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Media Release: BC Post-Secondary contract workers make gains, but pay equity gaps remain

Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC -

Oct 19, 2020 FPSE News

xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) & səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Territories (Vancouver) - Today is the first day of Fair Employment Week, an international campaign to bring attention to the working conditions of contract faculty. After a bargaining process that stretched out over a year, there are mixed results for contract faculty at BC colleges and teaching universities. Across the province, contract faculty are paid less by varying degrees. Ending this pay disparity was a top priority of the unions, but ultimately not all unions were able to make progress towards equal pay for contract faculty.

“Fair Employment Week is our opportunity to bring people together to understand and address contract faculty issues. For too long, contract faculty have been used as disposable labour that can be paid less for doing the same work,” said FPSE president Brent Calvert. “This creates an obvious cost incentive for institutions to keep educators on contract, rather than moving them into regular work. The combination of less pay, no job stability, and no health benefits was bad enough before the pandemic, but now is much worse. Contract faculty who weren’t hired for this fall semester now have no employment, no extended health coverage, and yet they still have bills to pay and kids to feed. What happens if they or their families get sick and need support?”

“At every bargaining table we attempted to connect the dots between the lesser pay and protections for contract faculty and the connection to the overrepresentation of racialized people within contract faculty ranks. In turn, this is connected to the systemic racism and bias that disadvantages racialized folks for promotion. All of this makes the gains that unions and employers were able to achieve that much more meaningful. Where contract faculty made gains, their economic health improved, and the institution became better placed to deal with COVID-19. However, there’s a growing number of items that workplaces are struggling with through the COVID-19 pandemic, so much more needs to be done.”

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About FPSE

The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators is the provincial voice of 10,000 faculty and staff at BC’s teaching universities, colleges, institutes and private sector institutions. We provide resources, legal services, and engage in advocacy on behalf of our 20 member faculty and staff associations. Learn more at fpse.ca

Background

  • Lower pay and instability for contract faculty has existed in BC for over 50 years, with unions attempting to increase security and pay through bargaining.
  • In 1998, unions reached a landmark agreement that included a process for contract faculty to become regular employees (regularization).
  • However, collective agreements continued to allow contract faculty to be paid less – sometimes 80% less – than their regular colleagues.
  • Now, at 8 institutions, contract faculty have had their first meaningful pay increase in two decades.

Unifor members ratify new FCA contract that delivers new jobs and investment

Unifor -

October 19, 2020

TORONTO—Unifor members working at Fiat Chrysler in Brampton, Etobicoke, Windsor, Mississauga, Montreal and Red Deer have voted ­78 per cent to ratify a new three  year collective agreement  that includes significant investment, job security and economic gains.

“This agreement solidifies and builds on FCA’s footprint, with a game changing investment of up to $1.58 billion for a state-of-the-art platform to build both Plug–In Hybrid Vehicles and Battery Electric Vehicles, along with a $50 million investment to bring multiple derivatives of the Dodge Charger and Challenger to the Brampton plant where production of the Chrysler 300 is being extended,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.

The commitments we have secured in these negotiations will stabilize FCA’s operations in Canada and position us as a global leader in the transition to zero emission vehicle production.

Fiat Chrysler forecasts the return of the third shift in Windsor by 2024, adding as many as 2000 jobs along with $14 million investment at the Etobicoke Casting Plant, and a 22 per cent increase in the hourly workforce.

“Workers who have feared plant closures and job losses in recent years can now look forward to a bright future with good jobs for years to come,” said Dias. 

The new agreement follows a historic pattern setting deal reached with Ford Motor Company last month that includes five per cent increases to hourly rates, a $7,250 signing bonus, $4000 inflation bonuses, wage parity with Ford workers, improved benefits, shift premiums, and restoration of the 20 per cent wage differential for skilled trades.

Unifor and the company have also agreed to collaborate on an anti-racism action plan, including the establishment of a new Racial Justice Advocate in the workplace and all facilities will fly pride flags every June. FCA has also agreed to provide up to 10 paid days of domestic violence leave.

Talks with General Motors Canada begin later this week. A digital media kit can be found on this website.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

For media inquiries or to arrange interviews via Facetime, Zoom, or Skype please contact Unifor’s Director of Communications, Natalie Clancy at  Natalie.Clancy@unifor.org or 416-707-5794 (cell).

Desperate B.C. Liberals lash out at working people province-wide

Unifor -

VANCOUVER—Trailing badly in the polls, the B.C. Liberals have begun attacking the very working people who are poised to re-elect John Horgan and the BCNDP government.

“John Horgan and his BCNDP government have delivered results for working families,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “After a decade of scandals and ideological funding cuts, it should be no surprise that the BCNDP is the choice of working people.”

The B.C. Liberal Party distributed a fundraising email on Saturday, October 17 decrying the involvement of Unifor and other unions, accusing the organizations of spending “millions” on the election. Flyers with the same content were widely disseminated to households in Surrey and elsewhere. Unifor says the tactic exposes the hostility of the B.C. Liberals towards working people and reeks of desperation.

“Attacking working people is not a winning strategy, but it does help remind voters what the B.C. Liberals stand for,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor Western Regional Director. “Working families haven’t forgotten the damage done to public services and workers’ rights under Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark. That’s why Unifor members are working so hard to keep Andrew Wilkinson in the opposition benches.”  

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

For media inquiries or to arrange interviews via Facetime, Zoom, or Skype please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at ian.boyko@unifor.org or 778-903-6549 (cell).

CAUT will seek to intervene in Supreme Court decision to hear copyright appeals

CAUT -

(Ottawa – October 16 , 2020) Following this week’s announcement by the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) to hear appeals in protracted copyright litigation between York University and collective licencing agency Access Copyright, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) will seek to intervene to voice concerns of post-secondary teachers, researchers and students.

“This case will be critically important to determine if the Supreme Court meant what it said in previous decisions and re-affirm the public interest position of the education sector,” said CAUT Executive Director David Robinson.

The Federal Court of Appeal’s ruling, which will now come under the scrutiny of the Supreme Court, stated that Access Copyright cannot enforce its tariffs against York University or any non-licenced user, a clear recognition that educational institutions can opt out of collective licensing arrangements and choose other legal routes to copy and use works, including through site licensing, open access materials, transactional licences and through fair dealing. The Federal Court decision, however, failed to correct the lower court’s flawed comments on fair dealing. The Federal Court decision was appealed by both York University and Access Copyright.

“CAUT will urge the Supreme Court to decisively rule on what constitutes fair dealing for education purposes, and preserve the balance resulting from its previous decisions that enables public access to works, while balancing the rights of authors and creators to reasonable compensation,” added Robinson. “To do otherwise would render the fair dealing exception illusory for post-secondary education, spelling huge costs for universities and colleges, and backtracking to the past, rather than looking to a future which is sustainable and fair for both creators and users of copyrighted works.” 

CAUT and the Canadian Federation of Students intervened at the Federal Court of Canada, arguing against mandatory tariffs and the lower court’s ruling on York University’s fair dealing purposes.

CAUT represents 72,000 academic staff that produce tens of thousands of articles, books and other works every year, making CAUT one of the country’s largest creator groups in Canada.

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Media contact:

Lisa Keller, Communications Officer, Canadian Association of University Teachers; (c) 613-222-3530; keller@caut.ca

Container truck drivers endorse John Horgan and the BC NDP

Unifor -

SURREY—The largest union representing truck drivers at Port Metro Vancouver has endorsed the BCNDP’s re-election effort in the 2020 provincial election.

“The John Horgan government delivered on key priorities for this complex sector,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor Western Regional Director. “This isn’t a ‘one-and-done’ project. Vancouver’s ports are sophisticated portals of economic activity that require ongoing attention to ensure corrupt employers aren’t threatening the integrity of port transportation.”

The industry has struggled lately with a growing two-tier system of “off-dock” container shipping. The BCNDP government moved to study the issue and has been developing fixes with truckers.

“There is still work to do, but container truckers appreciate that John Horgan and Harry Bains have listened to the concerns of truckers,” said Paul Nagra, President of Unifor-Vancouver Container Truckers’ Association (VCTA). “The BCNDP government helped keep unethical employers at bay.”

Container truckers shut down Port Metro Vancouver for nearly four weeks in March 2014 as a result of undercutting by trucking companies and long wait times at the port. Truckers went back to work after a Joint Action Plan was signed with the Port, the BC government, and the federal government. Although the Plan was signed by the BC Liberals, Unifor says the Liberals repeatedly balked at enforcing wage rates and ensuring fairness.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

For media inquiries or to arrange interviews via Facetime, Zoom, or Skype please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at ian.boyko@unifor.org or 778-903-6549 (cell).

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