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Federal government announces funding for harvesters affected by severe ice conditions

Unifor -

The federal government announced funding through an Ice Assistance Emergency Program for fish harvesters impacted by the delayed opening of the fishery due to severe ice conditions.

“We are pleased that the federal government is providing support through an Ice Assistance Emergency Program for fish harvesters who are in a tough financial position through no fault of their own,” said Keith Sullivan, FFAW-Unifor President.

The Ice Assistance Emergency Program is a grant program, not an EI extension, and will be available to harvesters who are unable to fish due to unseasonably severe ice conditions once their 2019 EI benefits claim has ended.  Information on how to apply will be available online on the DFO website on June 10, 2019.

A request for a benefits extension was submitted by FFAW-Unifor on April 18 to Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development as a result of the severe financial hardship experienced by harvesters due to delays in the snow crab and lobster fisheries on the province’s northeast and west coast.

Hundreds of families are still impacted by severe ice and have been without income for over two months as they await ice conditions to improve.

Today’s announcement is welcome news to the many families in need of funds to cover basic financial needs, however as spring ice conditions are a common occurrence in our province, a permanent solution with no waiting period is needed for both fish harvesters and plant workers affected by these delays.

Originally posted by FFAW-Unifor

Need to save Canadian media takes on more urgency at annual conference

Unifor -

Delegates at the 25th Annual Media Conference have a renewed urgency to continue to take action to keep journalists and media workers working.

Unifor National President Jerry Dias told members they have the full support of the union and Unifor will defend journalists and media workers from any attack on freedom of the press. 

“In a time where we see politicians undermining mainstream media and spreading misinformation to serve their own agendas, we need media workers more than ever,” said Dias.      

The conference, which took place between May 24 and May 26 in Montreal, tackled topics such as how the local news industry must adapt its current business model and how the government could intervene to prevent the demise of Canadian media outlets.  

There is no debate that Canadian journalism is in crisis and under attack. “Newsrooms across the country are slashing jobs and shutting down because the advertising revenues that used to keep them economically viable are moving to online platforms such as Google and Facebook,” said Jake Moore, chair of the Unifor Media Council.  “These companies do not provide our communities with the stories or information they need to understand what is going on in their own backyards, and they certainly are not keeping our politicians in check.”

Participants heard from keynote speaker Jason Alcorn, Vice President of Operations for the American Journalism Project. Alcorn spoke about the successes and challenges of non-profit news organizations in the U.S. that are funded by donations. Unifor members Emina Gamulin and Aldo Santin presented a similar report about the possibility of this model working in Canada.

A panel of broadcast experts and MPs also came together at the conference to discuss the Future of Canadian Broadcasting. Many agreed that tax loopholes are making tech giants such as Google and Facebook, richer. The Income Tax Act does not allow Canadian companies who advertise on traditional foreign platforms to deduct that expense, but when they advertise on these foreign online sites, they can. The government must take steps to apply tax rules fairly. This fix alone could save our country $800 million and help save local news. It was also proposed that the government should treat our news media as a public service, much like our police forces, and fund it properly for the role it plays in our democracy.

The Media Action Plan Committee, which lobbies the government and supports various campaigns to bring attention to issues facing media workers, encouraged members to engage on social media and ask politicians what their plans are to save the industry, in the run up to the federal election. The committee is reaching out to other sectors to ensure they spread the word.

“We need to do whatever we can to save Canadian media and media jobs,” said Dias. “Without journalists and media workers, our stories will not be told and there will be no watchdog to keep politicians in check. If this pillar of democracy is left to die, so will democracy.”

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UFCW: New USDA Pork Plant Change Needlessly Threatens America’s Food Safety

UFCW Press Releases -

Largest Private-Sector Union Representing Thousands of Pork Workers Calls on USDA to Stop Inspection Change that Threatens America’s Families

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) announced its opposition to a new proposal by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) which shifts some meat inspection responsibilities from its inspectors to pork plant employees. UFCW President Marc Perrone, who represents thousands of meatpacking workers across the country, released the following statement:

“For over 100 years, USDA inspectors have played a vital role in ensuring the safety of our pork. This change to USDA meat inspection rules would dramatically weaken the critical protections that Americans depend on to be able to select safe, healthy food to feed their families every day.

“Shifting the responsibility onto pork workers, instead of the USDA inspectors who are specifically trained for this critical job, is needlessly reckless and dangerous. Our members in pork plants work incredibly hard already and stand with families across the country to demand USDA keep our food safe and let inspectors do their job.”


With the USDA’s test hog-inspection program expected to expand this summer after the agency approves new rules, 35 plants already plan to join the five test plants in using the new program. Together, these plants would produce 90 percent of the pork consumed in the United States.

USDA Meat Inspection Policy Change Impact

  • Federal inspectors on hog slaughter lines at the plants new to the program will be cut from 365 to 218, a 40 percent cut.
  • The overall number of inspectors at those plants will drop from 400 to 288, a decline of 28 percent, according to figures provided by the USDA.
  • The new policy will allow the slaughter-line speeds to run as fast as the plant desires. The current cap on line speed is 1,106 hogs per hour, or 18 per minute.

In its report, the Washington Post notes that food safety groups and the USDA inspectors’ union say they are concerned that “increased line speeds and federal staff reductions on those lines will cause diseased and contaminated meat to slip by the remaining inspectors.” These groups also cite an inherent conflict-of-interest with pork producers overseeing inspections of their own products. Training for those workers, they point out, is also done entirely at the plant owners’ discretion.”


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


Unifor recognizes and expresses gratitude to all paramedics

Unifor -

To celebrate Paramedic Services Week, Unifor recognizes and expresses gratitude to all paramedics for their exceptional courage, compassion and dedication to saving lives.

“First responders often perform their work in dangerous conditions, making them true heroes in our public health care system,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “I am very proud to stand with the hundreds of EMS workers represented by our union.”

While we celebrate the vital work of our EMS members, we must also sound the alarm.

The Ford government has launched a direct assault on public services in Ontario. As part of this attack, they plan to amalgamate 59 local ambulance services in Ontario into ten large regional services, removing all local accountability. They also recently announced land ambulance grants will be frozen at 2017-2018 levels. Plans to privatize Ornge, Ontario’s air ambulance service are in the works.

“Doug Ford’s cuts to ambulance services will come with high costs and reduced services,” said Dias. “The method of slash and burn has been tried before and resulted in compromised services and enormous costs, not savings.”

There are already slower response times in rural areas due to long travel distances. Urban areas face and inadequate numbers of ambulances available due to crisis-level hospital overcrowding and paramedics stuck in long offload delays.

The union is working tirelessly to defend public health care. Unifor has made submissions to government standing committees, and alongside the Ontario Health Coalition, planned the “Stop to Cuts to Health Care” rally that attracted more than 10,000 people.

Download and share the Paramedic Services Week 2019 shareable and join us in thanking all Paramedics for their compassion, humanity and life-saving work in our communities.

UFCW 12R24 asks Ontario Auditor General and Ombudsman to investigate convenience store lobbying activities

UFCW Canada -

Campbellville, Ont.  – May 24, 2019 – UFCW Canada Local 12R24, the union for Beer Store workers, has sent a letter to the Auditor General and Ombudsman of Ontario asking them to investigate the activities of the provincial government in working together with the convenience store industry to lobby for expanded alcohol sales.

One week left for PACE 2019 early registration

Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals -

The early bird registration deadline for September’s Paramedicine Across Canada Expo (PACE 2019) is May 31, exactly one week from today!

This year’s PACE conference, which takes place Sept. 19-21 at the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg, is being sponsored by MAHCP.

PAC/PAM members receive $100 off the full registration fee when they register before May 31.

Organizers of PACE 2019 have said that the conference will have a truly International flavour, with presenters from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the United States, so be sure to register early as some sessions and events have limited availability.

For more information on PACE 2019, including registration, please visit their website at https://pacexpo.ca/