Labour News Update – February 10 2014

imageNDP risks maximum wedge on minimum wage – Toronto Star, February 5

Why is NDP Leader Andrea Horwath doing the bare minimum on the minimum wage? Anti-poverty activists and union leaders are wondering. And seething. “I am profoundly disappointed that the NDP has not taken a public stand on this,” Sheila Block, of the non-partisanWellesley Institute, told me. “Lots of people are questioning where has the NDP been,” added Deena Ladd, head of the Workers’ Action Centre. Ever since activists launched a grassroots campaign one year ago to boost the minimum wage to $14, the NDP has been AWOL. Radio silence.

What Tim Hudak doesn’t want you to know: “right-to-work” laws invented by southern US segregationists –, February 7

Right-to-work laws are largely a product of the US South in the era before the repeal of formal legal racial segregation. The link between the two is not at all coincidental. The conservative Southern political and economic elite felt threatened by both labour and civil rights activism, and above all feared that the combination of the two, along with other left activist currents, would topple its stranglehold on power.

Degelman workers strike in frigid cold – Global, February 10

Despite the icy cold weather, steelworkers from Degelman Industries were picketing in the parking lot Monday morning. The union representing 150 employees from the agricultural manufacturing company served strike notice last week. The workers were then locked out by management over the weekend. About 50 people showed up to picket at 5:00 a.m. Monday and by 7:00 a.m. the group grew to about 80. The workers are taking shifts in order to picket around the clock.

Deal ends Labatt strike in St. John’s – The Telegram, February 8

Labatt workers in St. John’s have voted in favour of a deal to end an almost year-long strike.Workers voted on the new seven-year deal Saturday afternoon. In a news release, the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE) said its members of Local 7004 could go back to work as early as Tuesday.

Public servants take similar amount of sick days as private sector – Toronto Star, February 6

A report from the Parliamentary Budget Office will find no significant difference between paid sick leave in the public and private sectors, the Star has learned. The report, to be released by the PBO in Ottawa on Thursday, is expected to show that public servants take a similar amount of paid sick days as counterparts in comparable private sector organizations. The findings complicate Treasury Board President Tony Clement’s position that public servants are abusing the current sick-leave system, leading to higher rates of absenteeism among federal bureaucrats than their counterparts in the private sector.

CN Rail, union reach tentative deal that averts weekend strike – CBC, February 8

CN Rail and the union representing some CN Rail workers have reached a tentative contract agreement, averting a potential strike by 3,000 workers that could have come as early as this weekend. Both sides said late Wednesday that details of the three-year contract won’t be released until it is ratified by union members. Teamsters spokesman Stephane Lacroix described the negotiations as a “bit chaotic,” but said CN came to the union with a series of proposals late in the day. “As a result, we’re very happy to avoid a strike this weekend,” Lacroix said, adding he hopes union members will ratify the agreement this time.

Canada Post Fakes Death to Commit Suicide –, February 5

Old news. Canada Post dropped a bomb of an announcement over our heads last month—the price of stamps will be rising dramatically, home delivery is being phased out, and approximately 8,000 workers will lose their jobs, allegedly through attrition. By now, many people have likely moved on to the next scandal and accepted Canada Post’s proposed changes as passé. But don’t let go of that righteous anger just yet—there’s more to this story than meets the eye.

Canada’s veterans: collateral damage in Harper’s war on unions – Stephen Kimber, February 3

What are we to make of delicate-flower Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino? Last week, after missing a meeting in Ottawa with a delegation of Canadian veterans — including Ron Clarke, a 73-year-old, 36-year career military man from Sydney — Fantino breezed into the room an hour late without so much as an apology as the vets prepared to hold a news conference. But then one grizzled veteran called the minister’s hogwash-explanation of how closing eight specialized veterans’ offices and forcing aged, injured or mentally troubled veterans to navigate the Internet or Service Canada’s please-hold-your-call-is-important-to-us telephone jungle would actually mean better service for veterans… “hogwash.”

300x225xMAFA-300x225.jpg.pagespeed.ic.3npZui5d96Education at the heart of Mount Allison strike – NB Media Co-op, February 5

A labour dispute between Mount Allison University and the Mount Allison Faculty Association (MAFA) has culminated in a faculty strike. The strike is the result of fundamentally divergent visions of education at the institution. Representing roughly 154 full-time and 54 part-time academic faculty, librarians, and archivists, MAFA is committed to defending the working conditions of its members, which can also be understood as the learning conditions for students. MAFA’s contract expired on July 1, 2013, and bargaining with the employer began.

Whistleblowers, Downsizing, And Safety At CN: Interview With A CN Conductor –, February 6

In part one of the interview, Peter discusses the transformation of labour relations and downsizing at CN under the leadership of Hunter Harrison (1998-2010), who is now the chief executive at CPR. By some accounts, Harrison spearheaded the “Americanization” of CN shortly after the privatization of the hallmark Crown Corporation in 1995. CN management and corporate culture is now so determined by raising share value, that the company is allegedly forging efficiency statistics to inflate stock prices and boost executive compensation, according to whistleblowers.






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