RankandFile.ca Weekly Labour Update – April 28 2014

10313348_713511448720354_3588921058497877454_nWorkplace safety | Rana Plaza | Temporary Foreign Workers Program | CLC Presidency |  Art Gallery of Ontario | UPS wildcat | Bill C-377 & C-525 | Labour-Community Alliances

April 28: Day of Mourning for Workers Killed or Injured on the Job

Workplace safety by the numbers
CBC News, April 28 2014

In 2012, the most recent year for official statistics, there were 977 workplace-related fatalities in Canada, according to the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada. But those numbers only cover workplaces where workers can receive provincial compensation benefits. “Hundreds more die from under-reported illnesses and occupational diseases that go unrecognized in the compensation systems,” says the Canadian Labour Congress, which first established the National Day of Mourning exactly 30 years ago this year.

Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza factory collapse: One year later, change yet to come
CBC News, April 24 2014

More than 1,100 workers died and about 2,500 were injured on April 24, 2013, when the dangerously built eight-storey Dhaka-area building collapsed, the worst garment industry accident in history. Eighteen retailers and organizations donated money to the survivors’ fund, but labour rights and advocacy groups say many brands that made clothes in the five factories housed in Rana Plaza haven’t given a cent to the trust fund, while some others only gave a little.

VIDEO: Food services and the foreign worker program
CBC Television, April 25 2014

Gil McGowan of the Alberta Federation of Labour debates Dan Kelly of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business

McDonald’s Canada CEO calls foreign worker controversy “bullshit”
CBC, April 24 2014

The CEO of McDonald’s Canada has branded recent criticism of its use of temporary foreign workers “bullshit” in a conference call to franchisees that was given to the CBC. His remarks from earlier this week came before federal Employment Minister Jason Kenney announced an immediate moratorium on the food services sector’s access to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program late on Thursday, as a result of CBC Go Public’s inquiries.

Alberta Federation of Labour says TFW problems extend beyond fast food sector
Edmonton Journal, April 25 2014

A labour group says it has evidence that problems with the federal temporary foreign worker program extend far beyond restaurants. The Alberta Federation of Labour says records for 2012-2013 show 224 cases where businesses in the province paid foreign workers less than the prevailing wage rate. The federation says these businesses included hotels, gas stations, casinos, convenience stores, greenhouses, feedlots and nurseries.

Art Gallery of Ontario workers against austerity
Pam Johnson, Socialist.ca
April 25 2014

Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) workers, OPSEU local 535, are fighting concessions: two- tier wages, benefits cuts, forced overtime, aggressive policing of sick time and loss of fulltime jobs in current contract negotiation with the AGO. Recent AGO offerings highlighting political artists including Chinese dissident artist, Ai Wei Wei, and revolutionary artists, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, have been hugely successful. But, any notion that this progressive sentiment extends to AGO workers would be false.

A walkout at UPS and labor’s old future
Danny Katch, Truthout.org
April 24 2014

The successful February fight at UPS in Queens, New York by Teamsters Local 804 shows that worker solidarity and innovative online tactics to win public support can be used to enhance the oldest strategy in the union playbook: shutting down production.

RankandFile.ca endorses Hassan Husseini for CLC president
RankandFile.ca, April 25 2014

After careful consideration of election platforms, RankandFile.ca is endorsing Hassan Husseini for president of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). The proposals put forward in his platform, if implemented, will work to develop progressive change in the Canadian labour movement. RankandFile.ca also believes that the current CLC leadership needs to be held accountable for its lacklustre record and poor decisions over the past fifteen years, especially since the economic crisis hit in 2008. The following is an explanation of why we came to this decision.

Hassan Yussuff wants to bring fresh approach to the CLC
HG Watson, Rabble.ca
April 25 2014

The current Secretary-Treasurer of the CLC entered the race for President earlier this month, running against incumbent President Ken Georgetti and newcomer Hassan Husseini. Yussuff’s goal is to return the CLC to doing the kind of militant organizing that for years defined the organization and helped win many of the labour victories that have shaped how unions work in Canada.

Union Concerns are Community Concerns
Ben Sichel, RankandFile.ca
April 24 2014

What are teachers to do when governments or school boards hold all the cards and refuse to negotiate, while our class sizes swell and student needs multiply? Living in the Age of Austerity, when there’s never enough money for anything we value as a society (even though we live in the wealthiest time in the history of the world), some teachers are discovering that an active, engaged union is the key to saving public education.

Working in the Shadows for Transparency: Bills C-377 and C-525
April 22 2014

Rankandfile.ca‘s Andrew Stevens answers a few questions from fellow Rankandfile.ca editor Doug Nesbitt about how the Harper Tories have introduced new labour legislation, including bills C-377 and C-525.

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