With 2 out of 4 national political parties committed to universal child care, the outcome of the election could help reduce the overwhelming costs for families across the country.
Unifor Coast Mountain Bus Company members will conduct a strike vote today after negotiations for a new collective agreement broke off on October 3, 2019.
“Months of talks have failed to produce any meaningful mandate to address wages, benefits and working conditions,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “Our members have been working without a contract since March 31 and Coast Mountain has still to come to the table with an offer that addresses the key issues.”
More than 5,000 Unifor members work in the lower mainland at Coast Mountain Bus Company, with Unifor Local 111 representing transit operators in conventional and community shuttle and Unifor Local 2200 representing maintenance and Seabus workers.
“Our members know that the public relies on them and it is our sincere hope that Coast Mountain comes back with a serious offer to avoid strike action and inconvenience to transit riders, but we are determined to obtain a fair deal for the workers,” said Mike Smith, Unifor Local 2200 President.
Coast Mountain Bus Company is a subsidiary of TransLink, which was recently named the best public transportation system in North America.
“TransLink won this award in part because of the on-time service of our members, but what the company isn’t recognizing is that level of service was achieved due to lack of proper breaks and recovery time between trips,” said Unifor Western Regional Director Gavin McGarrigle. “Coast Mountain is also failing to address a serious understaffing issue, with overcrowded bus trips increasing 36 per cent between 2016 and 2018.”
Negotiations between Unifor and Coast Mountain are set to resume on October 15, 2019.
“TransLink ridership is on the rise, making it increasingly difficult for our members to properly deliver quality service to the region’s growing population” said Balbir Mann, Unifor Local 111 President. “Improved working conditions and increased compensation will be a priority for us during these negotiations.”
This fall, the MGEU, along with other unions involved in the Partnership to Defend Public Services, has been busy preparing for their court challenge — scheduled to begin November 18 2019 — of the government’s unconstitutional, heavy-handed wage freeze legislation (Bill 28).
Doug Ford has publicly declared that he has “no sympathy” for people who are not criminally responsible for violent crimes due to mental illness. Ford’s solution? Lock ‘em up and throw away the key because they should be “dealt with in jail.”
When the rich and powerful use tax havens to avoid paying their share, the money going into their overseas bank accounts is effectively coming from public services that could be making life easier for people who are struggling.
Saskatoon, Sask. – October 8, 2019 – Most of the issues that need to be addressed in the federal election are the same problems that young people have been waiting for action on since we were born
Health care workers at Hogarth Riverview Manor will held a rally outside the facility after contract negotiations came to a standstill.
“Safe working conditions are at the heart of this round of bargaining,” said Local 229 Vice President Suzanne Pulice. “This facility is dysfunctional and understaffed. Over-worked Unifor members needing a break are having difficulty booking earned time off the job”.
Since December 2017 Hogarth Riverview Manor has been under third party management, but nothing has been done to address the fact that the facility is operating short-staffed on an almost daily basis.
“Although working short-staffed is a systemic problem in long-term care homes across Ontario, the situation at Hogarth Riverview Manor takes it to a new level,” said Katha Fortier, Assistant to Unifor President, Jerry Dias. “Unmanageable workloads and burn out are deterring young workers from seeking employment in the long-term care sector.”
The Union has been steadfast in demanding that any increased investments for health care staffing must include commitments to improving patient-to-staffing ratios.
“The solidarity rally is part of our Care Takes Time campaign aimed at the Ontario Government to set provincial staffing standards that establish appropriate staff-to-resident ratios,” said Fortier.
To learn more about the campaign please visit www.caretakestime.ca
America’s Largest Private Sector Union, Representing 30,000 Pork Workers, Challenges USDA Policy Endangering Safety of Food and Workers
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Today, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, together with Public Citizen and UFCW Locals 663, 440 and 2 filed a federal lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota seeking to stop the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) new swine slaughter modernization rule which eliminates the line speed limits in pork slaughter plants and turns inspection of our food over to the companies that produce it.
“Thousands of our members work hard every day in America’s pork plants to help families across the country put food on the table. Increasing pork plant line speeds is not only a reckless giveaway to giant corporations, it will put thousands of workers in harm’s way,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone. “This new rule would also dramatically weaken critical protections that Americans depend on to be able to select safe, healthy food to feed their families every day. The safety of America’s food and workers is not for sale and this lawsuit seeks to ensure this dangerous rule is set aside and these companies are held accountable.”
“Shockingly, USDA admitted in its rule that it simply ignored the mounds of evidence that showed its actions will harm workers, while bending over backwards to help businesses. That violates basic principles of administrative law,” said Adam Pulver, an attorney with Public Citizen, which represents UFCW and the three locals in the case.
The lawsuit alleges that the new rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act because it is not backed by reasoned decision-making.
“We urged the USDA to consider how unsafe this rule would make our workplaces, but they refused,” said UFCW Local 663 President Matt Utecht in Minnesota. “We had no choice but to go to court to stop a rule that will endanger the health and livelihoods of thousands of UFCW members.”
“We have a lot of pride in the products our members produce,” said UFCW Local 440 President Leo Kanne in Iowa. “This rule will erode the quality and safety of the food we make and feed to our own families.”
“The USDA claims that this rule will make our food safer,” said UFCW Local 2 President Martin Rosas in Kansas. “But our members, who have worked in the industry for years, know firsthand it makes both the food they make and the plants they work in less safe. Let’s listen to the first-hand experts who work in these plants every day, instead of big corporations just looking to make even more money.”
On the USDA published a new rule for pork meat inspections which removes limits on line speeds in swine slaughter plants and turns over major meat inspection tasks from federal inspectors to meat companies.
- The UFCW represents about 250,000 workers in the meatpacking and food processing industries and 30,000 workers in pork plants. UFCW members handle 71 percent of all hogs slaughtered and processed in the United States.
- In May 2018, more than 6,500 UFCW members who work in pork plants submitted comments to the USDA in opposition to the proposed rulethat would increase the line speeds where they work, threatening both them and the consumers they serve.
- All the UFCW locals who are parties in the lawsuit represent pork slaughter workers. UFCW Local 663 is based in Brooklyn Center, Minn.; UFCW Local 440 is based in Denison, Iowa; and UFCW Local 2 is based in Bel Aire, Kan.
The Modernization of Swine Slaughter Inspection rule will hurt workers across the country.
Hazards of Modernization of Swine Slaughter Inspection Rule:
- The Modernization of Swine Slaughter Inspection rule removes all limitations on line speeds in hog slaughter plants which will endanger the health and safety of tens of thousands of workers in the hog slaughter industry.
- Even at current line speeds, swine slaughter and processing workers face many job risks that can lead to severe injury, illness and death.
- There is no evidence that line speed increases can be done in a manner that ensures food and worker safety.
- In 1997, the USDA created a pilot program called the HACCP-Based Inspection Models Project (HIMP) which allowed five hog slaughter plants to test a new food safety program. The hog slaughter pilot program revealed serious safety issues including a Clemens food plant in Pennsylvania which reported injuries severe enough that two workers were hospitalized, and one suffered an amputation.
- The Modernization of Swine Slaughter Inspection rule includes no requirement or funding to train plant employees on inspection techniques that were previously performed by USDA inspectors and are now their responsibility.
- Increased line speeds will disproportionately hurt women and people of color.
Key Facts About Swine Workers:
- Meatpacking workers in hog slaughter plants work in cold, wet, noisy, and slippery conditions making tens of thousands of forceful repetitive motions on each shift.
- Research shows that the fast pace in pork plants, coupled with the forceful and repetitive nature of most of the jobs, leads to high rates of injuries and health issues.
- Meatpacking workers are injured at 2.4 times the rate of other industries. These injuries result in lost time or restrictions at three times the rate of other industries and they face illness rates at 17 times the rate of other industries.
- The previous maximum line speed for swine was 1,106 hogs per hour.
Oakville and Ohsweken, Ont. – October 7, 2019 – UFCW Canada recently attended Sisters in Spirit Vigils in Halton and Mississauga to honour the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and to demand government action on this important issue.
National Union releases a Voter’s Guide factsheet on Women’s Rights.
A dodgy privatization scheme getting an award from the privatization industry is one more reminder that what’s good for the privatization industry and what’s good for the public are two very different things.
Ottawa (7 Oct. 2019) — “Correctional officers have some of the toughest jobs in Canada, and our members are proud of the work they do. But they need more support from every level of government.” ― Larry Brown, NUPGE President.