Toronto – November 26, 2019 – Congratulations to UFCW Canada Local 175 members at the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture (CCVT) on ratifying their first collective agreement. Members at the CCVT provide vital support and integration services to refugees and survivors of war, torture and trauma.
After reaching a dead-end in negotiations to renew their collective agreement and dealing with a stubborn employer, workers at Voith Hydro went on strike last week.
“Unifor bargained up until the deadline but unfortunately it became clear that the employer was just unwilling to make a fair offer,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “The members are united and we are determined to obtain an agreement that addresses the workers’ key issues.”
The 35 workers represented by Unifor Local 252 had delivered an overwhelming 100 per cent strike mandate and began strike action on November 14, 2019.
“The employer has to understand that we are determined to make legitimate improvements to our members’ working conditions,” said Wilson Stowel, Unifor Local 252. “Under the circumstances, we had no other choice but to withdraw services because the employer just wouldn’t listen.”
The employer tabled several concessionary proposals that would have negatively changed the entire collective agreement. Voith’s monetary proposals included reducing benefits from 100 per cent to 80 per cent, the elimination of the Cost of Living Adjustment and no increases to pension during the life of the collective agreement.
“We want to send a clear message to the employer. This work contract can only be renewed on the basis of negotiating in good faith and respecting our members,” continued Dias.
Despite several possible solutions put forward by the union, the employer has been steadfast in their demands on the union to accept concessions.
Voith manufactures hydro power station equipment, primarily for hydro dams around the world. The facility also repairs and maintains the equipment that it manufactures.
Union Representing Cannabis Workers Calls for Regional Framework to Prioritize Labor Peace Agreements that Support Good Jobs, Consumer Safety
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union is calling for consumer and worker protections to be a top priority for Governors Andrew Cuomo (New York), Ned Lamont (Connecticut), Phil Murphy (New Jersey), Gina Raimondo (Rhode Island), Tom Wolf (Pennsylvania), and Charlie Baker (Massachusetts) in their states’ new joint framework on cannabis.
In a letter to these governors, UFCW called the agreement an important first step to strengthen the cannabis industry and support good jobs, but also emphasized the need to invest in high standards that put consumers and workers first. UFCW President Marc Perrone released the following statement:
“America’s cannabis industry has the power to create thousands of good jobs that support hardworking families and the communities they serve. But we can only achieve this with strong labor peace agreements that set high standards that reward responsible businesses, strengthen worker voices, and put consumer safety first. We urge these governors to make this a centerpiece of their cannabis framework as they continue to invest in the future of our economy.”
In the letter to Northeast governors, UFCW emphasized the importance of labor peace agreements. A labor peace agreement is a written and mutually agreed-upon document between a labor union and an employer, typically one that is licensed to operate in a regulated industry by a state or local government.
- Labor peace agreements strengthen business stability and support a healthy workplace
- Unions and their members typically agree to refrain from engaging in strikes, boycotts, picketing and any other interference in the employer’s business.
- Employers, in return, agree to not interfere with efforts by the labor union to communicate with, and attempt to organize and represent, the employer’s workers.
- These agreements generally require the employer, including management and supervisory staff, to agree to remain neutral regarding unions and their representation of the workforce.
Labor peace agreements do not equate to mandatory unionization and do not impose a union contract. In fact, union organizing must still take place at the worksite. And negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement between the union and the business only begin after a majority of workers elect to join the union. Ultimately, labor peace agreements provide an additional safeguard for workers and strengthen the businesses that agree to them.
Both New York and New Jersey already have labor peace agreements in place for medical cannabis businesses.
This week’s letter is signed by the following labor leaders:
- UFCW International President Marc Perrone – Washington, D.C.
- Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union President Stuart Appelbaum – New York, NY
- UFCW International Vice President and Region 1 Director David Young – Little Falls, NJ
- UFCW Local 152 President Brian String – Egg Harbor Township, NJ
- UFCW Local 328 President Timothy Melia – Providence, RI
- RWDSU/UFCW Local 338 President Jon Durso – Mineola, NY
- UFCW Local 360 President Salvatore “Sam” Ferraino – West Berlin, NJ
- UFCW Local 371 President Thomas Wilkinson – Westport, CT
- UFCW Local 919 President Mark Espinosa – Farmington, CT
- UFCW Local 1445 President Jeffrey Bollen – Dedham, MA
- UFCW Local 1459 President Tyrone Housey – Springfield, MA
- UFCW Local 1776KS President Wendell Young – Plymouth Meeting, PA
- RWDSU New York City Director Dave Mertz – New York, NY
Since 2010, the UFCW has been a leader in the cannabis industry and currently represents thousands of cannabis workers in 12 states around the country. The UFCW represents more than 300,000 workers across a wide range of industries in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.
The UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries.
Our members help put food on our nation’s tables and serve customers in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org
“We stood with the students because it was the right thing to do" — OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas
Violence and harassment, including that in the workplace, disproportionately affect marginalized women and gender-diverse and Two Spirit people.
Victoria, B.C. – November 25, 2019 – Retail workers at Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) in Victoria, British Columbia are the newest members of UFCW Local 1518 after recently voting “Yes!” to joining the union.
Le militantisme syndical a été grandement célébré ces derniers jours alors que les déléguées et délégués représentant les sections locales de toute la province participaient au Conseil régional de la Colombie-Britannique, tenu à Whistler du 22 au 24 novembre 2019.
« Au cours des dernières décennies, on a menti aux travailleurs, on a freiné leurs ambitions et on a minimisé leurs combats, a déclaré Gavin McGarrigle, directeur de la région de l’Ouest d'Unifor. Nous devons nous tenir debout et nous battre, c'est le thème du Conseil régional de la C.-B. 2019. »
Gavin McGarrigle a rappelé les principales campagnes que le syndicat a entreprises au cours de la dernière année, y compris la campagne de membre à membre à l’occasion des élections fédérales, qui a été très efficace en Colombie-Britannique.
« Nos membres recruteurs se sont réunis, se sont formés, ont appris à travailler ensemble... ils se sont portés volontaires dans des circonscriptions ciblées, plusieurs fois par semaine, a souligné Gavin McGarrigle aux déléguées et délégués. Unifor était là en force et nous avons tenu bon chaque jour de la campagne, en parlant à nos membres, en visitant les lieux de travail et en faisant du bénévolat. »
Le conférencier invité Don Davies, député néo-démocrate de Vancouver Kingsway, a également fait l'éloge des efforts déployés par les membres lors de la campagne électorale.
« Unifor a été là pour moi dans ma campagne lorsqu’on cherchait ma défaite, a dit Don Davies. La campagne d'Unifor de membre à membre était visible, elle a été remarquée, et ce fut un succès. »
Le deuxième jour du Conseil, le président national d'Unifor, Jerry Dias, a poursuivi sur le thème de la riposte et du militantisme syndical.
« Nous pouvons exprimer tout ce que nous voulons. Nous pouvons être audacieux, nous pouvons tenir à nos principes, a déclaré Jerry Dias aux déléguées et délégués. Nous pouvons faire pression sur les gouvernements, sur les entreprises, ou nous pouvons garder le silence. Mais juste en regardant cette assemblée, je sais qu'il n'y a aucune chance qu'on se taise. »
Jerry Dias a souligné l'appui du syndicat aux questions autochtones lorsqu'il a invité les membres à se joindre à lui dans le cadre de la Marche pour la réconciliation sur la fameuse autoroute des larmes de la Colombie-Britannique, où de nombreux meurtres et disparitions de femmes autochtones ont été commis.
« Quand nous marchons sur l'autoroute des larmes, nous sommes tous ensemble. Nous allons bien faire les choses, pour nos consœurs, pour nos membres et pour nos enfants parce que nous devons le faire », a dit Jerry Dias.
Les déléguées et délégués ont voté pour l’adoption de résolutions en faveur de la marche de réconciliation et du lobbying auprès du gouvernement provincial de la Colombie-Britannique afin qu'il adopte et mette en œuvre les appels à la justice inclus dans le rapport final de l'Enquête nationale sur les femmes et les filles autochtones disparues et assassinées.
Unifor a aussi exprimé son engagement envers la réconciliation par un don de 250 000 dollars à la B.C. Aboriginal Child Care Society (BCACCS) fait conjointement par le Fonds de justice sociale d’Unifor et le CN. Les fonds serviront à étendre un programme novateur de développement de la parole et du langage destiné aux enfants de tout le Canada.
« En investissant dans le développement du langage, vous permettez à nos enfants d'avoir une voix pour provoquer des changements lorsqu'ils seront plus âgés », a déclaré la présidente du conseil d'administration de la BCACCS, Mary Teegee, aux déléguées et délégués lorsqu'elle a accepté le chèque.
Les déléguées et délégués ont également adopté des résolutions et des recommandations visant à mettre fin au contrôle des entreprises sur les quotas de pêche de la côte ouest, à réclamer une aide en cas de catastrophe liée aux changements climatiques pour les pêcheurs et les travailleurs assimilés, à aider les sections locales à promouvoir une « transition juste » dans les industries où les émissions de CO2 continuent à augmenter, et à faire pression sur tous les paliers gouvernementaux pour que des mesures dynamiques soient prises pour lutter contre les changements climatiques.
It was a celebration of union activism as delegates representing locals from across the province participated at the B.C. Regional Council, held in Whistler November 22-24, 2019.
"For the past few decades, workers have been sold a lie, their ambitions have been held back, and their struggles have been minimized," said Unifor Western Regional Director Gavin McGarrigle. "We need to stand up and fight back - that's the theme of B.C. Regional Council 2019."
McGarrigle highlighted major campaigns that the union undertook in the past year including the federal election member-to-member campaign, which was highly effective in British Columbia.
“Our member organizers came together, trained, learned how to work together…they volunteered their hearts out in targeted ridings, multiple times each week,” McGarrigle told delegates. “Unifor was there in force and we continued for every day of the campaign, speaking to our members, visiting workplaces, and volunteering.”
The members’ election campaign efforts were also praised by guest speaker Don Davies, the NDP MP for Vancouver Kingsway.
“Unifor was there for me in my campaign when I was targeted for defeat," said Davies. “Unifor’s member-to-member campaign was visible, it was noticed, and it was a demonstrated success."
On day two of Council, Unifor National President Jerry Dias continued the theme of fighting back and union activism.
“We can be anything we want. We can be bold, in your face, principled,” Dias told delegates. “We can push governments, we can push corporations, or we can be silent. As I look across this room I know the chances of us being silent are zero.”
Dias highlighted the union’s support of Indigenous issues as he invited members to join him on the Unifor Walk for Reconciliation on B.C.’s notorious Highway of Tears, the location of many murders and disappearances of Indigenous women.
“When we walk the highway of tears you are all joining me. We’re going to do it right - for our fellow sisters, for our members for our kids because we have to,” said Dias.
Delegates voted to pass resolutions in support of the Reconciliation Walk and to lobby the B.C. provincial government to fully adopt and implement the Calls for Justice included in the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Unifor backed up its commitment to Reconciliation with a $250,000 donation to the B.C. Aboriginal Child Care Society (BCACCS) made jointly by the Unifor Social Justice Fund and CN Rail. The funds will be used to expand an innovative speech and language development program for children across Canada.
“We know comes from people speaking up so by investing in language you are allowing our children to have the voice to make changes when they are older," BCACCS Board President Mary Teegee told delegates as she accepted the cheque.
Delegates also passed resolutions and recommendations to end corporate control over west coast fish quotas, to call for climate change disaster assistance for fish harvesters and allied workers, to assist locals to promote “Just Transition” language in industries where CO2 emissions counts continue to rise and to lobby all levels of government to take aggressive action to combat climate change.
Toronto – November 23, 2019 – UFCW Canada’s Human Rights, Equity, and Diversity Committee members recently participated in an environmental racism workshop hosted by union facilitators from the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC).
Unifor and CN Rail have donated $250,000 to the BC Aboriginal Child Care Society (BCACCS) to support the expansion of an innovative program that uses Indigenous toys and stories to enhance language development in children.
“Unifor is proud to partner with CN to assist BCACCS’s work to deliver a spiritually enriching, high quality, early learning program that is based in the child’s Indigenous culture, language and history,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.
BCACCS plans to adapt and expand its popular Moe the Mouse™ Speech and Language Development Program to meet the cultural and linguistic needs of on and off reserve Indigenous early childhood development programs in the six regions of Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Yukon, and the Maritime Provinces.
“As a long-time leader in the creation of Indigenous early learning and child care resources like the Moe the Mouse Speech and Language Development Program, the BC Aboriginal Child Care Society is honoured to receive this generous donation from the Unifor Social Justice Fund and CN Rail,” said Mary Teegee, BC Aboriginal Child Care Society Board President.
Unifor represents approximately 6,000 CN employees. The donation was jointly presented by Jerry Dias, Unifor National President, and Tristan Jenkin, CN Account Manager, at Unifor’s BC Regional Council in Whistler.
In the coming months, BCACCS will network with its regional partners and community sites to integrate local Indigenous culture and language content while maintaining the integrity of the Moe the Mouse curriculum.
“This funding will support our joint efforts for social justice and strengthen collaboration across Canada. It will help Indigenous children, families and communities strengthen early learning and child care programs, revitalize Indigenous languages, and promote the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action," said Teegee.
Mississauga, Ont. – November 22, 2019 – Congratulations to UFCW Canada Local 12R24 member Amanda Ead, one of two winners of an Apple iPad for referring other union members to apply for the UFCW Canada - BDM Scholarship.
The unsafe conditions workers are fighting to end affect more than just CN employees. When an accident occurs it can endanger communities near the accident site.