RankandFile.ca Weekly Labour Update – May 12 2014

Canada Post | Richmond IKEA lockout | Hudak’s 100,000 job cuts | Temporary foreign workers | Sudbury mining deaths | Westray | Fast Food Strikes | Alberta pension

For more comprehensive coverage of the CLC convention, stay tuned to RankandFile.ca. In the meantime check out our coverage so far.

10289798_773924599318787_3571263905663832101_nPolled public opposes Canada Post privatization
Tom Sandborn, The Tyee
May 1 2014

Two-thirds of Canadians “have no appetite” for the privatization of their postal office, according to a poll commissioned and released yesterday by the union. “Canadians have consistently rejected privatization as an option for our post office,” said Denis Lemelin, national president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, in a news release. “This opposition has kept privatization-friendly governments at bay for many years, although it may not stop the Harper government.”

Richmond IKEA lockout heads into second year with no end in sight
The Province, May 7 2014

About 300 members of Teamsters Local 213 have been surviving on strike pay — the equivalent of about half their wages — since mid-May 2013 and are convinced the Swedish home furnishings giant is out to try and break the union now that they feel the matter has reached an impasse. At issue is the status of 35 or so unionized workers who returned to their jobs early in the dispute. They have been expelled by the union, which has demanded they be removed from the workplace before the union workers return to their jobs should an agreement be reached.

Tim Hudak vows to fire 100,000 Ontario public sector workers
CBC News, May 10 2014

Ontario’s Progressive Conservative leader drew swift condemnation from his opponents Friday as he announced a plan to slash the number of public sector workers in the province by 100,000 if he wins next month’s election.

Guatemalan workers speak out against blacklisting of migrant workers
Valerie Croft, The Dominion
May 6 2014

Like many other workers who have spoken out against labour rights abuses in Canada, Jose Sicajau found himself blacklisted from the program after launching an official complaint against the owner of the farm where he worked in rural Quebec. In 2006, Sicajau launched an official complaint with several others against his Canadian employer, after witnessing the employer physically and verbally assault a Mexican migrant working on the same farm.

New Hospital Employees’ Union contract language helps identify, support TFWs
CUPE, May 5 2014

The Hospital Employees’ Union (HEU), CUPE’s health care division in B.C., won a settlement agreement that forces an employer to provide the union with notification of new employees hired through the TFWP. The new member must also be told that they are represented by a union in writing, and an orientation session must happen in their first 30 days.

How UFCW Local 1118 in Alberta is helping temporary foreign workers
CBC News, May 8 2014

UFCW Local 1118’s collective agreement stipulates that if employers hire temporary foreign workers, they must help them apply to become permanent citizens. Among other things, that means unionized companies under the Red Deer-based Local 1118 can’t hire temporary foreign workers who don’t meet eligibility requirements for residency, such as speaking English. If they do, the employer must help them meet the requirements, including teaching them the language.

Sudbury mine deaths renew calls for inquiry into mining fatalities
CBC News, May 8 2014

Marc Methe, 34, and Norm Bissaillon, 49, died in a ground collapse at First Nickel’s Lockerby Mine on Tuesday, bringing the number of fatalities at Sudbury-area mines to six in the last three years. United Steelworkers union representative Stephen Hunt said he’s active in a campaign called “Stop the Killing,” which aims to reduce workplace deaths. “Generally, workplace deaths are not investigated as they would investigate any other death in Canada and it’s considered to be part of doing business. We want that changed,” he said.

22 years after Westray: quest for justice goes on
Halifax Chronicle-Herald, May 8 2014

On May 9, 1992, at 5:20 a.m., the Westray coal mine in Plymouth exploded, killing 26 miners. A decade-long national campaign, led by the Canadian Labour Congress and supported by the Westray Families Group, led to the federal government passing Bill C-45 in 2003. Known as the Westray Bill, it holds company managers and directors criminally responsible for the death or injury of employees when adequate steps have not been taken to protect their safety. But since 2003, the law has only been used to lay charges three times. Two of those cases resulted in fines and one in a plea bargain.

May 15: Largest fast food strike yet to hit 150 American cities
MSNBC, May 7 2014

On May 15, after months of relative quiet, fast food workers in 150 American cities will again go on strike. Once again, they will demand that some of America’s largest low-wage employers provide a base wage of $15 per hour and allow their workers to unionize. And once again, the striking workers will be joined on the picket lines by local politicians, community activists, and members of the clergy.

Alberta government’s assault on pensions likely dead
David J. Climenhaga, Rabble.ca
May 6 2014

If sanity prevails within the PC caucus and the party remains mired at current levels of unpopularity, it seems likely this will lead to the eventual demise of both Bill 9, the Public Sector Pension Plans Amendment Act, 2014, and Bill 10, the Employment Pension (Private Sector) Plans Amendment Act, 2014.

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