Labour News Update: January 27, 2014

Over 2,000 postal workers and supporters rally in Ottawa The Cost of Low Wages? Poor Health, Says Report” by H.G Watson, – January 22

A Canadian Medical Association report from 2013 found that amongst people who made less than $40,000 a year, only 40 per cent said they lived in good health. And a 2013 Hamilton Spectator series on health care found a 21 year life expectancy gap between rich and poor areas of the city.

“‘Hammer’ looms over AUPE labour negotiations” CBC – January 24

New labour legislation is looming over negotiations between the provincial government and its unionized workers. Bill 46 kicks in one week from today which means the province can impose a settlement without going to arbitration.

As bargaining set to begin, 16 unions take first common stance in 50 years” by Kathryn May, Ottawa Citizen – January 25

With a watershed round of collective bargaining poised to begin, all but one of the unions representing Canada’s public servants have signed a historic pledge to reject the Conservative government’s plan to claw back sick leave and disability benefits. The pledge marks the first time in nearly 50 years that federal unions agreed to present a common bargaining strategy when each of them begins talks with government as their contracts expire over the next year.

Hudak: PCs not backing away from right-to-work” by Matthew Pearson, Ottawa Citizen – January 24

Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak denied Friday that his party is backing away from its controversial right-to-work position. “If you’re asking me if I’ve changed my mind about modernizing labour laws, absolutely not,” he said during a campaign-style stump speech at a lighting and plumbing store in Bells Corners.

Fate of brewery workers uncertain as Labatt strike drags on” by Cory Collins, – January 22

The fate of Labatt brewery workers in St. John’s, Newfoundland remains uncertain as the strike by its approximately 50 employees (NAPE Local 7004) has dragged on since April and whose workers walked off the job after negotiations hit a standstill. NAPE has said that workers are being asked for significant concessions despite massive profits by Labatt’s parent company AB InBev. On March 25, the workers went on strike without union authorization following Labatt’s request that the workers train their own temporary replacements.

Vancouver asks Canada Post not to stop home delivery” by Emily Jackson, Metro News – January 21

Vancouver isn’t a fan of Canada Post’s plan to stop door-to-door delivery. Council voted unanimously Tuesday to ask the postal service to suspend the service cuts pending full consultation with communities across the country. Meantime, city staff will research how the changes may affect residents, specifically seniors and people with disabilities, NPA Coun. George Affleck said.

United Church of Canada clergy form their own union” by Donovan Vincent, Toronto Star – January 21

They won’t be carrying picket signs or chanting protest songs while on strike just yet, but ministers with the United Church of Canada have voted to form their first union. The goal of the newly created professional association, called Unifaith, is to give faith workers, their family members, student ministers and retirees, a common voice. In addition to fighting for job security for clergy and other paid employees, the new union plans to help combat the bullying, and in some cases physical assaults, of clergy by members of congregations or outsiders, says Rev. Jim Evans, the former interim president of the group.

Bombardier lays off 1,700 workers in Canada, U.S.” CBC, January 21

Bombardier is slashing six per cent of its workforce in the Aerospace division. The Montreal-based company told employees on Tuesday that cuts are required due to delays in the launch of new planes and tough market conditions. Out of the 1,700 employees who will lose their jobs, 1,100 are in the Montreal region and 600 are in the U.S., mostly in Wichita, Kansas.

Unions slide from unity to enmity over Tim Hudak” by Martin Regd Cohn, Hamilton Spectator – January 21

Big labour is bracing for a big battle, but Tory Leader Tim Hudak isn’t the only target. Ontario’s union leaders are also waging a war of words against each other — jousting over who should lead the counterattack against Hudak’s enduring anti-union tactics. The bitter, behind-the-scenes turf war threatens to undermine labour’s efforts to defeat Progressive Conservative MPPs in an expected spring election. Unions are descending from unity into enmity over a bid by Ontario Federation of Labour president Sid Ryan to spearhead the anti-Tory crusade.

CUPE reverses, invites Carleton fellows to unionize” by H.G Watson, – January 22

It turns out that Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) will be helping Carleton University residence fellows unionize, after all. Just over a month ago, the union released a statement saying they would not accept the workers. “It’s quite clear now. They are certainly eligible and we want to organize them,” said CUPE President Paul Moist this week. The union’s early December refusal was a surprise to the would-be organizers, who had 50 per cent of union cards signed and the support of CUPE Local 4600 at the time.

Thousands of Canadian postal workers gathered on Parliament Hill Sunday to oppose cuts to jobs and services. In December, Canada Post announced door-to-door mail service would be phased out over the next five years, instead changing to delivery to community mail boxes. Those changes mean up to 8,000 Canada Post employees are expected to lose their jobs. More than 1,000 letter carriers from Montreal boarded buses to join the protest in Ottawa, arguing that the cuts not only impact their jobs, but also affect the most vulnerable Canadians.






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