Two speeches, two months, two Tim Hudaks. Mark my words, the Tory leader vowed at a business lunch in December: he would implement a controversial “right to work” law reining in unions. Read my lips, Hudak pledged at a business breakfast Friday: he promised never to undo compulsory union dues if his Tories win power. How to explain the rocky U-turn? After campaigning for “bold” change, what changed? Right to work wasn’t working for him. After talking it up for two years — most recently in a prime time TV interview on Jan. 29 — Hudak feared the policy would drag him down in a possible spring election.
What to make of Tim Hudak’s flip-flop on “right-to-work”? – Press Progress, February 21
Did Tim Hudak just concede attacking unions is an attack on the middle class? That’s wishful thinking for an anti-labour ideologue like Hudak, but the Ontario Progressive Conservative leader renounced Friday one of his key policy planks on the eve of an expected provincial election that, if implemented, would have really hurt the middle class. In a speech to the Toronto Region Board of Trade, Hudak said he no longer plans to bring in “right-to-work” legislation if elected.
University of Victoria faculty members embrace union – Globe and Mail, February 17
Faculty members at the University of Victoria have voted to certify as a trade union in a move that may signify the start of a trend across the province’s research universities. Campaigns to unionize are also under way at Simon Fraser University and the University of Northern British Columbia. If those succeed, the University of British Columbia will be left as the only major research university whose faculty is not represented by a certified union.
Strike at Momentum Credit Union – Hamilton, Brampton, Oakville – COPE Ontario, February 18
On the eve of the strike deadline, Momentum Credit Union gave their first full and final offer for a five year collective agreement after three months of negotiations. The employer refused to address many issues unless the union agreed to eliminate post-retirement benefits and end the defined benefit pension plan for the remaining employees covered by the plan.
The vultures are circling over Canada Post – Rabble.ca, February 20
We have all been told that Canada Post is facing an impending crisis and that there is no alternative but to simply accept dramatic price increases, the end of home mail delivery and the loss of 8,000 living-wage jobs. We now know that this is a lie. A recent Access to Information request to Canada Post reveals that the crown corporation spent four years studying the idea of postal banking, declaring it a “proven diversification strategy.” As it turns out, Canada Post management had developed a plan to save Canada Post — and they decided to kill it instead. Why?
BC Premier Says No Inquiry Into 2012 Sawmill Explosions That Killed Four, Injured Dozens – Rankandfile.ca, February 17
Rank and File.ca has reported on the two sawmill explosions in northern British Columbia in January and April of 2012 that killed four workers and injured dozens. Many of the workers were of First Nations nationalities. There have been two substantive developments recently in the investigation of the first of those two explosions–at the Babine Forest Products sawmill in Burns Lake, west of Prince George, on January 20, 2012.
Home support staff at Northwood in the Halifax Regional Municipality want to earn the same hourly wage as their counterparts who work in a hospital setting. A picket at the Northwood head office in Burnside drove home the message that the 420 workers will go on strike to get wage parity, if that is what it takes. The workers, members of the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union (NSGEU) Local 34, will be in a legal strike position on February 28th.
For a number of reasons, U.S. unions are on the defensive – from concerted attacks by employers, the political and cultural effects of 30 years of neoliberalism as well as their inability to build resistance in workplaces and communities. The unionization rate in the private sector is down to 6.7 per cent and a central pillar of union strategy has been to organize the unorganized. The United Auto Workers (UAW) – which lost tens of thousands of members in the past decade – has emphasized the centrality of organizing non-union foreign-owned auto plants, recently located in the almost completely non-union and politically conservative south. The strategy was to make a breakthrough in one plant, and build from there
Mexico accused of blacklisting seasonal workers who unionize in Canada – Rabble.ca, February 21
A successful campaign to unionize migrant workers has led to allegations that the Mexican government blacklisted labour activists, then prevented some of those workers from returning to work in Canada under Canada’s Seasonal Agricultural worker program. For almost four years, Stan Raper and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) have been fighting a battle for a group of migrant workers in B.C. who did something controversial — they unionized.
Irish steelworkers get labour board meeting after firing leaves them stranded in B.C. – The Province, February 19
Two temporary foreign workers who contend they were fired by their non-union company for speaking to a union will have their cases heard Thursday by the Labour Relations Board of B.C. The Steelworkers Union took the matter to the board on behalf of Irish imports Patrick Carroll and David Bowler, who were let go Feb. 2 by Lower Mainland Steel despite having a contract that extended all the way to August. Both men had been intent on making a new start in Canada because of the hard economic times in their homeland.
Eleven centres will start collecting mail at community boxes this fall as Canada Post begins its move to end door-to-door delivery. It’s the first stage of a five-year plan announced in December and will involve about 100,000 addresses. Canada Post says that in large cities during this phase, only a few neighbourhoods will be affected, and delivery will continue to businesses. In the smaller municipalities, nearly all households and a higher proportion of businesses will move to community mailboxes. Canada Post says these neighbourhoods are near areas that already have community mailboxes, so the infrastructure is already in place.