than 300 workers at the mill will lose their jobs, along with an expected 2,700 forestry workers in the tightly-interconnected industry across the province.
“In all my years of doing this work I have never seen an elected official gut a rural industry, casting tens of thousands into unemployment and financial uncertainty for the sake of a regulatory timeline,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “This is a horrible outcome for our members at Northern Pulp, for thousands of workers connected to the forestry sector and a shameful mark on the McNeil government.”
Nova Scotia Environment announced on December 17 that it would need a complete environmental assessment on the proposed state-of-the-art effluent treatment facility to replace Boat Harbour. That process alone could take the company as long as two years to complete, making the legislated closure date of January 31, 2020 unattainable for the mill.
Unifor has long been advocating for a solution to support thousands of jobs while the province rights a historical wrong and closes Boat Harbour, the treatment facility that was placed adjacent to Pictou Landing First Nation in the 1960s.
“We all agreed Boat Harbour had to close. That closure did not have to come at the cost of thousands of rural jobs – there was a solution for the mill to coexist, but there was no political will from McNeil to make it happen,” said Linda MacNeil, Atlantic Regional Director. “Our members and other forestry workers are not the ones responsible for any wrong-doing here. They are people who worked a job that supported their families. They deserve better than to be blamed and sacrificed due to the government’s lack of leadership, consultation or clear regulatory expectations.”
In collaboration with Forest Nova Scotia, Unifor gathered more than a thousand forestry workers, landowners and contractors and 350 forestry trucks in downtown Halifax on December 19. They shared a united message of support for an extension to the Boat Harbour Act, to give time for the additional environmental evaluation to proceed. The following day, the premier announced no such delay would happen and the Boat Harbour Act would stand.
“McNeil’s decision is heartbreaking for so many workers who were committed to finding a path forward that would benefit the entire community,” said MacNeil. “Forestry sector workers across rural Nova Scotia feel abandoned by their premier and misunderstood by a general public who isn’t well-informed on this renewable and vital sector.”
Reports are already coming in from independent contractors who can’t sell their forestry equipment and are facing bankruptcy in the coming months. In a story from The Chronicle Herald, Athol Forestry Co-op in Cumberland County says they have already put a halt on progressive forest management treatments like the ones called for by the Lahey Report, a provincially-commissioned report with recommendations for a sustainable forestry sector.
Without the value-add market for pulp wood, proper silviculture and forest management may prove too expensive for many woodland operations.
Unifor is continuing conversations with the company and government to advocate for its members and their futures, considering all available options. The union issued an update to members on Friday, January 3 following a meeting with Forestry Transition team leader Kelliann Dean and the Department of Labour and Advanced Education.
“We haven’t given up,” said MacNeil. “At the very least, we need to keep speaking out to set the record straight: this is a case of a company investing in the environment, in the community, and in the sustainability of the operation and a government that changed the rules of the game multiple times in order to shut them down.”
The Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA) Dream Gap Tour will return to Toronto January 11-12, 2020 with a six-game tournament.
“Unifor has been a strong supporter of the PWHPA since its inception,” said Jerry Dias, National President. “Our union fully supports the goal of a sustainable professional women’s league that girls and women players can aspire to.”
This weekend’s tournament will be the fourth official PWHPA event. Unifor was the title sponsor of the first Dream Gap Tour tournament, which took place in Toronto back in September 2019. Since then the tour has held tournaments in Hudson, New Hampshire and Chicago with an upcoming tournament scheduled to take place in Philadelphia next month.
The Women’s Hockey Showcase, sponsored by Secret deodorant, will bring six teams comprised of 120 athletes from across North America for two days of action packed hockey. Four of the games will be held at Toronto’s Herb Carnegie Arena, with three on Saturday January 11 and one the morning of Sunday January 12. A fifth game will be played Sunday morning in Vaughan at the Al Palladini Centre and the final game will take place Sunday afternoon at Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre in downtown Toronto.
The event will showcase the best players in the world including Marie-Philip Poulin, Natalie Spooner, Hilary Knight, Kendall Coyne and many more.
The mission of PWHPA Dream Gap Tour is to draw attention to the continued lack of opportunity and support for professional female hockey players in North America.
More information and tickets are available here.
Calgary – January 7, 2020 – When Camp Alexo acquired five hundred sleeping bags left over from Red Deer’s 2019 Canada Winter Games, UFCW 401 shop steward Shelley-Anne Goulet knew how to get them into the hands of those who need them most.
From Thursday, April 23 to Saturday, April 25, 2020 the MGEU will be holding its Women’s Conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Registration deadline for applications is Monday, January 27, 2020. Apply online today!