Quebec City – March 28, 2019 – UFCW Canada Local 501 members working at the Montagnais Hotel in Quebec City have achieved a new union contract that provides wage increases, better benefits, and more.
Halifax – March 27, 2019 – UFCW Canada activists joined hundreds of academics, service providers, and government officials from across Canada and the United States at the 2019 National Metropolis Conference, held in Halifax from March 21 to 23.
"This government has tunnel vision, and is only able to focus on one thing: balancing the budget. They don't seem to care that sick, injured and vulnerable Nova Scotians are suffering as a result." — Jason MacLean, NSGEU President
On Wednesday, March 20, Unifor members joined students as they walked off campuses in protest against the PC government’s regressive approach to education.
“This solidarity action makes it clear that students are united in their opposition to the rollbacks the Ford government wants to implement, and we stand with them in this fight,” said Naureen Rizvi, Unifor Ontario Regional Director. “We are offering our full support during this crucial time of relentless attacks on students and on our education system.”
The walkouts symbolize widespread support for increased funding for public education, better access to grants rather than loans, elimination of tuition fees, and stronger protection of students’ freedoms, including their right to organize.
“Accessible education is the bedrock upon which we develop a skilled workforce and a well-functioning economy,” said Jodi Nesbitt, Unifor Chairperson for Education, Technology, Office and Professional Industry Council. “We need political leaders to make education accessible and barrier-free, instead of making it even more difficult to get into and stay in school.”
Hundreds of students participated in walkouts at:
- Carleton University
- Fanshawe College
- George Brown College St. James Campus
- Laurier Brantford
- OCAD University
- Ottawa Campuses
- Trent University
- University of Guelph
- University of Toronto
- University of Toronto Mississauga
- University of Toronto Scarborough
- Western University
- University of Windsor
For more information on how you can support the fight for public education, click here.
Unifor held a telephone town hall for members across Ontario to discuss Bill 74, The People’s Health Care Act, and its potential impact to patients, communities and health care workers across the province.
“Bill 74 does not improve patient services, reduce hospital wait times or increase frontline health care workers to respond to current and future needs,” said Naureen Rizvi, Ontario Regional Director. “The legislation would open the door to allow for-profit corporations to provide health care services to Ontarians. Moving health care services to the private sector has resulted, time and again, in unequal access based on what patients can afford to pay.”
The telephone town hall was hosted by Roxanne Dubois, Director of Strategic Planning and Development. In addition to Rizvi’s remarks on the union’s Ford Fightback campaign, Unifor Lawyer Farah Baloo provided an overview of Bill 74 and Katha Fortier, Assistant to National President, and Andy Savela, Health Care Director, discussed the potential impacts Bill 74 would have on health care workers.
“Doug Ford’s PC Government has made it clear that improving public, high-quality and accessible health care is not part of their government agenda and we need to fight back,” said Katha Fortier, Assistant to the National President. “Health care is an issue that affects every single one of us and without a system that protects equal access and fair working conditions, the profit motive will overtake the motive to provide quality care.”
As the Ontario Government prepares to host public consultations April 1 and 2, Unifor’s telephone town hall provided members with an opportunity to engage, understand and provide feedback on Bill 74 and the union’s Ford Fightback campaign.
If passed, Bill 74 will create an overreaching Ontario Health ‘Super Agency’ that opens the door to the privatization of our health care system. This agency will be responsible for managing health care services and the widespread restructuring of the system that includes hospitals, long-term care, home care, community care, mental health, health clinics and more.
To make matters worse, an un-elected, government-appointed Board of Directors would have oversight and control of the Super Agency, deprived of the transparency and accountability measures typically required in the public service.
Urgent action is needed to prevent a profit-driven model of health care that decreases access to quality health care for patients and makes the working conditions of health care workers worse. Members are encouraged to email, call and tweet their local Members of Provincial Parliament letting them know they oppose Bill 74.
For more information on the campaign or if you have questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Toronto – March 26, 2019 – Following sustained advocacy by UFCW Canada, the federal government has agreed to allocate new resources to protect Canada’s pork sector against African Swine Fever (ASF) – a serious viral disease found in pigs that could potentially cause devastating impacts to the Canadian pork industry.
Earlier this month the Manitoba government introduced bill 10, which will change the name of The Regional Health Authorities Act to The Health System Governance and Accountability Act. It means that some existing organizations – including Selkirk Mental Health Centre (SMHC), the Addictions foundation of Manitoba (AFM), and Cadham Lab – will be transferred to Shared Health, which could take anywhere from 18-24 months. MGEU President, Michelle Gawronsky, wants the Health Minister to provide more details to members about this transition.
"Moving the conservation officers so far away is like closing the local police department and expecting the officers to enforce the laws from 3 towns down the highway." — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President
Image from the animated movie Sausage Party
Unifor Local 2000 is celebrating a B.C. Employment Standards Branch decision that will see animators paid overtime, following the union’s complaint about working conditions at Vancouver’s Nitrogen Studios.
“We’re extremely pleased with the decision,” said Jennifer Moreau, secretary-treasurer at Local 2000. “It means people will be paid properly, and studios will have to think twice before claiming their employees are high-tech and ineligible for overtime.”
Unifor filed the complaint more the two years ago, following public allegations that non-union animators working on the film Sausage Party were not paid overtime. (The allegations surfaced in the comments section of an online article about the film.) The B.C. Employment Standards Branch ruling requires the studio to open its books and pay any outstanding overtime along with a $500 fine. The branch also determined that Nitrogen, now owned by Cinesite, was not eligible for the high technology exclusion, which allows companies to avoid paying overtime.
The high-tech exclusion is a rarely tested loophole that exempts workers classified as high-technology professionals from Employment Standards Act rules on hours of work, overtime and statutory holidays.
Vancouver’s animation, visual effects and gaming studios often cite the high-tech exclusion to keep staff working long hours while not paying overtime.
In response to the Sausage Party complaint, Cinesite claimed it didn’t have to pay overtime in accordance with the Employment Standards Act because its employees were high technology professionals developing information systems. The branch’s investigating officer ruled the exclusion did not apply to workers whose primary job was using commercially available software to create visual effects.
Not one studio in Vancouver is unionized, something Local 2000 is trying to change.
“If we can do this for non-union workers, imagine what animators could do if they unionized and negotiated their own contract,” Moreau said.
Unifor Local 2000 represents approximately 700 media and chocolate workers.
For further comment, contact Jennifer Moreau at 604-816-5204.
"Workers recognize NAPE/NUPGE as a union that fights for better pay and benefits, for improved health and safety standards, and for better overall working conditions." — Jerry Earle, NAPE President
In 70 countries around the world, consensual same-sex acts between adults is criminalized. In 2017, that number was 72, and just five years ago 81 countries punished adults engaging in same-sex relationships with imprisonment or death.
The work to recognize, celebrate and legally protect LGBTQI people is done by activists in communities, advocacy groups, unions and grassroots organizers around the globe. At the ILGA World Conference in Wellington, New Zealand, more than 400 of those activists representing more than 100 countries gathered.
“The conference has been an eye-opening reminder of the work still to be done to ensure that people of all gender identity and sexual orientation are respected and kept safe,” said Dana Dunphy, Unifor National Executive Board member and Ontario Pride Committee member.
At the conference, delegates participated in workshops and sessions led by the leaders of human rights campaigns who are working to resist violence and oppression both by the state and in wider society. Unifor members attended sessions on intersex and asexual identities, sex worker and refugee advocacy, United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and much more.
“What is most striking is the resilience and the effectiveness of organizers around the globe,” said Martin Melanson, Unifor Atlantic Pride Committee Chairperson. “ILGA celebrated 40 years of existence at the conference, and to see the change that’s been accomplished in that time is amazing and inspiring.”
Unifor’s LGBTQ members are in solidarity with the work of queer and trans people around the world. The union’s delegation commits to making changes to Unifor’s organizing in Canada to better support the global struggle for human rights for LGBTQI people.
Local unions are encouraged to send a full delegation to the upcoming Pride Conference in May, where LGBTQI members can plan for future campaigns and action.
Unifor Local 101R members ratified a new collective agreement reached with the Toronto Terminals Railway (TTR) last week.
“This is an agreement our membership can be proud of, and with a 92% approval, we want to thank our members for showing so much solidarity to support the bargaining committee,” said Joel Kennedy, President of Local 101r.
Unifor Local 101R Lodge 60 represents more than 95 workers at TTR who provide a switching service at the Ports in the Vancouver Lower Mainland.
The new agreement includes wage increases that match the Unifor four year rail pattern.
Members will also receive a $1000.00 signing bonus plus retroactive pay to January 1, 2019.
Some of the other improvements include increases to Weekly Indemnity Benefits, Dental Plan, Orthodontics, Bereavement and a 8-day Spare board guarantee, as well as calling and cancelling wage protections.
Aircraft Appliances and Equipment Ltd (AAE) members have ratified a new 3-year collective agreement bringing a nearly decade long freeze on increases to the defined benefits pension to an end.
“It was a priority to ensure a secure retirement for these workers while also bargaining to improve their current working conditions,” said John Harte, Local 252 Financial Secretary.
AAE has long been the trusted resource for countless military services and original equipment manufacturers. Local 252 represents 30 members at AAE who manufacture, repair and overhaul components for aircraft, naval ships, and ground support equipment.
The new contract includes a $2.00 pension hike over the lifetime of the agreement and wage increases of 1.5 per cent in the first year and 1.25 per cent in both year two and three.
The deal also includes personal emergency days, domestic violence leave, 48-hour shift cancellation language, flexible start time language, equality and duty to accommodate language, technological change protections and safety equipment improvements. Further workplace harassment language contains committee training, four hours of respectful workplace training for all members and a joint investigation process.
“The bargaining committee knew exactly where to target the required improvements for the members,” said Sam Snyders, National Representative.
Gains also include improved life insurance, dental and vision coverage, paramedical, weekly indemnity and bereavement leave benefits.
The agreement, in effect from April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2022, received overwhelming support with 88 per cent voting in favour of ratification.
Calgary – March 25, 2019 – UFCW Local 401 members from across Alberta recently gathered for four days of workshops, special presentations, and activist engagement at the 2019 UFCW 401 Members’ Conference.
Jocelyn House Hospice has as its mission adding life to the final days of the terminally ill in a home-like setting.
Our MAHCP members at Jocelyn House work hard each day to meet the needs of those in their care and now there’s a way that you can support their work.
The Sunday Supper in Support of Jocelyn House Hospice takes place on Sunday, April 7, 2019, at The Gates on Roblin, 6945 Roblin Blvd. The reception is at 5 p.m. and dinner at 6 p.m.
Tickets are $150 per person, and there are tables of eight and sponsor tables available as well.
Members of the legislative assembly of Manitoba were unable to pass an interim supply bill. The bill is needed to ensure the government has money in its bank account to pay civil service employees and keep programs running.
The Teddy Bears’ Picnic is coming up fast and they’re looking for volunteers!
This year’s Picnic, which is the 33rd annual, takes place from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 26, 2019, at Assiniboine Park.
Volunteers help run mock lab tests on the stuffed animals that children bring with them to the Picnic.
There are three available shifts for volunteers: 8:30-11:30 a.m.; 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; and 2:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.